Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Rethabile Masilo

Mosotho woman near Benoni

Her eyes take you and lead you to her soul.
Her roots cherish the soil that is Africa, south, north, east
And west, where a dead sun slants
With lost glimmer, touches a mission bell, and
Dull hours prepare to cease
As sun crosses moon, noon reaches night, light enters darkness
And is overcome by it.
I watch her blend afro-jazz and the lace of her dress
Into this moment, on this bit of pavement where I stand.
I watch her fête, leap,
And for a moment, escape, heartened by moon surpassing hill,
Little miss ex-kaffir bidding adieu to the day,
Knowing it is her flavor history stole.
I watch commuters mill to and fro like ants,
Some staying, watching, washing off the day's toil,
Faces seeking release,
Black, mine-working faces pressed around her
To wall the moment in, or wall another out, in tune with her soul.

:) : :(
(for Rakhali 'Malefu)

She was the chief calf in those last months
after the verdict,
when the germ fatted her—
a sort of half illusion on a stage, growth
on a kilofic scale, the curse of a deity
in a land of certain gems. Damn!
Village by village all around
we lined to send her off—
[I recounted her pouring feet into shoes,
and smiling after the feat, always smiling,
smiling in triumph or in defeat].
Now, in absentia, she still feels the need
to feed the light, thaw the chill,
ignore every nota bene from here
to Ha Tšiu, till in blanched-out smiles
hope breaks o’er Africa.
She is the tree in our midst,
our arms, limbs, branches—
we’re siblings of her will and we seek
the cardinal earth of her copse.

The fantastic story of recycling

We kicked the stool life had stood on,
fed angels the milk of cows fat on isotopic food.
If you care to listen to our world of whitest = fittest
to the unforgiven, and if I close my eyes long enough
[and sink these few coins down a well till clink on wall,
or final splash, riles you],
your reckoning should come from above—
touch the top branches first, that's where they belittle love,
disrupt the garlands there—
no pleas for leniency please,
for green’s the cover of life before the fall;
atoms hasten to a unit, intimate voices fill the interval
as specks of ash flit around, according to the sound,
sit on trash till that ultimate, echoing call
begging elements to gather round;
carbons hug in spheres of fullerenes,
old Olduvai sculptures, and Lucy and Toumaï
on virgin shores.
It’s yet another bang, an extra angle of being,
the blog of God. It’s faith to stand on, again,
and struggle.

Senqu chrysalis

That day on the river bank, we folded
the cerulean blanket, then lingered a while, our hamper
empty as the days ahead.
You hadn’t cooked, so we’d had ripe fruit instead,
because “Cholesterol will leav’ya dead”—
that’s what you always said. We chased a shaft of love
round a bend, and you drove
me with a tackle onto the grass beside the camper.
Lying naked, watching the flight of a monarch clear our vision,
hating myself for hating your big chance in the city,
down to the moon’s way of cocking its head
to look at your beauty,
something happened to us that day, and I kept it
in a pupa till now, till the present moment on
this see-through Cessna 404, flying toward the city,
and maturity.

The silken

Although you do not speak, I follow your voice
to the source, a million silken filaments flow from you
—I wonder how far I can hold my breath.
You do not speak, but your voice enters me,
a brisk staccato where the dead moon rides the sea,
your hand the music of my breath.
In my dream, a couple is wearing leaves.
I see it here on a witch’s chart graphiting lives,
And I hear it on spirited streets.
Bow-bent in apnoea, I receive your touch,
sprouting like a spore where the aching starts.
All thought that occurs self-destructs, because
in every way you fill me to the core.

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