The Lichen’s Lyrics

sunset

He sits before the sunset and wonders
at the slow language of the planet
that slips by us in words longer than lifetimes
sung to the lyrics of the lichen longing
for translation as the fading light falls
through the cave at just the right angle
to engulf the tapestry with fire.

And he stares into the golden night, wondering
what whispered secrets the clouds keep,
like how to fade into blue, dissolve into nothing
and then return
to dance with air and floating seas,
the river of the sky singing a duet
with the slow language of sunset
in a melody it takes a life to hear.

And like the clouds, so long the keepers
of our secrets, we get to dance with floating water,
we get to be the wildness and the wet
every time we fall, every time we are drawn back
up into the blue until the only dream that’s left
is to sing slow words with lichen
and wait
for one day each spring when the sun sets
at just the right angle to light it all up.

Yakhal’inkomo

There is an old song where I come from
and it bellows through the people, singing
the songs of slaughterhouse marches
and what we have lost.

Mankunku’s horn massages the memory of massacres
the pointlessness of martyrs and mothers who remember,
like overhearing Gabriel’s whisper as the child is kissed
and dropped to begin again
in stilted yet quietly stunning music
filled with the kind of silence which proceeds
that first cry of bafflement.

I know this music in my bones,
it crawls over my flesh like a dung beetle,
a blistering desert of fading memories
and a never-ending dune, etched in waves
which the beetle-beat must ascend
in stumbling steps as the edifice slips and slides
beneath him – an eternity of falling heavens.

We are rainbows, my friend
(you must be a friend)
and once I dreamed of happiness,
of a thrush and a garden and still point.

It came true too, at sunset as jet streams
became the golden locks of god over an ancient port
where the footsteps echo,
where the footsteps sound like that old song from home,
and I a ferryman to bear this happiness
from one shore back here.

And, sweet irony, is the task a happy one?
Not always.

But I wondered through the garden of the stars,
I met my becoming and was still.

We are forever ecstatic.

 

WordPress won’t let me add videos – go here to see the title song. This post is dedicated to Yahia Lababidi, a new inspiration of mine.