Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín

Invited Poets to the 25° Medellin
Internacional Poetry Festival

July 11th to 18th, 2015

Poets from Africa

 


Umar Timol  is the author of three collections of poetry, La Parole Testament, Sang, and Vagabondages, published by Editions l'Harmattan. He contributed to numerous anthologies in Mauritius and abroad. He also wrote a text for a graphic, Les yeux des autres, which was published in the anthology Visions of Africa (Harmattan). He is a founding member of Point barre, a Mauritian cross-disciplinary poetry journal that publishes poets from around the world. He was awarded a grant by the Centre National du Livre (CNL) to attend a writers residency at the Festival des Francophonies at Limoges, and another to work on his novel Le monstre. His novel Journal de la vieille folle was published in 2012 by Editions l'Harmattan in the series Lettres de l’Océan Indien.


Blood

 

You are beautiful. And I am mad.

Body of stone. Body of sun. Body alone. Summer milkiness. Neckline’s wild plunge. You are my ivory flesh. Black star. My province of obscene desire. You seal me up in walls beneath the dome of lamentations. My permitted succulence. My mistress. My connivance of the senses. My tyrannical moon-being. My possessed princess. My filigree of sweat, my idol wrapped in silk. And thorns.

Work of fire and blood. Your circling lips marry and notch my skin. Dry me. I am a desert. Whip me. I am a slave. Make me your vassal. I am your thing. Your trinket. I pleat up your nape. I open out your belly’s secrets. Your celestial dunes. Your hair is a sheaf of flames. Your eyes a hurricane of sand. I slit your swollen tongue and quench my thirst. It is a sacred wafer for that infidel, my mouth. It is a chalice for my mouth, heretical.

I renounce all duty. Reason. I am a worshipper in places of excess. I am a beggar at the threshold of your tavern. I quench my thirst hallucinating at your springs. With opium and wine. I sniff your opiate fragrances. I bite your intoxicating nicks and cracks.

I am the one in rags who bathes your feet with kisses. I want to drink. And drink again. And drink. And then dissolve, sucked up by the small cells of drunkenness.

I am love’s lover. The one in wool. The one in clothes of mud and grime.

The one who prostrates himself across your body. I am the place of veneration. The place of prayer.

The one who at your veil’s first light recites your eyes’ silences. The one who gleans braids of blood on your mausoleum.

And you are my sacred book. My poem.

And I am a mad poet begging for the meaning of your verb. And I am a mad poet stealing words.

Mad poet pocketing his gestures of obedience. Mad poet who declares a transmuted language.

Words of incantation to celebrate and create you. Words beyond words to love you.

And you are my fertile one, my indecorous one. The one who purges me of all my weariness. Who ebbs away my faults and my resentments. Who brings together ecstasy and pain.

And your nectar permeates my most unruffled dreams. Your nectar saturates my night repentances.

You are a feast I break, a celebration which corrupts.

And I savour your white throat. I breathe your spicy scents, decant your swelling beads of sap.

And you are my vanity. My lustful one. My shameless virgin.

You criss-cross the vengeful seas, the fetid streets. You criss-cross my greedy carcass and my terrified delights. While my saliva still besmears your lips. And while the liquors of enjoyment dry to threads stitching your fissured skin.

You are a woman and the hungry dark crumples the graves. You are a woman and the sky exudes flakes of stone.

You are a woman and the ocean dries to desert and the earth decalcifies. You are a woman and the animals are shivering apocalyptic signs.

And you are beautiful. My opaline gazelle. The water that rains down between my lashes. Sighs which stroke my dreams to velvet. Saffron to dress the surface of my scars.

And you are beautiful. My gentle one. My yielding one. Your face a shining dawn. Blue nebula. A necklace of the dust of stars. Necklace of endless promises.

And you are beautiful. My hidden treasure. Ripple of diamonds. Tresses of pearls. Canvas of rubies. I am the silversmith of your enchantments. Of your idleness.

And you are beautiful. A woman-island. Island-woman. I revoke my elsewheres, take my island-dweller’s oath. I am a lighthouse built on your belly-button. I light up the canticles of your luxuriance.

And I still want for years to come to crawl like an animal across your shroud. And patch it with my blood. And go to sleep co-mingled with my refuge – with your bloodless body.

And I black my eyes with the ashes of my black moon. And I disclaim the frivolous distorted dramas of the fleeting. And my blinded subject flesh gives itself up to the obsessions and the prejudices of your cult.

And I am a body-instrument. A body-tabla. A body-ravane.

