Monday, August 26, 2013


To make up for my breaking my new-semester resolutions on the sixth day of the semester, I offer the following first draft of a poem inspired by Chapter 8 of Kwame Anthony Appiah's Cosmopolitanism, about which book my HON 479 students had a wonderfully spirited discussion last Thursday. I'm looking forward to our next discussion, this coming Thursday (tomorrow we meet at I Have a Dream)!


We sit in the back
veiled in incense, wrapped
in kente come from Togoland.
The blackmarketer
sits crosslegged and smiles.

He deals in antiquities,
not Sony TVs like the one
tuned to a telenovela
preaching sermons on fidelity:

be a better boyfriend
or a more faithful wife.

Oaxacan actors mouth
morality lessons in Twi;
he is a strong man,
says our host,
who can say I love you to his girl.

Change jangles in the bottoms
of our swollen pockets.
Our way home is a star-strewn
traverse of rough red laterite.

At the hotel in Accra
we unpack and sit in silent reverence
before the brittle treasure
on our bed.

                   The admonishing hum
of the Coca-Cola machine
keeps us up all night.

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