CHAPTER 9 Mind Diving in the Strange Lands of Time & Writing Poems in the Face of Death Tanzania 21st August 2017
Imagine an orchestration in suspenseful low tones as Scratch wondered off alone for the first time. He went to a mountain top, and found a look out spot, and he scoped out the Tanzania landscape. Scratch did not care about history. Scratch wanted to find Danger, Doom and Dreads sister. He also wanted to find food, the wild, and much needed hunt.
Redd, Andy and Boet were asleep upon the dry shores of Tanzania under a shade tree when a Camel caravan, and men with golden staffs walked by and this awoke them. Boet stretched and spoke silently “They know and it all shall not be forgotten, the powers of sugar and cotton.”
Rise and shine we are Poetry’s stunt doubles! Redd proclaimed as he got up, and stretched. He slowly looked around for Scratch. We have a problem, Scratch is gone.
Andy got up, retraced their steps, and remembered Scratch slept near them. As Andy stretched he looked at the foggy sea, and spoke “The beauty of the sea and memory. This place sets sparks from my soul, but finding Poets maybe as scary to me as sea diving, because anytime we can drown. There were many ghosts on our voyage here. I did love them humpbacks whales though.”
“I wanted to see the dancing ghosts of SS Mendi.” Boet said. “We could hire a snake charmer to track Scratch, this is the land of the Hadzabe.”
Birds and thunder took main stage as they gathered up their things, and lightning began to light up the mountains west of them.
Boet said, “Fruit up in the trees, honey in the trees, and protein has high as the Giraffes, but we can deal without them to eat.”
We have fished before, but never hunted. Redd said laughing but knew they must search for food too.
“High fiber.” Boet said, “And fiber optics because we are low on power too.”
“We are like monsters to these people.” Andy proclaimed, “But we know who are the perpetrators of this hell, and we have been through it, furthermore yes, it could be better.”
Redd laughed and asked, not worse?
“Look at everyone everywhere all worn out over politics.” Andy replied. “It all cools down, then it all heats right back up again. There has to be losers, why, why not everyone winners. I think it’s funny, is it not known that everyone can help and get to the goal line? What’s the point to even care, tell me? Enough of all that, unless we encounter some cells.”
“So we must act like we are scuba diving from here on out?” Boet asked. “Because that’s the impression I got from what you said back there. ‘Scary to me as sea diving, because at any time we can drown.’
Let’s find a snake charmer. Redd proclaimed looking at every ridge of the mountains of Meru, and the great Kilimanjaro or an eel charmer.
“The task will not be easy.” Boet said. “We also have to be on the lookout for Tippu Tib the slave trader and ivory merchant. He has a huge expedition, some four thousand men, army strong. We are sport and can be sold for next to nothing. Their guns sound like this they say, Tip u, Tip u, Tip u.”
If they kill us, they kill us, we are here now, Redd proclaimed.
“We could always find the great migration, and walk with them.” Andy said and laughed. “I hope you all know how to listen to Elephant talk, because I found a trail made by them.”
Through the laughing, growling, and roaring jungle they went and they spotted a tall cone shaped hut, and they heard children. As they got close many children ran out of the hut as fast as they could down the road. There seemed to be road construction or something, because there were men digging and others with shovels. Once they got to where the action took place, they saw men digging up dinosaur bones. What a sight it was, and they all thought about time, and their own short lives here on earth.
Andy looked at Redd and Boet and said, “Dinosaur drowned.”
As they walked down the road they noticed a woman with a child strapped to her back re-mudding their home, and they noticed a stack of books on a table on her porch too. Down by the creek connected to the Wami River they noticed two boys writing on mini chalk boards, and they must have been tending a small herd of a cattle because they were drinking water, and water was needed by them too. So, they went to greet them, and freshen up, because the heat of the day was an endless forehead wipe. Mangrove kingfisher birds sung slow tunes with other birds making the feathered realm heard like no other time for them. They started to watch them and the birds watched them right back, slowly moving their heads forward and back. Their colors were like no other they have seen.
“What if we had feathers, and joined a band of clouds?” Andy said looking all around.
Look at that canoe y’all, I have never seen one that long. Red stated, There has to be twenty men or more paddling that big gutted ol’ tree, Good God.
