Photo Source: http://www.chavonnesbattery.co.za/
Poetry Train Africa
by John E. O’Hara aka John E. WordSlinger
Toyota Mathias Safari the Literary Body Guard of this work.
Chapter 1 (raw format)
Cape Town South Africa
23rd of November 2015
The Arrival by the Sea of Darkness
The W.D. Lawrence ship and the Atlantic ocean aka the Sea of Darkness were getting acquainted very well, and were on the verge of getting acquainted with American merchant ships and British ships, furthermore maritime law and marauding outlaws aka Pirates, Pirates of Human Life aka Slave Traders. The Royal Navy were near and the W.D. Lawrence ship was in neutral waters. Animals and friends of Red and Andy were the only cargo, no cannons, no guns of any kind or ammunition.
Red, Andy and Scratch were on deck enjoying the nights astronomical show, the nights light screaming destiny. They were feeling venture, success and mad love unfolding. Rats on the ship were assumed to jump ship because none were seen on the journey, and this gave them both a feeling of no under-handing and gnawing of the evil side of human nature, but then they thought of sinking. What was worse sinking or be eaten alive, by sharks or humans, yes cannibalism crossed their minds? Scratch was a big cat, that no big rat wanted to tangle with, and taking care of a Mountain Lion in Africa, Africa known then as Guinea aka the Dark Continent was going to be a task for Red and Andy. Although Scratch was domesticated thanks to Sherbrooke.
Food from the homeland crossed their minds and stomachs.
Andy they say these waters are haunted by much Dutch, Red spoke and laughed.
Andy laughed and replied, “Along with Darwin, and the Beagle ship.”
Tropical diseases are things we need to think about Andy, when it comes to us and Scratch, said Red.
“Yes, my poetry buccaneer friend, we are in the age of discovery, oh ya Rediscovery,” Andy replied with more laughing.
Red laughed and replied, I wonder where poetry will navigate us Andy?
“The mystery of the rail trail is in the stars,” Andy replied as he sat on a barrel of drinking water on the ships deck. He then looked at sloops and schooners at sea.
Red noticed a ship on fire, and other ships around it relaying cargo, and rescuing people.
And so did the Captain, and he announced it was the ship Helen, known to carry the explorer Alfred Russel Wallace, and his specimens of species.
Andy I know most of these ships we see are slave ships, said Red.
Andy glanced down and said, “I agree, and we can’t interfere, time codes.” Andy had imagery moving in his thoughts, slaves chained and being thrown over board as he has read before in the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle and the Zong massacre. Belle who was a slave, but became free and a heiress to William Murray aka Lord Mansfield.
The black man Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua was on a ship out there to Brazil to be a slave, furthermore and luckily he wrote a diary. The black woman Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman aka Hottentot Venus was on her way out there to Britain to be in the Piccadilly Circus, and to be treated like an animal.
Red looked at all ships all around them, and the horrors on board, furthermore the choices the slaves had of death and slavery, the largest forced human migration in human history, and one tear was born in Reds’ eye for thousands and thousands in motion to slavery. Red spoke sarcastically, I was gonna make a time travel joke, but then my future self showed up and told me not to, because it’s a good one. The joke was about the worlds restore point, so I understood and kept it to myself so I can be there again when I wrote it.
Andy smiled because of Reds’ mentality, and Andy thought of Danger, Doom and Dreads sister, and she was master of the wild sea and the land, the land of the villages and rain forests of Africa. Andy sensed the terrible transformation. Human piracy. Every coast was a slave coast. Rum, gold and guns ruled over the spiritual, and to mention cocoa, sugar, and ivory. Andy then said, Hatari! And that meant Danger.
Red looked on at the Great ‘Middle Passage,’ the sea and thought of Olaudah Equiano aka Gustavus Vassa and the Sons of Africa, and his accomplishments, and his travels throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland promoting his memoir book. Olaudah “one who has a loud voice and is well spoken, and signifies good fortune.” Red hoped too that he and Andy’s journey to and on Africa were of good omens, and the continuation of mysterious signs.
Andy looked on and thought about the explorer Mungo Park and his mysterious disappearance or so called drowning in Niger, the fabled City of Tambuctoo aka Timbuktu. The meadows of gold, and Andy thought of Parks last words “I shall set sail for the east with the fixed resolution to discover the termination of the Niger or perish in the attempt. Though all the Europeans who are with me should die, and though I were myself half dead, I would still persevere, and if I could not succeed in the object of my journey, I would at least die on the Niger.” Andy then thought about transportation once there, no servants but guides and horses, and the thought of his own death in Africa.
Food from the homeland crossed their minds and stomachs again, and then they remembered that slaves were fed foods from their homelands to ease the adjustments. Yam slips, millet, and melon seeds and to raise goats, chickens, and guinea hens were allowed. The Bermuda Triangle maybe the curse of the Trade Triangle, slaves, sugar and molasses to the Americas, and rum to Africa. They both looked at the ships anchor chains and thought they have not heard the sound of them in weeks. Andy and Red were thankful of life, and thankful for the ships chef, as they looked at the moon in its’ quarter light, and they both knew the sea gave no quarter.
The secret commerce Raider and Confederate CSS Alabama ship aka Hull number 290 also known as the American Wolf of the Deep and Captain Raphael Semmes and John Low followed the W.D. Lawrence ship to the shores of Africa, the shores of Cape Town. The Cape of Good Hope. The CSS Alabama was returning from Santa Catarina, Brazil.
The Kingdoms of Africa, and all its wisdom were about to be upon Red and Andys’ eyes and hearts.
The Wind started to move and Red sung the song “Daar kom die Alibama”
There comes the Alabama,
The Alabama, it comes o’er the sea,
There comes the Alabama,
The Alabama, it comes o’er the sea…
Lass, lass, the reed bed calls,
The reed bed it is made,
The reed bed it is made for me,
To sleep upon…
Oh Alabama, the Alabama,
Oh Alabama, it comes o’er the sea,
Oh Alabama, the Alabama,
Oh Alabama, it comes o’er the sea…
Andy laughed and said, “Poetry wind 101, if you don’t know how to tie a not, tie it a lot. Thank you, a Billy Pawn shake up.”
Red laughed, and said, I wonder how Billy is?
Andy replied, “I wonder too, Red, as I look up at the nights sky many thoughts come to mind, Land Diamonds and Sky Diamonds, and for sure as the Kings Star aka Davids star and the Hexagram, triangle this and triangle that, furthermore the definition of hex. All of this is a mystery to mankind or to me. Look at our current position of the earth and sky. Red, the tree of life, unconditional love for the self and others? As above so it is below, and Red why does time and space traveling come to mind?”
Red laughed and said, Because we are doing it. Like the sunshine is about to walk the waters.
“I see said the blind man and he picked up his hammer and saw,” Andy replying as he jumped down off of the barrel of water. “Love and Wisdom. Look Red how beautiful those mountain ridges are!”
The sun knows when to exploit the environment, Red replying with gleaming eyes and a smile, The great Cape Peninsula of Africa. Hope of Good is beautiful.
They both noticed sharks everywhere in the sea, and the shores moving with life, the Chacma Baboons, searching through seaweed for shark eggs.
The tides call us Andy to work two very tight schedules, said Red and ready to carry on.
“We have to love it Red,” Andy replied, “I remember being 7 years old at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, and my mother had to peel my hands from the fence bar, because I was so fascinated by Baboons, I told her there is something about them Mom, and not long after that a zoo keeper walked by with a baby chimpanzee and I got to hold him or her. All I can say Red is, We are following the mystery of all this, seeded in us, as mentioned in Poetry Train Canada about when I was a boy with Wild Kingdom and animal toys. I remember my uncle Terry that day too said something that them baboons will tear you to pieces, that maybe so, but I think we tore them to pieces, so who lost the connection or forced it? Stick with it they tell us, slowly we ride through time.”
Port Elizabeth of Cape Town was filled with many sea vessels, war ships, slave ships and who knows what else ships.
Fredrick Dibbley came on deck, and spoke, “Are you ready for some explorations? Slow and Hellishly Wobbly it has been!”
And they all laughed as the W.D. Lawrence anchored, and boats were lowered to make way to dock at the merchants yard, furthermore cargo boats coming to gather the animals.
“Red they are going to trip on you,” said Fredrick Dibbley.
Ya, well, they’ll trip on ol’ Scratch here too, Red replied with delight. I just don’t get it yet, because they think this Alabama ship is here to rescue them. We are about to witness horrors not ever seen. Red looked back north, and knew America was a long way, and these chained black men were on their way to living hell, brutal cruelty, but hell was here too, because bodies were floating, swaying in the tides.
“Once ashore gentlemen, we need to purchase horses, and a wagon,” Andy proclaimed. “We did not sink, but sunk further into synchronicity.”
Why do you insist on horses when we need to get to the town of Elizabeth? Red asked.
“To keep it old school and to be in the invisible mode, and plus we are mailmen and that’s the only way we will pass through customs, so we begin our service at the Cape Town station.” Andy replied laughing.
Andy this is not the wild west, Red replied, This is the true wild, and we maybe the wild game if we don’t play are cards correctly. Maybe we should be circus clowns.
“Correct Red, Jesse James taught us a lot, never forget that,” Andy replied, laughing again, “And hey that’s not a bad idea.”
Ya and you are just as crazy as he is, Red replied laughing, What about a road steam tractor? We can apply for grain jobs.
“Get the grain out of your brain, Red it shall be train or horseback Red,” Andy proclaimed.
The closer they got drums grew in persistence and volume. And Scratch the Mountain Lion roared upon the ship to shore.
We are here for a purpose, Red proclaimed, as he chained a chain around Scratch’s neck for precaution, and said, Andy for further precaution if asked I ‘am your servant.
Andy looked at Red, and said, “Unlike our species who moronically hunt, and eliminate the best examples of a species. I shall do, only for survival purposes, and the poetry train. Lets have some fun everyone, and witness the serpent eating its own tail or tale. Here we come to the cradle of mankind, here we come.”
Cape Town was infested with life and building. Astonishing architecture. More astonishing then that was the fact that once ashore, Fredrick Dibbley commented out, the Explorer David Livingstone was walking behind them with his servants, and talking aloud about, he was tired of using berry juice for ink, and complaining about ivory, guns and slavery.
Classic, Red and Andy spoke in synchronicity, “Classic, berry juice who would have ever thought!”
The very young Poet Herbert Ernest Dhlomo walked up to them and asked in poem fashion, “Would you have me as a brother
Or a revengeful beast?
Would you have us help each other,
Or have our hates increased?
Would you have us live despairing?
Andy spoke, Brother of course, Despair got his ass kicked in Canada!” Andy looked around and said, “I ‘am going to love this place, I hear no ravens, and that’s a great sign.”
Herbert spoke, “Brothers then open your minds, you see, Nongqawuse aka the Prophetess of Doom saw the faces of her ancestors appearing in the pool. They told her that they would drive all the white settlers out of the country. A huge wind would come up and blow all the settlers into the sea. But first, as an act of faith to prove their belief in the world of the spirits, the Xhosa would have to kill all their cattle and destroy all their crops. So the ravens are there, would you like to see the Gxara River?
