Bwaga-Moyo (Lay Down Your Heart



 Lay down your heart






I am remembering somewhere beyond colour


watching the desert as an ocean

in the movement of a dune


I was fainting since before the womb



I. Kumbi Kumbi


Night of the Flying Termite



The pumice is pure




I’ve lost what we come here for


The baboon knows water   I know salt

round and round the termite mound

we crawl    utter                  and dance


we are but blood, fur and salt

hardened in a ball of rose-quartz


tail now tongue

ignorance and consciousness

inhabit one palm, dis-

locate one voice


we wait for the flood and the flutter

with torchlight and bucket, finger,

handful, mouth and belly


Birth, you wanted a journey



then let me beat my own drum



II. Pamoja kama mmoja



as one



Always walking into the intersection

of your two shadows


addicted to freedom

and your own suffering


its time




time to let one go


become whole





there’s no one left

no basin to reflect

but the self


you are sacred Carlo

you are blessed,


neglected ancient



bloated over-




little more

than here  fainting

forever back

to dance



Shit, sweat, tear or piss – some/thing

has got to come out of me

stir from this


brilliance, hit or miss


simple really,


be honest




III. Msafiri Wa Sauti


Sound’s traveller



Pythons writhe around the spine

eels grip, wrestle and net deep

slipping sticky through lymph

and connective tissue



in a wriggling nest of ner-nerves

jaundiced and kissed

by mosquito spider and tick – thrombophilic

with a clot in my liver. the bleed

and the maelena

the dizziness


and this odd


odd prominence of spleen


little more

than the worms of beginning


a string of ic, ism and itis

sickness and deliverance



slumped upon symptom


PTSD —  resultant

of no solid diagnosis – mal-

practice of the doctor’s pride


dig deeper         


medicine needle intervention upon

inventive intervention


cut open, guinea pigged

repeated repeated until




this little one

is the intelligence and instinct

to continually heal




once an addict

now a healer



travelled continents on foot

motorbike bicycle tuk-tuk

train bus and Lucky

Lucky the camel


getting by

by making necklaces

out of knots

only a backpack of water

shawl and hammock



when tied to my father with a shoelace,

gun barrel

and man above us

spitting violence


he taught us how to mouth

a final goodbye with the touch

of our eyes



slept in bodies of the dead

and the dying


a life



Mother, alone in the priory


but I, I, like her


am survivor


learning that all life is

not survival


IV. Hewa na Ngozi


Air and skin



Air opened word

word now open air





In weight, freed by pain

come to will, come to

will to come to confront

accept and master

the self


a petal of presence



forever at entrance of elements

and sense, no distance exists

between elements

and self,     a chameleon

blending in amongst everything

uncovering shelter

in nature

the belly

and drum,


the beating

of my own warmth


V. Alfajiri





The noise of man is carrion

is ha-ha harm


do not be alarmed


the sound of stars and currents


the owl and the bat      circling above water


is always a-round



nothing is ominous

when the eternal walks


on the dew


on the grass






the frost climbs back

like a web retracting from dawn



lay back

pulse is a root

veining in creation


the x of xylem—

my mind






that I am not

now dies


and what’s left of (there) when you break

is love


love eterna


VI. Maji ya jua


Sun’s Water


Neck to the heavens

the cock crows not at dawn

not at quarter past four

but always


wake up

the world is always



water falls important

as nothing

we depart are born

drip drop


cell of moisture, dew—

cocoon of self,




but the echo is held

no more


the mask is best kept

on the wall



I am Oleretu


I dance with the body




in the moon’s music


of silence


in the end

the question of death

 is  answered


by more than a life


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