Stepping to Live

Here was a man who couldn’t find his music

So he dragged his voice at his feet

But Heavens always came apart

Whenever his voice rose above his navel

Here was a man careful with emotions

He liked to keep them in his breast pocket

warm and close by

While he wrote down carefully in blood an History of Anger

Tracing through his genealogy the impetuous rivers of Anger

He liked walking in long strides

Trying to bring life to himself with every step

He glowed at night

And burned during the day

Because tomorrow never comes

So burn, he says

Burn because tomorrow never comes

Empty Gestures

A simile was hiding underneath my smile

A slim laughter was stuck in my throat

And my throat surrounds this slim laughter with slimy walls

This was the kind of laughter to slip and fall inside you

To never come out of you It will go on echoing inside you

Ricocheting from one rib to another

Making your breasts giggle and harden with excitement

And once it has exhausted you

Leaving from behind

You find afterall how empty you are

And sweetly so

But when fear comes to sit on your lap like a cat

You are too familiar with it to shoo it away

So you look around for whoever or whatever to be swallowed

Just so laughter can return

To purge you again and again

Bewitched

When I’m not busy bleeding all over this page

I put on makeup to keep my face looking young and beautiful

because that’s the only way I can be loved

it’s a pity my heart has turned black overnight

otherwise I would be all over that milky soul of yours

you tell me not to worry

that this isn’t your first rodeo

and I can feel the beast in me wagging its tail for you

Souvenirs Part 2

papa faisant marcher Joy

 

His eyes were drinking the last sunlight of the day.

A tableau nouveau was up in the sky.

The joys he felt gave him blurred fragments of his life:

This isn’t as bad as it seems,

There’s a faded picture of his father walking the child he was

The picture swells up and its occupants come alive

The smells, the birds outside, the meaningless sounds of the father to the child

Eyes rolled back, he relives that moment and wishes it to stay

But that moment fades like all the best things he’s ever had

Loss had dug valleys on his face

The sun, the moon and the stars played in his eyes

And despite the seduction of complete surrender

He breathed  and lived every breath.

V.

I just turned off the mood regulator in my car. No more injections for me today what with the peaks of anger and valleys of anxiety being fairly predictable lately. Blame it on my ability to travel back in time and pinpoint exactly the hurt and the pain down to their smell and location. It’s this emotional thinking that hinders my performance. This moment right here requires far more bravery than I can currently master so I play it safe and let behavioral rituals take over.

 

Performance, ah! Father’s magic word, but now that he’s gone, my boss seems to have picked up le manteau, but he’s in for a surprise. You see, I have never had it out with Father so I just can’t wait for the boss to make me reach critical levels of anger to throw an apple pie to his face.

 

I know a girl who brought summer with her wherever how she went. Thinking I would find it in her apartment, I broke in to find out how she did it. Needless to say I was way out of my depths because I realized that my scent was all over the place and I had come home finally. I spread myself on her couch, my face beaming and left terrestrial time zones for the divine ones.

I only returned when I heard someone at the door searching for keys and I scrambled out of there as quick as possible.

V. had spring in her walk and sometimes winter in her eyes especially when I mishandled her heart because I had convinced myself that I was bad for her. For me. For everyone. But she had an amazing knack for self-preservation. Just as I was about to make her stay in hell with me, she escaped back to what kept her light and shiny. How could she stay bright year in and out? With or without me?

 

I don’t know how long I have vacillated and swung between self-harm and altruism, alternating between heights of blissful love and depths of self-loathing but I’m still around; at least the few bits of me that keep bringing V. back in my life. I still pray and hope she will never find out le connard que je suis.

Mother’s Day

The first poem is mine and the second one is a translation of Camara Laye’s poem: “A Ma Mere”

Education of An African Woman

I am an African Woman

Cradled at birth by rough yet motherly hands,

I was sunbathed and suncolored

from sweet brown to dark chocolate

I am African woman,

full lips, full hips, gazelle eyes, killer smile

they asked if God took special interest in making me

but I laugh and say

I got it from my mama

I learned it from my mama

To bend one knee and hold my saluting arm

I learned from my mama

to lower my eyes, bat my

eyebrows when the lover’s eye fall on me

I learned to work from sunrise to sundown

to sweep, clean and cook

to sweep, clean and cook

to sweep, clean and cook

to work on the field  and on school papers

I learned from my mama to carry your baby on your back

and hope in return they will carry you on their back

I didn’t learn from my mama that no one will see my worth

unless they get hit by lightning

but I did learn from my mama

beauty is a curse

and my enemies will think me a witch

beauty is a prize

and men drop their lower lips when I walk by

beauty is a flower

but I wanted it to be eternal

when I was young

my brother thought he was better than me

when I got married

my husband thought he was better than me

when I had a boy

my son thought he was better than me

9 months to carry men

a lifetime to be despised by them

but once in a while you see a young man lift the veil

and claim that woman are not for sale.

Black woman, African woman, O my mother I think of you …

Daman O, O my mother, you who 
carried me on the back, you who fed me,
You who govern my first steps,
you who first opened my eyes
the wonders of the earth, I think of you …

Woman in the fields, rivers woman, wife of the great river,
O thou, my mother, I think of you …

Daman O thou, O my mother, you who
wiped my tears, you who makes
 the heart rejoice, you who
patiently endured my quirks,
I would still like to be near you, being a child near you …

O Daman, Daman of the great
family of blacksmiths, my thoughts
always turn to you, yours
at every step with me, O
Daman, my mother, as I
still be in your warmth, be
child close to you …

Black woman, African woman, O
you, my mother, thank you, thank you for everything
what you did for me, your son, if
away, so close to you!


					

Life of a Gigolo

What haven’t I done to make you like me?

I put on lipstick

I sashay in my blue dress

but I’m still a man brought to his knees

uncovering his derriere for le mieux payant

“it’s nothing to be ashamed of”

I whisper it so often that I start to believe it

nothing like blacking out once in awhile

to smooth out the wrinkles of life

Turns out love was too cheap for me to afford it anyways

I’m all about benefits without the friendships

Life has a funny way to beat

The hope of love out you quickly

before you swell up too quickly

and people start giving 2 cents looks

No, I am a man who twerks

and outwork les beaux parleurs

no one sees you

when your money doesn’t throw weights around

but I tell you, friend, no one, yes no one

could sashay like I do