Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Listen

I have to say, ear doctors are the most unsympathetic lot
Awful people, they only prescribe a little rest and, maybe, time off
So quick to put you on a course of oral antibiotics and send you on your way
Uh-huh, yes the ear is inflamed, you've had your two minutes, the exit is that way

They have no bedside manner to speak of, it rather seems like a badge of honor
They never alleviate your dismay, it feels like they're ignoring your trauma
For if you find yourself needing an ear specialist, you're already in a world of trouble
You should know very well that it's now down to prayer, that's how the cookie crumbles

The pain is right there, your sinuses are going haywire, and you are going insane
It's way too close for comfort, there's no deadening the aural assault on your brain
Perhaps the infection is viral or your tympanum took a knock
Or maybe it's bacterial but you're still dealing with the aftershocks

Off kilter you're destabilized, you've just about lost your bearings
That's when you realize that you've well and truly lost your hearing
The doctor crinkles, or snaps their fingers right next to your ear
You didn't even flinch, the sound was lost, it plain disappeared

K Baka: Woman with calabash 2004

A Temporary Inconvenience


For a quite alarming number of times, I've woken up over the past decade
Having lost the hearing in one ear (the ear in question seems to alternate)
I've been told, in my case, that it's a matter of physiognomy:
The combination of poor drainage of my sinusoidal cavities
(Their perversely shaped contours apparently don't help things),
Small ears, and a latter-day propensity for prodigious production
Of earwax. These episodes of partial deafness have typically lasted
From as little as two hours to a few days - always longer than forecasted

The current assault on my middle ear, however, at ten days and counting,
Is pushing beyond the realm of temporary inconvenience - tensions are mounting
It's not just that I haven't been able to listen properly to the new José James album
Left to hearing his golden voice in muffled mono quite abases the glorious production
The sound, as if coming from a locked trunk packed with ancient manuscripts
Hurriedly buried in a desert backyard in Timbuktu - under Sharia law, that is,
Is painful enough, it's that, as the days drag on, I'm beginning
To contemplate what might possibly happen if modern medicine
And my body's defenses don't resolve things successfully.
The reality is that deafness will be my friend
As the saying goes, no condition is permanent
So I stew, and let that thought sink in wistfully

Incidentally, the album is rather ominously titled No Beginning, No End.
Perhaps it's in that vein that I listened blithely (with my good ear)
To a doctor cheerily informing me that my hearing will "probably come back", (when?)
And "most likely after a couple of weeks", (sigh, at least it wasn't a year)
Those hedging qualifiers were what I held on to - I was strangely elated,
Rather than the alarmingly lengthy time horizon she also contemplated.
I write, however, not to bemoan my lot because, obviously, things could be worse:
I count my aural blessings that I'm not yet appointed to end up in a hearse

The surprising thing, once you get over the bewilderment of sinusoidal oppression
And hearing loss, is that one is able to carry on living a quite full life.
Moreover, there's nothing like a temporary disability to make you rethink things;
People don't think enough these days, they move to action and half-step
I'm rather inclined to take the glass half-full notion to being half-deaf,
Heck, if you choose, strategically, where to sit in a hypothetical office encounter,
You'd avoid having to hear much that annoys you - and others would be none the wiser.
And ear splitting cries of babies, to take another example of occupational hazards,
Can easily become mere pantomimes, even hot air. You get to focus on what really matters.

wuddah-martey little drummer boy 1998


Hear


Listen, aural sensations are so very hard to give up
Count your blessings even when they're spouting claptrap
For sounds, even the most benighted, are truly a wondrous gift from the gods
Beyond their initial purpose of equipping most of us to defy nature's odds
To hear a baby's first cries, or to be lost in a lover's sighs
Think to your desert island necessaries, the music that heartens the soul
Visions may be first on my list, but the sound of When Doves Cry never gets old
Equanimous is my middle name, I trust that all will be resolved in due course
As a Ghanaian, I don't subscribe to the modern theory of buyer's remorse


Listen, a playlist


A soulful playlist underlined by the delightful sounds of José James. Try to catch him live if you ever can. He is the truth. Enjoy. See previously ...

