Bright blue cold
I’m not sure where I am right now. THEREFORE: TRANSITION.
My body is not happy.
My mind is not happy.
Here is a poem forthcoming in PANK magazine:
Susu in the Forest
People here believe in a different Africa.
Here, there is just one box to check.
Susu checks Other and calls it an afternoon.
He arrived and immediately: swarmed
by tree dander and wasps, moist pollen.
Susu wrestles ants for a bed
under rocks. Every stone smells of apricot,
dank and fruity. From olive to beige
to a possum’s underside,
Susu’s skin bleaches from shade.
His nose, made of crackled timber,
bends out of shape when nudged.
Cramped breath, a muddled wheeze
lurches from his middle to forehead.
The way he walks now, stumbling
in mud. Everything is sopping.
Misplacement, they say in el Zeitoun
where fava beans boil in ghee.
They remember his eyes, oily.
They remember his teeth, crooked.
Staring out into morning dust,
on concrete balconies, they believe
Susu is dead, trampled over,
and under, a speeding spill of milk.
Susu exhales postage stamps. Possums
die. People pray Susu! Susu! like a
football chant, like the Olympics.
A raccoon on his head, we call Susu
David. He smells like popcorn, American
movies where the screen whitens,
and everything is starry.
You open and shut the glass door a few times
causing a bell to go off,
but no one appears. You only came
to buy a pack of cigarettes, maybe
a copy of yesterday’s newspaper —
finally you take one and leave
thirty-five cents in its place.
It is freezing, but it is a good thing
to step outside again:
you can feel less alone in the night,
with lights on here and there
between the dark buildings and trees.
Your own among them, somewhere.
There must be thousands of people
in this city who are dying
to welcome you into their small bolted rooms,
to sit you down and tell you
what has happened to their lives.
And the night smells like snow.
Walking home for a moment
you almost believe you could start again.
And an intense love rushes to your heart,
and hope. It’s unendurable, unendurable.