Andy looked around, licked his finger, and held it out to feel for wind, and said, “Lead the way, we did not come here for nothing.”
The young Poet Benedict Wallet Vilakazi noticed them too, and followed them, and once they noticed him he spoke, We are the cattle, so if I pass, bury me where the grasses grow. Below the weeping willow trees. To let their branches shed upon me.”
Red and Andy looked at each other in awe, and the awe was just beginning to awe-strike more, when they noticed a baboon working the rail switches at the Uitenhage train station. A signalman there named James Edwin ‘Jumper’ Wide who was wounded and had his legs dismembered from jumping rail-cars supervised the Baboon named Jack. The train whistle and hand signals from James Wide controlled, provided instruction for Jack to work, and he worked with no mistake, but once Jack seen Scratch he went ballistic, and fiercely ran up and down the station trying to frighten them, and it worked. Red, Andy, Fredrick and Scratch ran away to keep from to much attention. This startled them and startled them awake. Red and Andy slept deep and good, and they looked around their rooms at the British Victoria Falls Hotel and remembered the Poet Toyota M. Safari brought them there, and he would be returning this morning to guide them to Rovos Rail, one of the world’s ultimate luxury rail trips on the famous Blue Train between Cape Town and Dar es Salaam. This 15-day private rail tour aboard The Pride of Africa stretches across South Africa and Botswana, touches Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls, and crosses Zambia to Tanzania. From Kimberley’s diamonds to a deluxe South Africa game lodge, to Africa’s Great Rift Valley.
Andy awoke and fell quickly back asleep waiting on Toyota M. Safari. He dreampt of a life, someone’s lives in the U.S.A. It was a boy who was hiding in the weeds near a railroad bridge waiting on his father who was a train engineer. The boy waited for the Lawson train to stop, and his father to signal with a flashlight for his son to come aboard the train. His father had to keep a low profile when letting his son ride the train. He told his son, “The railroad owns so much property and they don’t even know where most of it is, imagine that, and one day hopefully some people come to their senses to organize and realize so much is lost by people not caring for what is right. Railroads are right, but. Fear, fear son, is a killer. Be courageous, and poetic, and realize money can be a show that leads folks away from the spirit and nature of their natural born intentions. True diverse people unite, not divide.”
Andy looked deeper at them in his dream and awoke by an internet phone call on Facebook from Toyota. Andy missed the call, and thought of his dream, as he messaged back. The dream made him recall about what a friend said back in the U.S.A. “The problem is politics, or was that lunatics in politics? Something like that but execrated from there. Oh Doom, you are in my realm, buried 7 feet under.
Red awoke and fell quickly asleep waiting on Toyota too, and was dreaming in a dark forest and hearing a voice of a lady. “Do don’t despise, and don’t close your eyes, ears and heart to the ancients. Be a guardian of the Kumm. You have to show respect you are on holy ground. And he heard some clicks /, //, ≠, ! and Θ, and Beware of the Owls here.” He then heard a roar of a lion, and the sound of a river. Red awoke, the river was the Zambesi singing from the open window of the hotel.
Red laid there thinking he and Andy were about to learn about the most of primitive times left on the face of the earth, a true ancient race. Why was the message to fear the Owls, when in the U.S.A. they guided he and Andy to the ‘Great Straw of Time’. Red got up, and ready furthermore excited to explore poetry, railroads here, and trains, furthermore art carved on the figures of mammoths and extinct animals on tusks of ivory from this fair land. Red had to tell Andy about the dream and message about the Owls.
Good Morning Mathias, we are stories too, that floated from afar, but log rolling by sea is not so easy, says Andy in a message and laughs out loud. I hear we are suppose to describe our moods around here, then say content. The wisdom of Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd. Files sent, Me and Red will be in the lobby, Good day-
P.S. We broke water, and don’t make us break out of the Breakwater prison. Wait we did, back in Canada, and Andy laughs again.
Red was reciting the poem ‘The Congo Poem’ by Vachel Lindsay as he met Andy in the lobby.
“Nice,” Andy replied in awe at the poem, but remembering some what of it. Red, 101 here, W. H. I. Bleek and L. C. Lloyd, and their accomplishments, and devotion on the Bushmen Poetry. We must explore there, with devotion and nobility but we are not,” Andy laughed and said, “Scientists.”
Red laughed too, and said, Make sure we have our, otjize paste, a cosmetic mixture of butterfat and ochre pigment to protect us from the suns rays. And I hear ya, lets go get blinded by poetry.
Andy spoke, “Oh ya Mathias, knows it was a rough ride, and he says, there is sunshine after the rain, so ya, we need some otjize paste,” and laughs.
Red looked at Andy sadly, and spoke, The Bushman Folklore & People are intense, laws of the jungle &c &c reminds me of nationalities and prejudices of the human races. Saddens me Andy, everyone is brainwashed and suffering from world affairs in their own place and I see a lot of prejudice people from all walks of life everywhere believe me it is a sad disease and the sad disease of war. They are poetry’s enemies too.
“Ya well, stop looking at everyone’s posts and the news,” Andy replied, “I also called for an assistant to join us Red, and they said his name was Boet Fritz, can you believe that, and he’ll be in the lobby soon.”
The Victoria Falls Hotel was the best they have ever seen they thought as they walked out of their dreamy rooms, and down the staircase to the lobby. The walls were covered with taxidermy animal heads, that seemed like an ironic display to them, but the African sunshine was revealing classic carpentry skills pulling in the spirit to the place. The place has a fragrance unlike they have ever known. The view outside the back windows of this overseas place was sea breeze moving the palm trees and they were calling. The comfortable furniture was calling too, and the art work was pulling them into the past. And there was a Railroad Bridge to be seen way off in the distance through a back door that lead to an outdoor patio and there stood the one and only Poet Toyota M. Safari. The birds were singing, and this made Andy think of the Tree of Many Souls back in Illinois, to whom a great Poet Madelynn from there shown him back in 2009.
Toyota M. Safari asks, “So you are interested in new voices?”
“Yes we are very interested in the new voices? Andy replies, “And yes, you must be aware, I know you know Time tells all about Poets, and it will for us too, after we are dead and gone, but know this and think of this, our love for Poetry regardless how one feels is if we want to read Poets in Africa in the 18th & 19th Century we shall and believe me,” Andy looks at Red, “There are gaps and Poems that may not have been great for them or the world back then or now, but the thing is this information are pieces to the puzzle. Little beautiful things people missed. The realm we found from Poets in America and Canada back in the day is beautiful, and we are all part of it, skilled Poets or not because we are all connected. Think about it, that’s how you met us. The realm lead us.”
Toyota M. Safari spoke, “Andy, you are a bit abstract… the average person here only finishes grade 7, and English isn’t a cup of tea. You may consider cutting to Bare bones!”
Andy listened, and asks, “Is abstract bare? Give me an example of bare bones, because I find what we do basic, and truthful, and I understand about the Poets you mentioned by phone, they don’t get it, and I have been told by many Poets the same thing, and not to many are, so I understand but you can’t change people, you can only inspire and hope the art of listening kicks in.
Toyota M. Safari replies, “Andy we are opposites. I personally don’t believe in dragging to the surface poets who don’t seem good enough… If 10 read and say they haven’t liked, then it snowballs on the potential market… If a poet writes complicated or abstract or mediocre stuff then it’s an error to highlight that as a revelation. Why don’t you do an amplified version of an anthology to help the train and get them known. What exactly am I to do in the whole process? I don’t know why we must be smugglers of them to Africa…. If they have no attachment to the continent… Can’t we write the type of work to be.
Andy looks at Red and says, “I like the way this man thinks Red, he is looking out for us and the Poets of Africa, and I understand his logic and intentions, and it is true. This shows dignity, integrity and also the spirit shines.”
The song ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ comes to mind by Pink Floyd to Andy, and was tele-thinking to Red does Mathias realize we have a long train and we have read a lot of poetry. Mathias was a Legend in the making.
Red got the tele-thought: Rode on the steel breeze, Rhodes, Cecil John and ‘Yes’ Red thought back. “The mystery of the rail trail is in the stars.”
“A top collection shouldn’t struggle to make a good name,” said Toyota M. Safari.
“Me and Red have never published a book of poetry of best poets for history or commercial,” said Andy.
Toyota M. Safari spoke, “We are not going to agree on the theory of people and poetry, but to clarify…. One, the project is yours. We are not going to fight over who owns what. I will help you identify the best, but if it involves giving space to mediocre poets, then I can go up to some point… Africa is developing at a supersonic speed. They will collapse if they tried to tell other storyline… See Africa for yourself… To me let’s go by ruthless merit; if anyone can do write stunningly on anything related to Africa.. Then he or she is welcome. We can go to mutual interests, we can agree on helping… But on uniting… I’m not in…
Andy looks at Red, knowing Mathias does not know the realm fully, the connectedness of all poets and says, “The project is ours, if you want it to be ours. You, me and Red and Poets that want to. We will work as a team on this anthology and get it done. We can make a fine book now, been taught well, by Charlie and the net. We just need great content and art for the book cover.”
Toyota M. Safari spoke, “Africa has much untapped poetry. Be good works there can easily get avenues…. Get solid info, on online sales and we work on projections… Just anticipate the minds of the reader and market trends. It’s not rocket science I believe… And to me writing shouldn’t be an end in itself, should it?”
Andy replied, “WordSlinging is a science of the spirit of language, all languages.”
Toyota M. Safari looks them both in the eyes and said, “The conquest of South Africa again. Read about Cecil Rhodes and Moffatt treaty. The ghost of Cecil Rhodes demands a mukomboti drink in a golden cup as we board a train to Soweto.
Red thinks about his dream and felt ghosts of this and that and all liking. His intuition was sprucing.
Toyota M. Safari looks at Red and then Andy and says, “South Africa was fairly advanced and conquest took years of bloodshed. Then apartheid…. And modern complex issues. I know poets from the place…. So how much can someone know about Africa ¿ These are basics to be handed.”
Andy looks at Mathias and says, “You are a great poet, and let no one tell you different, and I ‘am slowly understanding your principles and views, and I admire that. I also see you are a protector also, and I admire that too…”
Toyota M. Safari smiles, and says, “Thank you Andy.”
Andy looks at Mathias and says, “We look forward to the years with you Mathias, and if our forearms get blown off like in a shooting accident or &c, we will too write with a pen tied to our elbow joints, like John Cooper-Chadwick. And no worries Mathias, we’ll keep an eye out for those like Sirkusbaas Frank Fillis, his Groote Circus, and his Motley Shakespearean clowns and fools from trying to ‘catnap’ aka kidnap Scratch, our domesticated Canadian Mountain Lion that represents Hope and Faith. And yes Scratch is a like a gladiatorial spectacle, and was lost in the mist of time, but we found him, by the mystery of the rail trail in the stars, as we found each other. And Danger heed, here comes the Poetry Train!”
