Writing is like taking your clothes off in public: at one level or another, you're exposing yourself to people you don't know. Yet writers still write; we still show off our crazy to complete strangers. Hopefully it generates some empathy and a few laughs, but it might just make your belly flip with painful recognition. Because see that naked crazy person? That might be you up there. So read on, friend; you're not alone here.
Jill Bolte Taylor's Stroke of Insight
Thursday, May 10, 2012
djembes have called for days.
aren’t for you
you stay busy, pretending
ignore the groups of twos and threes
in from all around,
the growing party atmosphere.
village is throwing a wedding and
they are black and
of a tribe and you
white and a singular oddity
out of rudeness; simply
don’t understand who you are.
Why should you want to go?
night has fallen again and you
again pacing the small hot rooftop balcony
your warm beer and your cold, restless mind.
Suddenly the social boundaries aren’t
enough to keep you out of trouble.
moon is a ripe yellow three-quarter and across
goat-path they call a road, out in a bare field
red fire flickers. The drums are there.
Leaping figures, laughter, shouting.
feet take you (rebellious things)
the steps and across the stubbled remnants
of cassava plants that scratch your legs.
and there a stump smolders:
smudge your skin but do not hide
you are: Toubab, pale wanderer
unknown creature, a question mark.
soon you arrive; it is far fiercer than you imagined
fire burns high and hot
dancers whirl, leopard-like and fast
to a stop in midair on seeing you:
turning in your direction
circle parts for you, drums faltering slightly.
violation they have no words for. Nothing to be done
bow your head to ask permission
too-clean sandals in the dust.
it does for all fools
a glacial smile.
Suddenly a woman snorts
mocking?) and stamps her bare black
foot so fiercely your stomach drops
the dance resumes.
are caught up, swept up, beat up
those drums: goatskin and wood and thong
to burst the world apart.
heart--a human heart--is simply too small
contain such a thing.
So you must dance
soon your sandals are a thing of the past.
are your bare feet stamping alongside theirs
your arms encircling
your spine a black mamba
round a tree trunk that later turns out
be Joseph from the other side of the village.
is daylight before you can stop
are still dancing your way home across the field