Poetry Train Africa: Ethiopia

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CHAPTER 7 Sugar Poet Trade: Skull Branding, Smashing, and Teeth Gathering: Mozambique 20th February 2017

“Where is your license around your neck?” The Poet Jose Pedro da Silva Campos e Oliveira who was peacefully fishing asked Red.

What do you mean? Red replied with a question. I didn’t mean to startle you or interrupt you.

“Did you escape from the trunker?” Jose asked.

These are things that I have never heard before, Red proclaimed.

“It’s a slave prison,” Jose replied, “Were you deported? You are an escapee, aren’t you?

No imported, Red replied laughing. Poetry escorted.

“Oh, you are the American everyone has been talking about, and you finally made it here.” Jose said, “We are going to have to make you a wig. There’s no way you will pass for a native here, and you need some kind of burn mark from iron branding too.”

You are in the pink zone, you are red (Red) but not pink

Pun intended so I hope you are not defended

If you like sugar you better come with me,

And every time you add sugar to your food

Think of all of these slaves here you see

The Arabs will look you over,

And exam how healthy you be

They will argue not over your soul

But by what your stamina is and your tole

Jose looked at Scratch, smiled and said, “How interesting, a beautiful American mountain Lion.”

Scratch was right beside Red, and they both engaged alert on high, because this was the time, and the land of slave hunting. To be not detected Red knew he had to be sly, sly from becoming an apple of a masters eye. They smelled the Indian Ocean for the first time. Fleets of ships were out at sea.

Red recalled the voyage from Canada, knowing –’the past is alive with us. Here in Mozambique Red remembered all the things of light on these journeys. He and Andy always knew this life was race less but every race has let the D family rule, Doom, Dread, and Danger, the heirs of Destruction. Red started to breathe heavy in his sleep, because something here was of conflict, a war of language, and a war of skin. Red looked to the east, and the sun began to rise higher. Red was also slowly catching a cold from change.

Red had so much on his mind too. The brain, the Poets brain, and the fireworks of memories all of the time mixed with making memories, recording new ones and everyones wisdom too joined with their own display of life and brilliance. Red also knew that, here Danger was, allowing Red, and Andy to sense her; furthermore spies, in all centuries. Because they too were nostalgic for a place they had never been.

“We are going to have to go to my house.” Jose said, “Poets are hunted here. They want our teeth, they are worth a lot of money.”

What are you talking about? Red asked.

“Why do you think I am the only Poet in this country left alive?” Jose asked.

You mean to tell me, Red proclaimed as he was yanked from behind to the ground and not able to finish what he wanted to say, about Poets being killed. There were four Arabs, Basrians from Iraq looking at Red. Red looked at one. He wore his shumagh on his head and scarf around his mouth. He had scars on his cheeks and nose. You could see true evil in his eyes. Red was blind folded, chained and made to walk behind them on their camels. Red was very suspicious of this man.

Reds’ blind fold was removed, and he found himself with others in a court yard of a port, an open market for human beings on sale. Arab soldiers from this secret caravan walked around them with a rifle strapped to their shoulders, and they wore bullet vests. Some had a look in their eyes, and some laughed. This was a party to them and Red found this to be insane. Red asked another slave about the children, and the reply was the children were children of prostitutes who have been trained to be commercially traded. The Lei Aurea, aka the Golden Law was not yet enforced here.

Merchants came, everyone was examined, and the price of humans were being raised. Flagellation was about to begin to check everyones endurance, and only the strongest could survive. The iron hoop and chain irritated Red.

Lash after lash, and every animal around. Camel, and Horse slightly jumped by each sound and scream. This expedition was different. This one was pure evil. They wanted Poets and their skulls. They crushed them and it was their teeth that were treasured; very much a value. So, that’s why there were no poets but Jose, Red thought. Poets were a nuisance like Elephants, and their teeth worth as much as ivory. This was a day the elite called paradise, and they believed these deeds gave them more wisdom than Poets.

