(Sh)anonymous

in the centre of what is supposed to be good, Dreams speak my truth.

little blood speckles from mozzie bites in the sapphire evening, and you

 listening and loving. (forgiving) Both caught up in the quiet, fire

pouring from your throat, smoke teases up

spelling burnt hope into the tile roof.

– oh, you. Still friend. Still real. Still here.

I don’t need a dream this time.

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Johnny Clegg (song of the week)

 

Music I have been listening to since before I was born. I will never tire of Johnny’s work, and he is the only musician I am dying to see live. In his songs are memories which are real and hopeful to me.

 

This song is for all of us scatterlings, adopted children of Africa who hold on to that adopted love.

memorial to a dead catechist

in a field, far from you

looms a skeletal, rusted cross planted in concrete

an emblem of murder.

Imagine the way

his body hung in the seat belt,

bullets shattered bone & glass

eyes closed in a light sleep

or staring open, haunted with last loss?

Were there people who screamed for him?

See how the blood ran out, over the seat and pooled

probably by the footbrake

gator ride through the orchard (easter)

the tractor growled, and we flew down the hill,

twisting, turning through the trees

steering handle spinning as we snuck past the fence

“This is illegal, by the way”

the grandkids are screaming, half fear, half delight

that grandpa would do something so reckless.

mentally, I am careening back across that Arcade highway

the snowplow shatters us again! I snap back to reality

jolting, the grass is high and the road is rubble

the steep hill we are climbing, fast

like the road to Kidepo, soaring over the stony hills

swerving, sliding around in the loose shale

even the dirt matches, it is orange dust

and I am 12 years old again, home and free

after burning season, the grass comes back this green

and the ash leaves charcoal traces all over your white skin.

fair son (fort portal, summer 2013)

upon leaving, the last a terrible tirade

I wandered home, a great explorer from Europe

skin glowing without light, hair dark from too many shadows.

We slept on tinder, a great tree-built tradition

high in the elephant-grass hills.

the walk down to the lake beneath us was long,

and I burned my soles, arriving dusty to the enveloping tree shade

where I fell, over the rocks and into the murky greeny-brown

ka-splash silence

everything suspended for a moment

and break the surface to air again

still aching from a year of misunderstanding, my form

my frame, my body

just really wanted to win something, do it right for once

so I began kicking, arms pulling,

working every muscle till it burned

I slowly swam, the far shore my focus

rocky, looming, dramatic grey cliffs

it seemed hours, but I used the last bit of my strength

to heave myself out of the unknowable darkness

tearing skin from my arms and legs, I collapsed

heaving air into my diaphragm as I lay beneath swaying palm trees

bleeding onto the rocks, water and sweat diluting each drop

running from me in rivulets, soaking the fallen reeds

(I conquered fear of the unknown)

and I couldn’t see the far shore.

it was meant as a joke

racism begins with ignorance, so

why is it an accepted excuse?

“I didn’t mean it/I didn’t know”
do NOT

remove the hurt, heal the wounds, hold the hearts

with a thoughtless joke old heartaches are broken

in haste, we waste

time could have said “this is a bad idea”, but no one asked

the point is, an issue is raised

and this is our chance to fight for the right side

get up, stand up already against

land of the free, free to be

(a little bit) racist?

distanced hypothesizing

“poverty and death” said the classmate

self explanatory, the overused overwritten idea of something

never experienced completely known

to the point of cliche.

 –

I –  in whom these bitter texts

ring and resound like churchbells in my ribcage

painful, horrible truth

guilty of wealth, seeing that which is untouchably impoverished

– am incredulous that this hideous,

so close to my heart and home

is so easily exhausted when never encountered.