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Poetry Train Africa: Ethiopia

By John E. WordSlinger All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Humor

CHAPTER 5 Way Upon the Kingdom in the Sky, Where the Sun Sat on Poetry Lesotho 10th November 2016


The Mountains looked to be shrinking as Red, and Andy rode horse back, to find Poets, Readers, and Railroaders, furthermore wisdom in this sector of the realm in the beautiful country of Lesotho. Scratch followed along keeping his eyes all around. A Saxicola Castor was following them and chirping away. They smiled too, because it sounded as though the bird was laughing at them. They heard singing too far away. The Basuto Horses were amazing, fearless, and they knew where any Dinosaur foot print was on their path, and the Horses made sure they stepped in each one on their treks.

Andy pointed at some round houses off in the distance and said “Bam! We need to find a watering hole. This land looks like the west in the states and west Canada Red.”

Yes, the Grand Canyon too, and we need to get to the village, and talk to a Chief first, so we have permission at a watering hole. Red pointed at rock formations, they were circles, and he smiled. Andy knew why, it was the wisdom of the straw, down by the Poetry realms law.

A lady came up to them smiling, and asked to groom the horses. They could tell by her eyes, and the movements of her hands she was a gentle and wise woman. She spoke either isiXhosa, Sesotho or Setswana, the language of the clans by King Moshoeshoe. We agreed, and stepped down to stretch ourselves. A boy from a distance was calling her “Mantsopa, Mantsopa.” The woman was the Prophetess of Power, Anna Makhetha Mantsopa, and the King of Lesotho Moshoeshoe whom she protected, feared her over her vision that came true, and he sent her into exile. The King feared her. ′Imagine that, Andy & Red thought to each other, in time travel tele-thought mode from study, ‘Those who love get the shaft, even back in the 19th Century, but hey, we must love on anyway.’

“Katsi come here,” the Prophetess of Power, Anna Makhetha Mantsopa, said. She motioned the boy was blind, so she kept saying his name Katsi until he came close to them. He was nervous, and explaining things to her, and it seemed danger was coming. Danger; Doom and Dreads’ sister. She looked at Andy and Red, and pointed to the low areas in the valley.

“Red I think she is telling us many things,” Andy said, “There are spirits walking on the road to Heaven, and an army is on the way, and we need to get out of sight. And the circles of stones.”

I feel that she wants to show us too, what she’s about to do, Red said.

She reached out with her walking stick, and made a turtle on the dry land.

Andy blurted out, “Heaven yes, the magic of the rain turtle.”

Red tele-thought to Andy, about the seventh game of the 2016 world series, and it’s effect and power of change. Something was about to change, in a drastic way.

The boy, Katsi spoke, ‘The gate of mud’ also known as Lekhalong la Bo Tau or ’The Pass of the Lions.” He spoke English, and they thanked him. He looked at them and said, “We all must go know, storms will be coming, and this will slow down the army that is passing here. The waters get high and can be dangerous. We must go, and sing Izibongos, praise songs and poems.”

Anna Makhetha Mantsopa looked at Andy and laughed. She spoke, “Ke ’na thabela ho kopana le bobeli ba lōna ka bobeli. Let’s ea ’me ba bang lithoko le tlohela ea bona nakong e tlang ... Re lokela ho potlaka, lipula li tlang.”

Red deciphered most of what she said, I am pleased to meet the both of you both. Let’s go and do some poetry, and let’s go see the future... We must hurry, the rains are coming.

As they all walked to the cave, people were singing, and dancing. Some held sticks as high up as they could. Andy thought about lightning, and thunder could be heard. This was legendary, the struggle for peace was happening. Everyone, the women, the men, and their dances were impressive. The women wore top clothing that looked like five white inner tube looking blouses with white furry skirts. They also wore white chalk on their skin, except for their hands. They were chanting Lithothokiso, aka praise poems.

