clouds make everything smaller

i step into the book store unsure of what it is i am looking for. i remember a book i had seen before ‘When to rob a bank’ by Steven Levitte and Stephen J. Dubner but the last time i checked i hadn’t found it. so before I can rush over to the history section or the english classics section i go over to the african literature section. this is a habit of mine- to peruse the african literature section before all else. i like to see which of our stories are being told. stories about home are not only enriching and relate-able but are important, and as Chinua Achebe says, “there is such a thing as absolute power over the narrative. “ our writers need to write in order to have such power of the narrative. something i think the book store, one of the few ones we have in town, understands little of though i bought the very same Achebe book from them. why else would they have only six shelves for african literature and the same six writers every month? and i know a number of writers in town but i am yet to see their books, something close to national treasures, sold in the very same book store they buy books from. and because the books are the same ones i saw some months back i move over to the history section. i take some time there before i move over to the english classics, taking time to smile at Ernest Hemingway and Jane Austin and Kafka and such others. after reading a number of synopsis, all talking about what a powerful and moving piece of fiction or literature the book is, i walk over to the books on promotion. i have all the time in the world and besides i am waiting for my mother who has gone to the the next store to buy headphones. i decide as my hand swiftly and sensually runs on top of the book covers that i will not buy, at least not today, books that have too many plosives and fricatives in their synopsis. i am not looking for sensationalism. i am looking for sense and silence. i search for a quiet book, an endearing book, a book so  lost in its own world it doesn’t desperately seek out my attention. and i find none, at least none i can afford. i leave the book store soon after.

but the truth of the matter is not in the books or maybe the book store but in myself, in my life and the nook of quiet i find myself in. because everything seems loud-the printing machine printing my cv that i hope someone will take keenness to, time ticking, the noise at back of my mind in contemplation of the lack of experience i have, my dreams rattling wildly against the cage i have encased them in…  and though i have spent five years of university, four years undergraduate and one year post graduate and i can’t find a job, and though i like to tirade myself for not working harder in school and getting higher grades i know there’s a number of saturated factors as to why i can’t find a job as yet. it is probably the same  reason why i can’t find a book to take home with. and this is not a lamentation but yet another reason why the gathering clouds make everything smaller. my mother finds me at another store. she, tired, wants to go back to her house and i have no more reason to stay in the mall. we head out. we had come to have lunch which we had before our stroll around the mall. i always insist we go to the book store. as we walk back to the car she makes to re-enter the book store so she can pay for the book i had chosen. i tell her we can go, that i didn’t find anything i wanted to take home with me. we get to the car and two minutes in she drops me off by the bus stop so i can catch a combi, which works the same way a bus would in first world countries. i am on my way to my friend’s house. as i wait for the combi, happy and excited because i had spent time with my mother and she had given me some money, i notice the clouds.

it’s the easter holidays and the city has returned to its quiet and its somberness. the sound of traffic is thin if not none-existent. the sky is bluer-Raleigh process and the clouds, in their best whites, roll in, sweeping off the remainder of the clean sky. the sun dims its rays a little and a fold of a cold breeze wafts past me. I close the cardigan i have on and watch as nature takes its course. the mall i had just been in looks like a toy and i can only imagine how smaller i look. i feel smaller and lighter, happier even. i watch as a group of young boys cross the road and walk into the mall. i think back to simpler times. but these are simpler times i tell myself. at this, i recall Hemingway when he said, “don’t think, old man, sail on this course and take it when it comes.” i marvel at being in the presence of. there are no fricatives here to whisper into my ear nor are there plosives to spit droplets of saliva on my face. this is not a story about a young unemployed woman who has to be taken care of her mother though she is a two time graduate. this is not a story about the questions of what if this dry spell carries on for a long time. this is not a story about a young woman so tired of being an adult that she relishes each moment of being under her mother’s wing of protection. this is not a story about a book store and it’s inadequacies. this is a story of the clouds that rolled in and swept the sky and the sun away. this is a story about a cool wind bringing things closer if not making things hold on to themselves in order to feel their own heat; in their breath and in their body warm and living against the cold and desolate metal of the bus stop seat. this is a story about a mall that was big an hour ago and smaller now. this is a story of a young woman reading a story being told by the earth.  a story very much like the one she had been looking for between book pages. a story without plosives and fricatives. a story about the earth that was so busy in its own little world that it needed not her attention. a story about how all else matters not and how everything is small no matter how big it is. a story about how clouds make everything else seemingly smaller.

ABSENCE OF TIME

today is tomorrow

with a chance of rain and maybe snow

there’s no time if it can be both fast and slow

he takes a bow

 

to the applause of tomorrow shrouding yesterday’s silence

the curtains close and the suspense

weighing on his shoulders that have become tense

loosen and in his own presence he hears silence

 

a lilt of music on its own

in this absence of words he can call his own

then he realizes nobody is really grown

yet, and despite the fact that, we’ve all been sown

 

some into soil pockets and others into water waves

so today he saves

the best of a moment to knowing age can also be told by caves

and that time can enslave.

 

to be in a moment is not a science

despite the fact that to be in itself is a science

of conscience

it is and it is not a science.

the reunion.

when i got here god asked me, “what did you do with your life?” i answered: i stole a thousand sunsets. i said a million prayers. I drunk tea by the veranda. i lost my eyesight to the unending road. i knew what it meant to hope, even on days when i felt like i had none. i listened to big drums talk and little church bells chorus. i saw rain come and go. i watched stray dogs cross over the gravel road ahead of our house. i saw eagles soar in the bluest sky. i heard owls sing at night. i saw wolves try to pass through our gate. i heard hyenas circling our compound. through it all i did not waver or fear. in truth, i could not see anything besides the loneliness of the dirt road that curves right before it gets to the market. i enjoyed listening to nothing more than its whispers about its journey and where it was headed to- quite a fascinating tale, i might add. many times i watched my man take steps away from me on the very same road. i had no doubt he would come to back to me. i had no doubt he would come back to my heart-where he belongs. but the years turned.

