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Love song for Dambudzo Marechera

Lisa Combrinck

"I live like a folded newspaper
Abandoned on the front lawn of a deserted dream."
- Dambudzo Marechera


I search for one line
that will not backfire
blow up in our faces.
I search for one line
that will not destroy us
one line that cannot retaliate
become the rope that hangs us.

Your lines
are lifelines
but easily curved
into the ominous noose
the tightening hangman's rope
or the electric current
that burns holes in our souls
kills in split seconds.

Do our umbilical cords have to strangle us?
Do we have to die to live?

The seconds of eternity are numbered.
We grow old.
The world is unreal.
The word is real.
Our words are not our first.
The next word may be the last.

Oh Dambudzo
I am tired of ritual suicides

I am sick of the human blood
Bursting from our pens,
the diseased redness
of our raped thighs.

I grow weary of wounds
sustained in dreams.

There is so much to be done.

Let me pick up
your spoors of words
trace the trail of your blood

touch your dreads
with wonder and with love

weave my hands through your hair
finger the flesh wounds on your face

kiss your parched lips
sooth your scalded hands.

Let me hold you
and with these words
give myself to you.


We have slept in unknown streets,
bedded diseased strangers on creased sheets,
retreated to park benches and rented back-rooms,
built bonfires of our bony souls to keep warm.

We have drowned ourselves in drink,
swallowed blister-packs of pills,
lived on butt-ends,
slept on book-ends.

Somehow, we survive.
Terminally ill, we sleepwalk
this dream world.

In the rooms the bureaucrats remain unchanged
fiddling with their fax machines.

In the streets, the people are oblivious,
scavenging dumps and dirt bins for basic nutrients
and scraps of metal with which to build shelters.
Let us join them.

We shall build big houses for people
and plant tall trees for shade and sheer beauty
and cultivate gardens of flowering shrubs
in which children can play
and design secluded spots
in which couples can love
with dignity out of sight.

Brick by brick,
word by word,
with stones and shrubs,
we shall love again.

Let us ban one-night stands
and make the moments of eternity last longer.
Let us pursue our search for love,
elusive, eternal love.

Meaning will no longer mangle us,
images no longer sicken and shred us.

We shall fashion the future with our own hands.
But let us tread cautiously:

Neither Hamlet nor Ophelia,
Neither Luxemburg nor Guevara

we were never meant to be
like them, nor will we try.

The dream is ruthless
and in the dream we die.


We grow old.
We grow old.
The newspapers we must unfold
set free our deserted dreams
disperse and spill our seeds
on this scorched land.

We grow cold.
Beyond love, beyond death,
We lie stretched out underground.
Above our bodies
the earth's wounds close
the skin heals and grows

and our dream seeds sprout and sing.

LitNet: 08 August 2006

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