Monday, November 12, 2007

Good People,
If you have been asked to review Constellation, please go to the link below and answer the six question survey. Thank you for your time and stay tuned for more at AbenaSpot.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The poem below, carving, is an experiment in persona poems. I've been fighting the fact that usually when I try to write a persona poem, I end up being the persona. Now instead of fighting it, I've decided maybe there's a little bit of me in the persona's I choose to write about. The poem below, "Carving" is the first of many examples. It's not about me. But I can see me pretty clearly in it's reflection.

abena koomson

Every year you make the same promise
Every month it hides in chocolate
and at the bottom of sticky pots
Every week another girl that looks like you
gets eliminated from America’s Next Top Model
Every day you breathe
Every hour your tongue turns the clock of your mouth
waiting for a kiss

Every year you feel the winter slap of your cousin’s death
Every month you cut to feel
Every week you cry
Every day someone is snorting a secret
Every hour a New York street bleeds with another question
shaped like a child

Every year you live marks the number of years since she died
Every month you sing
Every week your goddaughter fills her mouth with more words
Every night you quietly rub away your loneliness
Every hour you pray

Every year another brown man
is a split pomegranate of NYPD bullets
Every month the bodies of Ugandan children are replaced by guns
Every weekend you wonder where the money went
Every day you suck at the teat of television
Every hour you pray

Every year someone who’s lost someone loses someone else
Every month you curl into a ball of cramps under a half moon
Every week you wait
Every day a woman you know is bleeding
Every hour you wonder if her fingers taste like yours

Every year your mother’s voice asks about the marriage you don’t have,
the apartment you don’t own
and the truth you haven’t told about your lover
Every month you ask forgiveness
in the form of a thin snap of flesh and sugared blood
Every week you sing the same hymn
Every day you refuse to leave the house without make-up
Every hour a holy word falls at the feet of a dead prayer

and still you breathe
and cry
and sing
Every year you suck
and scream
and carve
and wait

the razor fine lines of your wrists
keep surprising you
the prayers you find there flow red like lace
you canvas their threaded language with your fingers.
Notice the creases darken from wine to black
as if to say
What lives in your cocoon of flesh is still growing
one red silk thread at a time.

Monday, June 26, 2006

new poem. the line breaks'll be all jacked up, but it's a sestina.

Proposal (for Patrick Rosal)

It is too late for the rhythm of her feet
to trace the bend of tracks
that railroad into a blueless night.
Instead of ride, she has chosen to walk.
She paces each step away from him
by the smoky drag of the moon

a 1972’s dusty moon
the flatline of Ghana currency traces the curve of her cheaply sandaled feet.
If she is going to marry him
it will take the length of these tracks,
and the hipsway heart drum of her walk
to settle this tonight.

He wanted to see her after dinner. Like every night,
she longed for his blueblack skin split wide for teeth that shamed the moon,
but a nervous cigarette- angled walk,
the 6/8 tap of feet and
his constant gaze at the tracks
betrayed him.

She knew his heart was eating him.
This blueless night,
where the station in Kumasi meets the tracks,
He asks if the moon
will make the same shadows beneath their feet
in the country where it is said money lines the streets people walk.

He knew her heart was troubling her, so he told her to take a walk…
and she is ten paces from home when she realizes him!
He would risk the fading echo of her feet,
the ache of quiet night,
the crescent question mark of moon,
and a divide of tracks,

to let her know there will always be tracks.
She can always choose to walk.
And now she knows she wants the moon
but only the one she can watch with him.
She is laughing into the night,
imagining how they will dress their New York feet.

On the other side of the tracks, tears and cigarettes consume him
he will walk the rest of this night
until dawn welcomes his feet,without a clue that she has said yes to the moon.
abena koomson

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


So I recently directed a piece entitled Eve Descending that traced the lives of women in the Old Testament through dance, song, drama, and poetry. I commissioned each performer to discover, alone or in collaboration with others a voice for the story that had not been told in the Bible. It was amazing to see what such a group of spiritually diverse people were able to find in common. I'm currently looking for another venue to reproduce it.

NYC Women's Invitational Benefit SLAM!: in celebration of women and our friend Clara Sala

WHERE: Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery (near Houston) *Bleecker stop on the 6 Train*
WHEN: Thursday, October 27th @ 9:45pm SHARP $10 donation
WHAT: Invitational Poetry Slam/Feature/Special Surprise Guests...
WHO: Feature -- Clara Sala (NYFA Fellow/Fight Apathy National Tour)
Hosted by -- Queen GodIs
Slamming --
Tai Freedom Ford
Celena Glenn
Mahogany L. Browne
Abena Koomson
J. Simone
Yolanda K. Wilkinson
Lynne Procope
& special guests!!!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

This is Thirty One.

