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  • Akosua Biraa

it triples the anger

people who started

there are three different kinds

pulling out lines

on our land

nation of scavengers


out of their house naked

you weren’t supposed to see

and then they hit you


both rose to the highest

founding figures

some days, even me, I cried

forced into sexual denial

can’t even cut wood

elders started getting older

trying to manage

all their life

opportunity in trapping

neural pathways being formed

and the people

there’s nothing there

This piece (including the title) is composed solely out of phrases taken randomly from “Paying the Land” by Joe Sacco (2020). I picked this graphic novel up recently, as I just love Sacco’s ability to shed powerful light on troubling histories — plus I already own two lots of his brilliant work: “Palestine” and “Safe Area Goradze”. These are both significant commentaries on tragic political situations. Putting his compelling storytelling aside, I must say that Sacco’s cartooning chops are also most definitely the bee’s knees!

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