Tuesday, June 21, 2022


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


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

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