Tag

poetry

HOURS VI

there
is a mourning dove cooing
at
the window sill of my life,

and
what a beautiful sound
not
even mozart with his requiem can compare

soon,
we will all take flight
soon,
there will be no traces (of either) of us

i
have found that
after
all inner acts of violence quell

after
that violence loses its momentum,
there
is a discrete silence that immerses itself within

and
almost all fear, and the outside noise –
all that purports to matter but does not

a lot purports to matter but does not

sits
still and acquires a white sound like sheets of heavy rainfall

then,
you instinctively know
when
to venture out

when
and how to avoid getting drenched
and
how to hop and skip the puddles of life

and
on this finding,
I
have found another finding

 if
you listen, if you really listen
you
cannot fail to hear the Spirit move within the deep

*
* *

Dear
Silence,
When
I was 18 – the year the world cup was held in South Africa, months before my
father passed away – he was routing for Ghana – I spent my days in those months
reading a book on the Lives of the Saints
– a saint a day – and what struck me most was the concept of hermitage, and the
apparent defilement that comes along with living in the secular world that it
would help me avoid. I felt the tug to become a religious hermit and for a
while, I really did aspire to be one, but now, immersed in the comings and
goings of the secular world, I have forged my own forms of hermitage within
myself. I (have) spent most of my early twenties as a recluse so much so I feel
quite acutely the intensity of a companionship when it wedges into my life – the
danger of being a recluse, I have found, is that sometimes it gets too
comfortable – nothing comes in or goes out – there is a plateau of stability –
and even companionship that is not detrimental to that all other forms of
stability is threatened in that plateau.

When
I was young(er), I feared you, and I often played loud music and engaged in
chatter and vain conversation just to avoid you. As you know, I live in the technology
age, and it is easy to avoid you, what with all the available streams of
entertainment. However, coming to age, I realized that you are my friend. You have been with me all along, and never once,
have you left despite all the distractions I lay between us.

You
were there when I was conceived in the mind of God, in my mother’s womb. You
were there when I breathed my first, and you know all that I was before my
consciousness seeped in, and you still know all that my consciousness has not
been able to grasp. You were there when I first lied to my father – I was with
my sister, Ann, and she was in a blue suit, and I was in a red suit – similar
designs, my mother’s intention – and we were barely 10 – sugar crystals spread
across our chins; the aid of a mirror far from sight – he asked us  "mmekula sukari?“ and giggling, we
replied "hapana” and he pinched us both – a thin pinch, the kind that
seers through to the brain – and with the other hand he warmly wiped the sugar
crystals from our cheeks and chins – I don’t think I will forget that day – not
for the pinch but for the realization that the truth remains the truth whether
we try to conceal it – and that there is such a thing as a lie, and it is a
flimsy shroud to cover such a thing as truth.

You
were with me when the stretch of woman hood lay before me – and these are things
that are between me and you – just between me and you, and that’s as much as I will
say. Womanhood is a beauty whose brunt is borne in much silence.

You
were with me when I first felt my heart flutter at the sight of someone – there
are forms of beauty that cannot be bought – like the laughter of someone you
like, like the sparkle of their eyes, like how it feels when they talk to you,
when they smile at you, when there seems to be a tandem, there seems to be a resonance
that you did not create, that appears and manifests all by itself, and you
can’t control it, or contain it.

And
you have silently taught me that to grasp the sweetness of this beauty, one has
to not cage it – for caged, it withers off – this beauty is like a bird, it like
lives a bird, it flies wherever it wills – always free as a bird.

 Lovers,
friends, families, think that you are static, that your presence is a wall of
glass – one that can be seen through but impossible to penetrate – but I have
come to know that you are dynamic – fluid, you flow like crystal clear water –
and you say so much – you communicate all that words cannot convey – only if
one is really listening can they hear.

You
have also led me to recognize the hand of Providence in everything and anything
– to realize that God is not separate from anything – not separate from
anything that moves and lives – not separate from anything that seems dead,
like a stone, like water, like air but is alive in its own innate way – that He
is everywhere, everywhere.

I
am glad that you have been with me through it all;
You
have been with me, as you have been with all the others.
You
have been with me, and will continue to be with me even when I am but dust
And
you will continue to be with me, when the heavens open, and I will be alive
again.

I
am writing to say that You are my friend, that I love you, that I am happy to acknowledge
you,
I
am happy that you exist – for within your quiet, I have been able to find
myself.

With
warm affection,
D.M.

HOURS INTERLUDE: NO ROMANCE III

p.s: perhaps this poem is the only public declaration i will ever make of my continual affection for you

perhaps as reconciliation
i will try to never forget –
i will try not to forget you
i will try not to forget all we lived together

(but really, how can i forget?)

it was many seasons back, but it seems yesterday
you seated a few paces from me, friday evening
watching me –
watching me play with gentle almost-still water currents
watching me watch three yellow wild flowers
float down the river

‘wild card’  you once said of me.

why are some sweet things laden with guilt?
a white rose is tucked in your black trench,
while you lean against a pole and smile
at me one early saturday morning
you introduce me to indie music
and what with the ripe juicy tangerines in the morning
and more coloured roses for a whole morning’s breakfast
and that childlike playfulness of ours that was camouflage