The man who captured Red walked up to Red and said, “I want this Zanj.” meaning African slave. “He would be good for mining. I captured him myself.” He looked at Red and said, “The Redemptress, Princess Dona Isabel cannot save you!” The man laughed. Red could not smile like the others, and ‘How could most of them ignore the pain?’ Red thought.

Camels and Arab merchants were everywhere. Many checked Reds’ skull and teeth.

“Castrate him now.” The Arab who captured Red said.

Jose Pedro da Silva Campos e Oliveira finally made it past the crowds with Scratch to where Red was. His captor, and he spoke with anger, “Look at him. He has no Angel eyes. No holy expressions. He’s not good. Look at his dark face, he’s full of hatred. Look at his back, no scars. That’s how bad he is. He’s mine. I need this bad man with me to be my henchman. We are willing, and willing to kill to keep the Poet trade going. If he gives me trouble, I’ll personally contact you to inform you, and we both can bury him under the road. My oath to you. I need him to help me with my postal work.”

The Basra Arab spoke, “Cut out his tongue now!”

“We can’t, we need him to talk, to help me destroy our enemies.” Jose demanded. “Look I’ll give you his k9 teeth, a deal?”

The Basra Arab signaled to a soldier to unchain Red, and Red stunk of his own dung.

“Let’s go, let’s go!” Jose demanded.

Thank you, Red obliged.

“Thank poetry and your cat, Scratch, he found you here.” Jose proclaimed. “I saved you from their slavery net.”

Jose spoke with a quickness, “Wash up in the water as I get my boat ready. I’ll take you to my home on the island. I have something to show you Red. Call me Campos, I know my name is too long. You look at me and think, don’t you? Yes, I am a mixed breed. Of what and who, well, let us leave it a mystery. I am happy you came, I have been low, thinking of Elvira. What man doesn’t think of love?”

I am in complete awe Campos, and awakening from shock too, Red proclaimed, feeling the wisdom and generosity of Campos as they sailed to Mozambique Island over the beautiful turquoise waters. Red could see the Portuguese influence on the building structures as they approach to the land.

“Red, you know stereotypes are no good, but at least we are in stereo, and not mono like most,” Campos said with slight laughter. Finally the Poet was relaxed, home must be doing this to him. Campos tied off the boat as Scratch played in the shallow water. Red wanted to help but he felt best to stand back in admiration.

“What I was getting at- I found the Poetry by the Brazilian Poet, Tomás Antônio Gonzaga, and he wrote under the pen name Dirceu.” Campos explained, “He is lucky, and we are lucky. I found him, and his work, and you found me, and mine. Blessed is what it is. You two look alike, high foreheads, deep set eyes, and long hair. Come, feel comfortable. I want you to read his Poetry.”

Red has not seen a tropical paradise on these journeys so, the awe was deepening. His inside was high and deep too, and he knew what longing for love was.

The handwritten poems of Dirceu was handed to Red, and the Poem ′To Mozambique, here now, I’ve come deported’ was read, while Campos fed Scratch.

You are a good man Campos, thank you for outstretching your hand to me, Red said sincerely. You know I am sure that handwritten poems are where it’s at. Print is fine, but these are good, gems, better than gold.

“Speaking of gold,” Campos stated with an odd look to Red, because about print, “Brazilian Poets are gold like.” More precious in the 21st Century, but Red could not break time code! Dirceu was accused of being in a mining conspiracy, and sent to prison in Ilha das Cobras, Rio de Janeiro. He spent three years in there, when he was given the sentence of an exile here on this Island. He died of a lethal tropical disease.”

Red looked up from reading at Campos and spoke, At least it wasn’t racism.

“Great point Red,” Campos proclaimed, “I can’t find Dirceus’ daughters Ana and Alexandre. They left no new address at my work. I am going to publish his works in the supplement of the Novo Almanach de Lembranças Luso-Brasileiro. Speaking of I have much to do, many deliveries to make. People fear the war led by Fredrick General Carrington. He and his horse of war.”