Timing is everything
Observers are worried

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Writing log: April 14, 2021

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Backyard Bioprospecting

The birds have become positively giddy in the backyard
They seem to like the new plants that I sowed
But I just realized that perhaps it was the poppies
That were the present I shouldn't have bestowed

Beasts of burden, they start to flail awkwardly
Their movements are quite like a drunken sailor
Among the plants, you see them crashing around willy nilly
Even disturbing the squirrels along the perimeter

Initially I thought that it was some large nocturnal animal
That was laying waste to my poppies, leaving only the petals
But I started to observe the daytime routine of the birds
That had become the new repeat visitors to my house of cards

Altogether intoxicated by the sweet nectar
They were rather enchanted by the recent discovery
Of this new variant of the Gods' elixir
A taste of life, perchance to escape daily miseries

The packet of seeds I'd obtained before Amazon
Had brought that trade to a full stop
Was showing the potency of what could happen
When you reap the Wuhan crop

poppy

Punch Drunk, a playlist


Sometimes addiction is escapism, anaesthesizing the bearer from a surfeit of reality, sometimes it cannot be helped. A playlist on a loss of inhibition. I keep wondering if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms ought to investigate the kind of controlled substance that has been elevating the minds of my backyard birds. Alternatively, a cartel might pursue a forensic examination. We'll see what the growing season provides next year.

poppy before their discovery

This tall tale is part of a series: In a covidious time.

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Writing log: April 19, 2021

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Soul Insurance (Part 2 Enter the Claims Adjuster)

Adjudication begins... Part 2 of Soul Insurance

II. Enter the Claims Adjuster


Meanwhile, the claims adjuster had already started to make his way to the plains
He threw a few changes of clothes in the bag he used for this business
Laying waste to a people could sometimes be messy, as god was his witness
Other than the blood, it was mostly the tears of the widowed that left stains

Thus he packed a few extra pods of detergent, he placed them in a ziploc bag
He was trying out a new brand, the new formula Tide cleaned better, they bragged
He always carried spares of the latest creations that could pass through customs
These days regulations had been relaxed, and one could travel with these substances

For his luggage, he had decided to try out one of those sturdy bags
Plastic, lightweight, it was quite practical for the upcoming task
Wrapped with a little tape around it, whether cellotape or duct tape
It would be a good signal to all that it was now time for them to pack

Being rugged and functional, he was quite sure that it wouldn't split
Before he arrived at his destination, and gave the cease and desist
The bag could take being manhandled by the underpaid bag handlers
And its distinctive plaid was appreciated by many across the border

He'd used them repeatedly when dealing with those who lived in the torrid zone
Back then, the punishment of choice was merely being forced to leave one's home
This was an earlier time, what they wistfully called their lost decades
A little presumptuous of them, they had even given the bags a nickname


Nyame's claims adjuster sculpture


He would start in the east, Chwedru, between the sea and the lagoon
The Wan tribe were long accustomed, close companions, to misfortune
Hard working, sporting blank faces, some labeled them orientals
Beasts of burden, they behaved as if sleep was merely incidental

They were up-and-coming and constantly kept harkening back to their golden age
It was almost like a tic, this nostalgia for when they ruled the world stage
The faded glories of empires and dynasties, when they were number one
But for centuries now, they were second best, consigned to the utilitarian

If he had to adjust that lot he could draw on their long history of oppression
And weigh that against their relatively recent state of exploitation
Their rise as the world's bread basket, home of the big tribe that could
Underestimate them at your peril, the song went: "Don't let me be misunderstood"


jo bag: ghana must go in South Africa


Nyame's direction was sometimes ambiguous and, in practice, hard to measure
Despite the terms of employment, the adjuster didn't care much for adventure
The exact nature of his adjudication was normally left to his discretion
He enjoyed his work, especially the nuts and bolts of the investigation

When you have an arrangement, as the gods did, incorporated as The Company
You were all but guaranteed to encounter a troubling lack of consistency
The body-soul duality was one thing, but try dealing with the complexity
Of the cosmology they'd now come to, and the aspects of their Holy Trinity

He knew that Odomankoma would advocate for humanity as a matter of course
But when Nyame was this displeased, normally all bets would be off
That left Nyankopon, who sometimes tempered the wrath of Nyame, his evil eye
He'd have to sound out Nyankopon before adjusting, his opinion would break the tie

He preferred working for conquerors, their catechism was understood rather easily
None of the ambiguity of The Company, precise orders akin to the military
Black and white, there were no shades of gray
One wrong move and you would be made to pay