The boys saw this too, and got up, and ran away. The Poetry Train crew looked at each, then back at the vessel on the river.
Boet spoke, “We need to go too, we must march, regardless of tiring, we must move past Bagamoyo, Tanganyika and the Land of Fire.”
Andy looked at Redd, and said, “The path ahead looks ankle breaking.”
More like neck break road. Redd replied.
As they followed Boet, they looked for Scratch, and Andy was talking to himself, “Inja-ka-poera. Thinking great Poetry, Kilimanjaro, Slinga-ka-jaro, will we see, hear, and feel a great tomorrow? Ujiji ew, ji my, my Ujiji.”
Boet turned around and said, “We are going northwest between the mountains, to Kigoma, then to Burundi.
“Oh,” Andy stopped walking, and claimed, “My knee is killing me, but let’s carry on.”
It’s a great concern of the stomach. Redd proclaimed.
Boet laughed and said, “Yes we must eat, and waste no wit or no soul, because we want to be able to give good things to the people so they come back in groves.”
“Stop Boet, my stomach, knee, and now my ear muscles are out of control.” Andy said.
Red laughed, Ear muscles, that’s a good one.
Boet stopped, looked and cut through the bush. Redd and Andy looked at each other, and Boet looked at them, smiled, and spoke, “I am finding Andy a walking stick. It will help, with his pain and our speed. I found a nice branch to make you a knobkierie, but you will have to give it its own magic Andy. I am just as hungry as you two.”
Andy laughed and said, “Okay, you do that, while I think of sandwiches.”
Redd didn’t say anything so he decided to walk up and down to the path to find any signs to where Scratch was, and food.
Andy laughed and said, “We need to go north ya’ll, find some railroad tracks.”
“North where Andy?” Boet asked with agitation.
Andy laughed, “To the Great Lake near, Mwanza. Boet it’s okay I can see far away, like Mwanza Rock city, something.” Andy laughed, “I am just joshin’ you Boet, but, we will need our mosquito nets.”
Boet looked at Redd all frustrated.
“Look, don’t trip, and give yourself away.” Andy said, “Have you ever had one of those dreams where you know finally someone from a long time ago is dreaming with you? Well, if you haven’t, think of the Zimbabwe ruins. Somethings are everlasting. Let’s rest, something will lick it all away. We can’t cause our own conflict. We Boet have been doing this a long time.”
Redd looked at Boet raising his eyebrows, and sat down on the grass that maybe not green.
“Andy, are you crazy, we have to keep moving?” Boet asked a bit upset.
Andy laughed his ass off and said, “Ujiji railway.”
Redd and Boet thought that Andy was not alright, Andy must need rest.
Andy stopped laughing and looked around, said, “Nice camo, very nice camo... but God bless we need some water, and next time any of you make me stop laughing my head off, you best cut it off, because we ain’t playin’.”
Andy what the, Redd speaking got cut off by Andy as he stood up.
“One, two, three, four, five, you all are very tall, thank you, we have been contemplating like so much, north, south, west, and hungry as an east beast by the way, I was going to teach my comrades here how to find worms, and make a fishing pole, but you all arrived and now have it all under control,” Andy said with confidence.
Eight men, at least seven foot tall came out of the tall scorched grass wearing massive camo. They had ten foot spears and no shields. Boet and Redd leaned back, and Andy said, “We are time travelers from the pink lagoon, we have eyes, but we are no baboon. We are scared as impalas, and none of us have an alive mama. We’re here to get the Poetry party loose, and we are no ducks, and we hate the noose. So let’s sit around a fire, and sing, recite Poetry, and cough.”
Supposed, their leader pointed east, and one of them marched into that direction. Redd and Boet slowly stood up, and the heat of the day grew more intense, along with their hunger and thirst.
Leader whistled and said, “lak’ e-e no t’lu’a, lak’ e-e no t’lu’a.” and the man that left came back with rain water, and gave it to them to drink. As soon as they gulped most of it the men ran off into the wild.
Rifle shots go off, and Redd said, Oh crap, some white dude is killing animals again, let’s go you all, let’s follow the hunters.
Andy laughed as he hobbled along, and spoke, “Them, species of man, always trying to devour all they can, but hey isn’t this cool, God created some cool stuff, this is genuine, ha ha.”
Redd laughed, and replied, Come on Andy, we need no bullets in our bodies.
