I ONCE HAD SLEEP IN MY BODY
I once had sleep in my body
But now it has escaped to a place I cannot reach
I watch the waves crash the shoreline
Churned from the belly of the sea
A sleepless soul
Awake for eternity.
I have come to accept your absence
But my mind refuses to bury the hope
Of a live we could have shared
What did we trade this for?
In time we will only know
How do you settle a storm that has no face?
Your silence stirred within me like a storm
Funny how sadness cleanses one's soul like happiness does
Refulgent as the morning sun
New as dew
You see yourself best in these moments
Unfazed by mundane and old
I'm learning to love myself again
More than I love you
So that I may bury whatever remains
Back to where it was
And begin again.
BUILDING THE WORLD
Some nights I dream of you
Brief as a gentle wind that shakes the paddy field
A silent walk across my mind
Real but devoid of form and shape
I woke up as one robbed
With so many loose ends to tie
Hopeful but empty in my heart
I write my thoughts on a blank page
As I imagine you sitting on an empty chair
I regurgitate each word before it spills out
From the tip of my pen
Like some fine lights on an autumn afternoon
So golden and hopeful
It could build the world
I COULD USE A MEADOW TO FREE MY MIND
I could use a meadow to free my mind
But angry sky from my yard will as well do
If I could see the secret shades of clouds
On palliate before the final wash.
AS OLD AS TIME
My grandma was so old that she didn't bother to put on footwear.
Her feet were thick from use and she wouldn't feel a thing
Even when she stepped on thorns
Of the rose bushes planted around our house.
Her hair had turned grey, mostly white.
The first memory I had of her was when I was nine.
The backache had not taken her upright walk
And one evening she carried me on her back.
I was well aware that she wanted to pamper me
For one last time before I grew out of her back.
I asked her, “Ayi how old are you?”
She smacked her lips and said, “Very old.”
“But how old?” I asked.
“I don't know. Back then we didn't keep track of time like you do now.”
“Is that why you don't celebrate your birthday?” I asked.
“None of us did. Seasons came down from those mountains,” she said pointing
To a distant mountain range and continued, “That was enough.”
THE CRAB'S SONG
Everyday my mom wakes a sleeping morning
And leaves our old rooster blushing;
When she wakes me up on her arms
She already smells smoke like the kitchen,
And our sooty rice pot simmers
In the amber stuffed hearth
then, she serves food on the cane table
And jumps into her jungle boot
And now she smells like earth
You know she’s more in the field than home
When I tell her to come home early
She says there are too many things to do
And the fruits wouldn’t hesitate but ripe
And like every day she says,
She wishes the sun will stay long enough
Or take a sabbatical and snooze off
And allow her to complete her chores,
But I know her too well
She loves the earth too much
So I sing the crab’s song
“Baby crab: ’Mother come home early today, tarry not;
I’ll have a pot of chicken cooked for you.’
‘I will come home early if they (Humans) wrap me in leaves
But it will be a while if they tie me up in knots.’”
I know my mother loves the hearth more than the earth
But she loves my life more.