‘tentatrice’ you would called me, and often.

i’ve come to accept, some good things die as well,
there’s a moment stuck in time where you send  me
afternoon videos showing me your new military haircut
and your grandmother’s compound and her chickens, rabbits, olive trees
and 2am, 3 am ‘good-night-good-morning’ voice messages i wake up to
and in that capsule of time,
there is that squeal of a laughter that you spill at times
there is you holding and rubbing my feet underneath restaurant tables
there is you driving me home at midnight, your hand on my hand, on my thigh
there is you wanting to kiss me in public, this is africa, don’t you forget

that floating capsule of time shards
when we fail the promises we made to each other
and now we are busy living as though what we had was not what we had

‘magnificent like the ocean’ you wrote of me, to me in that journal notebook you gifted me.

all these times, my heart leaped –
and i was praying that you were the answer
for life, for life, for visibility

and for a while, you were

but now?

now

moments  – less intense – swing by

and
i
glide along with them

while

you stare

forever

into the days
we
played together

praying

that i
be
that girl again

HOURS INTERLUDE: NO ROMANCE II

you gift me an imitation of my father’s Parker pens

yours is blue and gold and light
his were black and gold, encased in velvet,
and heavy – like my heart at times

on an evening walk,
you ask me out on a date.
later, you carry me up three flights of stairs

& kiss my lips
and this would be the world
except, underneath it all

what lies is mortality –
anything that dies off, that wilts off,
that is blown off by the wind like a dead leaf

is hardly of interest to me anymore

HOURS IV

and now,
to hide this hideous thing they call my face
and all it carries along with it

* * *

you do not know how difficult it is for me
to grasp that this could be home,

i marvel at how at ease you are
i marvel at how much i am taken in by the Race

it’s 2000 years since Paul said the end is near
but here, right now, for you the end seems far,
but it is near; at least to me it is –

it has been so for quite a while now

for the first end is catalogued already
one day i will be but dust
and how soon though it seems far, it is already here –

my lungs are failing. 

* * *

there’s a voice, a voice like cruel laughter
like the laughter of little girls
playing a very bad joke on ____

telling me to hide this hideous face of mine
asking me everytime, everytime i think i could be beautiful
how much rejection did you take before you started rejecting too

you should know, now i just reject
without looking
without scrutinising

and i dont know what’s worse,

that i reject
or that i have been rejected
or that sometimes i believe bits of this sordid nonsense

but,

i still don’t buy into that human-old myth
that gyrating, that plummetting into a little mortal cosmos,
that intertwine of limbs purported to be the epitome of happiness

perharps, as epitome of a little madness,
of a little blindedness , as epitome of human pleasure
but i really don’t buy it for really, i really don’t know about it

but what with all these broken marriages
and all that grief in your heart
and all that war that is man, within and without himself

yet,

i have to admit, once i believed,
as there was no rejection though just for a while,
so i don’t know, i really don’t know nothing

we met in march, & by may i may have been the happiest girl
in the universe but by september, 
the summer of my life was already gone

&
i felt stupid for the plans we made
i felt betrayed by that hope i’d never known before

and the earth spit me into space
and i saw myself floating, floating, before i touched earth again

and all these months after, i’ve affirmed this is isn’t home
earth is but a speck, gyrating, plummetting

and plummetting back, i felt,
i felt, perharps for the last time.

* * *

if ever i imitated Icarus,
please know, though sometimes i run, now i just walk;

i just want to walk my mile
whatever that mile may be
and be done with it

* * *

(at Home i will have no need for this face)

Intention in a Fast-Paced World

Sunday Bites: Pace in a fast world

My creative work production process is very deliberate.

I work backwards and forwards.

For instance, I jot down poem lines that come to me, that appeal to me, and I keep jotting down different feelings and observations about something that strikes me or is of concern to my welfare – and this can go on for months, years, – and then one day, it all clicks, and the poem that seemed as separate poems becomes one. I realized that this is my method of creation sometime mid 2015. So now I am more patient and attuned to myself & how I create.

Or with photography, that I decided to take more seriously in December 2015. I take photos of things that appeal to me – mostly buildings, and things – exactly that, things, like barbed wire silhouettes and reflections and the blue sky –yes, just the blue sky. And after the first selections, I shelve them in my digital compartments and wait for weeks or months before I can revisit them again. During the revisit, I go through them slowly and in such instances I find that I can say – yes, this is the image I want or no, this did not quite come out well, what was I thinking? And I laugh at and with myself.

Or with my personal essays – I have a notebook filled, and I am halfway through another – which when I write I find is a chance for further introspection, as though the intense life introspections I do while journaling or as I go on about life are not enough. I write the essays and let them simmer. For a while. Sometimes I forget about them, and then one day, I start to write them again, and some fuse into each other, and others separate and others just crumble into mere words.

I like working like this. I like that I have learnt to be patient with the work and with myself. I like that I have the liberty to enjoy working like this. Especially now that there is social media and it feels as though production is for mass consumption. I have this impression that artists are under the pressure to constantly produce, constantly entertain, and constantly be on the social media feeds loop.

Me, I choose to let that social media train leave me at the station. My aim is to produce the best I can and since I do not want mediocre plastered all over me, I will take my sweet time.