Campos looked at Red and saw a kind man, a kind that was hard to find, and he felt Red was from another time. Red felt it, and looked at him with respect. Many sheep passed by outside. Red smiled and thought Poets and Sheep, and the times in similarities to where personages could not express their voices. Poets had to create characters and pseudonyms.

Campos was reading the local newspaper and said, “Everyday it has been railroaders slandering each other over contracts of construction.”

Red laughed and said, Maybe they, like Poets need to use pseudonyms or ask Poets with pseudonyms to write poems for them?

Campos laughed and said, “Not a bad idea. The Boers are holding up the trains, and raid train stations. They remove the rails, and hide them. Reading here, they opened fire on the engineer, and when the train stopped they let out the British horses. I am sure Railroad chief Henry Theodore van Laun is at the telegraph office, so I must be going soon. Them Boers better not sabotage the Gaza trains, because I love my cashew nuts” Campo opened a bag for he and Red, and asked, “Do you cashew?”

Red laughed and replied, Yes I do.

“There is palm wine too on the table, help yourself,” Campos said.

A Steamboat on the ocean began to sing its arrival in the bay. They went out to see, and steam train engines could be seen on deck. Campos reached for his Zeiss binoculars to get a closer look. “The crowd on board are here for the goldfields, and to boost their imperialistic agenda. Portuguese officers are gathering to meet them. Wait, oh I see others, they must be the amaThonga, and come from Ghost Mountain. King Gungunhama and his White Queen versus the old scar of the Portuguese.”

Scratch was sleeping by the empty fire pit, and a blue headed agama was observing the cat. The last poem Red read by Tomás Antônio Gonzaga came back to him as he looked at this lizard looking at him, and this all threw him into a waking daze,

Friend Doroteu, dear friend,
Open your eyes, yawn, stretch your arms
And clean, from the loaded eyelashes,
The sticky humor, which sleep gathers.
Critilo, your Critilo is who calls you;
Raise the head of the starched pillowcase
Wake up, if you hear, you want some weird stuff.

Red awoke, and felt all of his teeth to make sure they were still there.

Andy, Boet and Red catch some morning air as they stick their heads out of a window of the moving train.

Andy caught more notice of metal roofs on the majority of train stations here. He also had been noticing Homeless Poets and alcoholism on recent studies.

“I don’t understand why people here hang out in the roomette hallways, and they just stand in the way,” Boet said. “Look at all the empty seats.”

Aggravated this morning, are ye? Red asked with a laugh. Shh we have quietness.

“Yes you are right.” Boet replied.

“I heard them all tell you, you are the bomb, Boet,” Andy said.

Boet laughed.

The sight was beautiful, they could touch the close limbs, and leaves of the trees as they rolled by.

Andy was up early. Red noticed by his notes and many windows open on his laptop. Notes read. ‘African art dream, and Russian Poets.’ Andy noticed no road warning signs or lights here as they crossed intersections.

“Cashews, cashews!”

I will take three, Red replied smiling, thank you young boy.

Andy looked at Red, and Red smiled, and laughed.

Everything got dark. Storms of omens formed, and everyone on the train played with their hair. Andy got angry and spoke, “Sebastião Alba and his The Rhythm of Omen, claims something about the hair, in the hair.”



How do omens stay alive,

And is it an omen to even mention an omen,

And is it o’mens fault?

Is an omen like seaweed?

Is an omen like times saliva?

Do omens have notation like music?

Why does an omen seem like syrup

on egged toast?

Whatever the answers are

No one is going to far

Because it’s hair curly, hair straight

And everyone has to participate

“You all are the Poets security system for sure,” Boet said. “I have been e-railing into Russia with Andy and they would love us there. I say this because Poetry there is considered valuable now, ya now, they have security forces at the museum of the silver age of Poetry.” Boet laughed. “They take their Poets seriously! Well, I have been learning to make Poetry videos, and found a few to do.”

