Wednesday, August 19, 2009

To Look Like Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba Or Any Of His Distant Kin In The New World

Out of the unknown he comes, the lonesome God, with a net cast a thousand yards further out to sea hoping to retrieve…something, wishing that all of this living has not been in vain. He wears a cap, with an insignia facing front like the sweat drenched faces of those old colonial soldiers going to war for the mother country, or cocked to the side in defiance maybe, or for the sake of fashion. Maybe he carries a gun to rob with, making those popular beliefs true after all.

Thrust from the wreckage of the past is he, stumbling in confusion, dreaming in secret that his father would call him by name, claim him the same and without shame. For he has not left. He has been brave enough in spite of it all; brazen to the point where he can stoop down in the face of the child and with one outstretched arm say, you too can survive this, you must. But alas, it has not been so and in the eyes of this descendant of the divine could be seen a hurt that is locked so far away.

Here at the heart of the modern world, a desert shawl is at his neck or under the insignia fitted cap in defiance maybe, or for the sake of fashion. The passions are dulled so swiftly and so soon, he is numb without even realizing it; given the sludge to drink, as brew is sipped, aged and refined in another part of town. The sun rotates for another day. The waves rise and fall wherever they are. The stars drop and freeze like sugar crystals in glue and he is none the wiser. This path has already been set. He reacts and destroys himself.

There is a recluse living in the guarded recesses. No conscious hand can touch him. No head can nod with authority at his derision. No mouth can articulate his dreams with upturned lips. At this place, resilience lives, controlling his own fate, dictating the terms of his beginning and end, finding no fault with what comes between; giving in to it knowingly; succumbing to it piously, like the knees that bend at the holy city of Touba; like Ahmadou’s distant kin in the new world…taking it day by day.