***

your old radio ran out of batteries and i became to overwhelmed to buy new batteries. but i did. i bought new batteries. i kept the radio on because when i get there we’d need to dance. and we’d need the music for something else but first- we shall dance. i love how you dance. we used to dance like our feet were on the sun. you-jazz and jam. remember the name i gave you? you’re both smooth and sweet. you danced right into my heart. danced right to the beat of it. in your absence, my heart still beats.  my heart still beats with your smooths steps and the loud pounding of your feet. my heart still gets electrified like the day you serenaded me with marvin gaye’s “you’re all i need to get by.” i laugh.

the day you left earth my heart sank. how is it that you could leave earth without my being there? i remember looking at the road as if it had betrayed me. they think i’m a fool to think you’ll come back. they’ve talked about me until they couldn’t.  said i’m a fool to keep hoping. that hard judgment eventually turned into a soft sympathy. poor man, they’d say while they shake their heads… the news of your passing made it here fast and left quick. but in our house, i pickled it in a jar and saved it in the kitchen cabinet. i stowed some in the clay pot with drinking water by the stove. i stashed it with some of our best memories on the top shelf of our closet. when grief dragged me to sleep earlier i thought it was you with me in bed only to find i have slept next to the talk of your never coming home to me in heaven. treacherous and painful- i know you’d disagree with my loss of hope and my madness when you get here. i always thought you were too happy and too positive until i realized the world needed more love and hope than it did judgement and hate- until i realized there is really nobody else I rather be with… they told me to mourn when you passed. i couldn’t find it in me to. we’ve had moments of intimacy- moments when our souls consummated their love and gave birth to us. i cannot explain this enough to them. after such an act, there’s never been a you or me. there has only been us… ever since i got here this makes me rush from the market because i want to get dinner started before you get home. then i realize you’re still over there. though i eat alone i do not feel alone. this us makes it hard for my soul to yearn for anyone but you. they say my leaving you on earth made me lose my mind. yet others do say no great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness and they go on to say it is the mark of an intelligent mind to entertain a thought without accepting it. i let them vent their sentiments in between our sips of tea and scones or when they pass by the house and i so happen to be by  the fence. i let them talk about me in my absence too.

***

it’s the night of the day you passed, and i dreamt of you. i was taking down the washing from the fence. the omega radio with its aerial pointing to earth, is by the veranda on top of the table joseph made for me. as i return to the fence, i see a frame at the corner post, right where there are some petticoats shining in the presence of the sun. i walk over. he takes his hat off as i get nearer. my feet carry me towards the fence. your eyes meet mine. i have forgotten the clothes on the fence. we take slow uncertain steps towards the gate. until we are separated by the fence- a fence i put up to keep other out. gabriel said god doesn’t allow fences here, i told him wait until he meets you. we take steps forward. steps we have taken together before with better limber and with youthful carelessness. now the steps we take are… we take steps again and again and again and again.  nothing sounds but the beat of our hearts.  nothing else is worth seeing but our eyes. we want to blink but we both know a blink could be a lifetime as far as you and i are concerned. i hear your breathing which sounds like the flapping of owl wings and you hear mine. it smells like guavas. they’re your favorite and they’re in season. my hands grip loosely and territorially at the fence as i take each step. i wish i had on something better than my overall dress and flip flops. i wish i had undone my head-scarf and did my hear just the way you  like it. but all these thoughts don’t deter my or your steps. i berated myself for thinking that for i know, to you, the only important thing is me. by the time we get to the small gate, we stand before each other. my tears pour and yours moisten your face. you’ve changed so much and you have stayed the same. oh, that mischievous smile. i want to say an apology for the times we’ve been apart physically but does it matter now when my chest touches yours? does it matter when you take me into your arms and twirl with me? does it matter when you have that mischievous smile on your face? i laugh- a cry, a laugh. i don’t ever want to let go of you. we stay in each other’s arms as if we’re reintroducing our souls. as if dusting out an old photo and remembering the time it was taken… that’s when your knock woke me.

                                   “you’re just in time for our afternoon tea.”

                                   i know. i brought biscuits. your favorite.”

wame muse gwafila & fkregie    2017

 

A-Z POEMS B

in my tomb

you will find my womb

with seeds as neat as corn on a cob

rows and rows you cannot rob

love and leisure from–this, for me, is not a job.

bare minimal

say a lot by saying little

be too much by being subtle

look to the left, look to the right and pose

lift your skirt and shirt a little higher, i’m sorry i don’t mean to impose

but… you know… sex sells

So he tells

me we’re just looking for the minimal

the innuendo–subliminal.

 

via Daily Prompt: Minimal

A-Z Poems A

Who are you? Alpha

I asked who are you? Omega

My sweet Angelica

You who lights up my skies like a supernova

And burns me to molten lava

You are indeed my alpha and omega.

First blog post

I began this blog to share my ideas, poetry, short story and novella excerpts, essays and book reviews as well to learn from, through the comments that hopefully will be shared here, people all over the world who enjoy poetry, reading literature and thinking outside the proverbial box.

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