Parti by Maria do Carmo Abecassis, Magaíça by Carolina Noémia Abranches de Sousa Soares, Train-Station Sadness by Innokenty Annensky, and Song Time by Teffi, and Kremlin in the Blizzard 1918 by Boris Pasternak.

Red and Andy looked at each other, and smiled. They know the location of each Poet. Boet was on to the realm, although focus was not beyond the focus of the Continent of Africa, and that had to be, unless you were skilled in and from wisdom contamination, even though true spirit had no borders. Red and Andy knew Poets suffer worldwide and never get to feel their audience large or small, and they knew what that meant to all Poets, the earthly reach; nothing compared to the divine, and the chosen had nothing worry about. The eye was not blinking, not getting boxed in any kind of earth doll.

Earth doll, it was Danger, she was in, Queen earthly in command here. The Poets needed the train here more than anywhere. They were keeping real, even though they knew Danger was danger, and had every reason to in the history repeats itself domain. Red and Andy had been to Nashville, and surely they were not bashful where color was kin not foe, living the dream like sister and bro.

Red busted out laughing, and played with his hair.

A ruckus, a cat ran through the train, and a lady chased it.

Red yelled, Get this cat out from under my legs.

Boet slammed down the NY TIMES, turned and folded to the page, ‘Joyous Africans Take to the Rails, With China’s Help’ by Andrew Jacobs:′

Swanda screamed, “Xi-Ronga” dropping all of their food. Xi-Ronga, a soul from the other world.

Boet clinged to his Ipod, puking; sat the Ipod down, and screamed, “Keep dividing fools.”

Andy spoke Poetry,

To think in numbers is to be deadly

To think in words is to be lively

So make your choice

And deal with your voice

Suddenly and fast as Andy recited his mini poem, Poet Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin returned to the mystery. He was regarded the world changer Poet, and no one had since then, say to the so of those who know. The folk who study the world affairs. Andy thought of Edward Kanterian, he knew this, Andy thought, but did Alena Gredon know? Andy did not want to bother them with this, his gut told him that they did, but what about Vincent Bridges? Where was he at?

Red and Boet were writing notes when the dining car filled up with voices, shouting, and was a monsoon of voices, “The House of Poetry is here. It’s mobile, the Poetry Train.” It was the kitchen crew to help Swanda with the mess.

Swanda was with them and she was smiling. “You all must go to the Indian sea, and listen to it scream. We must drink the vintage wine there of the Poet, Luís Carlos Patraquim, he had a private language, he was on a teeter totter of life here on Lydenburg Street. We are his Mozambican ruffians, and you know the monsoon, Danger is here, she is sly.”

Andy looked at Red, and tele-thought, No she could not be, although Nature here was shining different, revealing something balanced. Andy notified Constantine Enyo to tune in to these poems and lectures from base, Heidegger on Hölderlin on ’Nature’s Gleaming by Richard Capobianco. Thinking bullet train like Andy spoke, “Yes and maybe Glória de Sant’Anna will be there with fish, drawing on the sand with God. Ya ya Life is a “Rough Poem” “Ever Since The World.”

Laughter caught Red, he had these poems in his head too. Water again was a piece of the clue, noted Red. Red made sure Swanda was felt on this, “We need Poet Jorge Rebelo and his iron gun to go with us. Boet can you locate Rebelo, tell him to bring his bullet cello, in case Danger was there.

Andy was giving out poetry books, Operation Jester t-shirts and Poet Igloo pamphlets to people who came to the dining car to praise them, and said to the team, “Oh ya, A Round of Applause and Appreciation from us to Luis R. Mitras: Amazing work of Literature about Literature from Writers of Mozambique, Africa... Red tag him please.”


“Red, please play Earth Angel. I want to dance with Swanda,” Boet smiled.

Andy looked at Red, and they both tele-thought, It’s never successful, and they both tilted their heads and smiled.