The organization of the gods' corporation left a lot to be desired, of course
But then, you could hardly complain successfully about the gods
That was a home truth acknowledged almost universally
For they might deal with your impertinence rather brutally

Although, there was always a loophole, there was the whistleblower provision
But, due to their being all knowing, it was hard to avoid retaliation
He remembered a previous agent, who had gone through the official channels
Without any fear that his very existence could be duly canceled

He'd lodged his complaint against, get this, Nyame of all the gods
The agent would later rue his mistake and wish he'd remained anonymous
The adjuster had never had to resort to testing the system like that poor sod
A betting man, he would never lay a wager in a game with those long odds

The adjuster had become a little jaded having to constantly deal with deceit
So he had inscribed the bag with his new monogram in a fit of conceit
GRIST was his new calling card, he would lay it out like a destroyer
G stood for the gods that had now become his regular employers
R for the review of the scrolls that duly reported the malice
I for his inspections of the actual damage, their extent that is
S for speaking to the witnesses, almost all of whom were known dissemblers
T for the quiet talks with the gods after dispensing his brand of justice

The part of his job he enjoyed most was the tales of the witnesses
The lazy fictions they proffered, and the rare, rather great, inventions
Spun out of whole cloth these last, their patterns of exchange intriguing
But a leopard cannot change its spots, they'd ultimately fail at misleading

There was one thing the adjuster admired about the humans, their hubris
They expected consistency, that every day the sun would rise in the sky
His mammy wagon arrived, it was on time, and left just a minute after two
The slogan at the top read Sea Never Dry. He chuckled, if only they knew


Sea Never Dry

The Claims Adjuster, a playlist


A soundtrack for this note, he means business.

Soul Insurance (Index)


A covidious folktale
  1. Ananse and the Chief's Scribe
  2. Enter the Claims Adjuster
  3. An Audience with the Linguist

This folktale is part of a series: In a covidious time.

Next: An Audience with the Linguist

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Writing log: Part 2 March 22, 2021

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

The Stereotype

You know too the stereotype about black men, that we care too deeply
Unlike the rest of the world, all those shifty flaneurs living carefree

The black man's burden is of a lifetime duty of care and responsibility
The lack of physicality is appalling which, I daresay, is why we hide our bodies

What a life, always the first pick for the keynote at the philosophy colloquium
And hopelessly out of our league in athletic sports except in technical events, say equestrian

Always to be found, long past the midnight hour, in the lab at the science center
And hard at work in the afternoon, when most others are taking their siesta

Can't get them to crack a smile, so humorless, always so serious
Two left feet on the dance floor, no rhythm to speak of, can't carry a chorus

Unlike those undisciplined others who are so quick to lose their temper
Equanimity in repose is the natural mode of the African, the cerebral thinker

Forever with masks of civility, a confession of faith
A model minority dedicated to inspiring higher forms of debate

A change in perspective, badged with the confident sovereign's regard for tradition
Elevating the discourse, our contribution to humanity's curriculum is conversation

...

You know too the stereotype about black men, that we write long poems
One stanza is never enough, effusive outpourings are the order of the day

This afternoon, The Wife ran up the stairs away from me shouting
"Don't give me another poem to read". The prospect is of marital counseling

While my poet friends have always casually stressed its pickup potential and aphrodisiac powers
They never mentioned that poetry has been cited as grounds for divorce in New York courts

I'm genuinely curious what the tipping point was that forced her drastic measures
I'd like to think it was the quantity, rather than the quality of my poetic gestures

Did she see me approach with a sheet of paper? Was that the tip off?
Perhaps I should instead be declaiming my fragments of lyric verse

I too have watched Love Jones and realize that the spoken word cats
Get a lot of love and action. I've got to change up my game quick fast

Was it the accumulation of metaphor that broke the camel's back?
Or the searching scrutiny every encounter is now provoking? Imagine that

Quoth Chateaubriand, poets are like birds, the least thing makes them sing
Witness this poetic impulse now causing marital discord and misgiving

Needless to say, the warning shot was fired, I'm going to have to stay in my lane
I'll have to make do with you, Dear Reader, if only for the sake of my children

...

