Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On Seeing Chisiya again after Sixteen Years

This time I was there:
I saw Chisiya but never heard the echoes,
Rushing to Runde River for a swim
Only to be overwhelmed by the dry
Bed of sand, where once mystery ruled.

I paused; I pondered,
Searched for it, and saw a new mystery;
That emptiness that used to be a large pool
Where once crocodiles and hippos met
To divide territory and plan attacks on humans. 

No, there wasn't any of that this time;
But the sand burying even the largest rock
Inspired  thoughts of new dreams:
Conceived here, to be born in another land;
Mototi Dream mating with American Dream
In a marriage of Distaster
As the Dreams Divide Territory and Time.

And when I walked on this tomb
Of what once scared and attracted;
I could sense the deeper smile in me
Cajoling the element of fun where now lay Dread.

Back from Runde, having followed its course
All the way to its confluence with another river,
I saw Chisiya again, from another angle
Where rocks wrestled with trees
For the early bath in sunlight;
I saw Chisiya again
When the sun was escaping the sky;
And the rocks looking at the sinking horizon
Seemed to grow longer and denser
That's when I could have heard Chisiya's echoes
Had I not already courted those from elsewhere.

It's the change we seek
To have been away for so long
And agree there is nothing wrong
With a dream or two, if we remember
to cement new hearts to origins,
and learn even to refuse echoes
That invoke that which used to scare.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Capture it Now

So many of those things
we must care to capture
before, as we've been told,
they escape--something to do with
the nature of ideas--how never
again will we be able
to find them, or suppose we do,
we will as with the same palate
that took us there in the first place
find, only to resume searching.

But let me tell someone now,
tell myself, even, about the day
I could have done what I'm  now doing
yet I cowered and cowered,
looked down then inward
and felt the small teeth of caution:
so while I'm feeling horrible
about this or that not yet accomplished
I have known too that accomplishment
that happens in public view
is not always a reflection of the failure within.

So many things, so many ideas:
and I hear some of you whispering:
Tell us, tells us now...
and laughing, I will pick satchel,
walk one or two steps before
I tell myself to face it....

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Beyond Guesses

After a while they look at you
and tell you who you are
and you smile, because that's what you do best
and nod, leaving them to believe
that's what you are--
and now it doesn't matter
because you confirmed it,
made it easier
for another group to guess
and not even bother to ask
if what they have heard you are
is really what they should see
when they too look at you.

Friday, November 13, 2009



Who stands at my heart's door and knocks?
Knuckles raw
Serenades me,
Promising the sun, moon
All the stars.
My name
A sweet song
On his lips that quiver
With a love induced drunkenness.
A current runs down his spine,
He wants a part of me;
Who has spanned a lifetime
Searching to find a self
Eventually found in an emotional quagmire,
I will not trust a stranger
With my jewel.
Tell the mouse
The key to my heart
Hangs with the bell round the cat's neck.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Some people are just sores;
so you walk around
avoiding bruises, even on days like this
when what should matter
is that the zondos--
some call them mazondo--
are cooking....

And further down the hour,
we will be gathered, again
chatting and chewing: surprising someone;
and every now and then, someone mentions
country, culture, coughing,
until we return to the sores,
by the time we've counted
eight empty Mondavis, sometimes Remis.

Before long, it's good-bye,
especially if not much good is left
in this oppressive Sacramento heat.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Vestiges

Something about the best there is
grabs and twists your insides
and you want to call Mai
even where no shadow exists
of what we could call devices;

First, there are those
luxuriating in the idea...
then dream becomes nightmare,
and you wake up with a headache,
only there is that which drives
the idea of the best
which becomes a shame
when you turn and others say,
"Let's see."

Then the memory of shoots
Once in Mototi budding, but blooms delaying
until years later, carrying the weight
of the sky, we dreamt of burn-darkened
ends of what could have been blooms....

Something in talking about the best,
when even the worst would detest contests....
So you stand, sit, stand again,
and the laughter you hear
is of hope turned clownish
as where once we sat and told stories
we now roll, like donkeys,
in the ash of  insignificance....
but the whistle syou hear,
those are the vestiges....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Smile & Send

If you are like me
Today you are sending,
and Mukoma, looking down
will smile--exactly something
he would have done, no questions.
I am sending....

You can't do things otherwise;
pound the asphalt of adamance
turn away not to return,
even when you see reason not to.
Remember there are smiles,

and there is sending.
Hearts' doors can't just shut
and locks click to ward off the obvious
that often hides, until you open your mouth;

Sing about this day
of dents, but remember the panel-beater
of time, chance, fate even;
so then smile and tear velcro.

There are lines sometimes
where you go to send,
and remember this time
you will hold the line
and invite angry grunts,
but only if they knew
how proud Mukoma would be
looking down from where he is
because all he would have needed
was a short notice to know
that it was time to smile
and send, to end solitude
and begin a new chapter.