In Your Words

Excerpts from the mind at large

These Charred Walls

New friends

the great arsonists

burning out infected memories

cauterizing open wounds

pain can no longer circulate

the air is extracted

a past life

loses its pulse

burning images of you

cannot ignite

if all that remains

is yesterday’s ashes.

Broken Hinges

Our images

meticulously arranged

hanging up high

along corridor walls

of my mind.

I stopped asking

how you broke in

or why you do it.

One year ago

you simply barged into my life

without even the common decency

of knocking first.

Big Red

My body does not sweat beneath the sun’s scorching lashes

it weeps

the tears

combust

gravity has no time to play a role

My ears tap my shoulder and tell me they hear crackling sounds but once I find the strength to look up, I only see the clouds above catching fire.

Somehow my mind remains in tact and the hollowed words of wax once stuck on the furthest tip of my tongue begin to melt and drip on the white naked body of my notebook.

The sun and my mind are stubborn, they refuse to be obstructed. 

But from this collision of heat and patience emerges a small truth, I am going to miss living among the people in this distractionless world. 

I am nobody special.

Merely another volunteer with stray thoughts and words that make a notebook grow thicker. But I never forget that out here,

the candle burns quicker.

The anesthesiologist

Today I watched a man die as a horse cart struck his back. It was as quick as it was unexpected. Moreover it was a reminder that ruptured my mind for the day. I began to have thoughts darker than ocean floors. I could not help to think about how I would die. I concluded it would be from drowning.

Once those ticking hands reached out and pinned me down to the floor, I would not resist as they pry open my mouth and flush down that eternal sleeping pill. I will simply submerge in deep thought and drown in a flooded room of memories. The thoughts and experiences of my past will anaesthetize my departure. Unless of course, I am unexpectedly struck by a horse cart.  

Taste Test

I slowly peel back the lid from my food bowl

steaming rice and fish

fog my glasses

my first handful fills my mouth

it tastes like hard work

it tastes like culture

it tastes like home

it tastes like peace corps

CHANGE OF HEART

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I clung firmly to the belief that dependency brings humiliation. But you reminded me that it is far worse to have nobody to depend on. Out here, countless people approach me and say, “Take me with you”. But you were the only one who said, “Stay with me”. All the experiences I have had in this county had yet to be shared, deprived of companionship, maiming my heart and perhaps even outraging its nature. I loathe the thought of having each other for only two years. What is the point? But I have come to realize that duration means nothing. The significance of a point rests in its mere existence.

So now, I wake up beneath your haloing pink mosquito net as the morning sun pours through your glassless window, running down in rivulets and losing color along the curvature of your dark, bare, Gambian skin.

Being with you is simple and absent of formalities. You undress my thoughts and cut out the black bow-tie from my throat. I can only speak intuitively; unobstructed by second thoughts and doubts.

This morning we lie together in exhaustion from dancing on the brink of an unknown future to the beating echoes of our past.

Sand Castles

What happens if you give your time to those people tucked away in the corners of your mind?

What happens when you must travel to the furthest corners in the world to see them?

What happens when you enter their cities of brick and sand?

What happens when that first child reaches out and touches your sweat soaked hand?

I remember you

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I remember how you told me you would take morning ice baths to numb the predictability of your day. You told me how your office conversations would climax over discussions about the weather. You used to ask me why you didn’t travel more and how were you going to get out of debt. You inevitably became bored and tired of it all

swallowing sunflowers 

wishing smiles to bloom from your mouth

and

crashing cars

to get your life’s attention

But today I saw you walking while holding more bags of ice. Not for a going away party or celebration, but for your morning ice bath before you start your day over again.

Perhaps the most reckless thing you did with your life, was avoid some of the recklessness.

International Call

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The problem with international phone calls is I feel rushed to talk.

Emotions and words

slapped down by the clock’s ticking black hands

reducing me tell you words that fall short of the truth like, “I miss you” and “things are great”.

But the truth is I wanted to tell you how mental images of you are becoming a permanent surprise. I wanted to tell you how thoughts of us crescendo until the flashing nanoseconds accumulate into a selfish desire. The desire to fast forward past all of this so I can be with you rather than settle for thinking about you. Perhaps if I had more time to think, I could have told you how writing in my hut inevitably convinces me to think about us from 6,400 miles ago. More specifically when you ordered your Jameson, made me laugh, kissed my lips, and told me that Africa didn’t need me, because you needed me. And perhaps I could have told you how 6,400 miles from now, I won’t miss you anymore, because I will be with you.

Role Call

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Amenities.. Absent

Convenience.. Absent

Distractions.. Absent

Stripped down to my rawest

rarest

form.

Easy prey

for predatory questions

so many people avoid

in their life’s entirety.

But out here

the question

is inescapable.

It is the question

of purpose

of finding

your role.

Out here

we need each other.

Stomachs

empty.

Lives

full.

The only thing I see starving to death in this village,

is my ignorance.