These dudes were smooth, Red said, and happily played the tune, and studied ‘Joyous Africans Take to the Rails, With China’s Help’ by Andrew Jacobs’ also.

They were above the footsteps of the Dutch riding the rails, although Danger was stepping somewhere on Africa but where?

Swanda talked them into taking time at the beach once they got close. She knew they had to carry on and she was not stationed to leave Mozambique. She wanted to be with Boet, so to escort the Poetry Train crew would be beyond great, showing them places.

“Have we stolen Angelic language, and translated how we desire?” Boet asked. “I say this because- is translating Poetry an impossible art?”

Andy smiled and replied, “Have you ever played the song ‘Master of Puppets’ by Metallica? One could get close but not close enough.”

While laughing Boet replied, “Ya right. I could play some spoons to the tune. I understand.”

Poets captured and available is where it’s at. Red added. Learning languages if you have time is the key. Also goes back to the art of listening and writing. Gumption road.

“Landeg White published on African Oral Poetry, and look at his eyes in these videos, great stamina, they say so much, and you know he’s the real deal,” Andy said. “With enough discipline it’s very possible, but where is the bi, tri, quad lingual readership? Poetry is in crisis now with readership, so we may never know.”

“Love you Andy, you are always on the right track,” Boet said sincerely.

Red was in rediscovery and spoke, The theory that the chief division in literature was not between classical and romantic or between tragedy and comedy, but between the oral and the written. Poets of the page versus the Poets of the stage.

Andy laughed, “None of the age and unity, right?” and laughed again.

For me Poetry of any kind, and place must give me brain bumps let alone goose bumps that Emily Dickinson and Robert Graves have told us about. Relaxation, and mind focus, Red proclaimed. Poetry the conduit of spirituality. Keep it to the spirit, to the Poet and the soul of the Poem. Keep it regardless in full to the original in translating Poetry. Do you think the dead are saying, you all are so ridiculous? Rediscover yourselves!

“Haha, right.”

Boet looked up, and spoke, “Maybe translators shouldn’t drink wine, especially while working.” He laughed, “Maybe reading too.” He opened a bottle of Menjunga given to them by Swanda, “A toast to Poetry, its hard work, and to translators, a harder work. To Angels.” Boet made a toast. “I have a question, is translating Poetry more of a business than Poetry itself? And why try, when these men say, there are no professional translators? Something to ponder, if it’s big business.”

Red and Andy laughed.

Boet added, “To me a non-Poet should not translate Poetry.”

Andy was watching this video and said, “Stop saying ‘You Know’ when you are explaining, Do we need to spam WordsSlingers’ poem ’Fill In The Banks.?”

I know the Poem by heart, Andy recited.


Your telling me something,

and say, you know, you know

No I don’t until you tell me

okay now so and so-

Fill in the blanks

Spare me your lingo, thanks

What came first the snake or the egg?

I know, I know

The snake doesn’t care

he was born without leg’s, and so

Fill in the blanks

Spare me your interro, thanks

The creator is seen in creation

It’s gold, it’s gold

The past is roaring to recreation

Closer I know-

Fill in the blanks

Spare me your prego, thanks

We live in the future without knowing it

Suppose, suppose

Our brains live in now, and

now happened a while ago

Fill in the blanks

Spare me your bestow, thanks

Andy asked, “Who knows Angelic language fluently?” Andys phone rang and it was Mr. Welchberry from the U.S.A. He also sent a link from the Chicago Tribune, Chicago where Andy and Red started these journeys, and Trumps’ Skinny Budget,” by Mary Wisniewski. Mr. Welchberrys’ message was ‘Andy & Red, Jimmy New Orleans has jacked the White House. Progress has been set back here, carry on with the journey.’

“Why would he do that?” Boet asked after reading the article.

“That was not our praise poem for all here in Africa, but the Poetry Train Africa: Ethiopia itself is for now.” Andy said. “And let me mention this too, I think the press gagged Mathias instead of the gagging the press. Don’t let politics poke your groove fellas. Politics draws on the art of rhetoric too, but they are not Poets.”