Mathias looks at Andy like he is crazy, and Red just grins.
Andy continues to say, “Frank Fillis is corporate to this madness of life’s circus,” and Andy laughs. You know the Railway Saloon Coach and the Boswell’s Royal Hippodrome and Circus Company. You see we are too knockout clowns me and Red, just tell them I ‘am Comical Andy and this is Silly Red. We haven’t performed our Breakaway Train act yet, similar to the breakaway ladder act, you know a long ladder planted in the centre of the ring, and you climb it, steadily removing the rungs as you go. Discarding the last rung and one of the uprights, proceeding to do a head balance on the top of the single pole. You shout to the orchestra for “Music, music” as you complete each trick. But in our case we shout “Poetry, poetry” and Poets run into the ring, cavorting all about us, and fireworks are let off as the climax to our performances,” and Andy laughs, “Th’Wicked Papoose Caboose Act like!”
Maybe Poetry Train needs a band, Red replied, like the Circus does?
Andy laughs, and says, “Freaking Brilliant, but they must be grateful, dependable and loyal, and not a threat to world peace.”
Ya ya yam yam, Red replies laughing, Keep in mind we are no Ormonde Penstone with a fountain of fire and stuff. Red thought about something, world wars ruin everything good people do, and that gut feeling came, of hope, that war would not break out while he and Andy were in Africa, for so many reasons.
I have read about this Little Rene the un-tamable Lion of yesteryear, and unlike American Poetry Circus’s we allow our Elephants to roam free, and Red laughs. We have no Poets that will box a Kangaroo though, maybe Dominic Albanese and Red laughs again. So Mathias, take us to your leaders, your poetry entourage, and your poetry menagerie.
Andy thought about Jung Hem Sing and his remarkable smoothness from the U.S.A. Journey. And the notion of curiosity of the effects of television here in South Africa too.
Mathias looks at Andy and says, “I ‘am watching the locomotive lazily get out of the station, the world is yet to see what will hit it.”
Andy laughs and replies, “Ya blame the laziness of the coldness of the world, remember the turtle, and its wisdom. Red I think Mathias is trying to fatten us up for the kill,” says Andy and laughs. Andy looks at Mathias and says, “Cecil John Rhodes use to say, So little done, so much to do.”
Red laughs and replies, and he also said, “I have found out one thing and that is, if you have an idea, and it is a good idea, if you only stick to it you will come out all right.”
“Excuse me Gentlemen are you Red and Andy from Canada the traveling clowns? I ‘am Boet Duve Fritz your hired assistant.”
Andy looks at Red and laughs, and replies, “Yes, we are, thank you. I ‘am Andy Sandihands and this is Red Regatta, and this is Toyota Mathias Safari, and he is our guide, and he is one heck of Poet. Nice to meet you, we hope you like poetry Boet.” Andy laughs and says, “Your name is very unique I love it. Boet are you a Poet? And Mr. Safari, lets go on this Poet Safari.”
“No Sir,’ Boet repleid, “But I wanted to be a train engineer, so I have been surviving by wisdom, like the wisdom of King Lobengula Khumalo, and he once said “The chameleon gets behind the fly, remains motionless for some time, then he advances very slowly and gently, first putting forward one leg and then another. At last, when well within reach, he darts his tongue and the fly disappears. England is the chameleon and I ‘am that fly. So Andy and Red be aware that we people hope you are not like England.
Red and Andys’ eye brows arose, and looked at each other, and Mathias smiled at Boet and looked at Red and Andy with a curious eye. Andy then thought about Lord Durham, his wisdom and kindness, the missionary crusade in Africa and the cannibalism. He also thought about what Mathias told him, that Unity would not work, Jesus tried. For the Love of God Andy thought madness over earthly things. No wonder why Lord Durham had many headaches. What is worse cannibalism or mind cannibalism. Fear, people fear each other, and with past madness how can you blame them. Skills of killing. So sad Andy thought. Andy looked at Red, and knew that he too, felt Danger, Doom and Dreads’ sister, she was alive and well, here on the Continent of Africa.
Red sensed it too and changed the subject and spoke, So where’s the morning feast and the poetry celebrations? Food from our homeland crossed our minds and stomachs, so we have dealt with not having it so, Mathias and Boet, lets feast upon this glorious morning of foods and drink of your homeland, and to Soweto, the Mother City, we go by Train. And also lets digest this grand poetry and food slowly for one can’t swallow it whole, our stomachs and minds will hurt, and Red laughs. Gentlemen did you know Andy here wants to travel to Poets by Horseback?
And everyone laughs.
Andy stated, “We hear they have 8 seated railroad bicycles here, now that would suffice too.”
Boet Duve Fritz replied, “Yes they have one at the Kimberly Museum.”
“Nice, that is just Luve Duve Boet,” Andy replied smiling.
So what do you recommend for nutrition Mathias? Red asks. We hear Bambara, Bunny Chow, Chakalaka, Mealie, Morogo, Umngqusho, and Rooibos tea is supreme.
Mathias replied, “I always go for posho, meat and sausages, buggers whenever I can.”
Sounds like a plan, said Red, Lead the way you are the man Mathias.
“Rovos Rail here we come,” Mathias proclaimed, “To the dining car.”
“I can’t get the beauty of this place out of my mind,” Andy says, “The rugged cliffs, wet with ocean spray. Table Mountain, and for sure Victoria Falls and the Bridge, and the spray from the Falls.”
You may have a point Andy, Red explains, Ewart Scott Grogan walked the continent of Africa, so horseback seems good enough for me or this 8 seated Railway bike.
“Ha ha,” Andy laughs, “For love and glory, we too must face the rhinos too. Ewart even said, He never tired form sitting by the seaside and watching.”
“He wasn’t liked here,” said Boet “Because he got away with murder, but was a hero in America. He met the great Mark Twain. I will go a head of you all, and get us the tickets to board the Blue Train, with 4 of the finest suites, and a cart for our baggage. Although the Tiffany Train is super too. Rovos Rail is amazing, see you three inside soon. It travels through 1600 kilometres plus of Southern African scenery. The land of winery’s, and safari’s.”
“The Rovos is prepared to go,” Mathias proclaims,” To Soweto to meet my Poet friends, and we can go to my home for a while so you two can rest. Red the red carpet has been rolled out for you,” and Mathias laughs.
Red laughs and says, Ya it’s been years since we been in a place like a homestead. Nice. Red walks into the station happy as can be. Andy looks at everything, and Boet meets them with their tickets and their luggage has been brought to their rooms by Rovos Rail Porters.
They all board the “Blue Train and Boet says, “The Tour Guide wants to meet you three so he can properly introduce you to the other passengers.”
“Nice this ‘Make Her Dash Train aka the Blue Train’ is beautiful inside and out,” Andy proclaimed as they boarded, “So where is the Tavern of the Seas’ car with the finest South African Wines?” Andy asked and laughed. Andy thought about the game ‘Hide & Ghost Seek” and contemplated “Hide & Poet Seek like diamonds to extract them from where they be, so the world sees their poetic spiritual beauty. Ah Andy thought this is why the call it the Tiffany train. Found ya.
Red walked up to Andy and says, I always knew we were Poet Jewelers, and laughs as the Train started to move.
“We know what we have accomplished Red,” Andy replied, “And Mathias is a gift to us and the World of Poetry, you’ll see Red, you’ll see, a mad scramble for historical Poetry & Poets we shall bring to the world.”
Mathias looks at them two and says, “You two Poetologists and Poem Collectors, the World needs to see, read, and listen to the best Poetry of Africa, it has been to long.”
“The Blue Train, The Blue Box, interesting, indeed Mathias, indeed, and all in due time,” says Andy, “The mind mine museum, the world shall see them, so let yonder to this great observation car. I want to see animals.”
Andy and Red got into the African mind zone as the train motioned on.
They knew back home in the U.S.A. Poets wanted the same thing, an audience but there were those that would like most, do anything to take the spotlight. And they would judge for themselves what was right, and do wrong in the process. Online poetry was just like all things, they knew from these journeys, a free for all, so they hoped the mentality of the Poets in Africa was different. Andy looked at Red and said, “One time when I roofed, an older man, who was also a Roofer listened to me with things happening back then in my life, and he told me “Jealousy gets no one anywhere, just be you and be the best you can do, be not jealous of anyone, and if they are jealous of you, they will do anything to damage you, because all in all, deep down inside, they just want to be you.” Red after all we have done and we do, it is amazing working with you, thanks for being here with me, doing what we love to do.”
It’s okay Andy, Red replied, I see what and who you are getting at, let it and them be. All I can say is they have the Me’ Me Disease. They not know the art of listening, reading and for sure true Unity. Enjoy here, this beautiful no where else on earth, Africa. Put the past behind us, it’s written. They are like Cecil Rhodes, they want to find a country and name it after themselves. Divided Poet Supremacy you can say! They do not know Andy.
Mathias, Boet, Red and Andy sipped some wine, and looked out the gold tinted windows of the Blue Train, that put the glare of the sun down and the snare of the mental snake pit that hissed in Andy’s mind, he thought about the O.P. Days, and his mongoose spirit. He also thought about the gullibility of people, and all he has gone through in the poetry world before these journeys. Andy thought about tagging these snake poets back in the U.S.A. And calling them out but he thought no, I ‘am, we are better then that. Although drama makes the world go round, but not today, not today, so Andy took Red’s advice and let it be. Andy did laugh on the inside because he knew that most did not realize that he could see through people and their intentions online and offline, and they jump the gun, and they have no ammo. Andy & Red and have the guns and the ammo, but no, Andy thought, no. We must press on, and let them follow their hiss. Andy looked at everyone’s reflection on the windows and smiled.
So where and who do we begin with our spirited discussions with? Red asked. Maybe the Poet Diana Ferrus because of what Dr. Willa Boezak believes. In 1998 Dianna played a major role in helping bring Sara Baartman home. Boezak said: “It took the power of a woman, through a simple, loving poem, to move hard politicians into action.” So the power of poetry from women? Red looked at Andy, and knew what Andy was thinking. The Poetry promoting playbook from Canada.
Red replies, Diana Ferrus believes poetry heals, and memory, personal and collective are the tools to do it. To dare not to commit the same old same old.
“Nice,” said Andy laughs, “Ya, like we just talked about, some folks just do not get it! Right where we left off in Canada Red about the power of memory for Poets, and Historians. You see Mathias connection. Rather we like it or not, it is, we are connected, and we live with scars of all. And with the world we live in today, we must identify this, so back to healing. If we were women Red doing this, what would you think would be? Would we be more privileged?”
Red replied, In the old days Andy, I think we would get used and abused, now today, well, depends. You have female perspectives we know nothing about truly.
“Being further away from Poetry may bring us closer to Poets,” said Andy, “And also Red we can’t forget about our secrets no one knows about. Maneuvering through Dangers’ Teeth.”
Red laughed and said, Yes as also Diana Ferrus says Poetry can help great arguments, so ya ya yam yam, you know we can.
