preface to bulla jogoo, 1980

you get the feeling, it’s there, blood gets colder

the spirit          leaves the body.

when you walk on land like this

hills & unmarked graves.

one is not another, although it can be.

years later.

liquorice, aniseed, corridors

of glass walls,

strong, cheap perfume,

a tree of red bloom,

love crumbs on a beard.

but first.

where are they hiding that they should not be able

to see the first sun,

the first day of light,

a voyage across the sky.

and the boy is necessary, whoever he is,

on his side, buried in sand.

hiding under the weight

of dry mangoes and cans of honey,

where the room is dark for the first time.

invisible to the world,

to each other.

hide is the only possible verb.

out of sight of men,

death. them.

marking the great silence of time,

not even the way of live of everything –

which is to be slowly eaten away.

you will not deny them their right to kill.

ascenscion. the spirit returns,

unsure which unmarked grave to enter.

a shoal transforms into citadel.

wind becomes water.

the late hour of night,

early hours of a new world

they will never see again.

why hide?

use only active verbs.

a new world has existed without them,

they of the light & slim bodies.


towards the night of

continuous claim,

those first minutes of evening

pile upon each other.

unmarked minutes.

who was there to see the birds?

the tree by the river looks as it always has,

a thousand other moments like this one.

baby birds in the nest.

some strangle each other to death,

singing softly to each other,

the last man in the valley

sees the acacias and smiles,

like he has a thousand times before.

this is what he reserves for the arbitrary,

like when his children come home

to find him singing to other children.

them and the missing.

one last day in the calendar,

the moon bursts into cloud, and, further,

wild dogs.

quiet last minutes of day

short footsteps and long smiles,

say goodbye for the last time,

a refrain before a kiss to an old friend

who was just arrived in a green bus.

a boy

jumps from shop to shop,

offering berries for whoever will sell him

his body back.

he does not know it yet:

his body turns into berries.

she is on his mind less and less,

since she laughed that morning.

men pass through here, heading south

their anger strays, remain of bathwater

guns stay,

the women they love stay

their bodies stay.

and, always, heading north, the gaze.

trucks unsettle the horizon dust.

always trucks. the beating of hooves

on dust. the distant place

remains quiet.

in its place we remember the familiar

absence, as when a drummer

beats the wind. the water.

dirty clothes pile up

in a house of what no one knows to hold together.

if they do,

history takes it upon itself to ask

‘why not?’

‘why forever now?’

she looks straight into the sun,

draws her breath in,

says to the sun: ‘hello’ and ‘goodnight’,

‘see you soon’ and ‘don’t wait up’.

a long pause before a scream,

somewhere from the origin of all fear,

the unknown, the secretly expected,


the company of wild dogs.

the west wind kills the drummer,

matching slowly, dry, quiet,

a bride.

the ribbons on the hairs of trees,

rearranging things, laying blame, discarding parts,

assigning blame,

taking middle words and calling them

end words.

he combs his skin for mutations,

satisfied the world outside is

made of wind and water.

an echo from the gulf of tafura travells down to here, on the back of a hal camel, learning the songs of the land…


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