‘The Counterplayer Gazes In and Lives to Play the Tale’ by Dzifa Benson

  1. What is the meaning of Legba’s red baritone saxophone in the Five Spot Café at midnight?
  1. On the cliff face of this wet indigo, he is the man who tied water.
  1. A trumpet sounds: the prince is in a hurry to dance in the street.
  1. Sometimes it sounds like the boom of the earth stretching and yawning. Sometimes it’s as erudite as a tabla. Most times it’s as though he’s about to regurgitate a star.
  1. What kind of food is a song?
  1. He’ll see you in that space between finger pluck and the decay of sound.
  1. With spoilt embouchure I carry the sputtering smoulder of a blue note in my tympanum.
  1. The priest tells you these palm oil plantations have been a 1000 years in the making.
  1. He spits stories of the Mami Wata, Siren of Keta Lagoon, coils of serpents around her neck.
  1. I’ll tell you of the shade of Iroko and girth of Baobab, of a bracelet made of an elephant’s tusk, of cotton in my ears and blood gurgling in my throat.
  1. Kokuvi, the musician, has covered his eyes with his hands and is using his jaw to see.
  1. When I die
    Turn no corner
    Bend no curve
    Take me straight to Agorko


(Previously published in the anthology Double Bill, Red Squirrel Press, 2014)



Dzifa Benson has performed her prose and poetry nationally and internationally at venues such as the Southbank Centre, Glastonbury Festival, the Houses of Parliament and on tour with the British Council in South Africa. Her writing has been widely published in anthologies, newspapers and magazines including The Guardian, Poetry Review, Magma, the Manhattan Review and Philosophy Now@DzifaBenson