What do you know about making those little cuts that drain life slowly but surely?

you have to be precise and focused when you are trying to kill yourself

one inch too far and you are a vegetable or just another ugly mofo

your only regret is that you have never been given the option of “Return to the Sender” when you were given Life

every thread of bliss you ever held always get cut off as soon as a smile breaks open your face

you sometimes envy those who laugh easy as if their lives were soft and easy

or just maybe they have learned to not stare too long into the abyss

as they go on listening to sultry and soothing tunes of those who have nothing else but joy.

no cut is ever the same, every single one is always a new experience

you don’t have to be dead to feel dead,

and I’m sure feelings are the last thing dead people worry about

sometimes it feels like having these feelings is all I look forward to

Death in itself doesn’t look as charming as it was from that angle

Do those who jump over the bridge question their decision as they see the ground approach?

There’s no instant replay when you cross some lines

Your mind might indulge itself in replaying it for your own pleasure

but Reality only offers One Way trips

the Past is alive in us with all its twists and half truths

you speak words like nails onto a cross

you march like the universe rests on your shoulders

but you are not ready to be swallowed up

and when everything is said and done, you know you like your cups half full.

Mali, mon ami

Being a francophone, African, and just plain curious, I wanted to write about the coup d’etat (one of those favorite political activities African military likes to play where they take down their captain to replace by a more promising captain) in Mali, but I didn’t like it so here’s some things to celebrate about Mali. I’m sure there’s more, but since everyone is talking democracy, separation of regions and complex, complicated words that give me headaches, I rather try a simple (not simplistic) approach to an unfamiliar country.

Motto: Un peuple, un but, une foi (One nation, one goal, one faith)

National hymn is : Pour l’Afrique et pour toi, Mali (For Africa and for you Mali)

This is the old and unauthorized English version of the national hymn:

NATIONAL HYMN BY THE PIONEERS OF MALI BY BEMBA DIARRA

“This is the day of Africa
It’s time for Africa
Oh oh youth
This is bliss,
The night from the sun disappears fresh ray,
Inscribe in the heavens,
Freedom,
Write unity,
This is the day of Africa
Oh oh youth
It’s time for Africa
What a great experience
Konate our father with dignity
We will follow your way
We want your faith
The battle of remembrance
The battle of the future
We will win them
We will win them
This is the day of Africa
Oh oh youth
It’s time for Africa
What a great experience
We made these oaths
We’ll do the Mali
We’ll do Africa
We’ll do Africa
Even if it requires our blood
We will move forward
Even it requires our blood
We will go running
This is the day of Africa
Oh oh youth
It’s time for Africa
What a great experience.”

Do you speak Bambara? How do you say: I love you. I want peace. I want freedom. I have a dream. Let freedom ring ! Apparently one of the most popular languages in Mali isn’t available online.

Have you listen to this calming and soothing and yet fierce Tuareg musicians Tinariwen?

Have you listened to Kandia Kouyate, one of the most powerful, soulful, charismatic, african vocalists?


What comes to mind when I say ‘Mali’, for me I hear ami even though I don’t have any friends from Mali.

Since this is Friday and you probably have nothing else to do other than to sit here, here’s a movie by Souleymane Cisse called “Yeelen” which means Brightness, it’s based on a Bambara legend.

Short story: An irritating habit

His mind had the irritating habit of touching things and people with words except anything that was too close to him.
After the short blur of the morning, his mind would set off to work seeking underneath, above and around things and people to find that new scent. For him there was no such thing as a short or a long break. He could have been under the worst weather, stuck in traffic, mouth filled with a cheese burger, as long as oxygen got to his brain, his mind played and poked with things and people.
He soon found out that he was having the best time of his life, looking and poking things and people with his mind. He never expected to meet any obstacles. The idea of obstruction to his fun was simply preposterous and he would flick it out of his head by smoothing down his black and curly hair.
He had finally established for himself and those around him a smooth and well-paced life that he came to believe himself to be the master of his destiny. Since he was quite observant about his own habits, he also started taking notes of other people’s habits. It is this note taking that always kept him distracted at dinner and breakfast tables, and for some obscure reasons and despite his acute abilities of delving into the psyche of those around him, he remained nonetheless completely unaware of how irritating anyone found him when having dinner or breakfast with him. He was told innumerable of times that if he was to abandon that habit of his, he would be the most pleasant company, and he argued that the progress of science depended on his note taking and that his present company should agree to suffer a few minutes of neglect while he recorded observations that could one day benefit the whole humanity. His wife would usually smile at this speech she has heard their whole marriage. He would write down: “contempt and disbelief at the progress of humanity. No one is a prophet in his own house.” They were at their favorite Thai restaurant, she liked it because like her bedroom manners have shown some fire in her otherwise routine life and he liked it because for the first few years they came, it seemed that there was no shortage for him of characters and behaviors to record:

Miss F. should really change her oculist because she always bump into that door on her way out, but she’s always has a smile and a dollar for that homeless guy who hangs out at the corner, I wouldn’t be surprised if she has handed her a $50 dollars bill thinking it’s a five dollars bill.

