Listen. This woman’s words will transport you beyond the brutality, the sordid pettiness of humanity, and restore to you the depth of timeless Truth, which is Love. Give thanks with every atom of your being.
The stone is a room
Without windows or doors
The stone is a fist – holds
Captive a handful of broken bones
And perfect thorns.
The body of the stone does not conceive
She is a muted womb, a blunt fallopian tube
With a uterus like Jericho,
Her walls are always seven days
Away from falling.
She lies submerged
In an ocean without borders,
A stranger to shores.
Even the bulldozing tide cannot breach her pores,
What! with her lungs unravelled and
Worn like second skin to seal herself
From the influence of
The Spirit which hovers outside like breath.
She no longer desires to
Shatter surfaces and float.
A student to necessities of survival
She has taught herself to harness tornadoes like cattle and
To plow the dark and
Bury her solitude in the saline barrenness
Of the ocean floor –
The silence of the deep
From between tombstone lips she counts each body by name:
There is buried Faith.
There rests what is left of Peace,
In that corner is Love
In all its inglorious manifestations
And here lies Hope. Cremated.
She makes home in the company of ghosts
Where she once prayed for their resurrection.
In the erosion and corrosion
Of a current without conscience
Surrendering to her inability to preserve things
To keep them from hitchhiking
On the tide and sailing away.
She is rooted in shadows here
Is undisturbed here
Wounds are familiar here
Healing is unwelcome here
Pain is a refugee here
Pretends to the point of believing
That the water in her lungs is air. Here.
Who would recognise
The tears of a stone submerged
In an ocean, without borders?
In this reluctant baptism
How can she know, that
She has all of God’s attention?
A Sculptor in love with a drowning stone.
In the beginning was a message in a bottle. He writes:
To face God uncensored
Feels like almost dying
Feels like dying, almost.
Of course, life is a curse to those at
Peace with their death.
Who could love a stone without form
In the darkness, in the deep?
I have had feelings for you
Since before existence.
I have only created time to mark
Our first encounter.
This first love will not be relegated
To forgetfulness the tombs of memory.
Give me six days to woo you.
For your sake, I will
Disguise myself as language.
My voice is a birth canal
Each word born a seed
That sprouts in speech
Each letter a bristle on a broom
To clear the air
I have always seen you
Crocheted and crafted you
Every thread of DNA was designed
You are what I intended
Let there be light – that you might
See Me too
Let them be home
Here the universe sleeps
Without anxiety and
Your name is a constellation that
Pre-dates the stars
Tattooed in nails
These palms are promises
Eager to cradle a rolling stone
These palms are day and revelation
They will anchor you in untethered night
When you do not see me
Acquaint yourself with the fingerprint of my works.
I will abolish the waters at the compulsion
Of my tongue, like a staff
Under the sea my word forges dry ground
And the tide will not go further
Than my command.
I could offer bouquets of flowers exiled from their roots
Or carpet petals at your feet
But the borders of my affection
That the children of a stone
Might not forget the attention of Sculptor
You will buckle under the weight of my tenderness
Until you transform into flesh then spirit
And the spirit is clay, is soil, is field is fertility.
Let me dress you up from within
Make you an anchor for roots
Here you will yield fruit
like Russian dolls
You will bear
Seeds within seeds within seeds
Within season. A stone will be paradise.
For living things to gather
The site of resurrection for buried things
Wild and tame,
By air or on land.
The stone is a mine
Of precious things
The stone is mine.
Here are two rings
Their names are sun and moon
Sprinkled with galaxies and stars for gemstones
Encased in velvet heavens
This my proposal
In balls of fire and light
Wear them day or night
Until we reunite.
It is Sabbath.
The value of a precious stone
Lies in its cost to the one who will find it
Ask the Saviour of this blue and green culprit
Exchanged His life just to mine it
Day 6 set aside to carve it
With His hands until He fit it
Into His image. There can be no counterfeit
Not when the price was God in
A human outfit
Tell a poet
Who chisels words
Between papers and pens
But she will never be the Word
Only its subsidiary
A stone can never earn or diminish
The love of a Rock
That stood before the beginning
All her attempts to give herself value
Are dust. Now mud. Now wrinkled.
The philosophies of one who has
Been in the water too long.
We are stones submerged
In the distortion of waters
Our separations from God are sirens
Singing us into
Resistance and suicide.
Tell that stone resident under your ribs
It is only precious
Because of the love of a Sculptor
7 billion stones drowning
In an ocean without borders
Some reluctant for rescue
Even if we refuse the proposal
The love of an ageless Rock will outlast
The extinction of time itself.
Siphokazi’s website is HERE.
My kind friend Anwar gave me a ticket to Abdullah Ibrahim’s solo concert last night at the Fugard Theatre. It was the quietly incandescent performance of an old man who has been so far and seen so much, whose heart remains rooted in this troubled land even as it hurts to be here, even as his fingers know he doesn’t have forever. His playing held such sorrow, yet such peace, and playfulness, too. Refusing easy resolution, defiantly free as ever. We imagined afterwards how incredible it would have been if the whole performance could have been broadcast live on loudspeakers, into every roiling corner of this country, for everyone to hear it simultaneously. A lament. A hymn. A balm. A lesson. Beyond the span of words’ expression.
“Fear and debt. The two most powerful tools of empire.”
– John Perkins
Spend 15 beautiful minutes of life in this groove. Space to breathe…
You can download a copy of this out-of-print album at Electric Jive.