Blues sky bleached white, peopled with Caucasian clouds.
His skin: leather jacket black, yet palms and feet bleached blush-pink.
Blood: the same ox as any other man,
He thought to himself, “I know I am a man”
Hands, coarse as sandpaper, known to rake in the giddy cattle: drunk
from grazing come dusk-lazy; drawing enough milk to satisfy the children
Foraging wild fruit; snot apples amidst the bush.
And in the spring time:
October’s water bursting into rain like a champagne bottle imploding;
They sing praises for these tears
here, Pula they say
old women cut of dust, time and years,
ululate the harvest in cracked chords
shatter the yield for each mouth that breaks
The famine was worth the wait.
Eat the yield of your father’s sweat,
your mother’s broken back that
bends to sweep the veranda floor for all those unexpected visitors
come to ask, “ Where is that son of yours?”
gone to make a “man” out of himself,
to wear the jacket in the family, to
assume the hat,
and leave the government overalls
in the past together with
his play things. He says: I am beginning to breathe all over again.
Packed more provisions for the road ahead than I have journey left. Like a blind man,
Learning braille in his old age, I am learning to speak
When the world wants me to dust-quiet.
But are we not all hungry for everything under the sun, so quick to
Snatch sunrise when the moment makes haste
Like a calabash that receives open-palmed, the first sip of brew.
These tire tracks on my toungue-
Proof of the black argument I’ve been having
With myself. Words gurgled at my throat, choked on the mirrors I have fed on
Broken glass, shatters at my reflection
Scattered to make
Up “the man”,
He says “I know I’m African”
But what does that mean?