Morning

The albatross encircles Noah’s head

The ark is from dreamland safe

Lazarus is back from the dead

The stone of sleep unrolled

Judas unkisses Christ

It’s the dawn of a new day

.

I open the window of my tomb

Light floods my face.

The albatross has defiled my sill.

The ark my bed,

the winding shroud my sheet.

I step out on the threshold

I welcome the day

with an expectant joy

like when a cheek blushes

awaiting its turn

as loving lips approach the other cheek

Gathering purple blossoms

All the benches in town

are begging me to sit on them

in their cold aloofness they cry out

But I have places to go

and errands to run

I take one quick side look

and think of how nice it would be

to cancel all these trips

abandon all these errands

and sit one that bench for a while

the one am now just passing by

Shady under the great Jacaranda tree

Covered in all that purple magic

Can you imagine it?

Me– a great big man like I am

in a great black suit like I have

seated on a roadside bench

gathering purple blossoms

The song of longing

A blind man of ancient streets

Plays on his alabaster flute

sings out a story song

and all who are parted from their loved ones

Gather to listen and weep

This is the greatest story ever told

He beats his chest and sings on

and all the women waiting on their men lost at sea

Unwrap their heads and pull out their hair with bare hands

and their unborn babes violently kick in their wombs–

as they writhe in pain.

.

The scribes ruffle their papyrus

and spill about their inkpots

In the ecstasy of immortalizing this song

The hostess has abandoned her weaving task

and now sinks in her lap in tears

her oil and flour jars lie broke

the guests have overstayed their welcome.

.

This is a song of longing

This is a song of hope

Do not sink into despair

Odysseus the lost will escape Calypso’s Island

and finally approach your porch

in the guise of a beggar

Do not sink into despair

First Concert

The band is here

The stage is set

So enters Winyo the songbird

With his set of blues ballads

Gold bracelets and a straw hat

lifts his hands away from him

as if presenting a sacrifice

to the invisible gods of music

closes his eyes and belches out a note

and another, and another — unchained

the crowd is enchanted

and as we dance hypnotized

I see from across the floor

Other lovers at this altar of music

arms raised singing along word for word

Our eyes meet in the haze of blue lights.

.

There is a kinship so sacred

Between the lovers of music

There is a gratitude so great

like the end of a prayer

Zindzile XII

We sat at a roof restaurant in perfect silence

enjoying the view, the company

and the inexpensive juice

You remember?

How could you not.

You came over to my side

and we took pictures cheek to cheek

smiling ear to ear.

.

I printed the picture and stuck it on my wall

Tonight sitting on my hard-knock floor

listening to down and out blues

I stare up at the picture

Your hair short

Your glasses on.

A mosquito has landed just right in the middle of your smile

giving the illusion of gapped teeth.

How much you look like my mama from here

My dear Zindzile — my heart is in the Highlands

My heart is not here

My heart is in the Highlands–my love my dear

Zindzile XI

There’s claw marks on my left arm

thin stripes of scar

that was left on me by my beloved

on the last morning of our parting.

I bear this mark with pride and nostalgia

The only visible mark left on me by love

For you can’t see all the kisses on my lips

Or how my heart has since grown twice its size

.

My scar has been disappearing- my woe

Where was it ever heard

of one mourning the healing of a scar

My dear Zindzile – here on my left arm

it’s like seeing you walk away all over again

Bookmark

Years ago I learnt from a fellow reader

Who did tell of how sacrilegious an act it was

To fold the tips of a book leaf to track pages

So this day I was reading outdoor without my bookmark

I plucked a young hibiscus and with it marked my last page.

.

With nothing else to read today

I picked up the same book again after so long

The flower was dried up where I last left it

It was like a meeting of ex lovers

in their hometown where nothing has changed

And each corner street is achingly depressing

Both burnt out and spit back home by the big city lights.