Andy looks at Mathias, and seen in his eyes how important this is to him. Andy also had a talk with Mathias about starting a press, and the responsibilities. The Long Haul, slow and easy. Andy got up and asked everyone, “More wine?” and sung some of the song “Take it Easy” by Foghat. Whoo!
Red laughed and got up and said, Lets get to the lounge, a Poetry Train Africa time travel swell, ‘Lets’ Get Jiggy With It, What, “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” a Will Smith Song. Thinking here we come, pyramid bound. Come on you two.
Mathias and Boet smiled and followed Red and Andy.
Red caught up with Andy and said, May we need an armored train and laughed.
“Why?” Andy asked.
Well a blockhouse system, for what is beyond our control. Red replied laughing, To fence off. Let me create something on Facebook called Train Kept A-Rollin: Postings for The Wicked Papoose Caboose: Wisdom for them you about Poetry Presses.
Andy laughs and says, “Fear creates Gods. It’s actually hilarious. Follow your hiss folks, follow your hiss.”
Mathias was talking on his phone in the language of Lingala, and this triggered thoughts for Red on the Journalist & Writer Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje who translated William Shakespeare’s works into Setswana and collected African folklore and proverbs furthermore traveled around the country on a bicycle. Mathias can you translate poems into Lingala?
Andy then randomly blurted out, “There is no such thing as spiderwire or e-wire, like karma bs, some man made-shit to catch real spirits in the flesh or some other kind of catch 23.” Andy laughs and says, “Men get the Medea’s too! So Boet you wanted to be a train engineer, tell me about this dream, please.”
Red was at work in talks online with Publishers Antonio D’Alfonso from Canada, Dany WR from Brazil and Richard Krawiec from the U.S.A. around the world to help educate Mathias, Poet Bill Drake, and the Poets of Africa on publishing, small presses and creating an Anthology of Great Poets from Africa.
Mathias was gazing at it all, and replies, “Let the story somehow relate to the naked bushman of Kalahari. A writer and more importantly the publisher must have an eye on the audience… That’s why I insist that to hit, we must forego the claim attempt to stick to history… We should try to go for very many layers of meanings. Mere train history is a private fancy, an average reader isn’t interested.
Andy laughed and said, “Red lets go back to America and get the RxR’s to do this, lets quit right now, our braiding online has been private fancy, but our Youtube Channel says different. God Bess Mathias get off the cell phone and get a laptop and e-shovel and dig with us!”
Mathias replied, “l don’t regard myself as even very good but I don’t believe in babysitting lazy poets.”
Andy laughs and says, “You are great Mathias. I love this guy Red, he has what it takes. Boet find Mathias a laptop asap when we get stationed please. Mathias Les Claypool of the band Primus and Tom Araya of the band Slayer one time when I seen them in concert looked me in the eye through a whole song before, so yes that is correct, select the/an audience and look them in the eyes, they’ll never forget it and appreciate it.” Andy thought about his and Red’s Last Song, we are precious he thought, we all are! “Mathias true Poets can’t leave the Poetry to long, they’ll return.”
Boet jumped in an the conversation, “They are like Africas’ weaver Birds, and they confuse the Cobra snakes.”
Andy laughs and says, “Brilliant, Boet is catching on. Alright Boet, give me a high 5!”
Slap, their hands meet with wisdom and understanding.
Red smiled and spoke, Andy we are about to be taken to a whole new level. Each generation inherits Andy.
Andy smiles and says, “Keeping me on track are ye?” and laughs.
Boet pulled up a video song on his laptop called ”Rock the Horse Song” by the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, and it was grand.
They are in some ways, a lot like the Inuit of Canada, said Red, They have managed to live off this harsh environment for hundreds and thousands of years, and yet, they seem so friendly.
“The Bushmen own time,” said Boet “Unlike the west, the Bushmen do not believe in rushing.
“Ya Ya Mathias,” said Andy laughing “You hear that.” Andy had a notion, and remembered he needed to contact all Poets in the Facebook Poetry Africa Group for their locations, and websites and channels on the internet for up and coming sharing, promoting and learning.
“To answer your question,” Boet replied, “I come from Sierra Leone, and I wanted a life of tons of iron and steel. To chug my way into the history books, but while living a lifelong dream of riding the rails other things came about. I did not follow my bliss to be the first of black train engineers in Africa. I guess it was more of a fascination for me, but life did get in the way. I have always struggled to make an income. I would have even loved to be just a fireman, to run back and get the wood, throw it in the fire. I ‘am my own rough beast in my life. Well, I believe we need teachers that care about the students and challenge them to go past the standards and shoot for the stars! In any subject and career the student is interested in. I never had that.”
Andy looked at Red, and asks, “Hmm who does nowadays? Colleges are just a money racket now. Curious, does Egypt still have free college education?”
“Yes,” Boet replied, “But it’s what is fueling these revolutions. There is no work for these educated people. It’s all backwards.”
Red spoke, Innovation, volunteering, the key point is that formal education doesn’t necessarily lead to knowledge and skills the individual can use productively. Examine the beauty advantage and its impact on office politics as why Andy mentioned earlier, and why we and members of PoetryTrain.com talked about Poets need to get their act together. Operation Jester was one of our plays from our playbook, and still is once funded.
Andy spoke, “As the old saying goes, it’s not what you know but who you know, so branching out and thinking solutions for others is probably the best way to swing from branch to branch as the saying goes, I am hanging in there, and they say, that’s all you can do. Now, getting off of ones ass and innovating is. Again Fear the mass murderer. Ha Danger! So if you want a good Poet you have to do it yourself.” Andy laughs his ass off and saying, “Just joking, we need a pool of money for the literary arts to scramble for.” Andy laughs again and says, “Oh we can’t, we can’t because gambling is legal. Everyone is a genius at what they have the biggest interest in. On what they love doing. Modern education simply doesn’t let people like us express it. And if they do, we are very limited on it. If all they glorify is taking tests, all up and coming generations will be very limited in creativity and innovations.”
In others words Andy is saying we are all in Danger, of Dread and Doom coming back from the grave and kicking some serious ass if we all don’t figure something out, Red stated firmly. Evolve & resolve to solve! Or play the same ol song It’s a hit, “History Repeats Itself Ping Pong”
“We need free access to tools,” Andy replies, “Like RVs, movie making equipment, high tech software, and anything like that, the average person can’t afford to use to get something done. Heck most things are junk anyway. And for the record, Poetry Promoting is our career choice, not a bad option. Good wisdom, see through all the worlds bullshit,” And Andy laughs his ass off again.
Someone in the lounge played the song ‘It’s Alright’ by the Traveling Wilburys’ on the Jukebox, and everyone sung a long.
Boet smiled and said, “Well, this job is close enough,” and laughs.
The bartender who looks like Wizzo, asked us if we read ‘New News Out of Africa’ by Charlayne Hunter -Gault. And we replied with a ‘No’, and he hands the book to Red, and said, “Keep it” you’ll love it. Thanks, Red smiled and replied, Ya we’re traveling clowns from Canada, trying to make our way. Appreciated & charm’d. Ah writing is performance art Red thought and laughed inside. Not literally, but really, silently really, soothing Red felt.
The bartender smiled and asked, “What are you working on?”
We are working on a new act, Red replied, Something new for the circus of the un-flated paranoia paranormal mind raid, for illumination of course. We have the attention span of two and half centuries, and we have done it, we’ve removed the fuzz to give the world a literary buzz. The thing is we have thrown away all of our costumes, so we are naked sort of speak. From what we hear and see, our new threads should be of protest.
Boet was catching on, and catching a buzz, and laughed at what Red said. Boet then spoke, “This is the life, poetry and trains. Why the hell should we spend our life breaking our back for a company that only looks at you as an expendable slave? I somewhat get it, Poets are like the Bush People. Sure, we have a lot of gadgets, but millions of people suffer from stress, anxiety, depression, and a feeling of emptiness. These concepts are unknown to the people that live like the Bushmen tribe. Look at the countless millions that have been slaughtered in wars and conflict in the ever-increasing quest for more resources to make a few people very rich. Our so-called modern advanced society is neither sustainable nor ethical. I have a lot of catching up to do, but I get it somewhat from your personalities and things you been saying. The evil circle has begun. We already have been given everything we need to live a rich and healthy life, but when someone becomes a food producer, they will try to protect their land, and when they grow financially stronger, they will use their un-proportionate power to expand at the expense of others. Like the Bushmen and Poets, we all humans should live 100% off the land in harmony with nature. All went down-hill since the advent of agriculture.”
Andy laughed and said, “Welcome to the brain grain train.” Andy then made some click sounds. “tsk tsk tsk mop mop, I wonder if I said, Poetry Dada or Poetry Mama? Me, just a toddler in the great clickable sandbox” Andy laughed. “There’s something deep within our brains that are at work when it comes to language! Like Poems, Clicks change lives, Poems change lives. They’ve changed mine and the lives of many people and Poets I admire. If you are happy and you know it, clack your tongue! Take a click moment! Ha Ha hA hA nock nock! Angelic baby, oh dissolving time! Beauty, beauty, beauty. Hey lets all go to the observation car in the back, and click chat to the adapt app. Dream like, alright, to be surprised by the comforting visions of the future phenomenon.” Andy knew they were looking into the windows of the past too.
Red laughs and says, Andy right now reminds me of Nicolas Kostyleff.
Boet replies, “Never heard of him. Andy reminds me of Flinders Petrie,” and asked them if they ever heard of Mr. Petrie, and they replied ‘No’ in synch, and as they walked to the back of the train Boet continued to talk, “Flinders went to Egypt in 1880 to survey the Great Pyramid. For the next five decades he was at the forefront of the development of archaeology in the country.”
Andy and Red browsed the books sitting on tables as the Blue Trains’ Tour Guide came into the observation car, and introduced himself, Israel Moss.
Thank you for the warmth and service, Red replies, Life time memories being born. The staff has been most generous.
“Time stands still” Andy replies, “We are privileged, thank you. Luxurious Train, we are blessed.”
Israel Moss smiles, “Gentlemen I have a book for you to enjoy. It is yours to keep. Antjie Krog and the Post-Apartheid Public Sphere: Speaking Poetry to Power by Anthea Garman. For many white people, her message was too strong, too uncompromising, and far too challenging.”
Red and Andy smiled and looked at Mathias. Andy smiles wider because he knows Mathias is about to time stamp time with his poetry.
“We are learning how to listen here Israel Moss,” Red replied.
Andy right away found an online speech by Antjie Krog, entitled, An Inappropriate Text for an Appropriate Evening – Read Antjie Krog’s Keynote Address from the 2015 Sunday Times Literary Awards. Andy looked at the book Red was holding and the one ‘New News Out of Africa’ received earlier the bartender gave Red, next to the poetry trains fire box laptop, and smiled. Andy then looked at Israel Moss, and smiled and said, “Thanks, we have a lot to learn.” Andy looked out the window, and thought about his passions across the sea, they were still burning inside of him and there.
Boet was sitting comfortably in a chair and read the poem ‘The Great Day’
by William Butler Yeats from his phone.
Hurrah for revolution and more cannon-shot!
