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.

 

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