Poetics

xxv

the first flight of stairs goes into the room

with the operating table and trolley

– we’ve learnt to fuck on the unicycle, and the danger

of saying things for shock value –

the second disappears into a black nothing,

although i know there’s a window there –

the air always cold, and the hum

of a thing caught in an adam’s grape.

the island in the kitchen is always dirty

from all the meals offered to strangers

who either arrive late, or come empty handed.

old records used to be on the front wall,

now we have taarab and sounds no one will listen to.

the loop of these choruses, the madness

of stillness, incomplete fucks, books we will not read,

a broken appliance that might be turned

into a machine of love and time and friendship.

and in the private wing, an absence of light,

not the same as darkness – think of a child’s body

the first time it experiences water, how instinct

cannot save it from drowning, instead,

enabling death. think of a great sinkhole.

backyard – more appliances, old shoes that

don’t fit anymore, a dog licking milk from a condom,

flowers whose names we’ve forgotten, or

never cared to learn – like the way your body

moves in that awkward loop, until i turn you around, or

you turn me around, and we’re finally nameless.

in the bin, a lecture on memory and the place

of the African writer in contemporary et cetera

– a thing we don’t care about – your lucky beads,

the bangles from Z, bloody spit, bloody cotton,

and i think about the dog –

do you think about the dog? he comes everyday

for the milk and to lie down in the flowerbed,

to listen to the clock in the private wing.

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