A beggar upon horseback lashes a beggar on foot.
Hurrah for revolution and cannon come again!
The beggars have changed places, but the lash goes on.
Boet too was reading this online article, and they both let these words sink in, The irony, as Neville Alexander noted: Is that those born free from racial classification are now forced by government practice to classify themselves when filling in forms as white, coloured, black or Indian. The whole paragraph was strong, and they read on as Red talked to Mr. Moss.
Personally Antjie Kong wants an image, the image of a sweeping paradigm shift able radically to change, showing whites in an equally radical act of outreach. And after all that has taken places, this is still empty! Andy glanced up at Red and said, “You have got to study this, well I do, we do.” As Andy read on, and read this out-loud so all in the observation car heard him and these words, “Relations of comradeship, of solidarity, of love, relations which prefigure the sort of society we struggle for.” & Out-loud “We need to have all the conversations, deferred from 1994, with as much courageous imagination, new vocabulary and wild dreams as possible.”
Israel Moss smiled and said, “I know that, read it before. ‘I respect anger. Anger is often where important change begins.’ Gentlemen enjoy your time aboard the Blue Train.”
Andy was off in Poetry Land, thinking about the poem by Yeats, and thought, yes, the message Yeats was sending about revolutions? Mystical or Symbolical, “The damn answer is in Physical, we all need to hit the brakes at the same time. Damn it,” Andy again spoke Out-load, “At the same time, hit the brakes. I have told this to many. Why did I name my Turtle Tesla.” And everyone started laughing.
“Red most Poetry Youtube Channels are equal in fan base,” Andy added.
Red smiled from ear to ear, and said, Andy play a poem from Antjie Kong.
“10/4” Andy replied, “Antjie Krog reads from “Begging to Be Black” – two letters to her mother” coming up!” The poem was heard all through the observation car of “The Blue Train.” “Whoo, we on it Mathias, we on it,” Andy pronounced. The grappling with the relationship between past, present and future. The difficulties South Africans face in grappling with the legacies of colonialism and Apartheid, and the fact that there is a process of un-homing and re-homing. An Inappropriate Text for an Appropriate Morning. Where’s Run D.M.C. ‘That is’” Andy thought, the way it shall, not should be.”
And everyone sung “It’s Like That” by Run D.M.C in the observation car!
Andy started laughing and said, “Pillage the Privileges, Un-Savage the Savages, Salvage, alvage all age. Hey- Poezji Walki, I wasn’t born a Poetry fan but I ‘am what a Time Conquer be, a Poet, lover, ha ha. You too Red, ha ha.” Andy also thinks and was pulled to and the song came, as his spirit in Africa knew the sun was going to be faster here going down then where he and Red started all of this, because place was place, and acing was ace itself. And the song was ‘Lonely is the Night’ by Billy Squier.
Snap out of Andy, said Red, You have Poetry Man. Red laughed, because of the word play, Salvage, and thought ya our duty was lonely with all we knowz.
Andy then talked to a passenger about How to tell Time with a pen or pencil, with the sun or moon, and shadows and light, even on a moving train. The Mind Compass. Andy let the documentary ‘Free At Last’ play on the Poetry Trains Firebox, as Red mingled. And They thunk.
Mr. Walklemon Whipagla introduced himself.
Andy was happy, he became a time monitor on the Blue Train, with his wisdom of time and poetry ishings good duende, he excused himself, and went to the facility and puked, because of not stress of what he knows. As he ralphed he thought, why are poets their own worst enemy unlike mankind? Salvage savage age- And as he rinsed & wiped his face, he looked into the mirror, life is not a flash before his eyes, life lives flashed before them and he, and finding the pole of love, the time straw he and Red knew, he thought how far can one be from it, chain-less or free. Ya rainbows were earthly, so how can all look into these eyes without poetry?
Red looked at Walklemon Whipagla as he mingled, and Boet knew what to do.
Boet found Andy, and Andy snapped his fingers, and gathered himself. He looked at Boet, and sung, “Ya give it all away, and Everyone wants you. Ew… Hey I just wrote a poem for Mathias, where’s Mathias?”
Boet laughed as they returned to the observation car, and Andy sung, “I’ll stick around, Poetry my kind a lover. I want to make you feel the way I do.. So how’s it happening Poetry Train Africa? I’ll stick around, and close my eyes and ears to beat the time!”
Red heard that, and thought we roll at our own pace, ya can’t force feed poetry. Death a life concept lucidity silence screaming. Red then spoke, It’s the grass yall, Andy is okay Ladies and Gentlemen, and he laughed and quoted C.W. Fields, “Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.” He’s a little fuzzy wuzzy. Been run hard keeps a ling.
And everyone started laughing.
Red smiled and said, He reads, and has this thing about beating time. Edie Brickell & New Bohemians wrote a song about it called ‘Beat the Time’ so here and there he does thaz, or so he thinks. And everyone started laughing again.
Andy replied “Don’t count on it. Some can’t stand slopes, steep is the mountain which we climb, and smiling does no good to the soulless.” Andy walked to his roomette and thought of the song ‘Small Hours.” by Metallica and to think & rest because there are many poetic poets to read and hear.”
Andy sat in his roomette listening to Antjie Krogs’ wisdom, and reading and listening to her poetry, and the collective we, with the power of forgiveness, and time, time allowed to educate, and furthermore the knowing for all races that there is a we, as in the word weaved. Andy then thought about birds and animals, and must look at all of them while he was here in Africa because they were spiritual messengers, in life and dreams, keepers of sacred spiritual significance, plus long ago as a child he wanted to be a zoologist. Andy made notes to return to Antjie Krogs’ wisdom, and he looked out the window to be amazed by Africas’ beauty. “Maybe I ‘am home here, but how can I say that, my spirit feels like it is,” Andy spoke to himself, “I know these people won’t like me saying that, because of what white people have done, and issues they have now with foreigners.”
Red, Boet, and Mathias were talking about translating poetry, and a Poetry Train Africa Anthology. Mr. Walklemon Whipagla was listening and Red observed this. He seemed to be a hunter. They then talked about the poetry of Rudyard Kipling.
Mr. Walklemon Whipagla interrupted them and asked, “So what do you know of the Boer War poetry? Or the Poet, Kingsley Fairbridge?”
Red replied, Not much as of yet.
“Let me recite the poem, ‘The Hunting of Shumba’ by Kingsley Fairbridge,” said Mr. Whipagla.
My father, Sr. Yes I ‘am a Junior, was a child of Fairbridges’ Furtherance of Child Emigration to the Colonies. My father was an impoverished child who lived in the London slums. Fairbridge brought him to Johannesburg to be trained to be a farmer, and as Fairbridge dreamed, my father shed the bondage of bitter circumstances, and stretched his legs and mind.
Red noted this and smiled. Red also sensed peril, peril inside of him, and Mr. Whipagla, spoke, “I know two more poems. Let me recite them.”
The Rail Head
by Kingsley Fairbridge
Where go the broken songs? Where go the lives
That flash’d, and pass’d? Where goes the man we love,
If he should die? Where goes the valiant life
That labour’d and was buried and forgot?
— Where go the very days that even now
We grasp and love … they sink, they fade away, —
And we remain, and wonder, and are dumb.
White heat, the glare of sand, the shouts of men; —
Here at the rail-head are the incomers
Fresh from the sea; and here the inland men
With wagons, carriers, or their naked selves
Hasten ahead machinery and food.
Here at Chimoio is the terminus —
Here waits the rail and peers towards the West,
Nervous, unknowing … And they speak of war:
Up on the high veld there is Death abroad …
Death! The bridge-builders laugh — the linesmen smile —
The stricken, yellow faces turn away,
The hungry, blood-shot eyes seek out the hills —
Dim on the sky-line — where a man may die
Other than by malaria and drink.
Red looked at Boet and Mathias, and raised his eyebrow. Red was feeling why just about everything was labeled dark here.
Mr. Whipagla took a drink of his martini, and recited the poem,
by Kingsley Fairbridge
Behold, my son, the wheel-scarr’d road!
Be shamed, and be afraid,
For we, the first, were greater men
Than those for whom we made.
We wrought in death and hunger,
We fought the veld — we few!
Behold, this effort of our hands,
This road we built for you….
We link’d the Known and Unknown, —
The Known that did not care! —
Cared not, we knew, but labour’d on
For spoils we should not bear.
We sow’d, ye reap. We had our cake,
We cannot eat it, too;
Yet, in the image of our hearts,
We carved this road for you.
This useless thing of sand and grass!
Unsightly bridge and frail! —
Dead stumps and riven stones speak not
To those who use the Rail.
But, son, no single mile we made
Without long toil — we few!
Remember then those dauntless hands
That built this road for you!
Mr. Whipagla finished his drink, laughed and said, “Well gentlemen, welcome to Africa. I get off the train at Johannesburg. The poem ‘South African Exhibition, 1907’ is a grand one too, but I can not recall it. I ‘am going to return to my seat, Totsiens.” And Mr. Whipagla walked away.
Andy got to thinking about what he told his mother before. I like all people, like I do all birds. It’s confusing though. Do birds like other birds? You don’t see a half bluejay and half cardinal flying around. Andy thought about physical attraction toward females of other races, and he did and still does have feelings like this. He also remembers what elders said too, one should stick to their kind, and was put to him he thought kindly, nothing derogatory. Ya but what if you are mutt like, Wapello and Irish, and Andy laughed, and continued to read.
Red, spoke some wisdom, speaking on writing and truth of Rudyard Kipling, mimicking his voice and body language, ‘We who use words enjoy a peculiar advantage over our fellows. We cannot tell a lie. However much we may wish to do so, we only of educated men and women cannot tell a lie—in our working hours. The more subtly we attempt it, the more certainly do we betray some aspect of truth concerning the life of our age. It is with us as with timber. Every knot and shake in a board reveals some disease or injury that overtook the log when it was growing. A gentleman named Jean Pigeon, who once built a frame house for me, put this in a nutshell. He said: `Everything which a tree she has experienced in the forest she takes with her into the house.’ That is the law for us all, each in his or her own land.’
Red then took drink of his white wine, and said, A certain optimism scares me, like Kipling, me and surely Andy feels this way. Lets say, a reverse analogy, prejudice as a knot in timber, but this forest is from inside the home, an over taking, a teaching with fear tactics upon ones growth.
“A Puff-Adder,” Boet replied, “A deadly serpent, like a ringhal, a venomous spitting cobra.”
You could say that Boet, Red replied, Dominion over palm and pine, but this power is transient. So yes, we can not tell a lie. A lie like prejudice, spreads like fire. Burning all the forest.
Andy comes back and hears this and says, “Yes and the birds, like our spirits will never have their, or our kingdom. The physical world is not a blind forest anymore. Life is a soul struggle anyways, so why add to it. We are now the world of Kiplings’ tomorrow, so what reasons of art and emotions would we tell him today? Would he or any other literary giant have mercy on us? Do you have mercy on them? Or each other? How can we be an effective echo? An effective echo through the forest or home wetting the fire of prejudice so there is witness to the water of love. We are Kipling’s new modern wonders, all dominant strains of blood draw. He had sympathy for us. Grasp love, because it is ours, not just yours, or mine, ours. Let love break in upon you, in fact love does not have to break in, because love is itself, the key, so if love wants to, love will get in, but it’s better to let love in by ones own free will. Heart, we all have one, best to share it, don’t ya think. Like songs of the birds all through the forest.”