You know too the stereotype about black men, that we have large vocabularies
And frequent affairs of the heart, owing to a frisson de folksonomie

Liminal undertakings, we pursue the psychogeography of far regions of the mind
Forever mindful that some only fancy the hyperlinked territory we outline

The hatchet job tag gets a lot of mileage, that and the proverbial zingers
Fallen angels abound, those rogues, the strange bedfellows and the grifters

Aficionado of shell games, I'll concede an obsession with gremlins and parasites
These last may get plaudits, but take heed of their insatiable appetites

The human factors, the economics of whimsy, and the laws of grief
It's all about manufactured serendipity and finding comfort suites

Where comprehension is poor, turn to glue layer people, their networks and infrastructure
We seek to capture social interplay through observation, the changing perceptions of culture

If there are dark matters, there is the determination to bear witness
Biting satire as a weapon when confronting the heart of darkness

The necessity of permanent outrage informs the exiled soul's identity
An immigrant's stance contra dislocation and this fraught modernity

The joy of small things is a mainstay as is compulsive storytelling
Humour is everywhere in communities and ultimately social living

Of late, public health has been a focus what with this covidious pandemic
Needless to say, the specter of the superspreader looms, observers are worried

The one important contribution that the African can make to the world is to keep reminding everyone that it is out of sympathy and the love for one another that we can build eventually what is valuable and peaceful.

- Kofi Abrefa Busia, The Prospects For Democracy In Africa


aburi mask

Stereotype, a playlist


A soundtrack for this note. Looks aren't everything. ...

Timing is everything
Observers are worried

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Writing log. Concept: April 1, 2006; April 26, 2021

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Idleness Outlawed

He'd decided to go even further than the communists
Who maintained that it was illegal to not have a job
The future emperor improvised with this novel twist:
The added condition that idleness would be outlawed

Thus "Idleness Outlawed" read the headline in Africa Report
The news intimated something akin to a kangaroo court
For idleness isn't disturbing tranquility or moving to cavort
Inertia, even Barthelby's, doesn't normally incite contempt of court

Thus the first of August 1966 was a date to remember
To paraphrase, always something new out of the heart of Africa
The Central African Republic government made laziness a crime
Punishable by up to a year in prison and a heavy fine

All was laid out in a decree emphasizing the "national duty to work"
The regime stated that healthy residents of both sexes - the young turks,
Between the ages of 18 and 55, must show evidence of working for a living
Or get the "or else" treatment, the unspoken threat of a Bond villain

The statute book stated violators faced arrest by "control brigades"
That would "scour the country in search of loafers" and those who strayed
Earlier, the President told government officials to "shake off their lethargy"
If they wished to avoid being fired, or transferred for defying authority

That literary man Bokassa, as history bore witness,
Hearkened explicitly to Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness
Fears of being transferred into the bush in Central Africa were not overblown
For indolence could prompt a journey to the epicenter of the torrid zone

This was, I suppose, years before he crowned himself Emperor
And before we started to hear the cannibalistic rumours
He had taken over months earlier in a coup on New Year's Eve
His countrymen were to experience dread they could hardly conceive

"Scour the country in search of loafers" and "shake off their lethargy"
The things that we have suffered in Africa, it doesn't bear scrutiny
The panache of uneasy phrases, the inventiveness of their euphemisms
The African leaders bestiary, rogues who heed the conqueror's catechism


tei-sleep

Idleness Outlawed, a playlist


A soundtrack to shake off our lethargy.
the military seize power africa report 1966-02-001


...

Timing is everything
Observers are worried

See also: In Praise of Idleness by Bertrand Russell

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Writing log. Concept: July 9, 2020; March 29, 2021

Saturday, May 21, 2022

First Class Compromisers

I was reading W. Arthur Lewis on consensus, compromise and the role of the African intellectual: Some Aspects of Economic Development (Aggrey-Fraser-Guggisberg memorial lectures at the University of Ghana 1968).

One strand in his thought that I keep coming back to is about restraint, something that would have been taken as anachronistic back then and altogether quaint today

It is remarkable what a difference just one or two sensible leaders can make to the whole temper of a country. Take for instance the following riddle.

The political temper of seventeenth century Britain was more violent and extremist than anything that has happened recently in West Africa. Anglicans, Puritans and Catholics were at each others' throats. One king was executed and another chased off the throne. An observer writing, say, around the year 1715, after the abortive rebellion of that year, would have described Britain as a violent country where consensus was unthinkable.