“Shhh, get down, get down,” Boet said, silently but seriously demanding. “Germans.”
“They think there’s a superabundance of life so it’s okay to kill, God got this,” Andy replied as he laid down in the weeds.
Redd asked, What’s up Andy?
“I feel good man, we are part of the African.” Andy replied.
Boet chuckled, “Shh!”
As they laid low next to each other, a man named Ewart Grogan was crawling slow and right up next to them, he smiled and said, “Howdy, stay low they are close.”
They all looked at him, and at each other and thought what in the world.
Who are you? Redd asked.
“Ewart Grogan, and I am doing a survey for the railway, and I spotted you all, and realized you weren’t German so, like you all, I need to take cover.”
“Good God you smell bad.” Andy proclaimed.
“Well, swamp, and hippopotamuses poop, but hey, at least the stench keeps the cats away.” Ewart Grogan replied.
Did you see an all brown, large male cat? Redd asked.
“No.” Ewart Grogan replied, “But I am also trying to get to my love Gertrude Watt.”
Redd looked at Andy, and Boet looked at both of them with a hint that maybe Ewart cannot be trusted.
“Dude, hide the hat man, really, they can see that hat!” Andy said to Ewart. “Why do I get the feeling you are a prankster?”
Redd spoke, Andy is keen.
“What, I have to show my worth to everyone these days, fair indeed.” Ewart Grogan replied. “I can understand a skeptical eye, used to it. Gertrude Watt, to whom I love’s family is the same way. Her Step-Father and James Watt, the Scottish inventor of the steam engine, was even keener.”
“Well, don’t be so dangerous.” Andy said and laughed.
“Where are you all going? Ewart asked.
“Lake Tanganyika.” Boet replied.
“There is a ferry there, called Memb Liemba or Graf von Götzen, named after the governor, and I need to go there too, because I am going to Sudan.” Ewart replied.
“German dude, afraid now, why not there?” Andy asked. “Who do you work for?”
“Mr. Cecil Rhodes.” Ewart replied.
“That’s not a bad idea, we can stow ourselves away, and cut many foot miles from our journey to Burundi.” Boet proclaimed.
Rifle shots can be heard again.
“We are deep in these weeds, and those shots are not for us, or we’d be dead already, I say we rest here, until dust and then move out to the lake, and go from there, because Redd and I, and sure Boet will agree, we are not leaving without Scratch.” Andy said.
“Scratch, well, you will be scratching for days maybe longer, in case you forget there are also wild bugs here like ants, jiggers, leeches, and mosquitoes.” Ewart said.
Boet laughed, they all got up, and looked around.
Ewart looked at them and asked, “Have you ever been nearly buried alive, well I have? Whomever were shooting, were hunting, and they got spooked too, whatever they shot is laying down over there.”
Buzzards were dining, and they walked over there to see what was killed, and by the time they got near, there was nothing but bones of an Impala and a near dry pool of blood. Ewart, pulled out a pistol, shot a buzzard, and looked at them and said, “We have dinner.” They looked at each other, and did not say a word, they were so hungry which did not matter. Ewart looked at them, and laughed, “No worries, nearly burnt makes fit, and join the club everyone thinks I am nuts, and the Kikuletwa Hot Springs is far from here, but that’s the clean clean water.”
Andy looked at everyone and said, “Compass engage, look here Ewart, these sorts of remarks by you have me questioning things, so I have a question, do you know our names?”
“No I do not and I apologize for not knowing or ever making a prior acquaintance, so respectively and hopefully we are friends now, but I get the feeling we must part our ways. Beware of the Portuguese too, they are still angry we are in their fortress so to speak. About a mile north is a narrow trading route, it will take you to where you want to go. Andy, Redd, and Boet sustain the Poetry Train, be well. Your passage will be my secret. Now thou art my friends, in life and death we are united. I must continue my survey. By the way, what ate that Impala so fast had me puzzled, still does.”
