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Friday, 18 September 2015

Masimbula

From over-used books
he collected words
from life
sentence-structures
he used all his eyes
to see and see through
he read and read
and in some unknown place
where metaphors converged
and narrative and narrator
unclothed one another
and burst out laughing
at the impossibly grotesque
he stopped.

That was when, I am certain
the words came to him
from treetop and taproot
scooped from a slice of mango
squeezed from an overripe pineapple
distilled from tears from back bedroom sorrow
culled from tropical winds
        immemorial chants and the music of wonderment
harvested from footprint and an old man's discontent
his weather beaten heart was vessel
for the stirring of humility and humiliation.

And thus he cooked stories
and poetic relish
as flavor-perk
for a price
at his Good Food Restaurant
decent meals at affordable prices.

If it was just that
I would still write of him, I am sure
but this quiet cook,
this tenderizer of imagination,
after offering all he could,
found the more he satiated
the more hungry he became
and so he offered his belly
for poetic fulfillment.

He went from door to door
with a begging bowl
this mendicant
from a half-way house
between metaphoric insanities
'a verse
or two
for a verse-starved man,
if you please,'
he begged.
And they gave
the literate did
those who have words
and who knew
that silence and space
garnished and spiced
better than fresh coinage;
he picked, he chose
this discerning gatherer
of verbal remedies
to deaden the pain
of life's incurables
at times with provoked smile
and now with pinprick prod
to ouse a tear or two,
he picked, he chose
and gathered between covers
the poetry
that may not save the world
but still save a reader
or two.

Subsidizer of poetry,
collector of garbage
recycler of sweeter memories
transformer of nightmare
into sufferable dream
fiction-writer
who doesn't fictionalize
a land and a people
that aren't fictitious,
conjurer of jathaka-katha
benefactor of poets,
friend and teacher
who makes old men weep
even on Aluth Avurudda,
this long note
I cannot make short
for I am not you,
you who collapses epics
into drops of poetry
and with deft touch of heart
turn word into a reservoir of stories,
this long note
is a brag:
I know something
now
about
indelibility. 

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