Protest or not, Red added. Where has protest Poetry gotten the protesters, another study?

As Jeanne Penvenne describes, Boet said as he read, “Leroy Vail and Landeg White with insistence on the importance of Poetry as history and Poetry in history. Has protest Poetry changed and made history?”

Red laughed and replied, Now that’s the question. Maybe we should see a barber and ask our barbers.

Andy replied, “With two hands or one, the Poem should derive from the heart, mind and spirit, but mostly the gut. To either or shackled to the memory, memory of the audience, to recording media, or to print. Lore to the shore, more, more.”

The train made it to the shore, and it was time to get some sand under their feet.

We are going to need crates and storage for all the books, Red suggested.

“We got you covered,” Swanda replied. “We have furnished you, your own box car, and it will be coupled or detached at any time of your request.”

“Wow!.” all three said in synchronicity. “Thank you.”

Swanda smiled, “You three will be the beach buzz.”

Andy laughed, “Well golly molly, will Poets hear that video shows place. No need to be shy. I still say scratch and sniff tech needs to find a way to relay through video. Dang the ocean smells beautiful here.”

Andy sung the Alabama song ‘Take Me Down.’ “Why, who and the Heaven knows.”

They all stretched and realized that they’re the flood of wisdom and beauty for the future Poets and Readers. Red, Andy and now Boet were Kings of meta-narrative, with hearts, minds, spirits and guts, all for Poetry, and the Poet Igloo was there too on the warm sands of the beach of Mozambique- unique it was. There could be no degrees to this, none. Swanda, lovely Swanda was here too, to show her story. Mr. Welchberrys’ pots and pans could be heard in Red and Andys’ head.

Red opened his back pack, and got his otjize paste, a cosmetic mixture of butterfat and ochre pigment. Y’all use this, He laughed to protect us from the rays of the sun. Thank you Madame Swanda, to get our feet down to earth is much needed.

Her smile got bigger.

A blue headed agama skedaddled not too far, and they all felt for their teeth, to see if they were there. They looked at each other, sub-consciously for a lethal tropical disease. At this moment they looked prime and ripe.

“I wish Landeg White lived here still.” Andy said. He looked at Boet and Swanda, they weren’t ship wrecked. They were alive and falling in love. “Follow and quench your yearning you two. Step together into this moment and beauty, enjoy, time waits for no one. You lifes dreams are now.”

Red looked at Andy and smiled. They both went to the waves, and looked all around. They thought of Pyrate Poetry, ships on and below the sea. They thought, blessings, the Poetry Train has made it here, and the spirit of this was growing, beautifully. Boet was Swandas’ pyrate, and Swanda was Boets’ maid.

Andy sat down on the sand and wrote on it. “Red, Poets have always been going against the grain. Print is not a prison for Poets. It may seem like that to others through time, but it was and is the only way to and for being truly free.” Andy put his hand over his eyes, and thought, Odds are against Poets with works destroyed or lost.

Andy, we face same troubles in our time. The poverty in print is all we have, until some good folk turn this all into film one day, to where it reaches the masses. Remember Riki Chen, he knew our lives were Coming With The Winds, not gone, my dear friend.

“It’s funny Red, we are frozen, but not here.” Andy replied. “The internet and safe keeping is the gap, and the thawing out tool as we knew from day one.”

The moon over the horizon with the sun behind now relaxed them now as they gazed.

Red got up to walk on the beach.

“Find any silver bars we will return them to England.” Andy declared. “Poet and treasure detector.”

Yeah, yeah, I don’t want to be dipped in tar, but I think we are on the farthest side of Madagascar. Red replied.

“It’s Poetry Red, you are Poetry, and hey can we add another d to your name, Redd.”

Ha ha, sure.

Boet sung ‘I Only Want To Be With You’ by Dusty Springfield’ to Swanda, and she sang the song back to him.

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