Yet from the middle of the eighteenth century, just thirty years later, Britain was being held up on the continent as the model of a politically stable society. What had happened in that interval of thirty years? Historians now agree that a major element, though not the only one, was the fact that Sir Robert Walpole became Prime Minister in 1721, and held the office for twenty one years. Walpole was a compromiser, who made it his business to conciliate all the major groups who were fighting each other...
1968 was a heady year and the tectonics affected Africa too, even beyond the military coups that had been sweeping the continent
My generation was an ideological generation. We had no use for compromisers. Our heroes were the men wedded to great principles, to socialism, independence, negritude or other great ideas.
The 20th century as the age of extremes
One consequence of our high emotional level is that ours has been the bloodiest generation since the 17th century, killing, or liquidating, as we now say, about 25 million people in the course of 50 years.
His prescription?
I think that what West Africa now needs is some first-class compromisers, who will bind up the wounds of their respective countries, and lay solid foundations for growth. They may not win our love or adulation, but they will certainly deserve our gratitude.
Now of course W. Arthur Lewis had more influence on economics than on politics, and Africa's lost decades illustrate fairly well just how little we listened to his like. Still, his keen insights do raise the counterfactual:

Do conversational politics just need better public relations?

The notion of first class compromisers appeals to me but, well, you go into your lost decades with the leaders you have. You go into a pandemic with the leaders you have (as the body count we have seen illustrates). And not just leaders, you get the political class, the economic interests, the media environment, the feckless and the opportunists in equal measure as the astute and the competent. Even with the best will and cultural context, you need a lot of luck.

Contra first class compromisers like Walpole, I'm minded of Orson Welles speech in the Third Man about the Swiss and the cuckoo clock, and perhaps an earlier zinger
Honesty hath no fence against superior cunning.

— Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels
One can only hope that the first class compromisers of this generation of African leaders also have the savvy and luck to push their agenda through.


africa report 1966-12-040 third world investment gap this need not be the future george woods world bank



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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Visions

Retinal hemorrhage, that was the diagnosis
If you ask me, I was on my way to psychosis
I just wanted to scratch my eye out to remove this damn floater
And to be rid of the piercing pain, it was akin to an electric motor
Spinning out of control, and tearing right through that eye socket
Without regard for all those plans and things I had on my docket
It was all I could do to not scream, "This is killing me, cease and desist"
I'm rather used to ellipses but this blind spot was rather an eclipse

The soul was duly darkened even as my vision was threatened
The pain was altogether unbearable and no relief beckoned
I must say, I couldn't suffer fools during that interlude, I was rather uptight
It's quite hard to keep it light when you literally can no longer see the light
I was curt and incredibly frank during those six months of blinding regress
When the obviously-misnamed, eye-opening affliction was my daily business
But there was no comfort to be had, I'd been told, just apply eye drops
Take frequent breaks, rest, the body will heal and, in time, it will stop

"You have an incredible tolerance for pain, why didn't you call me earlier?"
Now you tell me, I mentioned that I was in pain, and you ignored me, Doctor
I've been religiously applying those drops that you said I could buy over the counter
Do you really mean to tell me now that I might have gotten some relief much earlier?
"Well yes, there are any number of interventions that I could have prescribed.
Well, all is good now, you've made a lot of progress, that can't be denied.
We'll just take a look at things, keep using those eye drops on demand."
He quickly bade me goodbye, and I left his retinal consultancy stunned

Dear friends and family, it is a matter of some regret
That I belatedly explain why my conduct was so circumspect
True, during that time I was in considerable pain and rather upset
And, as I've explained, an unwitting victim of a doctor's neglect
It's cold comfort, however, and understanding will never quite offset
The feelings hurt and perhaps the frayed tempers that came with the mindset
But look, it was the loss of my sight, after all, what do you expect?

my scream for edward munch

Visions, a playlist


By definition a Visions playlist should simply be Stevie Wonder's incomparable album, Innervisions, first on my desert island list. However I'm trying to broaden my perspective so I offer this musical look at things. See previous sensory processes ...

