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

I Do Not Miss The Sun

i do not miss the sun

i welcome the cold

i do not miss the wind

i welcome the calm

i do not miss your eyes

i embrace the darkness

put the gold away

fetch me some ash

wipe that smile away

cry me a river

nothing can ever be the same again

and so will everything

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

Zindzile IX

I promised my girl a walk by the river

Many years ago–but it rained

And we took shelter under a shack

Where we giggled and talked with shiver

a whole afternoon was gained

and we cursed our luck

.

the plastic shade was worn out

and with the windy rain we got a little wet.

Rock breakers shelter in them from the sun

where their glistening backs give out

where hammers and fingers in pain are met

brows winced and sweat overrun

.

I passed by that spot today

The shade shacks are all gone

Rocks are broken by machines now

In their place a cover of teaming hay

Where we sat forget-me- nots are grown

Right where I swore my vow  

.

 Now I wander around looking for a riverbank

Where I’ll take my Zindzile for that promised stroll

but it always rains and the shacks are naught

so alone I walk in the rain with eyes blank

I go around the blue blossoms on a roll

 wet lips whispering forget me not…..forget me not

The Line

I often impress myself

by mundane acts such as; washing my socks

or getting my dry pants from the line

or doing the dishes or taking bus to work

and I wonder how I am able to keep on going

getting on in this strange mechanical manner

when my soul is not here–mostly–lately.

.

I want to take off this reality

Like a dirty cloth that has begun to stink

.

Just a little turn of my head

Just a second more staring at the wall

and I realize the miracle of my daily motion

how I am able to keep on going

like a stray bag left in the seat of a bus

which no one is coming back for

.

What a thin line, a tight rope

between keeping up with these mechanical motions

and tipping over to the sweet gnawing melancholy

that calls on to me like that attractive forbidden lover

to abandon my washing task

and sink my head in my foam covered palms.

________________________________________

The miracle is in walking this line

Zindzile VIII

In the days I readily fell in love

My whole being leaned towards possibilities

And I took cause to succumb

to the slightest maiden glance

In days like these I did meet her- elegantly clad

in the only green dress committed to the closet of my memory

I rushed to my spice box

And a soup did make her

To tell of the savories of love to come

.

I told her of the death of my childhood dog

How I learnt not all pain is physical

How not to relive the pain I foreswore dogs

I took her hand in mine

And with the great sense of possibility—or illusion

In my heart made her my wife

.

Zindzile dear I am brave now

With you by my side

I am ready to keep a dog again