Flying Home (For Pius)
I felt the wings of the plane
Rise like the spiral of the shell
Of the snail, and swirl, in the
Swollen clouds in Addis and plunge
To take my friend, the wayfarer, home.
In a clearing by a rock promontory
They could only gather shards, fragments
Of lives and a dust mushroom
That spooled as the crow flies.
I have flown too in both time and
Tide to see the sun rise, from the bowels
Of that same pressured tube –
A whale that crosses, not the waters,
But the open sky of the globe –
Where we trot, pretending to know
How the petrified waves repeat,
Or how long her compassion can last
Before a wing can break from the
Condor whose flight this winter
In the sky’s shade of violet and
The tricolour of the rainbow falls like lilacs
From their branches. And I go rolling
In that iron pit flying the sign
Of the maple leaf with its three-fingered
Blade saying: “fuck-you!”
As I hide inside Neruda’s Book of Questions.
I was flying home from the coast
To coast through the Sahara desert
I thought I saw the languid Limpopo flowing
From just a glimpse when a light was forged.
And I asked, like Neruda:
“If I make honey, will it offend
The bees?” A goddess lives in the moon
And I, horny bastard, want to squeeze her.
Then she summoned a committee to ask:
“why is sadness so solitary?”
What do the lions and lionesses do where
They now live off the grid in Little Rock
Far from the hills of Nsukka: do you know
That place? This dream place where the
Dignity of man cannot now be restored if
Ordinary poop-houses have no windows or water
To wash our sins away. Such thoughts
Drove me to exile. And there, in the
Warm fold of blankets wrapped on me
By a kind hostess on Air Canada, I thought
Of this day, when the butterfly fell to the
Flyfish which, in the end is, fate that awaits
Us all who have longed to write letters
Across the sky to the homeland.
And where that space ends
Is infinity. The endless stretch
As we break the sky’s hymen
With a quick thrust from Toronto to Orlando.
What do the leaves of Spring say here?
Christmas is in the air: a great time
To kick up the dust, but not kick the
Bucket: and this night is not different
It is just indifferent; a little quiet; glum even:
A warm glow of the candle burns as I ate my
Birthday cake, and just dessert, silently
I am born again to my duties –
And to a new year that cuddles a pandemic.
Date: December 24, 2021