Timing is everything
Observers are worried

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Writing log: April 14, 2021

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Quality of Life

The city's works department has been out and about
With strange contraptions leveling out the sidewalk.
It's surprising how much of a difference it makes in this concrete jungle.
We never realized how much smoother everything goes,
How much load one's feet and ankles were bearing
Dealing with nature's minor intrusions on our daily walk.
The little bumps would no doubt be treacherous in a wheelchair
And even to those without that affliction, we appreciated this duty of care.
We literally couldn't put our foot on what had changed for the better,
But, in short order, we came to realize
It's the little things; quality of life.

20210408_164000

...

The landlord next door came upon the revived pandemic garden
Saw that it had weathered the Texas freeze that was our gift for Lent
Who'd have thought I'd end up being a neighborhood ambassador
In my guise as chief toli monger and amateur gardener
He decided to stop being an absentee landlord,
And resolved to keep up with the Ofosu-Amaahs
A fortnight later, we found him out front
Digging up a hole where there was grass
He planted a cherry tree to add a little spice
I can't wait for it to blossom; quality of life.


pandemic garden starting to bloom

pandemic garden starting to bloom 011

pandemic garden starting to bloom

...

I'm a happy pedestrian who lives for his daily walk
When it comes to commuting, I rather favor the train or the bus
Thus while it's been confounding to find myself working for a car company
I've been happy, during this pandemic, to behold the power of the bike lobby
All power to them, for where bikes get an opening, walkers invariably benefit
Against the almighty automotive industry, walkers tend to get short shrift
Years ago, I gave no mind to the mobility bond in those local elections
But my tax dollars, this past year, have certainly made an impression
And what a lovely path was inaugurated. A veritable trail of delight
Come join me, let's take a walk sometime; quality of life

boggy creek trail refurbished path

trail restored

revamped trail

quality of life

This sweet slice is part of a series: In a covidious time

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Writing log: April 14, 2021

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Soul Insurance

A covidious folktale, call it a people's history...

I. Ananse and the Chief's Scribe


Once again, Nyame found himself displeased with all of humanity
Not atypically, the immediate reason was lost in the mist of time
But had something to do, he recalled, with a lack of integrity
Furious, he called upon the claims adjuster to deal with the crime

All the chosen tribes were agitated and concerned as he drew near
For the adjuster was known in those parts to be rather severe
He would bestow calamity freely, as if it was all part of the package
Enjoying his grisly work with a zeal you could only describe as savage

In the past, the plagues and famines he'd inflicted were entirely without reason
And, even in these modern times where we'd long eschewed hunger season,
Had been known to last for up to three years, devastating and hard to manage
There would surely be what the linguists now called collateral damage

Ananse saw the opportunity, in this upheaval, to make a quick buck
With these feckless humans, it usually paid to try one's luck
So many of their number had herd immunity to shame
That he saw it as an obligation to play a shell game

He made his way to Wiase, the hometown of the Usher tribe
Sidling along, as was his wont, and came up to the chief's scribe
"Tell your Okyeame that I, Ananse the Spider, have a solution to your problem
That, if you grant me an audience with him, I will endeavor to describe"

It was "a breach of protocol", the scribe said, "I pray you desist
For you must first make your representation to the chief linguist
One doesn't approach the chief's scribe like a traveling salesman
Peddling Schnapps and palm wine willy-nilly, and without a plan"

Ananse chuckled inside, these people and their bureaucracy
So fixated on minor things they rather embodied useful idiocy
Couldn't they see that things were urgent, that there was no time to waste?
Oh well, he could play their game, they could lie in their bed of disgrace

So he kept quiet, it always paid to keep a straight face
And disguise one's purpose, the watchword was dissimulate
"My dear Scribe, for my haste and lack of decorum, I must apologize
I can see clearly how my intemperent ways would leave you scandalized"

"Rest assured, I beseech you, I will not repeat my faux pas
Please accept as an apology this serving of foie gras
I would be doubly grateful, if you could direct me to the linguist
So that I can make a proper approach, I am only here to assist"

He made to also add a bottle of Schnapps as he handed over the package
A little liquor was known to lubricate things with these savages
There was a little contretemps as the scribe paused to assess his booty
And made a considered show of possibly requiring additional tax duties

At length, the scribe grudgingly acquiesced, although he feigned being rather fatigued
Viewed with Ananse's typically discerning eyes, you could tell the man was intrigued
He summoned a small boy unit, a cheeky youth, his man Friday
"Take this visitor back there yonder to the linguist, use the back way"

