Those days blurred by the heaviness of being

[poem composed for “Parole in folle”]

Some days, my brain regenerates sad thoughts
like an evergreen vine along a never-ending wall
I feel everything all at once: anxious, worthless, shaky, ugly,
a bottomless pit of awfulness
Sorrow strips me bare –
I become too sensitive, too exposed.
It aches to be alive

Some days my body feels too heavy under the weight of depression
When I hold the mirror up to my face, I see a bundle of insecurities
Anxiety travels from my head to my chest, lingers in my belly
and holds my legs hostage
No good thought can stick in my head, all I can summon is negativity
I feel a despair so dense I cannot see beyond this moment into the next day
It feels impossible to distract myself from my own grief

You can see it in my slouch
in my dull demeanor,
in how often I draw back,
in the overcautiousness,
The way I keep talking to quiet the anxiety
The way I keep quiet to silence the depression
In everything I do, my body broadcasts its sadness

Some days I ask God to empty my body of its pain
and you tell me to remember.
you tell me:
Love, remember that you’re worth rescuing
When everything is unspooling itself before you,
remember the world came into being just for your existence
remember that life is breaking all of us,
and every breath we take is the body mending its brokenness
remember that there’s living proof that this heaviness you feel is not new or alien
it is a mangled dark monster that has been battled and conquered by others before you
and will be conquered by you too
I know you’re tired and I know you don’t want to be here
But all you have to do is to remember
Remember prayers do not drown in your throat
they do not get swallowed inside of you
no matter how deep the well of your self-pity is
remember you’re not alone
you hear me? You’re not alone
tomorrow is waiting for you with ease and laughter
and purpose that gives endless meaning to your life
and when darkness makes it impossible to take a step forward
when you feel shaped by all your wrong decisions
when your brain tries to convince you you’re insignificant
I hope you remember that you’re worth rescuing.


Courtesy of the author

Link to the Italian translation

Poetra Asantewa Ama Asantewa Diaka is a Ghanaian poet, storyteller, and spoken word artist who performs as Poetra Asantewa. She is the author of the chapbook, “You Too Will Know Me” and her debut poetry collection  is entitled “Woman, eat me whole” (Ecco, 2022). Her latest work, “Someone Birthed them Broken” – a collection of short stories – will be published by Amistad in 2024.

Mental illness and body perception stand out as her favourite topics to share with her readers. All her verses are framed in a fair dose of feminism, intended as “refusing to confine [oneself] within the lines of society’s definition of who, what and how [one] should be simply because of gender“.

She is also the founder of Black Girls Glow, a feminist nonprofit organization fostering collaborations among women artists and examining ways that art can build community, and Tampered Press, a Ghanaian literary and arts journal.

She performed for the first time in Italy at “Parole in folle” in Padova and Bologna, with the above poem, “For the Blues” and “Capitalism”.

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