The Prophetess, Anna Makhetha Mantsopa brought them water, fresh water from the scared spring. A healing kind of water. She looked at Scratch, and gave him water, then for Andy and Red. She smiled at Scratch, the Mountain Lion of the Americas, had come here, to the Pass of Lions. She took their horses to drink and rest.

Red, and Andy knew they had to listen to this celebration. Scratch was entertained by the blind boy Katsi or vise to the verse. This too alone was a sight to see. Scratch was cat playing, and the boy loved it. Everyone else loved it too, as they smiled, and danced. They were singing, Poetry up on; people should not be killed, bring the key to peace, bring the key to peace. Break the sticks of politics, break them, break them, all they do is make us sick, a deep sickness. The scent of burning filled the air, as the sky darkened.

As everyone celebrated, Andy and Red noticed an oriental woman sitting on the ground. She looked out of place. Red motioned for Andy to go talk to her. Andy walked over to her and introduced himself, and sat down. She was nervous, and Andy asked her about her name why she was so nervous, and she replied, “My name is Mika Kalati and I am nervous of the British army coming to get me. I escaped their harem, their so called private sector for sin, for their dark and nasty imperialistic behavior. They raped me, and others, from China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines. They also pimp us out to Railroaders, and you would think they would take us away from these sins, but no, but I did manage one to get me this far, but I am sure he is paying a price.

Andy looked at Red, and they remember the poem “Trinity Lane” by John E. WordSlinger.

The rain appeared and so did the Poet Edith Louisa Mary King, so everyone went inside the cave, and Edith Louisa Mary King spoke, “I have brought us all twigs, and I am going to teach everyone rhythm and rhyme, and let’s create our own play, as Poetry hunters and gatherers. Our own, Poetry from history. In all due respect, Shakespeare we won’t need you this time.”

The wind, and the wind of un-recorded time of the storm outside was blowing in the future, furthermore the vision, the vision was that, the heart of man must embrace peace, do it within, near to family and friends, they must, or we all will be dust, no more existence. Fear God, but do not neglect them. Heap of love, heap love. They all seen, and felt this vision within the cave, love one another. Red looked at Andy, and they knew what was happening. Danger was causing the nightmare, the sister of Doom and Dread.

Andy began to have a nightmare, and a fever appeared, and he tossed as turned in his roomette asking, “Have the climbing pegs to heaven been removed? Is the noise from earth to loud for the creator? Why did the great worm of the earth ever come to surface? Will River Gods have remorse for mankind, and keep giving us a little bit of wisdom at a time? Will the great Hippopotamus return with children so their mothers can adore them again? How many bracelets would be returned from the underworld? Will the rains wash the world away?”

Andy awakes in a very sick state, and Red had to stop the train, and take Andy to a soul doctor.

Red hoped to the heavens Andy did not get malaria, because Red knew it was no mild illness. Boet and Mathias knew they had to bring Andy to the nearest Doctor, who has saved many from insect, snake and animal bites. Red knew Andy had to go under the microscope, and not some Obama care x-ray, and here you go, take these, and get to your regular Dr, back in the United States as soon as possible, that was just not going to happen. They were in Lesotho, for Poetry’s sake.

Andy had a swollen throat too, and he wrote a note to Red, saying, I have had unfamiliar tastes in my mouth yesterday. Red, I think Angels have been feeding me things from eternity. Reds eyebrows arose.

Mathias looked at them, and said, “I shall return, I must go, and gag the press.”

Andy while in pain, was thinking of the intellectual sketch of all of this.

“Wait, Mathias,” Boet proclaimed, “We need to find a Healer, because we don’t want to red flag. Because you know as well as I do, they may think Red and Andy as like the English whom leeched, and stuck its hooks into the black bowels of a black country inhabited by a black folk. We need to be, and remain discreet about this.”

“Boet, where are we going to find one that won’t cook Andy?” Mathias replied.

“Well we are going to have to find one,” Boet replied.

Mathias and Boet knew these kind of malevolent Doctors kill with a wound to the neck, but did not say anything about this to Red or Andy.