Everyone was contemplating all that was said.
“Rudyard Kipling always have appealed to me,” said Andy “I still have a collection of his works from my teenage years. His ‘Just So Stories’ impressed me. That’s why I ‘am really excited about this journey.”
Red spoke, In the Days when everyone started fair.
Andy looked at everyone, and thought, this conversation is sitting on everyones head. Were they changing their hearts? Andy thought. In most cases diffusion simply creates uniformity, but multiple chaotic matters gives rise to non-uniformity. Love reaction is Hate diffusion. Auto-activate, and watch love inhibit
Red spoke, With no slothful breathes and heathen intentions, love shall; not if.
Andy asks, “So what are Burdens of Poets? The weight of power of Hubert H. Harrisons’ poem The Black Mans Burden. A Reply to Rudyard Kipling) in When Africa Awakes book is pretty heavy isn’t it?” and Andy laughs, and says, “Red maybe we should postpone for a while, and learn how to diffuse bones with nerves of steal.”
Red laughs and agrees saying, Stop the Train, Stop the Train!
“Stay calm Red, stay calm,” Andy proclaimed, “I believe we need to be in prior law enforcement. Oh ya we are, we are poetry police,” and Andy laughs.
Boet blurts out, “Keep writing poetry and no one explodes.”
There was a round of applause amongst the passengers in the observation car.
Red done a cake-walk dance the aka mock strut, and sung, “Jeopardy” by the Greg Kihn Band.
And others followed Red, and clapped.
Mathias was in poetry mode, as he said once, ‘The bitch of a muse wants him to just post everything she tells. Andy and Red kept everything in Mind and Heart, and they wondered if Women Poets looked at Poetry like this, and they laughed inside in synch mode.
“Mark Twain came this way Red,” said Andy “Influenced many here, as Edgar Allen Poe and his ‘The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym’ but not as much as of yet ha ha. Poe was a trickster we know a master, as explained in his “The Philosophy of Composition,” Poe explains that poetry and prose both must communicate a “truth” through a “unity of impression.” as Mark Twain knew too, people loved to be fooled. But it was their truth, of their place, their up bringing. They for sure knew unity.”
Red replied, I ‘am seeing, why weren’t we informed of Toni Morrison back when, oh ya I know others with the Me’Me disease. The truly interesting thing about it all is that they wrote in a time when the truth about race was not impossible to discuss or write about. So let me remind you on about the Facebook webmaster appreciation and tinkering lag. Poetry is not cultural engineering, like race, poetry is real!! You can see it in their eyes once you mention poetry.
Andy replied, “The U.S.A. would be stronger as we talked about with our black trucker friends on the net in Arkansas & Georgia shall we say truly come together, a beautiful bliss it would be, as a people not a nation, and when I think about this, I think about those who fought in Vietnam, together as one, and there is only one person I know that will tell us the truth on this, and that is Poet Dominic Albanese, so we need to chat with him soon.”
Boet spoke, “Nelson Mandela read the poem ‘Invictus’ by William Ernest Henley for uplifting while he was in prison. So I find it ironic and cool that respect finds ground through all in poetry regardless of time, history and race.”
Red smiled and said, Just like Poetry of War as Henry Newbolt claimed can be greeting as he said, ‘It’s a kind of Frankenstein’s Monster that I created thirty years ago.’ The intention of this kind of poetry was to stir the heart of the reader as in rivals on the battlefield.
Andy questioned, “Wonder if William Ernest Henley felt how hardcore his poem Song of the Sword is? I want to shout out, and write out and say, Humbug by Jingoism.”
Boet spoke up, “Wow, poetry is some powerful stuff. Ha ha more then I realized. What’s next? Ha ha. What’s admiring to me is, Poets, Literary Writers, who never give up at what they love, being a commodity or not. Living the dream of sorts. Fascinating is what it is. Carry on gentlemen, Boet Duve ‘Luve Fritz at your service.”
Red and Andy looked at Boet, then Mathias, and then at each other and smiled. Poets & Humans, male, female, gray, green, &c &c.
“A train used to go to Rhodesia to see the Zimbabwe Ruins,” said Boet, “Now, you go to Zimbabwe to see the Rhodesia Ruins. We will be there soon.”
“We have one Red,” said Andy, “ ha ha, a adventurer and a dreamer of dreams Poet, Roy ‘Zulu’ Blades’ Cambell. He loves ancient towns Boet. Taylor says, The role of the poet is not to join their Peter Pan games but to look beneath such frolics for the source of spiritual renewal. We need to get Borsalino hats like him Red,” and Andy laughs. “Mathias, do all in all, this is a Wayzgoose, ha ha, loving it.”
Roy spoke Zulu too, Red thought.
‘I ‘am reading too,” says Boet, “I love this, ‘Truth is a coy mistress who lets no mortal posses her utterly. Yet the poet is more favored by her than are the dull, prosy souls who cofound petty detail with wisdom.’ by Russel Kirk about Roy Cambell in, The Sword of Imagination: Memoirs of a Half-Century of Literary Conflict. “So Mathias you have been chosen,” said Boet laughs. “And this one, ‘At certain strange epochs,’ says Innocent Smith in Chesterton’s Manalive, “it is necessary to have another kind of priests, called poets, actually to remind men that they are not dead yet. Powerful statement.”
Mathias was listening but also reading the news, about today’s Africa trade and investment treaties.
Andy laughs and asks, “Are we Red desperate to achieve literary credibility and reputation, without quite understanding what these things are,” Andy was laughing more. “Oh it is killing us to tell a joke against us, ha ha.”
Red replies,Yes I see, and he’s like you a horse lover. This is why critical thinking comes into play, like being a street football quarterback and the ground is not your friend. and the blessings of poet/editor friends and the post office and telephone people rock n roll, furthermore the library of congress.
Besides racsim, poets face class issues (and race and gender), the have, the privileged and the have nots, the un-privileged. The you you, the me me, and the yo yo, excuse me, but them and these days have to go go. Guess you have to have the groove and all the time in the world too. The Poet Condition and Society at large. That’s why I like true Heavy Metal front-men, they get it, place, the spirit of the genre. Old school promoting you give what you get.
“Unpaid internships in the publishing industry, no really, oh wow, where’s Mr. Welchberry? Ha ha, and his mastery of the truly blind submission process . Ah ha ha.” says Andy. “I can see for miles. Maybe we should have had a séance in Canada too, ha ha. Are we librarians ii the new future Red? And yes, the price of admission is having the groove, that is funky funky all through time, as in when you hear it you just know it. Poet you can’t back down, you must crack down. Poetry makes me Voorslag, a word to serve as a Whiplash, ha ha, Poets back then faced the same as today and Andy did a beat box, and sung the song ‘I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)’ by Daryl Hall & John Oates.
The Blue Train sure is making some dust, said Red.
“As true love, anti-racism is the pain of forgiveness without apology, so that is unconditional, and the condition is man-made $hit… Teeth are for eating, and eating $hit maybe for a while, but eventually they have to go, health, hellth, don’t get any of that $hit on ya, and carry on with yourself. Me knows what pliers are for, to unite in blood,” said Andy.
The Blue Train sure is making some dust, said Red.
“As true love, anti-racism is the pain of forgiveness without apology, so that is unconditional, and the condition is man-made $hit… Teeth are for eating, and eating $hit maybe for a while, but eventually they have to go, health, hellth, don’t get any of that $hit on ya, and carry on with yourself. Me knows what pliers are for, to unite in blood,” said Andy.
Andy looks at this book online. Turbott Wolfe by the Poet William Charles Franklyn Plomer and it says the book remains a powerful chronicle of the intimate human consequences of racism., and he claimed that the novels distinction lay in its realization that racial relationships were not merely political or economic, but emotional. This was a novel ahead of its time based on a non racial world. Love, Andy thought about love and consequences, furthermore the wisdom of knowing to disregard opinions, because what if it was love and not of lust. He then thought about blood transfusions, probably a tip of an iceberg. He then thought about complete heartbreak, seemingly into which no one really cares about and yes loneliness, and of course the beauty of children, and that’s where consequences come through the door he thought, the childs’ future dilemmas, but the world has changed from the 20th Century, or not, he questioned? Family, when a woman loves you, it is ‘family’ to her, Andy thought, furthermore parenting love, love for self, the child/children, and others. As Plomer asks Divine humanity, or human divinity? Andy then thought about jealousy, some of any color, some people regardless envied peoples happy relationships, and some try to break the bond by all means possible. Andy then thought of the message of the great Poet Jesus and that was to love everyone, and surely this brought along the thoughts of the violations of the 10 commandments. Murder comes to mind, and one being finely pure of the heart, furthermore how would anyone truly know ones heart without memory film sort of speak. One would have to know one for ones entire life, he guessed you can say to judge, or righteously judge. Was it all in the eyes as Andy was taught as a child? Yes as a child, how would I feel if a child of mine loved someone of another race, and the answer was easy. If the person loved my child truly, that was all that was needed to accept, a positive tolerance one could say. So is the only hope for the peaceful co-existence of mankind, was that each of us must accept and respect the other persons truth? To not be condemned. Andy then thought about the fire of Scorn that destroys things, and the water of Love, that endures all things. Rich, poor, surrounding bleak or not, personal angels or demons. Strength and weakness, ugliness and beauty. Where is the love culture? World wide Hospitality? Where does life unfold for true love? As the Poet Bill Drake pointed out, gander, the jails are open twenty for seven, and churches are not. And thought, Poets should ask, ask the world What’s wrong with us, why don’t the world want to read us? As of color were Poets invisible?
Red looked at Andy to change the subject, because Red knew things in America were going to surface to Andys’ Heart. The Poet Herman Charles Bosman was right when he said South Africa has an authentic stamp. A heavy atmosphere, strange and dark.
Boet laughed and said, “I hope you both can run fast, and through the thorn bob trees. Leopards are fast you know.”
Red laughed and replied as the Poet Lionel Abrahams says, We must endure The extreme moments of history often defeat poetry. But if poetry endures, it has to go where journalism and historiography do not have to go, into the core of the individual experience, where the politics, the economics, the conflict and disruption are not just thought but undergone and felt.
“I like the umbrella trees here.” Andy replied.
“We have Queen trees,” said Boet, “They are the sycamore fig.”
I like the Boabob trees, said Red.
“They have a Baobab pub in Modjadjiskloof,” said Boet, “Yes they made a pub out of tree.”
Andy raised his eyebrows and thought of the Muse of Poetry. Poets as her babies, maybe, and racing against time, it is after all, it is not the Historian, but the Poet who deals in the eternal verities.
They noticed giraffes in the distant landscape, and as they all now had their heads in the trees, thinking about living with people.
