timbuktu

by on April 9, 2020 :: 0 comments

this is the place of camels and canoes
where the seeds of be-bop
are traded for a missionary’s head
and strings of killer bees are smuggled like gems

here the sun’s bent breath
bruises the earth
and sears my lips
making a dark meal of milk-fed smiles

here a mummy bleeds dust
and mumbles something sulfuric
turning a flock of crow to smoke

here grass eats meat
and dogs become sand
chewing the last mouthful of hope
from a human ditch

here the rippling horizon muffles a boom
and a buzzard sharpens his beak on a bone

here a bush doctor
playing godfather to madness and mud
spits termites into a tourist trap
giving directions to comatose pilgrims
selling poison postcards
and genuine dung figurines

here tiny fish glitter on the wind
and credit cards are used
to scrape the hair off jackals

here the air fills with thorns
and a caravan of gnats head for the coast

here I am smoking a rope
packed up high on a camel’s hump
with coffee beans, cassettes and myrrh
and a guide book to malaria

and here the sky crumbles
jamming the projector
halfway up river
a white square of sail
hanging on the dark
slide of memory

– Mark Muro

editors note:

Travelogue for us in stir. (This poem is part of a collaborative work between Mark Muro and Sal Cataldi of Spaghetti Eastern Music, as Vapor Vespers. The album is titled “One Act Sonix.” Here is a Youtube link to hear the song. Here is a Spotify link to buy the album.) – mh clay

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