lördag 16 april 2016

Imaginative letters from Kenya

  Det finns inga överdrivna mängder av information kring kvällens afrikanska poet. Men han är otvivelaktigt en av de mer lovande från kontinenten. Tyvärr hade jag problem att få tag i hans debutsamling, så jag nöjer mig med två dikter från Poetry Foundation där han redan finns upptagen med en kortare biografi.


  Den kenyanske poeten, manusförfattaren och redaktören Clifton Gachagua är född (1987) och uppvuxen i Nairobi och tog sin grundexamen i biomedicinsk vetenskap vid Maseno University.
  Hans debutsamling, The Madman at Kilifi (2014), valdes till Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets av the African Poetry Book Fund & Series. Källa: Poetry Foundation

A Bronze God, or a Letter on Demand, by Clifton Gachagua
(from Madman at Kilifi / Clifton Gachagua ; foreword by Kwame Dawes. Lincoln : Univ. of Nebraska Press, 2014.)

I like to think of your silence as the love letters you will not write me,
as two sax solos from two ages across a stage, learning the languages
of kissing with your eyes closed. I like to think of you as a god
to whom I no longer pray, as a god I aspire to. I like the opening of your joined palms, which is like an urn where my ashes find a home. The music of your lashes; the silent way your body wears out mine.
Mostly, I like to think of you at night when a black screen of shining dust shines from your mines to the edge of my skin, where you are a lamp of flutters.
I remember the spectral lashes–marigold, tamarind, secret thing between your thighs, of closed kissing eyes. 
At night, the possibility of you is a heavy
sculpture of heavy bronze at the side of my bed,
a god. And I pray you into life. Into flesh.


  Kwame Dawes uttrycker sig så här om Gachagua i sitt förord i boken:
“Gachagua’s poems are urgently present; they emerge out of sources like the radio, newspaper, television, as well as street stories and rumours. They seek to chart a changing society and while the effort is largely impossible to accomplish, the gesture is important. ...". Källa: Poetry Foundation

Mountain, by Clifton Gachagua
(from Madman at Kilifi / Clifton Gachagua ; foreword by Kwame Dawes. Lincoln : Univ. of Nebraska Press, 2014.)

Mount Kenya

On the day I set out on the climb,
grief saddled in my back like a bag of marbles,
my breath like clouds hanging on the low peaks of a mountain,
on the day I set out
leaving nothing behind, nothing on the bed, no version of myself,
just my voice through the night, the voice I use to ward off nightmares.
(My voice is a still life in itself, a shroud green and ultramarine deep blue, a bowl of apples and tangerines on a table.)
On the day I set out,
the mountain is high in front of me, the unreliable god of mist and fog.
I have no voice to say how high
my fingers must lift as if on a lover's upper lip,
to take in the breath of how high my mountain is—white teeth behind
a snow cap, numberless springs, cold like the enzymes in spit—
a version of me is still asleep: the moving of a limb in sleep.
Everything becomes lucid.

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