They watched Ewart Grogan depart. It was getting dark, and they were tired. Andy sat down, and they did too. None of them had Boy Scout or military wisdom, but they knew how to be like water, so they thought where the water would go, but night was upon them now, a hoot of an owl, a comedy of hyenas, and swoosh of grass sounds one after another. The night birds began to call warnings. Andy, Redd and Boet sat together back to back with their belongings in between their legs. A group of Chimpanzees were on patrol checking their territory, and the Poetry Train crew knew their scent would give them away regardless of what was making their way near, and above. Their calls began to increase, turn up louder, then silence, even the weeds were saying shhh. Outcry’s of a chase could be heard, but what were they chasing?
Redd spoke, Let’s make a dash for it.
Their heads began to dash back in forth, and grab their bags tightly.
“On the count of three follow me.” Boet demanded.
“Wait! Andy said, “Not a good idea.”
My heart is pounding. Redd said, Let’s crawl slow, we can’t run.
“Don’t be scared.” Boet said.
They did not run a marathon but it sounded like they did.
“Come on let’s go!” Boet said.
They looked up and their hunter and gatherer friends came back, spoke to them in Hadza, and they brought them Kongolobe berries, honey with larva, and they seriously suggested to eat all of it. They did, they looked at each other felt safer and better, so they brought them to their camp. Their leader was Mattoa, and he reminded Andy of him, being in a Honey Badger mode always. A German man was there, and he introduced himself as Ernst Trautmann, and he was a veterinarian working on treatments for the sleep sickness that’s transmitted by the Tse-Tse fly, and bacteria identification of the bacteria responsible for the swine flu, furthermore an invention of a particular race of sheep.
“You all can sleep in my tent.” Ernst Trautmann said, “Mattoa will take you to Burundi after breakfast.”
“Thank you Ernst Trautmann.” They all replied.
Andy laid on his mat, and thought. He held his heart rock, and fell fast asleep. Boet right behind, but not Redd, Scratch was on his mind. Redd looked around Ernst Trautmanns’ quarters. There was a lab, and Ernst Trautmann pulled down the net that separated the sections, and a lantern was on. Redd watched him do some work. Under the table looked like a caged Crocodile muzzle. Boet fell deep asleep. Andy restlessly awoken thinking about his sore ankle, and he knew Red was awake.
“Redd, we were born for this.” Andy said as he dosed off to sleep.
Slowly around the camp a brush fire was scaring close. All the wildlife left the area without warnings to the tribe except for Scratch. He came into the camp, and went right in front of the tent where Redd, Andy and Boet were, and made a prehistoric awakening roar. The scent of the blaze followed behind it. The tribe awoken to a slow monumental blaze. Everything was vulnerable, and the challenge of survival began. Everyone turned into a grasshopper because they were not adapted to burn, and there’s no gambling with the importance of escape from this hazardous phenomena, but the question was what and who started the fire, meanwhile outside the catastrophe were buzzards and goshawks bidding their time. This was a hunt, and luckily the wind was not an accomplishment at the moment, but someone took advantage of the drought. The tribe frantically began saving each other and animals they owned.
Boet was scared to death first to get up, and he noticed Ernst Trautmann pouring kerosene all over his lab, and he bagged up many bottles and other items. He grabbed a gun and loaded it too. Redd and Andy looked at him, and Ernst put the gun in between his body and pants that was belted. He grabbed a
sword, and sliced a tall cut in the side of the tent. Then looking out, he grabbed his bag, and went out. Boet looked at them, and they too went out the same way, and Scratch followed them.
Chief Mkwaww and the Hehe tribe came to assist and rescue the Hadzabe.
Andy saw Mattoa and he was frustrated, some of the people of the tribe were sleeping deep, they were infected bad with the sleep sickness, so they had to carry them away.
“There are thorn, wait a bit fences, all around the camp.” Mattoa explained. “Someone did this to us, set fire all around the camp, and trapped us in, but we cut a path, and it is that way.”
Mattoa and some of his men gathered their bow and arrows, and some had rifles. Redd looked at Andy and Boet, and they knew things were going to get worse.
Mattoa fell to his knees stretched out his arms to the sky, and cried out, “Great Bulu, Kabulu Kagoro, recede, recede great God of fire recede. Stop the everlasting fire!”
Secrets of the native’s soul began to appear, along with much fear. Chief Mkwaww came up to Mattoa, and looked at us with curiosity.
“Mattoa, leave the sick, they have been infected by the Germans, they have done this, we must go, we must go.” Chief Mkwaww said.
