Oratorio

His return was 

not an Ode to Joy,

*

But a quiet oratorio 

publically unannounced.

*

She, a devoted fan, 

was his first listener

*

Reacting, at first, as one does 

to the loss of an old friend.

*

But his voice makes this new tune 

old for her again, resurrecting

lessons at his feet &

works of wonder & mercy.

*

His solo proclaims another hope 

implied in apologues & private revelations.

*

A pre-release track, so to speak,

promoting the real thing.

*

& she carries with her 

this comeback song

*

Ready to be heard by those

with ears to hear.

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Groove Logic

Tonight we’ll make heaven when everything else is burning.

Tonight we’ll find Eden in a wasteland of rubble heaps,

Smoldering ruins, splintered asphalt & railway tracks.

Tonight our paradise is underground, packed wall-to-wall,

Air charged with sweat & bass-filled electric speakers.

Tonight we defy that sense of death & streets luring us into

Nihilistic ruin. We’ll retreat later on to the rooftop, watching

Sunrise & her promise of a life beyond this that is unnamed.

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

He spoke the melody

of a Blues People;

each verse cascading

the ashes of history

& intoning the promise

of a tribe in a wilderness

that won’t say its name.

Black Angels

Black Angels

What if Gabriel was melanin

At visitation?

What if Michael’s mahogany hands

Expelled the dragon?

What if cherubims and seraphims

Sing behind ebony wings?

They say all angels are white,

Bright, as stars tracked across midnight skies.

When I look around, I find my angels here.

They’re departed brothers damned as criminals,

Sisters slain like demons by the law.

They’re immortalized in chants and banners;

See excellence as resistance and survival.

In certain spaces I feel their presence rest:

Silent Bible study halls, chained-linked courts,

intersections between stoplights and lynched Jordans.

In the rhythm of the spirituals, A Love Supreme,

Nina’s ballads, Marvin’s soul, I hear them whisper:

We’ll meet you at the mountaintop.

Are they too dark to soar in glory?

Do they not deserve their place by the Son?

Notes on Inherent Traits

Notes on Inherent Traits

I’ve have become you. I replicate your style of tower heels and little black dresses;

I suck Camel Cigarettes till smoke discharges like factory fumes from my lips;

I guzzle down cheap spirits till I’m dancing with paper-thin linen curtains;

sway to the symphonies of Chopin and Haydn till they noose around my sanity;

make love to suave saxophonists who seduce with the raw moan of Coltrane’s Naima.

But still, I’m crushed by the relentless maw of emptiness.

This must have been your sentiment after hearing an old man on his hospital bed

confess, between dry breaths gasping for life, that while sheltering my family

from the creeping tide of war, he coldly exercised their demise.

You must have questioned the meaning of it all–leaving them to fight abroad–

let guilt bathe you in its agonies, even as you leaped to greet the concrete street below.

It’s morning. I let the light of acknowledgement kick start my stalled emotions.

Donning my dusty habit, I take to back-country roads with unanswered purpose

as civic cars grumble past, and life itself fades into shades of silver, grey and black.

Nostalgia II

This is an edit of last week’s blog post. Enjoy!

Nostalgia II

When last I reflect upon the verdant
fields near Dullstroom,
her majestic form fertilizes
my city-softened consciousness
to indite impressions
of the trout pond’s lonely hermitage;
stripped and felled trees
unburied on the back of a dwarf hill;
distant cows moaning for the rising sun;
mountain-bike paths winding
toward the elevated horizon.

But what will become of that virgin glen
that feels like a Romantic’s paradise?
If I, in body or mind,
were to call upon her again,
cruising down the battered road
toward that modern domicile –
anachronistic in this feudal atmosphere –
would humanity’s commercial tendencies
have altered it into an industrial hell-hole,
blessed silence shattered by the dirge
of construction butchering the landscape,
oozing out its ochre blood for all to see?

Even if the land is annexed
by capitalist Nazis,
I pray to find upon return
those familiar rolling pastures
possessed with a quint muteness
to cure my malignant tristfulness
as a melodic psithurism serenades my ears.

Walking back

Walking back
under overcast
summer skies
beneath a tangled
canopy of pine trees
two objects lied abandoned
beside a mud dirt track
One, a birthday balloon
red, barely bloated
sending its rainbow
greeting to passersby
The other, a diaper
cotton body mutilated
but still intact
fragments waving
in the wind
designing the soil
in spots of bleached white
‘People who walk this trail
are usually clean’
my companion remarked
All the while an unexpected
chill seized our sensitivities
with the heavens preparing
to play a melody of rain
over our uncovered heads
But we trooped on
Our footprints lifting up
the ground’s agonies
‘Till tar and cement ––
the soil of man ––
carried the burden
of our soles home

I’m tired of criticizin’

 

I’m tired of criticizin’

I have found fault

where fault exists,

where graft and waste

rot administrative wheels

like puncture holes of gangrene.

I have listened to talking power heads

repeat-repeat their rhetoric

on a scratched CD of promises,

seen the blood and fire of history

scream from the mouths of dying

protesters and communities.

All this I have witnessed.

All this has waned my will to critique.

For what good is it to rage a reality on replay?

To say all is lost, this nation is doomed,

we have gone from rainbows to dark-clouded gloom.

I have let my speech and thoughts be flogged

with whips of negativity for too long

and like an amateur graffiti artist,

I have tagged ‘‘failed state’’ on this land

without spotting the mural of hope

struggling to breathe beneath.

 

Drum beats

Short poem 8

Drum beats

When I beat the drum of hate

I feel its vibrations tear fissures

in the mould of my soul.

But when I beat the drum of love

I hear its song soar up and outward

liberating the ears of beholders

liberating my own humanity.

In tandem

Short poem 7.

In tandem

I move

You move

in tandem with the beat

that keeps sweat flowing, blood coursing

on the technicolor floor

In physical synchronicity

we move

back-burning our lives on the stove of Friday nights.