religion says a preacher’s kid can’t have a nose ring
religion says she can’t have an anklet
because she will look like one of them
culture says a black girl can’t slur in her presentations
because being black means a thick accent
tribe says being an Ashanti girl comes
with a heavy curse of missing your R and L
and I get this a lot when people ask me
are you a Ghanaian ?
you don’t sound like one
the last time the uber driver said I spoke like
someone from cote devour
and though I giggled but never sure whether I needed to accept that as a compliment or a trophy or something like that

the last time I told my mother I needed some jeans
and i needed the ones with sharp cuts that will
expose some part of my flesh and she said she
wouldn’t get me that
but funny funny it wasn’t a request it was a declaration to
some sort of freedom, funny funny she missed it
and how was I going to explain to my mom
that I was crazy about arts and between
total covering and nude
all my eyes see is the creation of creativity
just like the bible unfolds the story of adam and eve
in genesis to the flying dragon in revelations
the last time an old mate from Secondary school
called me after I have posted a picture of me with a
nose ring and said “ i was worried about you”
and that statement should have made me so happy and glad because these are the words i would love to
hear from the that doctor boy I am infatuated
but it hurt me, no it made me angry and mad
worried that having a nose ring meant
something had changed about me?

that it took away my good heart, my smile, my generosity
my split in salary to pay my sister’s hostel fee
or the constant routine of talking to god
you were worried about me
and for ten good years i have been
writing on facebook and not a single
Like or comment or cheer and i post a picture and
you tell me that you were worried about me
well i have been worried about you too
And many people like you out there
and i really really hope you see this
how we are spoon fed the first day we are born
to taste and tell what being judges over other people’s
affair feels like on our sharp tongues
well I have been worried about you too
when you tell me I can’t have beyoncé as a role model
but I look at her wit, determination and strength in her documentary home coming and I have never been that determined to push myself high on the ladder of identity and success
she inspires me
the fierce in her eyes and I am indifferent about many of her songs but I know a few and it sparks fire in me

so listen to the song right here in my heart
Is only beginning to find release
the time has come for my dreams to be heard
and they will not be push aside or turn into your
own all because you won’t listen
i have been thinking so much lately
what i wouldn’t give
i can’t even tell you how it hit me sometimes
on my 17th birthday I went to my father and asked him
to tell me why he named me josephine
and he told me joseph was his favorite bible character and he had wanted to have a son and called him
but I made it here
because the universe wanted me here
god wanted me here
and i have been a dreamer
and i can tell you all the places I want to go
and all the things I want to do
and i would love to have a tattoo
in honor of my body
which is capable of bearing
Pain and pleasure at the same time

so if you love me
love me all as I am
not just who you knew i was
or I am becoming

because i will never be anything you and all the images in your mind you have about me

tomorrow when I put this pen down
i owe you and nobody an apology
for being free
most importantly
for choosing to fall free

and i think i enjoy this ride
and for the last time

i too am worried about you.

-Jo Nketiah


  1. Yes oooh I too am worried about them…free to be who you were born to be…love God #PS I am the only one with authority to judge you and find you wanting or not.

    Cha they call us feminist when we assert our right to live our full humanity.

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