Lionel Abrahams’ poem ‘Chaos Theory of the Heart’ is intense, Red added.
“Hey do you think people who come upon a Poet realize they are a Poet?” Andy asked, and added, “They are elusive, Leopard like too, like the Mountain Lion. I say this because Poetry does migrate.”
“A Leopard would not want to be seen,” Boet replied.
The Poet Lionel Abrahams does write that poetry does change things. His poem ‘A Dead Tree Full of Live Birds’ is humbling, because I was just thinking as I get older, what if I can’t move my limbs anymore or speak, and mostly will my mind and memory work, so as I read here from a Tony McGregors’ article on Lionel Abrahams from an article back in 1995 by Poet Francis Faller, and Red laughs, A Poet Wisdom Relay, ha ha, ‘For Abrahams, ripening is a function of the memory. And here lies one paradox: memory is both blessing and curse. The poet would be blessed if future generations were to recollect, not his ‘self’, but the humanistic, enlightened principles for which he and his forebears strove. Red adds, a she here needs to be added. She or- He has no hunger for ‘nes’ and novelty; ‘there is enough already greatly given, / waiting to be unforgotten.’ so here is my thoughts,” Red adds, “Deeds, deeds of ones life time, can / will they keep on enlightening or haunt, furthermore regrets. So our modern term, ‘Keep it Real means a lot correct?” Red asks.
“Well, look at what we have done Andy,” Andy replies, “Lionel Abrahams’ poem, ‘A Dead Tree Full of Live Birds’ is like a book somewhat, and by our hunches, instinct we knew this. Move the train, Lets see the world full of live poets and past poets, full of life and wisdom, so yes Red, love your Poet Wisdom Relay happening. Here in Azania, radicals call South Africa.”
“I shall return,” says Boet, “I ‘am going to get us some, Herman Charles Bosmans’ Willem Prinsloo’s Peach Brandy,” and Boet laughs.
Mathias followed Boet, and Mathias has been busy with Poets of Africa online, letting them know the Poetry E Train is coming.
“Red Lionel Abrahams poem,’ A Dead Tree Full of Live Birds’ & Africa’s Queen of Trees the fig has similarities,” said Andy, “The Poets that feel writing poetry is a curse is amazing to me, while others feel it is a blessing. As we interview poets, we get a better understanding of their spirit. The last stanza of the poem is about respect, to read, and to be read, before life & time runs out.”
Red was in contemplating mode and spoke, We need to start writing to the Poets of Africa.
“Yes, okay,” Andy replied and laughed, “Contemplating is like being a Giraffe, with our heads way up in thoughts of poetry, and Giraffes like to be in groups.”
As they rolled on up and down the Railroad they notice water tables near villages in the way beyond.
Mathias and Boet returned with drinks and Boet said, “I was just thinking, and there are many poems engraved on tombstones here in South Africa, most weathered away.”
Mathias looked at them and said, “It’s almost time curate this anthology and we are near Kimberly, then onto Johannesburg, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, East London, and Durban, plus many small stations along the way.”
“Everyone, I have to warn you, the Electric Owl has picked up on some serious poems here. The Poets of the 21st Century, Koleka Putuma, Puno Selesho, Julie Wang’ombe, Genna Gardini, and Makhafula Vilakazi. And we have not even surfaced Poetry Train Africas’ untagged/unknown yet, that Mathias has found. You know us Red we don’t show favoritism but this Mutombo Poet, ha his Poet boots on. His poem ‘Poetry Saved My Life” ha, is, the new is- lightning. They all are… Mathias was correct we have not even heard a word of the poetry here. The Electric Owl picked up on Poet Tarryn Doherty way back in Canada.”
And they all smiled.
“By the way Red great music selection,” Andy replied. After a few minutes of riding and contemplating Andy spoke, “I wish we knew the language of Angels so we could do better, because we too define this better: clean slate – an opportunity to start over without prejudice, and from the writer Olaudah Equiano, to create better ways to get as we have said as across too, ‘Every rational mind answers, No. Let such reflections as these melt the pride of their superiority into sympathy for the wants and miseries of their sable brethren, and compel them to acknowledge, that understanding is not confined to feature or colour. If, when they look round the world, they feel exultation, let it be tempered with benevolence to others, and gratitude to God, “who hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth; and whose wisdom is not our wisdom, neither are our ways his ways.’ I wish we could meet the one and only Vincent Bridges. Must be a photo finish via poem or something because, wagons have no drag-ons.”
Mr. Walklemon Whipagla returned to the observation car, and Andy looked at Red, and they got that, why, and they both tele- thought this dude must be a Anti-British archaeological scholar, or a want to be one, with all the answers. Andy laughed inside thinking about his Grandfather, and he once told Andy people like this take control the whole world will fall apart. A Anti-British archaeological scholar was just satire for a slimy snake up in our business, because they can’t be them self. Ah Andy thought, and spoke out load, “8 fingers down and 2 thumbs.”
Andy I just posted a photo of Victor Maitland the bad guy from Beverly Hills Cop film on poetry trains wall and said with a quote from the film of course, What If the 1% of the 1% was a Poet? Victor was not named this for nothing!- ‘Really? That would be neat trick.’
“Did anyone click the like or a comment?” Andy asked
Nope, Red replied.
“You did that to see how deep the sleeping was.” Andy proclaimed.
Yep, Red replied.
“Let me comment a Slayer song, ‘Read Between the Lies’, not because of faiths, ha ha, because of the Art of Listening,” said Andy and laughed.
Mr. Walklemon Whipagla gave Andy a dirty look, and Andy gave Mr. Walklemon Whipagla a I can see right through you look.
Boet looked at them and said, “You two are strong, like a left and right hook.”
Red laughed and said, We are ambidextrous. We have learned a lot from candy asses. We are Super Poetry and Railroad Promoters, with a sparkle of a penny and we like to keep it that way. You see Boet in the long run the Wicked Papoose Caboose is coming.
Andy laughed and said, “No word from U.S.A. Or Brazil.”
Imagine that, Red replied.
“Imagine that,” Andy replied, “They are busy with American Politics, even Axel F told us America is screwed.”
Red spoke, Oh the braking system, oh when will it be fully applied? No need to post about that, been there done that.
Mathias spoke, “Red and Andy are great Protest Poets too.”
Poet Harry Owen says ‘Politics only exists because of people. Political poetry is essentially poetry about people.’ Red added.
“Red we tried this in Ontario,” said Andy.
I know, Red replied.
“Book & Author Promoter Sara Knight and Amazon.com is awake,” and Andy laughs, “Maybe ‘She talks to Angels like Vincent Bridges.’
And Boet played ‘She Talks To Angels.” on his laptop.
Red winked at Andy’ That Wicked Papoose Caboose wink. Andy went into online conversations with Poet Dana-zoe about poetrytrain.com and WordSlingers ‘My Human Leakage Test’ Book as the train rolled on. Andy winked back and tele-thought you have to love real Poet friends, like Olan L. Smith and so many others.
Boet asked “Here in Africa there are Animal Poachers, I wonder if there are Poet Poachers too?”
Andy laughed and replied, I’ am sure there is, web spinning, under ones skin peeling some thing like that.”
Red looked at Mr. Walklemon Whipagla and smiled.
Andy scanned the online feed, and said, “The Poet Fannon Holland is wide awake, and he sees the political ‘BS’. Red, the Poet Keorapetse Kgositsile has a serious point that was never heard of, or raised up on these journeys, and that is the Poetry Audience aka fans of Poetry aka readers have to make an effort too. You have to love that.”
Yes, as I read Keorapetse says, All cultural explorers start off from specific roots which color their vision and define the allegiances of the work of art they produce, Red explained. What a great way to look at it all. Reminds me of my first baseball game playing it after watching it on T.V. Then going to a real game. The Audience has their favorites.
“Yes,” Andy replied, “The innocence of a young one playing catch with oneself, fast pitch against a brick wall, or swatting the ball off of a tee into a net, just loving the game, and growing. As the growth Keorapetse says, and meeting a Poet, a Player of Poetry. Inspiring.”
Keorapetse Kgositsile has also seen the changes here in South Africa, Red added, And Keorapetse says, But any Time is with us. And if we take control to shape our attitude and reshape our memories, that time is always now, our time for the best possible uses of our lives. We have to love that.
“They call Poets Jesters here. Jive Jestor Red,” and Andy laughs.
Some reading took place and the Art of Listening.
The poem ‘The Fate of Revolutionary Poets’ by Allan Kolski Horwitz made Andy cry, because, the realm was seeping through. The Theater of Pain, the comedy then the tragedy. Andy looked out the window thinking and spoke, “Poetry saves lives for many reasons, Poetry saves Poets from committing murder, so Poetry must I repeat saves own life from suicide. So Poet shot, cut, bang bang, sling sling the words onto paper, to the hearing forest, wake the audience up to collaborate!!!”
Boet says, “I like what Allan Kolski Horwitz says, He’s an anarchist in socialist clothing! So we are burning the Poetry Train oil,” and Boet laughs, and says, “Yes, wow this reminds me of the Midnight Oil music video, ‘Blue Sky Mine.’ We are hauling future poetry oil, nice, this stuff rocks man. I get it. I ‘am glad I was called.”
Red looks at Andy and laughs happily.
Gentlemen, says Red, You have to love this, this wisdom coincides with Keorapetse Kgositsiles’ wisdom. Horwitz says, ‘With the brutality and stupidity of this system pushed me towards radicalism. No one creates him/herself alone. The family constellation, the culture, the language and above all, the class, into which we are born, shapes who we become. My acceptance of historical materialism as a key tool for understanding human societies and the individuals they produce was a seminal point in my intellectual and psychological evolution.’ Again, says Red, ‘The Poet relay. Red laughs and says, His perspective about Poetry is wide and wise, he wants young Poets to search for their highly original potential, and the youth should not swallow other culture as blindly.
“Sweet, ya ya,” says Andy and looks at Mr. Walklemon Whipagla and his pants. Andy then looks at Red and says, “Botsotso’, meaning tight trousers. 19th Centurians in Canada wore tight clothes. Red looked at Andy then at Walklemon and he was wearing bell bottoms. And something again was happening.
Andy smiles and carried on with the documentary, and says, “Allan Kolski Horwitz came up with a great idea, and Andy thought of someone at back home, who thinks of ideas but not this one, oh the arena, ya ya. Horwitzs’ idea for a poetry zine in a newspaper insert, brilliant, must be one of those things, of who you know,” and Andy laughs.
Mathias was in poetry mode silent and ever so mind listening. Thinking and encouraging Red and Andy for ‘Protest Poetry’ as the Poet Donald Parenzee proclaims, to encourage lateral thinking. Because during times of war and conflict, Poetry allows others who might not be in the centre of the issue to see what has really occurred. And ‘We All’ are in a massive World Widw psychological war!!!
And Poets were as the Poet Mambo Ntema says ONEBLOOD. Poetry to awaken. Poetry to the public sphere, to the public sphere, but not only that. The worlds Poets should litter the grave sites, the grave sites of the Great Poets that started the Poetry relay.
