Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The Annual Report

The leading contender was just launched (category: literary fiction)
A touch unorthodox perhaps, it's hard to keep up with the latest fashions
Today's fresh arrival in my mailbox was The Company's annual report
Would it be magical realism this year or the stream of consciousness of yore?

The most interesting section in The Company's 10-K statement
Outlined "the rationale for management's use of non-GAAP information
In the Compensation Discussion and Analysis and Proxy Statement"
A wonder of the world: dense bureaucratese and obfuscation

"The Company believes" that this fiction "provides increased transparency
And clarity into both the operational results of the business
And the performance of The Company's pension plans improves visibility
To management decisions and their impacts on operational performance"

The wholesale escapism, the whimsical mix of romance and fantasy
That The Company's writers have laid out, so striking and awkward
"Enables better comparison to peer companies; and allows The Company
To provide a long-term strategic view of the business going forward."

I'm not normally a fan of the fantasy genre but was quite shaken to the core
By this panoply of words hidden in plain sight that confounded and obscured
What with precious jewels of misdirection whose sole intent was to distort
I commend to the Pulitzer Prize committee The Company's annual report

chief zaachi physical and spiritual center

Fantasy, a Playlist

A fictitious soundtrack for this note. (spotify version)
Some things take away your breath and reading the company's annual report was revelatory.


Timing is everything
Observers are worried

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Writing log. Concept March 28, 2020. August 19, 2021

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

The Lobby

It's one thing to avert the eye and go for benign neglect
It's another when the chairman of the board is affected
I recall that when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait
A furious response was simply not up for debate

With Kuwaiti elites, whether oligarchs or royal family, over a barrel
These major stockholders, the world over, were in mortal peril
Forget matters of sovereignty, it didn't need to be said
That it wouldn't be good for business, let alone US interests

Even today, western media, who would not normally exercise restraint about strangers
Suddenly become coy and sensitive about their coverage, and hew to their better angels
As India became a new epicenter, they initially started showing makeshift crematoriums
And the telegenic, albeit burning, funeral pyres; the utter collapse and dysfunction

But the tone quickly changed, even as things were getting worse
The reality is that Indians hold the power of the purse
It really comes down, in these things, to who pays the piper
Who has the loudest voice when it comes to the diaspora

For when, say, Google's CEO's close and extended family is affected,
You'd best believe there'll be outrage, and an almighty scramble
Suddenly those who would never otherwise spare a thought
Are seen to be urging solidarity for this catastrophe

And so I've been thinking about the power of the lobby
I wonder who, in extremis, would ever be coming for me
I have long studied the successful ones even if I disapprove of their sleaze
The Israeli, the Saudi and those others; smooth operators, well versed at advocacy

For when my countrymen were stranded in Libya, Lebanon, or what have you
Or even those unfortunate souls who were being trained by Nicolae Ceaușescu
When calamity struck, the lesson they quickly learned was rather sobering
Namely that not a scintilla of help was on the way, no one was coming

In the past, to hold a Ghana passport was to be a down-on-your-luck kind of person
Radioactive really, the kind of thing that attracts the worst sort of attention
The immigration agent would break out a broad smile as you made your arrival
Your ovaries or gonads, foreseeing their inspection, would start to shrivel

We always wished for a different passport, Liechtenstein, or, say, Luxembourg
Let's be frank here, of a Luxembourgian held for hostage, I have never heard
But it stands to reason, there is something quite apt, even if it's inequitable
To read a headline: "White contractors airlifted to safety before local Black people"

There is a great sorting hat at work, perhaps the gods have always played favorites
But it is rather tiresome for those of us who have to content ourselves with miseries
"The fellow with the fufu usually moves over to the man with the soup,
Never the other way around", goes that saying, and well known Nigerian truth

And so as I write my own stories, I realize that I too need a posse
That I need to build bridges, and help those on the lower rungs than me
In this liminal life in the glue layer, making connections is what matters
The head nod of appreciation, building up the lobby for my fellow travelers

ghana must go mission

The Loud Minority, a playlist

A soundtrack for this note, meditating on a lobby (spotify version)

Timing is everything
Observers are worried

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Writing log: May 14, 2021

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Onomatopoeia, a Playlist

I give you a playlist full of vocal incantations. With poetic license, I've named it onomatopoeia rather than vocable which arguably better captures the sound effects I have in mind, the la las, the ding dongs and the sho-be-doos. We hum, we sing and we chant; the words are immaterial, it is the sound that enthralls. Listen without prejudice

Onomatopoeia, a playlist (spotify)



I leave you singing Doobie Doobie Do

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Writing log: July 7, 2022

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Such Is My Asylum (Soul Insurance)

I turned to the economics of whimsy in humanity's curriculum
To summon the poetry of cultural memory, for such is my asylum

To wit: belly laughs are most exhilarating when it is darkest
Bound, as I was, by a mandate to bear witness

Contra despair, the searcher readies a comfort suite
Charting a new narrative, protection by way of a stare

Soul insurance then as a safe harbor
A balm for the spirit's rhythm of loss

hutton-mills sunlit hut palm trees 1998

See previously: Such is my Asylum

Such is my Asylum, a playlist

A soundtrack for this note. Angie Stone adds soul insurance to the poetry playlist. ...

The book is done.

This note concludes concludes another collection of toli, my third collection of poems, written in a fever in five weeks in spring 2021. Hopefully it will escape hypertext into physical form sometime soon... It all started with a covidious folktale; I call it Soul Insurance.


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

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Writing log. May 1, 2021

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

In the Vein of Whimsy

After chasing a phantom thread of dislocation,
It's safe to say that I needed a palate cleanser
Thus, it was in the vein of whimsy,
That I came to the claims adjuster

What with a surfeit of grim reality and daily grief
I needed a berth, soul insurance was my port of relief
The tale of the lost stories, I would write further chapters
Now that I had in mind the requisite political actors

Render unto Caesar and all that, to quote the son of man,
Thus I'm not one to begrudge humanity's tax collector
Moreover I pay my dues promptly, and keep current on all accounts
Treating any lingering debt as if it was a test of character

For my family's history is so replete with close encounters
That adversity has almost become a confidant or family member
The second cousin who acts as a companion when fortune calls
And stiffens the spine, giving support when regret is all

Internal displacement is the lot of exiled souls
Prone to leading liminal lives in the torrid zone
Maroons roaming the borderlands and interstitials
Strays that walk alone, consigned to internal exile

I crave connection, made, in this life, in the glue layer
My networks meshed with the irreverence of the soothsayer
Solace is to be found in the search for community
And lasting insight comes in the vein of whimsy

kagyah drummer

In the Vein of Whimsy, a playlist

soundtrack for this note. (spotify version)
See previously: The Economics of Whimsy and The Joy of Small Things.

Yours irreverently, chief toli monger

Consider this a coda to my covidious folktale: Soul Insurance

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

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Writing log. April 28, 2021