“Mathias, go and find a healer, and we will take Andy to the church across the road, come back soon, and we will catch you there,” Boet demanded.

Once they got to the church, a missionary there spoke, and knew right away, “This is the work of the devil, come inside. Let’s get this man cooled down.”

Thank you, Red said, We need to bathe him.

“He is sweating, he is already showering,” The missionary said, and he recited a Poem by the Poet Jack Mapanje “Skipping Without Rope.”

Boets cell phone rang and his ring tone is the horn, from the Stimela’ The Coal Train song by Hugh Masekela. He answers and it is Mathias, and he is on his way back with a healer.

Andy opened his eyes, and spoke, “Everyone, I had a dream where I drove around my old neighborhood in Chicago, and every park I passed, there were people playing football, and I thought, this is great, this is tradition, of football, so I thought, Poetry, Poetry anthologies by many publishers all trying to have fun and achieve the same goal. The experience, the audience, the memories and &c. This is what it’s like, isn’t it beautiful, the tradition of Poetry? All races, playing for the love.”

Red smiled and said, Yes it is Andy, Andy rest, a healer is on the way, rest Andy. Red took Andy’s cell phone, a basic phone, not no high-tech smart phone, that changes the world into taking app naps, similar to texting while driving. Texting kills, Andy always thought, but since him being sick, family in the U.S.A. Texted Andy concerned about his health. Once Red got a bit of privacy outside the church Red browsed the text messages, and one of the them was about Andys’ mother who passed away in April, and Andy told no one. Red held down the phone, cupped his mouth, and thought, such pain must be building up in Andy, he must have worried him self sick too.

Boet and Mathias joined Red outside, and Red told them about Andys’ mother, and that Andy and he have been on these Poetry journeys for a long time now, and it’s been a long time since they first left Chicago, and seen any member of family or friend.

Andy is tired of the racism in America, and the decline of empathy and fellowship, Red told them, Furthermore the Presidential elections. Andy was furious about that too, but he and Red both seen these issues surfacing in the U.S.A. While during Poetry Train America, and looking back from Poetry Train Canada too. Red thought of Native American wisdom, Only when they poison the last drop of water will they understand the value of life.

I want to ask the missionaries for a local map, or atlas of this area, Red said, I want to see the difference between a map from here than compare to internet radar, because of the satellite crash. This was a loss for Facebook, and Poetry Train Africa because their mission was to connect people from Africa to the internet. I wonder, if the space station is stocked with Poetry, Red remarked, and Boet and Mathias laughed.

“Maybe,” Boet replied, “Poetry goes well with asteroid-chasing and sampling spacecraft. Andy is a gem Red, he’s unlike others.”

Yes, Red replied, He takes reading comprehension seriously as we do. He knows how analogies work, and he cares. He cares about Poets status and the status of Poetry. He did say though to me, maybe Poets should simply disengage from the internet all together. Or let them have their little circles and comment sections. Poets need to stop because, in the end, they aren’t invested like we are. They aren’t paying attention to these stories, their lives and the lives of their children, and future Poets. Some are only tuned in out of contempt. This is trivial to some. It’s all a pissing contest to see who can be the most smug, condescending and ultimately dismissive. When we debate these issues, we do so passionately, but we always come from a place of genuine heart for Poetry. When most Poets debate the very same issues from an opposing stance, they do so from a place of perpetual obtuseness and indifference and their arguments always pretty much boil down to “If it isn’t my experience it couldn’t possibly be yours.” Even “well meaning” some Poets tend to center themselves in the discussion. The facts are both figurative and literally, have no skin in the world. We realize maybe Poets should start practicing in self care. And if that means completely disengaging with the internet altogether, then so be it. Same thing with race issues in the U.S.A., and we know if they band together, they would be a stronger America the world has never seen. We thought about going back and starting an America Love Challenge, between races and law enforcement, but we would be jailed ourselves, and what attorneys would care for what we feel. We even think about going to copyright law school. But here we are doing what we love.

