The New Crusades
. . . and ’17’ . . .
The New Crusades
. . . and ’17’ . . .
She stood at the doorstep
She must have been five years
Her beseeching eyes gazed
from left to right
The kwashiokored tummy bulged
Out of the torn dress
With marks that looked like the map of Africa
I realised it was not tattoo
But an accumulation of dust
Run though by sweat
Pretty more than famous Cleopatra
All things being equal
The girl would pass for Miss Africa
As it is
Just another woman nature produced
But forgot to breast-feed.
Do You Know How to Lead a Life?
do you know how to lead a life?
does it have a nose-ring then, some ox
who lets you tweak its tail and trots
along with flies short hair and soft
its swimming eye? there, silver-salver
served and grey a lemon ring so
poignantly peeled it touches you because
you sense in it the tree and something like
a sun-field, an oral y – the tug as palate cells
contract. by the nose then or some book
in leather: ox? or maybe lemon marinade
they put in the lot where you think, where
pictures mix languages: lall. now take the fall it’s
painted all painted on as one (the two
is you) you take a tram (or change). there
just look how suddenly or
even crackingly you
What Robots Murmur Through Broken Sleep
after Naoki Urasawa
I. North No.2
A tornado has touched down in Bohemia, your birthplace.
Before coming here, I very much enjoyed the movie The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
No, sir, I really was moved. I overheard you in your bedroom last night.
It’s the melody you were humming in your sleep, sir. Listen:
Your dream is not a nightmare. Your mother did not abandon her sickly child.
Your eyesight has been deactivated. You only compose on an old piano.
You were humming. You sounded so troubled.
It’s coming this way. It’s the piece you’ve been working on.
The police car vanished almost instantly.
You know the dream I’ve been telling you about: a little flower peddler
in Persia gives his tulips names. My recognition system nearly goes haywire
with electromagnetic waves. The humans would call this a hunch.
Ah, but I have no use for flowers. Flowers must wither and die.
Because I, too, have hatred inside me. Now your thermal
and magnetic rays won’t work on me. It’s faint but
we’ve got plenty of back-up with that police car behind us.
It’s been raining for three days straight.
Do you realise that I nearly turned this dawn into ashes? Do you recall
an extraordinary meteorological event? A strange electromagnetic field,
say in the earth’s crust, for example? Who was it directed at?
You lost most of your body in the war. When you died,
something above us transmitted grief. A mysterious movement,
a kind of weapon, waiting at three thousand metres.
Your wavelength scattered all over the ocean.
IV. Brau 1589
You appear to the murderer in his dungeon.
Surely you’re not here to repair me? I might just be imagining
this shaft, the meaning of my little barricade. They put it up so fast,
I had to laugh. They should pull out the formula for my heart.
Then again, it could mean many things: a single defect,
powerful as the brain; an anti-proton bomb, highly developed;
a peek at the outside world. That’s why you’d never wake up.
Even if I were free, where could I go with this ruined body?
An African Elegy
We are the miracles that God made
To taste the bitter fruit of Time.
We are precious.
And one day our suffering
Will turn into the wonders of the earth.
There are things that burn me now
Which turn golden when I am happy.
Do you see the mystery of our pain?
That we bear the poverty
And are able to sing and dream sweet things.
And that we never curse the air when it is warm
Or the fruit when it tastes so good
Or the lights that bounce gently on the waters?
We bless the things even in our pain.
We bless them in silence.
That is why our music is so sweet.
It makes the air remember.
There are secret miracles at work
That only Time will bring forth.
I too have heard the dead singing.
And they tell me that
This life is good
They tell me to live it gently
With fire, and always with hope.
There is wonder here
And there is surprise
In everything the unseen moves.
The ocean is full of songs.
The sky is not an enemy.
Destiny is our friend.
Our home is this country
Across the windswept hills
With snow on fields.
The cold air.
I like to think of our native life,
And look at the stars
Sending icy messages.
My eyes see the cold face of the moon
Cast his net over the bay.
We are like the moon —
Then fade away, to reappear again
In a never-ending cycle.
Our lives go on
Until we are old and wise.
We are no more,
Except we leave
A heritage that never dies.