Mr. G. tends to fall asleep mid sentences and then wakes up to join in the conversation so smoothly that no one thinks of it as an issue anymore. He should see a neurologist about it and maybe a psychologist while he’s at it because he can’t stop hitting on other people’s wives despite his graying hair.

Miss. B…

“George, I’m going to spend some time with my mother that is if you care to know where I am. I can’t take it anymore, I have tried everything, but I have had it. Adieu George.”

“Give her my salutations” he replied without looking up from his notes. They had returned home that night and George had changed and quickly retired in his study room. He didn’t see the tears running down her cheeks or hear the taxi that she had called earlier to take her to the airport.

When he finally got ready to go to bed and he noticed the light of the kitchen still lit, he called for his wife, Martha: “Hey, darling what are you still doing in the kitchen at this hour of the night?” he didn’t get a reply. He walked a few steps toward his bedroom and stopped suddenly. He felt a tingle down his spine. Something was out of balance. A piece had come out of joints but he couldn’t, for the life of him, figure out what that could have been. He returned to his study and saw that all his papers were in order. He went downstairs, checked the living room, dining room, the windows and the doors and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He was so absorbed in his thoughts that he went to his bedroom that was dark, and thinking that she was asleep and not wanting to disturb her, he tiptoed to his side of the bed and slipped as quietly as he could and soon took off in the land of dreams, a frown still lingering for the unsolved itch he just got.

His dreams were the most disturbing he has ever had as his life was replayed in front of his eyes, but all of a sudden, all the sadness, tears, anger and frustration, missed meals, ignored conversations and questions, her talks with friends and her mother, all came rushing like a locomotive that he saw coming but noticed it too late to do anything about it. He woke up screaming: “Martha!!!!” The name seemed to shake the whole house and inside him like never before.  What have I done, he thought to himself. What have I done?

Words had scattered away to the corners of his mind and reality (other than his) seeped in slowly and painfully. He was going to need a different armor other than the one he’s been carrying around.

Writing along “Ego trippin’ by Nikki Giovannni

I have a big belly because I have a lot to say
I wouldn’t sadly be able to say the same about my head
When I fall in love which is very often I must say, my ears flutter like a butterfly
My nostrils do a quick suction movement when anger beats hard in my chest
My lips pull back to show my advertisement worth teeth
My arms swell up and stretch when I do push ups and they inflate easily my ego
I have these olympic legs to sustain my substance and the world on my shoulders
And now that we are on the topic of my shoulders, these majestic and herculean pads require constant display to justify their size
Regarding my feet, they have this immaculate neatness to the point that I use my toes as forks and toenails as knives
My voice which rises, fluctuates, modulates, grows and diminishes depending on the mood of my listeners has earned the nickname “Silver Tongue”
I keep my eyes light diminished by non medical glasses and few are those who have looked inside those eyes and survived
If you see yourself in me, it’s simply because we are the same
gods made of the same stuff as the stars.

Three months

Three months at the hospital
90 days she will never have back
Three months of fast and prayer
Three months me and God fighting
Like Job begged God
I begged and prayed
To have mercy on her
By taking me, her mother, instead of her.
I still remember the day she was born,
She had the smiling eyes of my dear husband
and my thick and proud hair

She gained weight quickly
And was a happy fat cheeked baby
She was the joy of everyone that met her
Women at church and at the market fought over holding her
I was the happiest mother in town in those days
We sang lullabies, we played in water, we communicated like beings
who have known each other in another life
At three years old, you cried a river when I left you with grandma for two days
I felt the same but it was to prepare us both these three unforgettable months
Now here I am sitting with you
Between life and death
Arguing God and the Devil
Begging for no one to take my child
The highlight of my day is when you smile while I give you a bath
You are thirteen years old
And its been three eternal months
Before and after don’t exist
Doctors wanted to get me admitted too
But I told them that if she dies
Just wrap me with her body and bury us
On that day when the earth stopped spinning
When the flowers stopped blooming
When the stars fell off the sky
When the night came to stay
When God hid his face
When the devil laughed out loud
When you ate and talked like everything was going to be ok
On that day I decided to leave I got in the taxicab and you left me alone
Later they told me that I refused clothes, food and water for three days
But here I am a living dead and you are gone:
Rosa, Rosa, Rosa what am I going to do without you?