Andy discreetly signaled to look at their feet, their feet were different than any they have ever seen, strong. Chief Mkwaww took out a horn, and blew into it. It was assumed to call for all tribes to leave now. Mattoa looked at them, and Chief Mkwaww blew the horn again, and they awoke in their roomettes abruptly to the train stopping fast, and the trains horn blowing.
The Tanzania police, rangers and an investigation team stopped the train and boarded. They searched the train for Rhino horn contraband, and anyone trafficking in the chain of these types of crimes. They brought in a dog that knew the scent of Rhino horn. Some people from the Wildlife Justice Commission was there too. They searched Redd, Andy and Boets bags and roomettes, while they were contained in the aisle of the train.
“One day we may wake up, and perhaps there will be no more Poets!” Andy said.
“Poetry has turned to gold.” Boet said.
“Yeah, yeah.” Redd said.
“So alarming.” Andy said.
“Aphrodisiac poems.” Boet said.
“To bring down a Poet you have to have some m99 sedative and a rifle.” Redd said.
“That’s to save them for more Poetry to be written, but now they are killing them, leaving them to be.” Andy said.
“Alright you smart asses, answer me, what and why are you all here in Africa besides Poetry and Railroad history?” A Tanzania Sheriff asked.
We are unfolding the flag of peace, take note. Redd replied.
“They are clear, nothing.” An Officer stated.
“Who funds you three?” Sheriff asked.
“We saved pennies for years, and have been eating peanut butter and jam, furthermore books sales.” Andy replied. “We realize the situation, we love animals, so if we can help, we are open to that. Risking your life for Poetry is way different than ivory.”
The Sheriff replied, “To be beaten, jail time, and jail time beatings too. Poetry benefits more than Rhino horn or ivory, there’s no medical reason for it. There should be more money in Poetry, and demand than this crazy criminal trade. We were given a lead to check you out, and all is good, sorry to bother you.” The Sheriff looked at the officers of the law, and they went their way.
Their roomettes were a mess, all of their belongings were all over their beds, and the train began to move, and outside the windows the Sheriff was talking to Mr. Walkemon Whipagala and he seemed to be upset. Andy looked at Redd, and Boet said, “What nerve.”
Andy flopped down on his bed, and said, “Chinese money.” He then thought of his dream and said, “I am glad to awake though, the dream was a nightmare in the making, camp destroyed by fire, and everywhere burnt skeletons of men, women, and children, those of the women and children being especially numerous.”
Redd and Boet didn’t say a word, they just cleaned up the mess the law made of their things.
Mathias came in, and sat down and said, “Unbelievable, well, let’s eat, because I am famished.”
I hear that, Redd replied. We should wait until we get to a station, and buy from the locals. Maybe there is a lady with burritos, like the American lady in El Paso, Texas.
Andy didn’t say anything, he just looked at the fan on the wall, and it was noisy but it brought him back to a moment in his first years of writing Poetry in his bedroom in Chicago, back 1987. He felt blessed, the long time, the roughed feeling of it all, in how time is always raw, and we sizzle as we go, and it was slightly hot on this train, so he glimpsed out the open window, took a breath and said, “Yes I am hungry too. You know fellas, not too many adults write about animals here in Africa, mostly Children Poems, or Children writing them. I find it a coincidence, just yesterday our editor Munia Khan is writing about animals and mammals, and we get here and Sheriff. What was his name?”
“He never did say, but his tag said Wolfgang Nyoka.” Boet replied.
“Our incident with Mr. Walkemon and Sheriff Wolfgang Nyoka comes to be.” Andy said. “I’ll tell you what, people do not realize how we feel about animals, unless they have been following us since the U.S.A.”
Andy, Paul Oxton and the Wild Heart Wild Life is on the Poetry E Train now. Redd said.
“Powerful, Wonderful.” Andy replied. “This train is taking a while. I have some raisins, you all want some?”
“Sure.” They both replied.”
“Learning this new camera gear is interesting, makes my eyes work in different ways.” Andy said.
The train conductor knocked on the door, and he said, “You all have an entourage of people waiting for you at the next stop. We were notified by radio.”
Who are they? Redd asked.
“Animal guardian organizations.” The Conductor replied.
Thank you. They all three replied, and looked at each other, and they thought, all they could do was promote help, and write, but they wished they could do more in so many hands on ways. So they got ready as they cleaned up the mess in their room. Mathias was writing Poetry the whole time.
