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o mother africa
your jazz language quivers with a black affricate
in the downpour of sounds – in the polyphony –
in the quiet snows of kilimanjaro –

the longing of spirituals flows out of the saxaphone’s ivory
through a harlem cesspit – the stench of abandoned buildings –  
the wolf berries of your children
through the insatiable gut of eternal hunger
through your always expectant daughters

o mother africa
the black olives of your eyes – the black downpour of hair
your daughters ripen faster than fruits  
and the latter fall faster than the former
– as if through the silver of trinkets – they dress
                                             in the clothing of love’s sweat –  
their dance pulsates like a restless vein
like the gnashing of teeth and the shout of lawrence’s turtle
they are malicious and thirsting

through your music – o mother africa –
the bodies of plants and animals fill up
it –  is in the funnels of elephant trunks
and in the buzzing of mosquito orchestras
the shrieks of a hawk’s victim
the dried-out stems of thistle
booming blows to a stretched buffalo skin
it burns – like the skin torn from the buffalo –
the silver gullets of your singers
they gargle the baked dry wind
and toss it out the way a bird feeds its
offspring with predigested, raw meat

o mother africa
i hear your ancient jazz and your dark language of life
in the underground passageway
that is blown through with all the atlantic winds
oversalted sounds of saxaphone melodies
that your son of cotton blows  
rocking continually
he fingers the instrument’s keys – as if he were husking corn –

he blows out the melody of your eternal
                                            and incomprehensible longing

o mother Africa