I Call Him Brother 

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Raised under the same roof we each earned our names, though I have always called him brother. Children of the sun, sprung from what cultured raised, carved bold under the gold pip of Africa’s scepter. The fiery flesh of that mighty watcher  colored us with grace, showered our shoulder with the warmth needed to see family in unfamiliar faces.

“I am because we are,” Ubuntu was sold to us, and value was offered in. Ubuntu was sewn in us with a power of greater kings, threaded into our souls in the taut threads of culture. We were thirsty, young tongues lapping up the streams of what was learned before us. We heard the drums of dreams from the bosom of the bearded men and the tongue of queens who wrapped there crowns around there heads would sing up the sense to stave off evil spirits. Under the same sun we each earned our names, though I have always called him Brother!

My brothers stubborn features refused to forget the blessings of home. Although the cold days and frosty nights of a new world made horse a voice that has forgotten the rhythms of home, his crown remains thick with the coils of a tightly knit family. I’ve never had to ask if Ubuntu remains known to him, his actions have always reminded me that home is never far from his graces. His tongue may be forgetful but the estuaries of his heart echo with the roar of the mighty rivers that nourished our mothers brothers. There is enough of him in us to always learn a new picture of home.

One day he asked me, “Whose brother am I?”

These were bitter seeds, they grew sour on my tongue as I watched him question his blessings. As I watch him question his world I am forced to swallow his truth.

“Whose brother am i?” he asked.

My Brother was lost.

You see it seems to some that he wears a counterfeit crown. Because their pictures of his brothers are painted by men, finite and foolish, they draw borders around love and leave him wanting for a home. They don’t know there is a brush whose strokes paint wonders into a mans heart, words are worth too little to count who is kin to your kind. Be kind to your kin lest your mind swim with waste as you allow tall walls to stifle the flow of a love that runs deep. Brother, they have mistaken prison bars for castle gates, yoked their eyes to there tongue, they have forgotten the warmth that recognizes family in unfamiliar faces, pay them no mind.

I am because we are. Their mothers brother might never have looked like us, every part of their soul shares our spirit. Raised under the same sky each of us must earn our own name, though I would always call them brother.

 

Silence

It’s a soft cloud that settles after so much rain, after the tumultuous applause of tongues simmers away to allow a mist to claim the room. It’s a safe place sometimes, it saves our grace when there is chaos and there are too many decibels to deal with, held softly it grants a respite from the stampede of life’s less tranquil spectrums. Silence slides through empty homes when life is spent, when days are sent to slumber, it paints into the night a thin slip of light that allows the smallest lungs, from beneath the blades of grass, to serenade the night.

Sometimes silence thunders, it harbors echos of a life already lived. When the traffic of everyday is drowned out by silence, inside us, the cannons of old wars reverberate their anguish. The dialogues that refuse to die, live inside the quiet moments that still the senses. Silence rouses the nocturnal voices that are rested while the world of sounds is active, the voices that find you when the world around you pauses for rest. Silence is never silence, the echos are waiting, silence allows for another spectrum of life that has no opening for anyone but you.

Allowed to its share of life, silence is a loving gesture, a needed gesture. I could dance in the cacophony of my senses wildest celebration for senseless stretches of time, however the constant crashing of waves eats away at my shores. When the waves simmer and still their frenzy for a moment, a host of game is invited into the flow, and for a moment I can take stock of my quarry. I can see what it is that is attracted to to swim amidst my flow. When we get busy living it’s hard to see what we are drawing into our intimate space, I take the quiet as a cue to watch for the elements that thread through these echos of a life lived, I thin the heard accordingly.

In listening to the sounds of silence, I have learned the rhythm. The ebb and flow of the outside world bleeding in, of my inside world beating out. I listen, and move my feet to the hidden cadence of that harmony.

Why I love Ellaine!!

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The completion of Writing 201 was never to be the end of my poetic education. There will never be enough to learn, I wanted more. There is a wide range of tools that can claim my personal poetic arsenal as home, and I welcome them willingly, Its an incredible exercise in growth.. I made the acquaintance of the Villanelle at my first poetry workshop, Its a 19 line form that has 2 refrains inserted in particular portions of the piece, see if you can spot them. I would like to see more villanelles, the repetition was a tricky, but fun feature to implement. Here is mine, I hope I see yours too.

 

 

They pressed a promise to my palm, those nimble fingers, Miss Elaine,

Teased away the seething tumult, seeding sense to slay decay,

Miss Elaine, you’ve lent a hand that led my hopes away from pain.

 

Time has taught you tenderness, time and time again you’ve slain,

the numbing rein of doubt and angst, your golden touch has saved my days,

They pressed a promise to my palm, those nimble fingers, Miss Elaine.

 

Through every annum we faced as one, your warm embrace was my refrain

Those shallow grooves that trace your palm have funnelled happiness my way

Miss Elaine, you’ve lent a hand that led my hopes away from pain.

 

I stood beside you, at an alter your hands had forged for us to claim.

Forged with trust, your fingers crushed all uncertainty away,

They pressed a promise to my palm, those nimble fingers, Miss Elaine.

 

The seamless mould of interlocking calm, intimately framed

palms, claimed a couple, cupping hearts and slaying greys.

Miss Elaine you’ve lent a hand that led my hopes away from pain.

 

You saw the calluses in my character that taught the world to wield disdain,

and chose the strange approach, you stayed and washed the resin of hapless waves,

They pressed a promise to my palm, those nimble fingers, Miss Elaine,

Miss Elaine you’ve lent a hand that led my hopes away from pain.

 

(c) Saili Katebe