A missionary gave Red an Atlas and said, “Andys’ fever is lower and he is sleeping well.”

“Who are these children? Andy asked himself as they gathered around him, shouting “Kwe Kwe.”

They took turns speaking to Andy. “Those who cut and kill these animals are no man and less than an animal,” a little girl said, “They should be shot with their heads cut as trophies.” Andy took notice with carcasses of the big five animals were laid out seemingly everywhere, and visions of them alive came to Andy, as a boy tugged on Andys’ hand to follow him.

All of this hissed a very strange language to Andy. It was the damages done by Danger, she was free in this garden of Africa. This was a different calligraphy to the eyes and ears of Andy, so his thought was all of this preparing him for a job that didn’t even exist. A smith, or wright of some kind.

So many species gone,” The boy said, “When the animals are gone, we all will be next.”

The girl spoke again, “As long as they have big houses and fancy cars, the hearts of these people are wicked. We need to arm and empower the guardians of the earth.”

Andy looked down at her, and smiled. He wanted to say, “These bad people are great at making things happen where one wanted to move while the other wanted to stay still. Basically, one head didn’t know what the other was doing, and that’s where the great fight can come in. These tactics also stunts imagination, bad choice. We know what they are doing, but not enough to do anything great about it, just like in North Dakota at the moment Andy thought, and he tossed and turned in this strange bed. The impulse, passion and scorn present in all these things gave Andy a desire for the future, so, the dream got deeper. The buzz-word ‘memory’ came to Andy as he, and the children looked around at all the dead animals. Andy started to cry, freezing tears, they were, and Andy thought of his mother, and their times at the zoo. “Worthy objectives,” Andy said and thought ‘I can’t cry right now, I need to concentrate of the four c’s; critical thinking, clear communication, collaboration, and creativity.’

The children cried too, and they did not know about Andys’ mother, and her recent death. Andy looked at them, realizing these children would not be dangerous and wild, even though this was apocalyptic. In some form it was, it surely was for these innocents animals. It was time for Poetic Olympics, to open the hearts of people by the power of Poetry. Poets must practice relentlessly to perfect their craft, to open the eyes and ears of the world. Something, Andy thought, Nothing can come from nothing. “I blame politicians and teachers for this, and parents too,” Andy proclaimed. “We need to start a new tradition for animals, just like anything else handed down to safekeeping, better safekeeping.”

The girl wiped her eyes and said, “Only the women have the power to turn their poor excuses for men into real men that will fight at all costs to stop this destruction of our people and animals, and of all creation. When this is done, all people and animals will be freed.”

Andy smiled and said, “You have a great point, so we need a new school, and remember, talk is cheap. Time to realize the gravity of the situation. Educating people will help a lot.” Andy thought about this- The incoming administration will no doubt weaken protections for wildlife and the environment. The U.S. has become a vile culture built around greed and money. It’s shameful.

The boy seemingly read Andys’ mind, and spoke, “Why are some such a selfish species?”

The girl spoke, “Tell that to Trump and his sons! We cannot accept that ‘truth’....

WE MUST PREVENT IT.”

Andy thought of virtue, and said, “Parents must teach children compassion, empathy and respect for all living things. A must is this, we must create, and make a commitment to a better future to share with courage, justice, prudence, and most of all implement the faith and hope. You children must learn to think about life, social justice, democracy, humanity and yes, empathy, and the foundations of the arts.”

“Also to encourage all types of Poets, right Andy?” The girl asked.

“You are correct,” Andy replied.

“To speak from the heart,” The boy said, “Even if it means losing.”

“Yes, also with the spirit,” Andy said, “But we can’t lose when it comes to life, so that is why we need to think, and empower our care, our caring hearts.” Andy had imagery in his head of the falling of Church and State.

