Africa of my Imagination

 

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I have become aware that I am preparing for Africa in my imagination, sorting through fantasies, fixed ideas, fears, anxieties. Who are these people? What is this continent? What inside of me is already in conversation, in contact, with this thing I am calling Africa?

I begin to notice that “Africa” exists as something inside before it exists outside. I understand, perusing what I have already written, poems I began to write from just before I met the students here for the first time, that I am in relationship with something in my own imagination and that, like the convergence of two rivers, the ‘real’  Africa and ‘my’ Africa are preparing for a collision.

I imagine that many of you are also fantasizing, dreaming, musing, in reverie about Africa.  I’d like to gather a few of those images.  I imagine that somewhere in Cape Town a teacher or a student is also dreaming, imagining us.

I wrote this poem this morning in response to Ban the incessant drone! If you find yourself looking at the reflection of Africa, the one that exists inside of you, the one that has always been there, take note. I’d like to gather them up.

thanks, gene

Hey there, what’s that sound?

“And that’s exactly it. Soccer, life, here is vibrant, loud, pulsating, powerful.
We Africans don’t do sterile or boring. It’s just not in our DNA.” –Ian McDonald

side by side
life
death
excitement
violence
masquerading as each other
taking turns

the vuvuzela
call
response
world as stadium
life as game
side by side
masquerading as each other

rhythm
music
dance
drums

across the road
from the whitewashed mansions
townships
full of life
and death
side by side
unrecognizable to each other

“vibrant
loud
pulsating
powerful”
the sound of gunshots?
the sound of drums?
excitement
violence
life
death

side by side
rich
poor
black
white
hands without hearts
hearts without hands
wrestling each other
for a piece
of the world
for a time
that may never
come

is that singing
that i hear
or
is that africa screaming?

Poem by Gene Alexander

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