Just There

The windows to your soul
Have tears on the drapes so
“How are you?”, I ask.

I want each breath to have
The scent of your soul so
“How are you?”, I ask.

The bloody fist of love
That powers your soul
Cushioned my fall so
“How are you?”, I ask.

The door to your womb
Has never been used
I need the key so
“How are you?”, I ask.

The canals where sound
Waves crash against
The rocks of your soul
Have never been surfed so
“How are you?”, I ask.

I want to dig then part
The fleshy swellings
On your face to know
The taste of your soul so
“How are you?”, I ask.

The carpet of brown
That covers your soul
Has never been swept
Into a lover’s embrace so
“How are you?”, I ask.

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Nameless

Listen well enough and you’ll hear the echoes
Of the pieces of my broken heart falling in
The vacuum left in its hallowed place.
Although I smile and laugh at everything
I simply am a mask and nothing more.

A statistic with a life but faceless;
A grain of sand in a livid sandstorm;
A single photon in diffused light;
The first scale shed by moulting snakes;
I am of lesser worth than my sentimental value.

Hold my hands and walk this walk down memory
Lane but beware the quicksand of sentiment.
First step I take in remembrance takes me
Back to serial uterine contractions,
Back to the promise of my very first breath,
Back to the washed-out cardboard box where my
Name was whispered into my infant ears,
Only to be snatched away by my tears
And baby cries as we say our goodbyes.

Complete me. Call me. Don’t call me. Nameless.

The Outcast and The Lantern

Although the destination be unknown,
Although the night be dark and sky empty,
A sphere of light walks by my lonely side.

Although the way be far and dangerous,
Although the light be gone from the tunnel’s end,
I stole the darkest cloud’s silver lining.

Although I wonder how long these flames burn,
Although I wander these streets endlessly,
I will never let go your metal hand.

* * *

It’s dark. Living in a city without power, it’s always going to be dark. Whenever it gets this dark, the heroes retire and the villains have to save the day, or night as the case may be. I’m one such villain even if people say I’m the one who needs saving. The only illumination around comes from a lantern half-filled with kerosene that I pick up to light my way and this begins my routine nightly walk ‘round the neighbourhood, but tonight i whisper, “let there be light.”

I feel like the lantern is the first bridge to my island of sanity and also the welcome sign. Tonight, like every night before this night, the only thing I attract are these insects but unlike every other night they seem more interested in my new bridge.

I live in a part of the city whose actual name I don’t really know. I’m sure it has a name, I’m sure the city has a name too… I also know I once had a name. Everybody calls the neighbourhood “The Streets” so I call it The Streets too. Trying to be different is dangerous business. People die around here for things as little as calling petrol kerosene especially if the seller says it is petrol. Even if it smells like kero, looks like kero and even tastes like kero. You might just get burnt by the kero/petrol too.

As bad as The Streets can be, there’s a harsh beauty to it. A beauty not idyllic but no less captivating. The dirt roads, dark streets and dank alleys. Ashawos on the prowl, shouting obscene statements and promises of sweet release spoken in not-so-poetic ways. There are the gamblers and the stoners, both addicted to sister demons. The preachers and foretellers of personal doom. The rapper-wannabes ready to sell their souls. The graffiti artists preaching resistance. The not-so-blind beggars with not-so-missing limbs. The babalawos selling wash-put as get-rich-quick potions. Then there’s me, the only island of sanity, marvelling at how insane my world can be. A platform where beauty mingles with ugliness unabashed.