Coming down after a fabulous birthday celebration. Back into the swing of school. Trrying to keep my wits about me as Katrina reverberates, Political fufurrah abounds in preparation for the votes, and Barcelona trails behind like shadow. Love in its possibility looms on the horizon, and I beg my heart to slow down and chew its food properly. My friends keep having babies and reminding me how unready I am. Thank God for physical examples. Note to self: Stretch, Drink more water, Pray in the morning, Keep calling those friends that make you laugh, Take more baths. Breathe in the present moment.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Soltera PART II

While at a club in Barcelona, I experienced a particular frustration related to my aloneness. (The distinction for me between "loneliness" and "aloneness," which I'm not even sure is a word, but will serve here, is something I may explore later) A man began furiously dancing near me and several other women. He made contact with several women as they walked by or were standing near. Automatically, I wen to that place I go emotionally that turns everything off. I close down the openess that is so familiar to those who know me and become withdrawn. And angry. I feel upset that I feel forced to go to the closed place, since the open place may leave me vulnerable to whatever this other person is dishing out...a far more scary prospect to me. He didn't come any where near me, though he came near to several people around me. Then there was a guy approaching women who leaned into their ears and asked them to dance. Each women was very put off by this, some ran, some pushed him away. He approached just about every woman around me, but avoided me. My guess is because I had closed myself off then too. Next there was a guy who caught my eye at one point. I tried to look at him rather neutrally and he just stared. He then placed himself across from me. Later I moved to go talk to someone and when I had settled in my new location, he had moved right next to me. I moved again and this time he moved to a location not far from me, but well within my sight. Again, I could feel myself closing off, and feeling less and less like the fuller version of myself that I love and enjoy. So what are the alternatives to the hard looks and closed body posture? Telling someone off? Staying open at the risk of letting someone in who I'll propbaly have to reject later anyway?

The next day in the mall, a man who is walking toward me says hello. I say hello back. He changes his direction and begins to walk with me. He asks me if I want to go to a bar. i tell him know. He puts his hand on my shoulder and holds it tightly, I wrench away and tell him I'm not interested. He grabs my hand and tries to kiss me. I pull away forcefully and tell him no, almost screaming. I felt very alone then. I told God immediately that I did not feel safe as soon as I could catch my breath and that I wonder constantly how to balance my openess with the fact that there are some people who want something that I don't want to give them. I think of that scene in the book of Luke where Jesus runs away from a crowd of angry people who want to throw him off of a cliff. I remind myself that it is not only ok, but necessary to protect myself. So why does it make me feel so crappy? If it's a natural part of the human cycles of interaction, why do I feel so imposed upon. To further agitate the system, I saw the man, seated across from me on the train the next day. I couldn't look at him, though I could feel him look at me, then look away. The power that this man has, who gave it to him? Did he take it? Did I give it to him? Do I want some? All of these things were flashing through my head for 5 of the longest train stops. Do men ever feel threatened like this by women? Why or why not? Part of my anger stems from the sense that I feel like the imbalance is unfair. But there is also this worry that by embracing the feral, instinctive energy that rightly seeks to protect me, I may lose touch with the openness that is also sacred. I want the two to be in a rhythmic balance with one another, and for each to be at my disposal. I should be angry at people who use negative energy to impose and intimidate, I should also be able to recognize my own fear without being crippled by it. It's not like I'm afraid for no reason. Stalking and physical agression are serious matters. But I want to sidestep the trap of "what did I do to deserve this" or "how could I have let this happen" or "now I'm stuck here" or whatever else that chimes in where indignance for the other's lack of respect should be. I have every right, like Jesus to make the choice to leave a situation like that, or stay and deal if I feel like there's something important I can get out of it, and if I feel safe.

Not having the support system I talked about in the other entry certainly amplified my emotional state about them. On the other hand, the quality alone time helped me find another kind of peace & quiet. I am grateful for both, the friends that have been so undersatanding & empathetic, as well as the continued development of a discipline that allows me to find peace in myself.

peace from within,

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Soltera en Barcelona

It´s a strange experience, traveling alone. Truly I love it, and must insist upon it every few years. But it is not easy. The alone part is the easy part, the part I enjoy most. But the unsolicited interactions, especially the negative kind, bring out things in me I´m not often forced to confront alone. Usually, if something awful happens on the street or on the subway, I pick up my phone right after and call Elana or Deb or Mona. At the very least, I know that when I get home I´ll have someone to release with. But here, alone, it´s different. I have no mirror in which to see my reflection. That´s tough for a girl like me who learned at a young age that things like anger were unlady like. So it has been foundational to my growth as a human being to have women who could be a mirror to my inner goings on with statements like "he did what!" or "you want me beat er up" with an assurance that only your sister can deliver. Thinking now, my feeling that anger was not appropriate for a polite friendly open girl (a sort of morphed looking glass version of myself...I´m all of those things, but not at the expense of forgetting that I´m also picky, ocassionally impatient, and yes, angry at the things that make me angry) probably led to an overattachement at the "wrath of God" in the Bible. God was necessarily harsh in proportion to my innability to approach and accept anger within myself, even if, and especially when it was appropriate. I grew up thinking as a young Christian that God ws constantly angry at me, having misunderstood anger so intensely. I have to stop here, cause my internet Euros are up, but I´ll leave this here for a while and revisit it after a few days. Please excuse the typos, there are about 6 faded letters on this keyboard...

peace from Barcelona...