Like a Potter’s Wheel

our nakedness together

changed me forever

like a potter’s wheel

we did spin and spin

and slowly came to form

wheel-thrown — playing God

and I clasped the round of her neck

spinning in the wheel

her waist came alive in my hand

and with all the clay left in me

forged her curving hips.

_____

she modeled my heart

big out of its cage

setting it on burning kiln

now unchangeable

with her fingerprints.

_________

I sit here now alone

wheel throwing moon jars

on these wound sheets I retrace

 the dimple on her left thigh

dipping my quill in a glass of wine

I write these drunken lines

Feeding the birds.

I scavenged the farms

Where people had reaped

Collecting measly grains

To feed the birds

Two doves came down

Lovers perhaps

Every morning ate the grains

And water did drink

Only one dove came yesterday

Did they have a quarrel?

Often lovers do

Brooding eggs perhaps

A whole flight came today

She’d gone to call the rest

I emptied my barn

Poured out the jars

Feeding the birds

Actaeon

Artemis curse is upon him

To be an outlaw in his own dreams

His own hounds hunt him down

To tear him apart

His cries struggle out unheard.

Chanced upon the naked goddess

And uncovered the secrets of beauty

And for this –

He lost his head

But gained our hearts.

Street bench

The rugged street bench

Cold and dewy from the night

Warm and dusty by the noonday sun

You traveler’s sanctuary

Let me rest here a while

Bowed head and hungry

Let me take a little nap

Tired eyes and broken

Sobbing, sighing

And getting up again.

From a far a street musician

With his strings balms my pain

And my feet joins the path again

And if I tire ahead

I’ll meet your ilk on the next town

Till I find a path

That leads me home.

Rocking gourd.

Rocking gourd

happy gourd

Be merry on my lap

Pay heed to my charming songs.

Custodian of Dwasi’s bountiful udder

Roll and whirl on your trusty curves

Polished over ages by caring hands

Churn this milk smooth and sweet

Reward the shepherd’s feat

White mustache over happy smiles

Butter for seasoned herbs

Rocking gourd

Happy gourd

Be merry on my lap

And pay heed to my charming song.

 

 

Ps. Dwasi – Luo word for cow that gives out milk.

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Me and my gourd 

The music I want

I came down to the village dance

I played my flute to the dancer’s joy

Down in the village square

I hit my drum to their feet’s reply

Strummed my stringed calabash

To their resounding song

Dropped it all to join the dance

Still all this was naught

Of the musical joy I sought.

 

When all went silent

And dust settled

On the feather strewn ground

The deaf dancer from Kagan danced on

Shaking his head gear and a smile on

They had to tap his shoulder

To tell him the music had stopped

And all were starting home

That is the music I want!

 

PS; Kochia is a Village in Kenya known for they Luo Traditional dancers.

Graceless Vanity

Paint your faces with chalk and soot

Scorch your drums by the hearth

And hit them torn tonight

When the masquerade of spirits shall pass

Lest you be dragged to the underworld

For you have fallen in love

With all the things in life that destroy men

You have parted honey from comb

Now flee from the stinging wind

Your world is turned upside down

The sky is a turbulent sea

Dropping wrecks of ships on your heads

Your ships of vanity

And now you sift the shore sands

Grain by grain looking for grace