As he took his leave of the scribe, there was a rumbling in the distance
He asked the youth, Fifi, to explain the cause of the disturbance
It was the talking drums sounding the rhythmic cry, albeit rather unhurried
Considering the message that they were conveying: Observers are worried



Observers are worried


Tribes, Vibes and Scribes, a playlist


Incognito provide the soundtrack to the first offering from this folktale and people's history, the aptly named Tribes, Vibes and Scribes, a delicious slice of Acid Jazz released on Talkin' Loud when that label could do no wrong. In the vein of George Duke, Roy Ayers, and Stevie Wonder (quite literally with their cover of Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing), Maysa Leak's vocals meshed wonderfully with the instrumental tracks. Soul inflected insurance in prospect, a great meeting of minds.

Soul Insurance (Index)


A covidious folktale
  1. Ananse and the Chief's Scribe
  2. Enter the Claims Adjuster


Image by Tim Little

This folktale is part of a series: In a covidious time.

Next: Enter the Claims Adjuster

File under: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Writing log: Part 1 March 21, 2021

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Humanity's Curriculum

Ever since its founding, Toli University has been home to a wide curriculum that explores humanity's bite sized triumphs and sundry failings. This toli monger has always aimed to deliver a dynamic conversation on education. Herewith a sampling from our course catalog

Guide to the CatalogHumanity's CurriculumCourse CatalogPlaylist

Guide to the Catalog


You might encounter whiplash when you embark on some of these courses.
This is as intended, our rigorous emphasis on minutiae and absurdity will trouble the soul.
Indeed, you may feel that some of these classes are incorrectly classified at first glance.
Rest assured that this folksonomie has been tested with thousands of students.
We guarantee perplexion and, of course, satisfaction if you stick with the curriculum.

Music is an integral part of our method,
You will often find a playlist that comments on,
Or advances the core texts that we study.
Some of our instructors even lead with the playlist
As part of their immersive pedagogy.
It lubricates the slices of life and leavens the hatchet jobs.
If all else fails, we suggest you listen to the playlist.
Shuffle serendipity has been known to impart peace of mind
And palliative relief to the modern condition of mankind.

We have found that a comfortable unease is best for a proper education.
Off kilter, dislocation sharpens the edges of the cultural memory knife.
Do feel free to sample the other offerings in our catalog of delights
They are often only one click away, a stone’s throw
No finger is equal, as the old saying goes.

Humanity's Curriculum


Humanity knows no boundaries, goes the Akan proverb
This is the season of migration to the land of concern
We mine the uncertain terrain of the torrid zone
Secure in the knowledge that no one stands alone
Probing the outer reaches of the liminal landscape during the journey
Always traveling light, this modern traveler, with bags at the ready

An exiled soul, a searcher in pursuit of word fugitives
Scribbling furiously, and engaged in crafting narratives
A mandate to challenge perceptions, and devise new grace notes
Social interplay and cultural observations are the favored antidotes
Established early, I staked my claim and purpose as chief toli monger
Charged by the muse to write further chapters for the books of Nima

Internally displaced, the ellipses and omissions are also necessary
The gaps have meaning, as all blind spots do, and add to the commentary
In this way, the skeptic's credo applies to the normalcy project
And draws a light on what we choose to remember and to forget
While I refine continuously, I pay my soul insurance premium
The course catalog: my jaundiced take on humanity's curriculum

equality rosewood park

Course Catalog

Earth Sciences and Biology

Social Studies and Etiquette

Law and History

Home Sciences

Economics

Mathematics

Government and Communication

Business and Marketing

Philosophy

Design, Aesthetics and Material Culture

Political Science

Linguistics

Rogues, Gremlins, and Parasites

Music

Literature

lift your voice rosewood park

Operations Research and Game Theory

Rhetoric

Social Anthropology

The Culture of Technology

Ethnography

Geography of the Mind

Modern Travelers

Religion

Nostalgia Studies and Culinary Cultures

Psychology

Engineering

Catastrophe Studies

African Studies

Labor, Capital and Office Civilizations


Grief Studies

Surveys

Sensory Processing

Folklore

Classics

Humanity's Curriculum, a playlist


A soundtrack for this note. Registration in now open. ...

Timing is everything
Observers are worried

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Writing log. Concept: February 28, 2021; April 14, 2021