• Akosua Biraa

promise me







surmised was true

you have to run

décolletage

irretrievably and immutably doomed

a capitalist to the marrow

so mixed up

in your head

anything should happen


at the edge of a great forest

what use are flowers

herbs and berries

excellence and human relevance

her challenge to the status quo


do you know how to make

our demands

Les Blancs,

for both our sakes,

settlers have one season

to grant

its conception


mood of our people

to three centuries of rape

and self-acquittal

don’t do

fond of Africa

battle scarred or dirty

invariably herded

incidentals—gangrene, tumors, still born babies

they bore me


with all his power

the fire went out

living denial of everything

no story

to the play, really

pointing out to the beautiful

been waiting

for you

are condemning yourself to hell






This piece (including the title) is composed solely out of phrases taken randomly from Lorraine Hansberry’s (1972) “Les Blancs: The Collected Last Plays”. The compilation is made up of three plays that revolutionized American drama, with Hansberry’s keen focus on the black experience—both at home and abroad.


Gone too soon at age 34, Hansberry was a brilliant and questioning mind. She embodied raw talent, sparkling intellect, political consciousness, anti-colonial ideals and a strong Pan-African spirit. Hansberry was a formidable playwright, known for penning the American classic “A Raisin in the Sun”—a 1959 Broadway play on the African American experience.


For more on Hansberry, do check out “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” by Robert B. Nemiroff. It is a play (adapted from her own writings) about the life of this extraordinary American writer.


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