From afrika (africa) 1998

translated by Susan Schwartz Senstad and the writer


I’m writing before darkness disappears

for my african life

each white day in snowy months

each night in black reminiscence

I’m writing so as not to disappear

into the depths of snow, the icy white light

I’m writing wings and flight

a stork, a heron, ibis, snake falcon

I’m writing wider and bluer

than thought circling to the sea

I’m writing in your glance my silhouette

a strip of peachy light, a sunken sun

I write the sound of twilight blue

in the window I lean toward as to a thought

I write the crystalline law of freezing

I write the wound in the inner africa.




I write a winter’s sorrow with great quantities of snow

packed down in layers harder and harder

around my dark twin

black figures in ceremonial procession against the snow

in slow nearly still strides

carrying simple wooden caskets filled with skulls

over the white patches of consciousness

where no jungles, riverbeds or peaks are mapped

where so many tribes have been annihilated

and sorrow is a white requiem that will never cease.




I write a statue, black

in silhouette against the blue ridge

where light patches drift like cattle

across my retina

I am an old notion

under my black skin

no woman

I carry the remnants of forgotten memories

I serve as a mask in many rituals

I invoke the gods with guttural cries

and stamp the red earth

with hard foot soles

I write a sculpture of ice

in January’s hypersensitive sun rays

when the planet arches its back to the north

and the light’s ascending power has scorched

my pupil

so my eye is open, dark and sighted

I am many creatures in one being

wandering from here to the oldest of times

the same at the beginning

as when all is at an end.

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