Tacenda

Child, she said

Never look a dreamer in the eye, she said

Child, she said

Mind you never catch a dreamer’s eye, she said.

 

I, said I

Will never look a dreamer in the eye, said I

I, said I

Will never catch a dreamer’s eye, said I.

 

The sky replied,

Don’t let the sun burn out your shine, replied,

The sky replied,

Don’t let the moon pull at your pride, inside

Don’t let the time decide the tide, your pride

 

I, said I,

Cannot shine brighter than the sun, said I.

I, said I,

Won’t let the waves make me undone, said I

Won’t rush ahead, won’t jump the gun, said I.

 

Child, she said,

Don’t let the world get in your head, she said.

Child, she said,

Don’t carry the pain you see them shed, she said,

Don’t drown yourself in words unsaid, she said.

 

I, said, I

Will know myself and take a stand, said I

I, said I,

Will feel with them, will hold their hands, said I

Will try my best to understand, said I.

 

The sky replied,

Don’t look a dreamer in the eye, replied.

I, said I,

Won’t look a dreamer in the eye, said I.

Won’t look a dreamer in the eye, said I

will never catch a dreamer’s eye.

 

Tacenda(noun): things better left unsaid; matters to be passed over in silence.

The things we try to catch

The things we try to grasp are fleeting. We see them as they fly by and chase them down the rabbit hole, never stopping for tea. We stay eyes opened waiting for one to pass by in the periphery, barely visible.

The things we try to catch are like the eye of the stepper to the roaming flanker, to notice without being noticed. To catch them without their knowledge of our presence, for their knowledge of our presence would fundamentally change their nature.

The things we try to catch unhappen, don’t happen, don’t exist – until they do.

The things we try to catch have been buried under years of repetitive action – look away, look away look away. The things we try to catch do not understand the language of being seen.

The things we try to catch float somewhere between the known and the felt. Somewhere between the image and the abstract. Somewhere between what is apparent and what we shall never known.

The things we try to catch are like time crystals, in constant oscillation around ourselves yet not powered by us.

The things we try to catch will never fully be within our grasp.

Still, we chase the things we try to catch, for all we know is how to try.

Amabe

(for Nyawira Nderitu 1943 – 2017)

 

Taflase* Taflase Taflase taflase seven times

in this moment of mourning

on this day of memory,

I stand a trembling tongue

without the language

to echo across the void.

 

I must begin with those who died opposed,

towards a notion yet to be clear

who threw themselves back after watching their friends die.

Who left doors open at risk of murder.

Who left notes under mats.

Who bit down their history towards a future.

Who sacrificed, resented, repented, sacrificed.

And again.

 

I am still but an idea that I am yet to grasp,

And so I stand here,

on behalf of the half tongued

cut from the source

and without the language

to echo across the void.

 

And so Taflase, Taflase, Taflase again,

in this moment of mourning,

on this day of memory

I re-member

Those who began with others,

Who destroyed their (selves),

Who lived under consistent micro aggression,

Who checked their locks eight times a night,

Who apologized “they don’t mean it,”

Who raged silently into the night.

 

I call from the docks to a boatman.

I am but a weary traveler who searched for this place

through myth, legend and intuition –

chasing traces of it in half conversations.

Now I stand here, but the dock is empty,

the sea calm and the place in ruins.

I stand on the shore calling to a boatman,

I have heard only of Katsumi

who spoke to a prophet.

But I know there are more.

And so I call out

in the language I know

to the endless sea.

Taflase Taflase, Taflase seven times,

Please hear me.

 

I ask to be heard by those who were afraid,

Who acted out of fear and lived to regret their actions,

who betrayed, backstabbed, stole, manipulated, lied,

who Chased redemption, who further withdrew,

who folded themselves to fit into spaces that were designed for their expulsion,

who took advantage,

who settled for what they could get out of the situation.

 

In this moment of mourning

on this day of memory,

I call that a boatman may ferry those who now leave,

Who listened and misunderstood,

Who have marked distance,

Who watched as the dock was destroyed,

Who have mourned their own deaths,

Who stood, defiant even when the world wanted to erase them.

Who fought beyond amnesia – and only need re-memberance.

Bless the docks once more and take them.

Take them that they may know peace.

 

Taflase: is a polite preface to a serious, possibly unpleasant or even offensive statement. May be especially appropriate from a younger spaker addressing elders. The expression is found not only in Ewe but also Akan and Ga.

Amabe: Kisii word meaning to mourn

Desert Storm

(A Response)

Mood: It’s that one dream. The one they keep showing in the movies. You are walking down a road, everything seems okay and then suddenly the road disappears, and you’re falling.

(Perhaps it is important to begin with a dedication, to you – the one who threw themselves into the depths of the impossible. For you who has read every poem about not calling the impossible impossible and thought – fuck your poetry. For you, who has fallen seventeen times, gotten up eighteen and, somehow, is still falling. For you who found out the light at the end of the tunnel was nothing but an optical illusion. For you who has believed, perceived, conceived but is yet to achieve. For you who hasn’t died, got stronger, hasn’t died, got stronger, hasn’t died, got stronger, and is battling death once more. For you who thinks you are strong enough, but still aren’t. For the broken clocks who are never present when they are right. For those who have chased their dreams down back alleys and office halls. For their blistered feet and how they keep running. A poem for those who have sat in despair and frustration – it can’t be done, it can’t be done, it can’t be done. A poem for those who give up, let go, walk away. A poem for those who refused to be burned by their own flame any longer.)

 

Thank you

for your service.

