Sugar Poet Trade: Skull Branding, Smashing, and Teeth Gathering: Mozambique 20th February 2017
“Where is your license around your neck?” Asked the Poet Jose Pedro da Silva Campos e Oliveira who was peacefully fishing.
What do you mean? Red replied with a question. I didn’t mean to startled you or interrupt you.
“Did you escape from the trunker?” Jose asked.
These are things I have never heard before, Red proclaimed.
“It’s a slave prison,” Jose replied, “Were you deported? You are an escapee aren’t you?
No imported, Red replied laughing. Poetry escorted.
“Oh you are the American, everyone has been talking about, and you finally made it here.” said Jose, “We are going to have to make you a wig, there’s no way you will pass for a native here, and you need some kind of burn mark from iron branding too.”
You are in the pink zone, you are red(Red) but not pink
Pun intended so I hope you are not defended
If you like sugar you better come with me,
And every time you add sugar to your food
Think of all of these slaves here you see
The Arabs will look you over,
And exam how healthy you be
They will argue not over your soul
But by what your stamina is and your tole
Jose looked at Scratch, smiled and said, “How interesting, a beautiful American Lion.”
Scratch was right beside Red, and they both engaged alert on high, because this was the time, and the land of slave hunting. To be not detected Red knew he had to be sly, sly from becoming an apple of a masters eye. They smelled in Indian ocean for the first time. Fleets of ships were out at sea.
Red knows the past is alive with us. Here in Mozambique Red remembered all things of light on these journeys. He and Andy always knew this life was race-less but every race has let the D family rule, Doom, Dread, and Danger, the heirs of Destruction. Red started to breathe heavy in his sleep, because something here was of conflict, a war of language, and a war of skin, and Red looked east, and the sun began to rise higher. Red was also slowly catching a cold, from change.
Red has so much on his mind too. The brain, the Poets brain, and the fireworks of memories all of the time mixed with making memories, and recording new ones, and everyone too, with their own display of life and brilliance. Red also knew, here Danger was, allowing Red, and Andy to sense her, furthermore spies, in all centuries. Because they too were nostalgic for a place they have never been.
“We are going to have to go to my house.” said Jose, “Poets are hunted here. They want our teeth, they are worth a lot of money.”
What are you talking about? Red asked.
“Why do you think I am the only Poet in this country left alive?” Jose asked.
You mean to tell me, Red proclaimed as he was yanked from behind to the ground. There were four Arabs, Basrians from Iraq looking at Red. Red looked at one. He wore his shumagh on his head and scarf around his mouth. He had scars on his cheeks and nose. You could see true evil in his eyes. Red was blind folded, chained and made to walk behind them on their camels. Red was very suspicious of this man.
Reds’ blind fold was removed, and he found himself with others in a court yard of a port, an open market for human beings on sale. Arab soldiers from this secret caravan walked around them with a rifle strapped to their shoulders, and they wore bullet vests. Some had a look in their eyes, and some laughed. This was a party to them and Red found this to be insane. Red asked another slave about the children, and the reply was the children were children of prostitutes, and they have been trained to be commercially traded. The Lei Aurea, aka the Golden Law was not yet enforced here.
Merchants came, everyone was examined, the price of humans were being raised. Flagellation was about begin to check everyones endurance, and only the strongest could survive. The iron hoop and chain irritated Red.
Lash after lash, and every animal around, Camel, and Horse slightly jumped by each sound and scream. This expedition was different, this one was more evil, they wanted Poets, their skulls, to crush them, and it was the teeth, they were treasure, very much a value, so that’s why there were no Poets but Jose Red thought. Poets were a nuisance like Elephants, and their teeth worth as much as ivory. This was a day the Elite called paradise, and they believed these deeds gave them more wisdom than Poets.
The man who captured Red walked up to Red and said, “I want this Zanj.” meaning African slave. “He would be good for mining. I captured him myself.” He looked at Red and said, “The Redemptress, Princess Dona Isabel can not save you!” The man then laughed. Red could not smile like the others, and how could most of them ignore the pain? Red thought.
Camels and Arabs merchants were everywhere. Many checked Reds’ skull and teeth.
“Castrate him now.” said the Arab who captured Red.
Jose Pedro da Silva Campos e Oliveira finally made it past the crowds with Scratch to where Red was and his captor, and he spoke with anger, “Look at him. He has no Angel eyes. No holy expressions. He’s not good. Look at his dark face, he’s full of hatred. Look at his back, no scars. That’s how bad he is. He’s mine. I need this bad man with me. To be my henchman. We are willing to fight and kill to keep the Poet trade going. If he gives me trouble I’ll personally contact you, and inform you, and we both can bury him under the road. My oath to you. I need him to help me with my postal work.”
The Basra Arab spoke, “Cut out his tongue now!”