And you give me rhythm in the furrows of your lips. And you excise me on your crucifix.

And you are a mirror.

And you inflect the migration of the stars. And wreath the suns in snow.

You are a mirror. You suck the crimson out of evil’s poisonous reds.

You are a mirror. Deep in your glass I uproot myself in order to be you.

You are a mirror. And I shatter you.

 

Your fractures slice my veins. Long after I have died my blood will collect your breath on madness’s esplanades.

And I am dust circling a white-hot niche.

The world’s heart.

And I cut off the heads of those – faithful and unbelievers – who wallow at your feet but who cannot unearth the alchemies of love.

And I drift about in my fragile boat with the souls of the outlawed and the weak.

And I give the lame to eat. I sing of infamy with lepers. And my body is a shelter for the mangy dog. And my body is a suit of armour for the tramp. My body is a well for the fallen woman’s weeping.

And in their dwelling-place which is my dwelling-place I converse with madmen.

And our bloody lips are dancing inspired words reciting verses from the book of love.

And you are beautiful. My black fairy. My black wound. And I want to exhaust black pupils excavating verbs inside my skin. And chisel an ebony dream. To strip the bark from this ebony dream.

Extract its essence and unravel all your strange excesses.

And I chant your name as nothingness engulfs me I invoke your name when war throws up the bodies of dead children.

And I implore your name when my tears are wiped away and I no longer want to, can no longer cry.

And I am in waiting.

For the black sap that runs like nerves within your rounded flesh. For the black sap which inks in your hair.

And I am in waiting.

For the black sap which populates your skin. For the black sap which swells your rage.

Let it cut into me, impale me. Let it abandon me as fodder for the spiteful crowd of clowns.

For I am nothing.

And I want to die.

And I watch for glimmers which foretell my sacrifice.

My friends, sharpen your sabres.

For I do not recognise either death or life.

For to die is to be reborn in you. It is to be you.

And you are beautiful. You are the most beautiful.

And I am travelling beyond the bounds of time.

I am the lover of all your places. Where you have been and where you will be.

I am a father and I have conjured you in my imagination. I am a mother and I have fashioned you. I am your first smile and your first gulp of milk.

I am the tracts of land which you have trampled. And the skies you have deserted. I am your hands unfolded at the hour of prayer. And your hands knotted at the hour of pain.

I am the swelling seas you have caressed. And the raging tumults you have calmed.

I am the letters that chisel your first name. And the sacred book which holds the secret of our conjugations.

I am the hands that will rock your final breath. And the hands that will stroke you to sleep inside your tomb.

And I love you.

And a single atom of your love can satisfy my hunger. And makes me shine.

A single atom of your love amputates all my unsightliness. And purges me of my rottenness.

A single atom of your love and I forget myself.

And I think of you alone.

A single atom of your love and I am beatified. I am the chosen one.

And I love you.

And you are in all things.

You are the sun untying the restraints of dark. The sun that casts its scarlet glow across the oceans’ indolence.

You are the tears that burst across the seams of dawn.

The tears that celebrate secessions of the dusk. The tears that mow down cavalcades of moons.

And you are in all things.

You are the souls under assault. And the monsters that attack us.

And the axes that embalm our eyes.

You are love’s transients as we lay down our irreparable hates.

You are the last remaining snow and bursts of fire that sift the ashes of my nights.

And I love you.

And I am a man alone prostrated in the desert.

And I fast.

And I stone the spectres come from other places.

And I fast.

My encircled body is a wound, a crevasse.

An empty skin and dwelling-place for your amazements.

You.

And you are beautiful.

And I see hell and heaven intertwined in your amber eyes and in your filmy body.

And I desire neither mercy nor damnation but your love.

Your love alone.

And I love you.

I banish my own heart so I can be your heart.

I tear me from myself so I may live in you.

Grant me extinction.
 

Translated by Susan Wicks

Web de Poetry International -English-
Web of Umar Timol (The Killer’s Monologue | Diary of an Old Mad Woman) wordswithoutborders.org/ -English-
Umar Timol, 5 Questions pour Île en île -VIDEO- -French-
Umar Timol: "THE EYES OF OTHERS" Filmed at the Poetry International Festival, Rotterdam, June 2012 -VIDEO, French-
Bibliographical information about Umar Timol www.lesfrancophonies.com -French-
Umar Timol, Poete Mauricien Entrevue par Hélène Soris. francopolis.net -French-
Umar Timol´s web on Africultures www.africultures.com/ -French-
Umar Timol – Looking for beauty defimedia.info. Interview -English-

Published on January 31, 2015.

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