Picture Perfect

Mood: In an old story a father of great means spends 17 years trying to find his daughter a ping pong ball with pink spots (in the world of the story they don’t exist – and it doesn’t make sense for the father to just get one made because logic). She dies at 18, unsatisfied. Desire is cruel.

Welcome to the mind of the one who whispered in parseltongue at the conductor who refused to give him change for his 50 bob note. Here, in these lines, reside the vengeance of a godless prophet, a prophtetless god and a people who have forgotten what it is to believe. If you take a closer look at the sentences you will begin to see yourself take form. As the words mesh themselves on the page – an image. A capsule of memory disintegrates in a time crystal, the image here,

then not,

here,

then not.

In constant oscillation causing you to question whether the image is really there. It is.

You know it is because you have seen it. You know you have seen it because there it is again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

You are no longer aware of whether it is the image that keeps disappearing or whether your lack of belief creates alternative realities for you – only to be consistently shattered by the relentless factual nature of the image.

It does not exist.

It does not exist.

It does not exist.

There it is.

It’s hiding.

Right there in the space that does not exist between letters of a single word. The space that is as undefined as it is definitive. Squeezing its form through the cracks to somehow create a visible image. Just outside reach of the page the image sits. As if it is afraid its appearance will be its own downfall. The harder you grasp for it the further it goes. And the second you tell yourself it really isn’t there – it shows itself.

This tussle.

This endless searching and unsearching has you caught in a vortex. You wish to prove that the image exists that you may destroy it. And so the nature of the image itself seems like a taunt. Like a giving and taking. As if it somehow knows to hold, right there, right at the edge – and no amount of scrutiny allows you to distance yourself from the serpent tongue of the ungrateful. No amount of searching gives you reason not to be – gives you the clarity you seek, or the closure you need.

(There it is again)

And so the tussle will continue,

and the poet will rage,

and, somewhere in these lines,

you will find the image.

And lose it.

And find it.

And lose it.

And

See, a Man.

See a man stand, his left hand rests on the nape of its neck, his right hand tugs at its strings. His lips kiss the mesh.

His truth a whisper and a pulse.

A whisper and a pulse.

A whisper and a pulse.

 

See a man, see him call to the past – and feel it respond.  Feel the sway as it carries the illusion of sound and time to your bones.

As it carries the illusion of sound,

the illusion of sound and time,

into your bones.

 

See a man, see him smile.

See his eyes light with answers, his tongue dance with questions

See his heart in and his mind out

See his mind in and his heart out

 

See a man, see him see you

See you, see him, see himself, seeing you.

And the lights call for you to play, something sweet and slow

something sweet and slow.

 

And Breathe

Dwell.
Wait.
Gather.
Create.
Expand.
Accept.
Pull.
Consult.
Study.
Restate.
Step.
Dwell.

Wait for
Gather with
Create for
Expand with
Accept to
Pull with
Consult on
Study with
Restate to
Step with
Dwell and

Wait for those you
Gather with to
Create for others to
Expand with those who
Accept to
Pull with the rest as we
Consult on the journey and
Study with each other. We
Restate to love every
Step with which we
Dwell

Cutting Back

NMG to fire staff, shut down Nation FM, QTV

June 30, 2016

 

Even as they fell us.

Even as they fell us.

We watched.

(did it happen?)

Even as they fell us

Even as they fell us

We gathered.

The rain of bodies

and minds

falling in the abyss is similar

to the cosmos.

Only from the ashes

does the phoenix

Still, like Maya,

we

rise.

The Uninvention of the Dream

The uninvention of the dream began with a song. The lyric was heard echoing in the most unexpected places. Here, there, somewhere.

And then another

and then another.

The uninvention of the dream neither happened where they wanted it to happen, nor where they thought it might happen. The uninvention of the dream, thus, was expected – and unexpected.

The uninvention of the dream was a story that they told again and again. In bars, on the street, in their houses, to theirselves, their family, their friends, their enemies.

The uninvention of the dream was a whisper.

The uninvention of the dream was passed from generation to generation – like a broken telephone, it was received in all the wrong ways.

But the uninvention of the dream refused to die.

The uninvention of the dream  lasted, and will continue to last, as long as there are dreams to be uninvented.

The uninvention of the dream was a dream uninvented – and so the uninvention of the dream lay unseen.

Still the uninvention of the dream has been sighted by the lost ones, the confused ones, the wanderers, those who hope, those who pray, those who (mis)understand, the lovers, the dreamers, the dreamers.

The uninvention of the dream has always been in the hands of the dreamers.

 

The uninvention of the dream has always been in the hands of dreamers.

 

And dreamers have been heard singing from the most unexpected places. Here, there, somewhere.

And then another.

And then another.

The uninvention of the dream began with a dream.

The Cloths of Earth

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

  • W. B. Yeats

 

Now that I have your dreams, what would you I do with them? Should I put them in a bag where I store the dreams of past lovers, and give them away to weary passersby? Would they take them? Would that offend you? Or maybe I should lock them up, watch over them. Make sure that, should you ever need a dream – I can give them back to you one by one.

Love, like memory, can be lost.

Sometimes, it begins with a whisper.

This is how we dead men talk to each other.

-Jack Spicer

 

Love, like memory, is a long term project

Sometimes, it begins with an idea.

 

Must I disappear for you to see me?

-A one line review of Lemonade

Love, like memory, is a habit

Sometimes, again.

 

I am not standing still

I am lying in wait.

-Hamilton

 

Now that I have your dreams, I stand here and wait – again.