“We can’t, we need him to talk, to help me destroy our enemies.” Jose demanded. “Look I’ll give you his k9 teeth, a deal?”
The Basra Arab signal a soldier to unchain Red, and Red stunk of his own dung.
“Lets go, lets go!” Jose demanded.
Thank you, said Red.
“Thank poetry and your cat, Scratch, he found you here.” Jose proclaimed. “I saved you from their slavery net.”
Jose spoke with a quickness, “Wash up in the water as I get my boat ready. I’ll take you to my home on the island. I have something to show you Red. Call me Campos, I know my name is to long. You look at me and think don’t you? Yes I ‘am a mixed breed. Of what and who, well, let us leave it a mystery. I am happy you came, I have been low, thinking of Elvira. What man doesn’t think of love?”
I ‘am in complete awe Campos, and awakening from shock too, Red proclaimed and feeling Campos generosity and wisdom as they sailed to Mozambique Island over the beautiful turquoise waters. Red could see the Portuguese influence on the building structures as they approached to land.
“Red, you know stereotypes are no good, but at least we are in stereo, and not mono like most,” said Campos with slight laughter, finally the Poet was relaxed, home must be doing this to him. Campos tied off the boat as Scratch played in the shallow water. Red wanted to help but he felt best to stand back in admiration.
“What I was getting at is, I found the Poetry by the Brazilian Poet, Tomás Antônio Gonzaga, and he wrote under the pen name Dirceu. He is lucky, and we are lucky. I found him, and his work, and you found me, and mine. Blessed is what it is. You two look alike, high foreheads, deep set eyes, and long hair. Come, feel comfortable. I want you to read his Poetry.”
Red has not seen a tropical paradise on these journeys so the awe was deepening. His inside was high and deep too, and he knew what longing for love was.
The handwritten poems of Dirceu was handed to Red, and the Poem ‘To Mozambique, here now, I’ve come deported’ was read, while Campos fed Scratch.’
You are a good man Campos, thank you for outstretching your hand to me, Red said sincerely. You know I ‘am sure that hand written poems is where it’s at, print is fine, but these are good, gems, better than gold.
“Speaking of gold,” Campos stated with an odd look to Red, because about print, “Brazilain Poets are! Dirceu was accused of being in a mining conspiracy, and sent to prison in Ilha das Cobras, Rio de Janeiro. He spent three years in there, when he was given the sentence of an exile here on this Island. He died of a lethal tropical disease.”
Red looked up from reading at Campos and spoke, At least it wasn’t racism.
“Great point Red,” Campos proclaimed, “I can’t find Dirceus’ daughters Ana and Alexandre. They left no new address at my work. I am going to publish his works in the supplement of the Novo Almanach de Lembranças Luso-Brasileiro. Speaking of I have much to do, many deliveries, people fear the war. Led by Fredrick General Carrington. He and his horse of war.” Campos looked at Red and saw a kind man, a kind too that was hard to find, and he felt Red was from another time. Red felt it, and looked at him with respect. Many sheep passed by outside. Red smiled and thought Poets and Sheep, and the times in similarities to where personages could not express their voices, and Poets had to create characters and pseudonyms.
Campos was reading the local newspaper and said, “Everyday it has been railroaders slandering each other over contracts of construction.”
Red laughed and said, Maybe they like Poets need to use pseudonyms or ask Poets with pseudonyms to write poems for them.
Campos laughed and said, “Not a bad idea. The Boers are holding up the trains, and raid train stations. They remove the rails, and hide them. Reading here they open fire on the engineer, and when the train stopped they let out the British horses. I am sure Railroad chief Henry Theodore van Laun is at the telegraph office, so I must be going soon. Them Boers better not sabotage the Gaza trains, because I love my cashew nuts” Campo opened a bag for he and Red, and asked, “Do you cashew?”
Red laughed and replied, Yes I do.
“There is palm wine too on the table, help yourself,” said Campos.
A Steamboat on the ocean began to sing its arrival in the bay, and they went out to see, and steam train engines could be seen on deck. Campos reached for his Zeiss binoculars to get a closer look. “The crowd on board are here for the goldfields, and to boost their imperialistic agenda. Portuguese officers are gathering to meet them. Wait, oh I see others, they must be the amaThonga, and come from Ghost Mountain. King Gungunhama and his White Queen versus the old scar of the Portuguese.”
Scratch was sleeping by the empty fire pit, and a blue headed agama was observing the cat. The last poem Red read by Tomás Antônio Gonzaga came back to him as looked at this lizard look at him, and this all threw him into a waking daze,
Friend Doroteu, dear friend,
Open your eyes, yawn, stretch your arms
And clean, from the loaded eyelashes,
The sticky humor, which sleep gathers.
Critilo, your Critilo is who calls you;
Raise the head of the starched pillowcase
Wake up, if you hear, you want some weird stuff.
Red awoke, and felt for all of his teeth.