The Poet Thomas Mokopu Mofolo came up to them, and said, “You too are an east bound traveler,” and he laughed. “Here it is clothed in great darkness, a fearful darkness, in which all things of darkness are done. I always have to protect myself, the people can be cruel. We must be aware of Kgodumvdumo, the evil one. I must go, I have workers to recruit for the goldmines. Poetry does not love me, so I must, but I did work at the Sesuto Book Depot. Andy, go to the place which the sun comes, Ntswana-tsasti. It is where God lives.”

It began to get dark, and Andy told the Poet Thomas Mokopu Mofolo, “Do not cheat yourself, keep writing, keep writing!”

The howling of wolves came with the darkness.

The girl tugged on Andy’s hand and asked, “What are the earths cancer Andy?”

Andy looked at the girl and awoke.

The missionary ran to Red and said, “Andy is awake, and said, he is feeling good.”

Once all three went to Andys’ bedside, Andy spoke with vigor, “When Poetry is your life, it’s spiritual. You don’t want to go into life or death that feels less than non-instinctual. Favoritism does not enlarge the Poetic Audience, just thought we’d give people a seed, do what they wish with that...”

Red laughed and said, I can tell you feel better.

“Ya ya,” Andy said, “When a Poet posts about a new published book, it is as if the Poet has given birth from the digital realm, a beautiful tangible creation of love to hold, cherish and adore, ya.... Soulful. Congratulations, but I weep.” and Andy laughed.

I have been busy making videos for the Poet Awotide Oluwaseun Micheal, Red proclaimed. I also got us a new laptop. We burned this one up with e-miles, and we have new tools being sent to us by passengers to make better videos.

“Sweet,” Andy replied, “I need a shower, and then we also need to do some videos about animals, educate the children. Also I have this idea to make a cool video for this journey, but we need a miniature train with tracks.”

Boet and Mathias smiled and thought- Andy is back to life.

“The jackals are among us,” Andy proclaimed.

They must be looking for inner conflict about reading books, and why reading books is declining, Red said laughing.

“Even books written in mother tongues here.” Mathias said.

“This poetry audience-building project is complicated,” Boet stated. “Writing opens thought for the writer, but getting it in the hands or digital tools to people is hard, without marketing I guess, but then you get it all tainted, right?”

Red looked at Andy and said, They are learning about getting an audience nationally, continental and internationally. They want this anthology.

Andy looked at Mathias and said, “Love this anthology idea Mathias, and this was your idea. Do you think participation from you is vital like group criticism to assist, to help, to make this a great book of Poetry? Since this was your idea, are you going to help with this online workshop?”

Boet was still working, thinking and questioning, “Maybe we need an illiterate shoemaker like James Lackington and his famous Temple of the Muses book store, or someone who recognizes the value of books.”

We have mentioned this before Boet, a PoetryTrain cafe, for book browsing and lounging in galleries of Poetry books and Railroad history books, Red said, With railroad currency redeemed in the cafe, book credit. A Poets and Publishers Hangout.

Nightingales were outside flying everywhere, they too came to the Kingdom in the sky to sing.

“I love listening to them,” Andy said, “Pure harmony, unlike humanity. Listen everyone, it is more fitting to judge the quality of us when we are in doubt and danger, and for the world to observe us in adversity.”

“They are singing caterpillar, caterpillar,” Boet said laughing.

“Maybe,” Andy said, “We are Dangers caterpillars, she is here to eat us.”

The world needs to take many steps up, Red proclaimed.

“Once people engage in Poetry, they will find that it makes you feel good,” Andy proclaimed. “They can teach themselves. There are libraries, the internet, amazon.com to learn from. Poets can educate themselves, educate politicians and teachers, furthermore can listen to history.”

Boet added, “New schools of literature, to regain touch to these literary arts. This would matter grand and great.”

Poets need to forge themselves and their poetry self-hood, Red proclaimed, Poets should grow despite restrictions. To survive suppression. No paper and pen, use memory, sing along, turn it into a song. Be like Paul Celan, a Jewish Poet who endured the death camps, wrote, “Only one thing remained reachable, close and secure amid all losses: language. Yes, language. In spite of everything, it remained secure against loss.”

