I remember when (a tonal drawing written in poetic form)

I remember when


in the syncopated rumbling there

in the throats of dark men swallowing water

from the mouth of clear mason jars

in the lap of hot tobacco fields

and in the evening smelling good

of charcoal women frying fish

popping there in round black bellied pots

on bright red embers burning slowly

there was a low steady humming

that told of a hunger there deep

and praying in the rhythmic cradle

of a real fertile soil


in the words sounding there

through cocoa hands rubbing clothes

‘cross the rusting ribs of old washing boards

and in Miss Glossy ‘cross the street

there git’n along in her white uniform

proudly laughing from another day’s done

there was the sweet bellied taste

of something round and a real dark brown

growing there in rich delta ground

that made me real hungry

and wanting for something more


but where is it now

the low drumming hum

that sat on the shores of Sahara coasts

shading us there in the chains

of bone dancing brothers profaned

that wrapped us warm

in the worm filled bellies

of Jonah’s slave whales

and carried us on

through savannas of preambled sands

spilling from pomp and rapacious hands


now we’re here

in the cannibal drouth

of cold and lonely desert storms

and I’m wondering


where will I find it now


Copyright © 1993 Asili Ya Nadhiri

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