And everyone got quite and gave respect and thought, ya ya, Poet Mambo Ntemas’ ONEBLOOD!!!!!
All thought inspire the world before it’s too late, and Red started a playlist on Youtube.
Mr. Walklemon Whipagla looked Andy and said, “You have an attitude.’
Andy looks out the window and says, “Ya Ya, it’s a Poetude. Mr. Whipala. It comes from the dirt. Have you ever been laid out down on the dirt by Life alone, telling you, ‘Hey What are you going to do with your life?”
Mr. Walklemon Whipagla replies, “No, I can’t say I have.”
Andy smiles and says “It’s a inner drive, driving to write, that drove to read, that ride to read drove me to hear, that hearing, has got me listening, and that listening drove me to the gate, and that gate opened, that opening lead me to the Lady, the Lady of Poetry, the Realm of true Wisdom. In this world you excel or be expelled. The Lady is the Gifter, and the Gift is the Angelic Alphabet, translated as Poetry. And my Poetude will rub of on you so you are warn’d! It’s in the blood, and I found mine. And Mr. Whipagla, we have not traveled 100 miles in the 21st Century here in South Afric, and already the Lady has shown us, shall we say if you were listening, that; African poetry oral or written is also witness to these forces, to this interconnectedness of human, animal, plant, and inanimate environments and the cosmos. So I know not much about Imperialism but I feel some linear strike from you, and I have news for you, bands of bravos have already tried, and them arrows are well way back yonder on that dirt I mentioned.”
Mr. Walklemon Whipagla replies, “You two are not Circus Clowns.”
Andy laughs and replies, “Make a bet, most of the Bleach’d World thinks Poets are clowns, and that is what we are, and even better then that, We endorse it all. I bet you think I ‘am objectionable, undesirable, and obscene.”
Mr. Walklemon Whipagla looked down and bit his lip.
Andy looked at him and said, “We are here to uplift the Poets of Africa and Their Poetic Audience! Get us. Let me play a poem for you Mr. Whipagla, a poem by a Poet, down from Louisiana named Huggy Bear da Poet. Warn you here now, the poem is lethal.” Andy looks around at everyone, and plays the poem, ‘ A Time to Kill. And it’s a poem okay, okay.”
Andy looks at Mr. Walklemon Whipagla, and says, “You don’t have to agree, but metaphorically speaking this train is burning, this poetry train is burning hot, we have Poets loading the fire box, and we can engage like a rocket. And after this Poem I ‘am going to leave it all of this be, because this Poetude was given to me, and I lift with my gift!! This is what I do with my Life!”
Andy looked at Red, Mathias and Boet with confident assertion that poems, plays, stories, songs and paintings do matter in the real life of political confrontation. No sooner then that Andy jumped up and said, ‘What?” There were young men jumping on the train and climbing to the roof. Everyone got up, and looked at them as they hoped on the train. One passenger asked, “Are we being robbed?”
Boet explained, “No, they are Train Surfers, and this originated near here in Katlehong, one of the largest townships in South Africa and plays a key role in the history of the struggle against apartheid. After two decades ago, this place still serves as an epicenter for anti-apartheid’s guerrillas. Today, for many of these youths, the situation of segregation remains more or less unchanged. Train surfing represents the search for social redemption. These young men are Staffriders. Also there was a magazine in the 70’s & 80’s named Staffrider who had a nonracial policy and had two main objectives: to provide publishing opportunities for community-based organizations and young writers, graphic artists and photographers; and to oppose officially sanctioned state and establishment culture. I know this because of my babysitter when I was a boy, and now that I remember her favorite Poets were Francis Fuller and Eugene Skeef.”
Mathias laughed and spoke, “I told you, you were going to get some voices.”
Red laughed as the Train stopped to exchange more passengers.
Mathias laughed and said, “We get off here for a while, we are in Soweto.”
Andy got off the train, and watched the Train surfers climb down off the train, and one young man crawl out from underneath the train, and walked over to them and asked, “God Bless, how can you all play with death like that? On top of the train seems not as bad as holding on to one under the train and stuff, geez. I knew a boy when I was young who lost his legs trying to jump a train. Try reading and writing, creating exciting things so readers get addicted to reading you.”
The young men did not say anything as of yet to Andy.
One young man looked at Red and called him a coconut, and said, “He’s not a kaffir,” a white racial slur. They wore tie-dyed t-shirts with the word Kaffir printed on the front of the shirt as an attempt to heal the past and present, to make peace.
Boet spoke, “Can’t we simply stop calling people by their skin colour or how they look like? We are human beings after all not labels! Mandela taught us about forgiveness. Education is the key to getting ahead.”
One young man said, “Be wiser than the Serpent,” and looks at Andy.
“I know somewhat of how you feel. My name is Andy Sandihands, and I ‘am an American Poetry Promoter. What did you want to be when you were younger? I ‘am sure someone asked you before? What is your names?”
“My name is Lucky,” Luck replied, “and this is Dino, and Crisis.”
Mathias said, “We are going to my friends, and you Train Surfers are welcome to come.”
Lucky replied to one of Andy’s questions, “A fireman and thank you. We have a saying, Talk to us, not about us.”
“That’s a great line of work, regardless of what people say,” Andy replied.
They agreed and they walked along with them to the friends of Mathias.
Lucky said, “There are no jobs, no training, no way out of poverty, and most Africans understand that life is not made of entitlement but of hard work. Blaming others for own failures does not help. Africans must take responsibility of their destiny, unfortunately if you take as example the Afro-Americans the future is of pessimism.The fact remains that there are systemic reasons for poverty in South Africa. People can be and are definitely victims of circumstance, and when it comes to poverty color should not matter.”
Red spoke, Racism is the false believe that a certain group of people are more superior than the other.
Lucky replied “Right like we have to take our country into our own hands, just like Japan.”
Andy spoke “Every where I have been to in life where my brother and sister black people are I have never had an issue, I have been welcome inside their homes, although sadly to say, I had a bad experience in Ft. Worth Texas and that surprised me coming from where I have come from. It’s all in the eyes, all in the eyes- and Arlington, Texas at that time was a all loving place.” Andy looked at all the roofs of the shacks, and knew dang it, the U.S.A. wastes way to much roofing material, and what ever is left can be sent here.
Mathias laughs and says, “You may get thrown out of town. South Africa is a human basket case. The most dangerous place for a black person to walk at midnight is Capetown, but no body dare says it. You criticize what you are safe from… unless you want to be a martyr like Faydah.”
Andy changed the subject, and said, “I used to want to be a pen dealer, with a mobile store, so I can set up shop anywhere. My favorite is Papermate, the infamous Flair pen. So what is yours?”
Lucky replied, “I like Applebee or anything from Write Gear.”
Andy smiled and said, “Now we are getting somewhere.” He thought, Open discourse and transparency is the best way to make progress. Being colorblind doesn’t fix anything at all. Teach children where you or they come from and the reality of the world and help them become better people because of it. We all need to talk about racism in order for us to fix it, no one is satisfied with being silent anymore. People don’t have to throw themselves in front of a speeding train to prove that they are not racist or to be anti-racist either.
(to be continued)
ya ya the C inside the Circle John E. WordSlinger
Poetry Train Africa is the Third Book of Poetry Train Stories
Poetry Train America and Poetry Train Canada
all acknowledgments and &c &c here so join us on the journey:
a PoetryTrain.com webcast
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Cape to Cairo Documentary by Minnesota Sea Grant and Dr. Athelstan Spilhaus and Louise S. O’Connor
South Africa in the 19th Century by Jim Jones
The British defence of the Pretoria – Delagoa Bay railway D W Aitken
Britain’s global trade in the Great Days of Sail – John McAleer
A Study of Poetry’ by Bliss Perry pages 262-264 the poem ‘The Congo’ by Vachel Lindsay
The Bleek Collection by Lucy Lloyd, Dorothea Bleek, and G.W. Stow
The Keeper of the Kumm by Sylvia Vollenhoven
The sad story of Lobengula’s children
Written by Chakamwe Chakamwe
The Legendary Treasure of Zimbabwe’s King Lobengula by Forbidden Treasure 2016
Three Years with Lobengula: And Experiences in South Africa By J. Cooper-Chadwick
The Boswells: The Story of a South African Circus By Charles Ricketts
For Love and Glory, Crossing the Heart of Africa by David Maxwell Braun of National Geographic
From the Cape to Cairo; the first traverse of Africa from south to north (1902) by Ewart Scott Grogan
Great Railway Journeys – Rhodesia Zambezi Epress Michael Wood & Mike Palin
Desert of the Skeletons by New Atlantis Full Documentaries
The Iron Man by Yvette Kimm
Egypt’s Revolution and Higher Education By Troy Camplin
‘New News Out of Africa’ by Charlayne Hunter -Gault
Antjie Krog and the Post-Apartheid Public Sphere: Speaking Poetry to Power by Anthea Garman
An Inappropriate Text for an Appropriate Evening – Read Antjie Krog’s Keynote Address from the 2015 Sunday Times Literary Awards
Begging to Be Black’ Liminality and Critique in Post-Apartheid South Africa by Stewart Motha
An Inappropriate Text for an Appropriate Evening – Read Antjie Krog’s Keynote Address from the 2015 Sunday Times Literary Awards by Jane Rosenthal
How the Leopard Got His Spots by Samuel Arbesman
How the leopard got his spots: Turing’s theory by Andrew Haynes
How The Literary Class System Is Impoverishing Literature
On the Systemic Economic Barriers to Being a Writer by Lorraine Berry
Roy Campbell: Bombast and Fire by Joseph Pearce
On the magazine internship crackdowns & a response to Coyne by Claire Seaborn
Bell Canada cancels massive unpaid-internship program by Zoe McKnight
Turbott Wolfe and the emotional aspects of the colour-situation by Gareth Cornwell
The Cambridge History of South African Literature edited by David Attwell, Derek Attridge
A Very Bitter Love-Making Women as Points of Cross-cultural Encounter in William Plomer’ s Turbott Wolfe by Stephen Naudé (Johannesburg)
Two of my favourite poems by South African poet Lionel Abrahams by Tony McGregor
Revealing the Leopard | Nature Documentary by The Best Documentaries
The Herman Charles Bosman Literary Society
Moolman, Modikwe Dikobe, Jane Fox and Uys Krige by Patricia Schonstein
The Keeper of the Kumm by Sylvia Vollenhoven
Specimens of Bushman Folklore By W. H. I. Bleek
Bushman dictionary By D.F. Bleek
A Bushman Dictionary by Dorthea F. Bleak
Reynard the Fox in South Africa: Or, Hottentot Fables and Tales By Wilhelm Heinrich Immanuel Bleek
The First People of the Cape: A Look at Their History and the Impact of By Alan Mountain
The Cambridge History of South African Literature edited by David Attwell, Derek Attridge
“A Very Bitter Love-Making”. Women as Points of Cross-cultural Encounter in William Plomer’ s Turbott Wolfe by Stephen Naudé (Johannesburg)