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.

 

Ruby

We swam your ashes out into the blue
way beyond the break where I knew,
like a child standing in a bucket
connected to the marvelous,
that we are born of water
and all we did was help you back
as the rain swept in and wrote it’s secrets
into the open sand.

Later, a pod of dolphins swam by
and I swear there was some fishy being
glittering just below the surface
so that when I want to see you
I need just ask
the wind and waves where you are.

Not that you’re with them, there on the beach,
no; you are them and I need just ask,
just knock on the sky and listen for the colour,
walk right in and ask

if this is water as it really is,
the swirling memory of everyone you loved,
everyone you hated, everyone you never knew,
and what it’s like to just keep swimming.

Seven Castles

screenshot-www google com 2016-02-07 12-09-08.png

A delectable death, the butterfly whispered,
newly emerged in the rising light, moving
toward the restaurant at one end of a universe,
a hub where spoken words create worlds
of gateless doors and doorless gateways
discovering, disclosing the circle
in a broad and unfinished stroke
embracing one, returning to many,
brought together and transformed
in a laboratory of personal experience,
a loving ground, snow-swept the stage,
my self engaged in quiet communion,
thunderous silence;
the alchemical anarchy of a free human
set to a big bang microwave background of being
where I waits to be found in It,
not tranquilised by the trivial
nor trivialised by the tranquil.

It’s all nonsense, of course,
before conversation with a common heart,
that most simple song of our soul:

The crickets chirp,
the butterfly takes flight.
A new day has begun,
the same as any other.

“Goodbye”

Flung down, run down,
bunged up and hung over,
I got on the bus today
to leave once more
a place full of people I love,
intense friendships which burnt
at fever pitch for a little while
but now will fade
until we meet again to
stoke the embers and ignite
another blazing bonfire
of words, booze and blues,
everyone dancing like idiots
until the grey morning returns.

Sitting on the bus with a
pounding head and bleary eyes,
I know all too well that
to live is to suffer;
bound and gagged by time
we are assaulted by a
constant sense of loss,
of having left behind
something meaningful.
Moments we want to hold
slowly slip into silence as
the ravages of the clock
tick-tock our temporary time
until too soon we must go,
always searching for what
we have already found and lost,
lost and found,
among the doubtful sounds
of an uncertain universe.

But then I came to a church;
a tiny building beside a lake
so blue it shamed the sky,
so beautiful that the church
didn’t need stained-glass windows,
for nothing could tell the
story of God’s grandeur
better than that water,
so I sat and listened
to the moving old tale,
breathing in the peace,
which smelled of oak and age
and a thousand weary souls
come to find deliverance.

There was a sign which read:
‘This is a place of God,
please treat it as such’
and it was certainly true;
God does live in that church,
but I couldn’t help thinking that
every place is a place of God,
and sometimes I just need a
beautiful view to remind me that
I really have lived and loved
and that is enough,
for it will always be with me
as I sit alone, play with silence
and think about how happy and sad,
joyous, painful and absurd this life is
and how shit it is to say goodbye
and how thankful I am for it all
and what exact food will most
help me with this awful hangover.

“Modern Myths”

studying dwarf galaxies

We are as gods already,

with exponential technologies,

indistinguishable from magic,

that transcend time and distance,

sending thought at lightspeed,

technologically-mediated telepathy,

so that those we love remain

readily reachable in a world wide web

which extends our minds to the

now-unbounded truths of our time.

 

It’s more than technology though,

for we’ve derived the make-up of the

stars soaring through our nights.

We know the gods of old myth

and the forces that govern them.

So it is, as it has always been,

that we turn inward and find

empty space and points of light,

mimicking exactly the spacetime

we now manipulate with mind.

 

For what does science, only a term

for progressive collection of knowledge,

prove if not that man is nothing

other than the universe

becoming conscious of itself?

That we are made of stars,

as our gods of old were,

therefore are ourselves gods?

We are one within the universe,

the universe one within us.

 

This is the psychology of starlight,

the mythology of atoms and galaxies.

 

 

*Think about what the men who wrote any of the holy texts many still follow literally today, would have thought of something like this!

“A boy”

Inventos-de-Isaac-Newton-simples-extranos-y-complejos-7.jpg

 

A boy asked me, “Why gravity?”

And I felt like Walt Whitman when

a child asked him about the grass.

For what could I say, that gravity is

a machination of Newton’s mind made

manifest in our experience of ‘reality’?

 

That it implies its own answer;

for without gravity the question

could never have existed and

the paradox answers itself?

Life comes before meaning,

as a flower before beauty.

 

For a flower does not mean,

Ask Jorge Borges – it just is.

Before and beyond meaning,

common experience of beauty

creating and created of truth,

is meaning enough for all existence.

 

In this dear life sorrowful death

sorrowful life dear death

there is only one choice:

love or fear – the rest is

blissful ignorance or

terrible appreciation.

 

How to explain this to a child?

 

Just so.

 

He sees himself in the grass,

senses gravity moving both

him and heavenly spheres

and so he asks, not having

fully forgotten that he

is one in the universe,

the universe, one in him.

“The Artist”

 

An old artist sits in his cave,

hands shaking as he mixes paint

and picks an ivory frame from

among a million hues waiting

to come alive beneath his brush.

 

He takes two opposing tools,

his pencil and eraser beginning

to form the first image in

silence as he discovers with

twin lines of light and dark.

 

It is a word I cannot read and

soon the background covers it,

legion upon legion of forebears,

fossils filling the page as

the artist begins to paint.

 

In great strokes he strikes

and the faces become formless

against my many-coloured background

of red and black and white

and race and love and death.

 

Then he stops, the tired old man,

and looks at the distant stardust.

“My time has come” he says,

“my work is done. Take this

and paint – yours is just begun.”

“On Journeys”

I’ve spent days travelling to

beautiful places, holy mountains,

looking for sacred thoughts

to cleanse my poetry

like the crystal spring

gurgling rapidly over river rocks

left strewn by the ages.

I have found nothing.

 

Nothing to convince you

to read my words,

to convince critics that

this is actually poetry,

to convince myself that

I might one day make it

in a web which has already

caught too much truth.

 

But it only takes a moment

of quiet reflection to realise

that everyone from Plutarch

to Seneca to Milton to Thoreau

to the cheap modern gurus of

actualisation and mindfulness

knows that it is really the

journey inwards which counts.

 

For it is there where we

find the magic to change

our world with words.

I am happy with a little

node of this chaotic net,

finding it to be a road leading

me nowhere in particular,

everywhere at once.