ambivalent wonder – A Hybrid by David Agyei-Yeboah

ambivalent wonder

he twirled on and on, eyelashes bobbing in step with the pulsating music. i couldn’t believe my eyes. kwamina was finally draped in pink and as he grabbed adwoa on the dance floor, walloped his fear of being seen in the gut, a hamster smashing the wheel with newfound claws, consciousness of self finally free from the public gaze. they say real men wear pink and boy, did kwamina wear it like a blouse splotched with all its wealthy shades. he gyrated, kicked about and grinned from ear to ear, feeling free, like a shaven head popping out a car window at summer, crisp air caressing the near baldness, sunrays nestling dry tamarind flesh. nothing could squash his newfound fervor. he pursed his lips as KIDI’s hit song blurred through the school’s ghetto blaster. say cheese, take a picture, strike a pose, let me see you take a picture. I still couldn’t believe kwamina had finally done it. started taking steps to renounce his masculinity. he’d informed me a fortnight ago that he identified more with breasts and feminine charm than male bravado, and the senseless swole culture sweeping through the world. real men wore pink because if they realized how amazing it felt to drink off the honeyed brooks of femininity, they too would renounce their masculinity. my soul is growing breasts and curves oo, bro. he chuckled as he dug into a cheese burger and I sat at his bedside that night, drinking in conversations about warped identity structures and stifling gender norms in Africa. well, this night, no one else graced the dance floor. eyes just gawked at him, almost terrified yet insanely intrigued at this strange creature of a man, exploding with pronounced feminine movement.

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What do you do when your friend confesses to you before your high school dance that he is about to go through with a sex change in a few weeks? He knows his staunch dad would renounce his fatherhood the minute his son renounces his masculinity yet he could care less anyways. It’s about time I twirl to my own musical number and damn the consequences, let the chips fall where they may. I’d rather be myself than an overfed pet tended on every lapsing minute, a mannequin manipulated by bigoted hands.

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Tell me, what do you do? Do you reject him because you’ve been told by society and church that men should remain men and women should remain women? Or you chuckle along and say, Heck, yeah. Do you bro. Do you look on, eyeing his lean build with disgust, a sin of body and shame, or you cradle him in your arms, begin singing over him, a night song, when his wall of security tumbles and he breaks apart, sobbing uncontrollably, tears now sliding past cheese and crumb on his rose painted lips; admiring him for his immense courage to step out to do what he feels to be right even though you have your misgivings? Or you expel the immoral brother and boast about your scorn next Sunday as the applause thickens, resounding like a million drums beating all at the same time, hallelujahs piercing like sharpened arrows directed at a male body screaming for release?

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the other students have finally stepped onto the dance floor, grabbing at each other’s bodies in the dark as the slow number swells and eats up the room. kwamina beckons me to join him and adjoa. i’ve never been this excited about something my whole life. he says. i nervously begin to wiggle. i’ve never been more terrified, eager to support you yet unsure of how to reconcile this with my beliefs. but you’re my bro, kwamina. i’ll love you no matter what. i mutter in my head as i begin gyrating in step with kwamina and adjoa. 


David Agyei-Yeboah is a young creative from Accra, Ghana that believes in expressing gutting raw energy onto plain paper. He is published on Praxis, African Writer Magazine and the Kalahari Review. He enjoys art in its intricacies and loves to express himself through words and music. Tweets: @david_shaddai
Disclaimer: The narratives in these poems are fictional and do not represent any person, groups of persons or place. Any such incidences are purely coincidental.

Banner: Celebration. Digital Art by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2021. Tweets: @frede_kenter

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