Identity has been watered down for me
In these names they have called for me
Like a thousand yellow birds that have been laid down
On the sea
A white sheet shifts over top
Every wing holds another
Every wing sways to a dancing weight of body and bone
And my blood knows my name
And my blood knows your name
And my blood dances
And my name sinks under earth
And my name vanishes in air
It will not meet the throats of many
My name has country, body, blood, time
I want them to stumble over and see
I cannot get over this
I cannot let this sit forever
It is thrashing in the stomach
Let my body fall
And let that body be beautiful through fall and when limp
The most beautiful
Will you gather to hear my name whispered past dead lips
Will hundreds kneel; their hair a silken blanket
Will hundreds crawl, knees bloodied
Waiting for a name past lips lost
Posted in memory
Tagged attention, body, broken, call, culture, identity, language, memory, name, poem, poetry, seek, story
Have you ever imagined how many times you could wrap yourself around a gigantic tree, perhaps a baobab tree? No other tree seems to be as prominently installed in the mythical imagination of the western mind. What is bigger? What can compare?
Your entire back pressed against its side. Warmth emanates through your body breathing life into trails of traveling blood. Flip yourself like a coin. Tummy and chest hug smooth bark. Repeat, over and over again. How many times would it take?
For me this mythology was real. I remember what baobab bark felt like and yet this tree still feels like the stuff of fairytales. Part of the reason for this is because it is implanted into my childhood. From my current North American perspective much of that childhood seems like a mythology. There were giant trees, unending desert, unusual grasses and swimming in Okavango tributaries. Yes there was also a small town, where we lived with all amenities available but the memories that pop out are the ones from camping expeditions.
I am leaning against a baobab, my foot resting on its sprawling root. Above me branches reach out in every direction. A tire swing hangs from a lower branch, gently swaying. To my left sits our little blue buckie (truck). For miles ahead of me the bleached Makgadikgadi Pans stretch out; buckles and cracks texture its surface.
After scouring the ground I have returned to rest under this large embracive tree. In my hand, fingers press against little red stones called garnets. In front of me friends are still collecting these small red treasures. That moment ends there. Memory trails off and enters other days filled of other happenings that I almost can’t believe were my own. Memories are very much like dreams, a conglomerate of truth and what you have convinced yourself to be real.