“Poetry gives strength to survive.” Andy said.

“The Poet works to save the Poem, the Poem also works to save the Poet.” Boet said.

“Great Poets are rare.” Mathias stated, “So are great photographs of Poets. This helps reading, readerly intuition causes fantasy. The photo of the Poet has become an underappreciated accessory to the ritual of modern reading.”

“I have to agree,” Andy said. “It’s like wind to a fire. Photos are mysterious, and they dare the reader. This is important to the Poetry audience.” Andy thought about the unbias Poetry Contest on O.P. & 21st CenturyPoets.com was great, because Poems were judged by the vitals of the poems, and not by the Poets face or name.

Red added wisdom, Poetry Survivor and the show too, aka by Poet Tom Smith aka Bandit who changed all of this for new Poets not so long ago... Red laughed, One of the greatest Poetry challenges ever.

“We should learn an African language Red,” Andy suggested.

Good idea, also visit some stone circles, Red suggested, Archaeologists and Historians do not want to touch these beauties. That alone tells me to look into them, and study, to dot up, where heaven mated with earth aka the birthplace of the sun.

Mathias looked at Boet, and smiled.

“Yes, why not,” Andy replied, “Poets do cause loud buzzes in courtrooms. Ya Ya, let’s get to the ancient giant workshop.”

The grounds keeper of the mission gave them each a crystal. Red tele-thought to Andy here we go, got yours, Yep, dang! The ancients were so smart, who and the heck caused massive amnesia, Andy replied in thought to Red, and smiled.

Thank you, Red spoke to the grounds person, Sounds good, you boil my water.

“Don’t let money trip you all up,” the Groundskeeper said.

Andy laughed and said, “It sure does try too,” laughing again speaking of that, this Poetry Train Africa Anthology will happen for and without money, we just need literary bodyguards.”

“Also do not disappear,” The Groundskeeper said.

Red and Andy looked at each other and laughed, and said in sync, “We’re all ready, Cocky!”

“Levitate the Poetry World Red and Andy,” The Groundskeeper demanded.

A little boy came from the mission and said, “Before you leave to Swaziland, come, eat ice cream in a cone!”

Andy tele-thought to Red, they want us to find Angels and talk to them. Boet picked up on these skills they have. They picked up on this, and they tried to relay back, counting the Poets like a child loves and counts sea shells.

Boet was learning the art of listening beyond being human. He was also learning Danger was Doom, and Dreads big sister, great at luring nose picking, like gold picking.

Andy tele-thought to Red, he’s getting close, Nostril Boet, blow your nostrils, then beat your ear drums.

“The stones will come, and hold on to them when they are given to you.” The Groundskeeper said.

Andy busted out, “Where’s the Ore, th’Iron Ore?, un-thicken th’Plot. A is for Poets. A is for Poetry snacks, come on Y’All, we have e-rail to track. Sound off the Alphabet, and where is Enrik? Beam us up the Poetry C-Enyo!”

Red thought a Poem should fry things, and Andy heard.

Everyone laughed volcanicly as they ate ice cream in a cone.

Andy busted out again, “Swole, I’m talking about high quality waiting, similar to Foreigner. Like, and it is urgent, it’s an emergency. We do not own the sun or right, copy? Let’s go gather wood, ya ya!”

Once they arrived at the Maseru train station on the late hours of the night, Red, Andy, Boet and Mathias just missed witnessing a woman giving birth by herself to a baby boy on the platform there. She was in great condition. “I called for an ambulance, and paramedics should be on their way,” she said.

Boet looked at them, slightly concerned for many reasons. This station was dangerous.

Mathias spoke, “All will be fine, you do have your tickets? Arrange the Swaziland on top.”

Andy and Red were smiling from ear to ear, attending the lady until the EMTS arrived and the train to Swaziland. You should name him Katsi Blue, Red suggested. The lady smiled and covered the baby up. The EMTS arrived and so did the train, they looked at the time, both of them were late.


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