“Mathias,” Andy said and laughed, “We need to make you a hot air balloon, and get you up in the air, with hundreds of your books to throw out across the land there, and me I’d ride and fly with you. Gallons of water, some bread, PB & J, a bucket and what not, cameras, and those charge batteries gadgets we’d be set... Rain or shine.”
Mathias didn’t say anything. He was in the realm of Poetry.
At the Morogoro train station the Wild Heart Wild Life Foundation, Roar Foundation, Shambala, Killing for Profit organization, and movie director Toby Wosskow for the up and coming film ’Sides
Of The Horn’ all were there, and the Poetry Train crew knew they needed to help.
Mathias finally spoke as he put away his writings, and the train came to the station. “People have no clue how nature conservation works. Say for example an American comes to Africa. Let us say South Africa to hunt a trophy Lion. He pays almost US $10,000 for the Lion, roughly $15,000. That money goes to the owner of the farm, ranch, game park. The farmer pays his laborers wages with that and feeds the rest of his Lions, Kudu, Impala and whatever else he has on the farm. That $15,000 feeds 10-20 workers, and their families, but that’s not all, in order to hunt the Lion he needs to obtain a permit from National Parks Board in Africa. That can run him a US $1000-2000 out of pocket. That money goes towards nature conservation in the form of wages for game wardens and equipment, but wait, there is more. He needs to import his weapon or hire one on this side...
That money boost the economy of the country... then he needs accommodation, food, drinks and he will go sightseeing... All a healthy injection into the economy. When he shots the Lion, the meat goes to the farm labor free of charge as he is just interested in the meat. The bones and left overs will be set in the veld to feed carrion scavengers like Hyenas, Jackal etc., hence also contributing to the nature conservation. Then he would need to get the hide tanned and that in some cases are more expensive than the hunt itself. All in all, the Lions death feeds effectively twenty plus animals and directly funds the protection of hundreds more. It feeds entire communities and the money generated supports countless families which intern deter them from poaching the Lion just so that they can eat for one night.”
“Listen to that, one night, Good God, something wrong with peoples’ thinking, whatever, still pisses me off.” Andy said. “I never met the Kentucky Head Hunters, but I would like to be one, some people do not deserve love from the spirit in the sky. I can get real nasty about this global issue.”
“Andy you dropped your visa.” Mathias said.
Once at the train station the Poetry Train crew listened to all of the concerns and issues with the global problem of animals killed for profit and the crimes with the people over all of this too. Andy as he listened looked for poems of these animals that are being hunted and are on the extinction list.
“Animal Aid, Poet Aid, I am the damn Yankee for the job, where can I get a license to kill, murderers like these, forgive me now God!” Andy spoke. “I am going to simmer down look for Poetry that speaks against this bs, come on Poets where are you at? Get off the rocker!”
Redd looked at everyone and said, Andy use to break dance and play in a heavy metal band, man has got groove. Has a drill move, and that’s not good when he’s in battle mode. And we are not stupid about it either. He’s like WordSlinger ready to duel with evil politicians. The world wants to be barbaric, more barbaric it can be.
Andy spoke, “And tell all these punks to bring it on too, them and the pranksters, aka the spiritual trip wire association, they need a spanking... No respect, paddle their asses with Poetry, art, songs, and graffiti. Plant the seeds of spiritual duty. Piano keys, trinkets.”
“Andy, this has been going on for years,” Boet stated.
“Yes, Boet I know, but the tribes have respect.” Andy replied. “Enough, don’t make me pull a Jackie Chan now. Poachers are human, blood thirsty human vultures.”
Maybe these organizations can have Poets submit or donate Poems about these animals and this crisis to them and they find volunteers to make books of these Poems, and the proceeds help their cause. Redd stated.
“Yes, and maybe Elephants themselves write Poetry, or recite them. Elephants in South Korea can speak, and what about Suda, the Elephant who paints, that can be book cover and interior art.” Andy suggested. “Breaking The Poachers Spirits.”
“It’s happening in Thailand too.” Boet proclaimed.
“Elephants are so beautiful, so how do we as clouds keep our lightning not from striking these people who hunt and kill animals for profit?” Andy asked.
We are a dangerous liability because we are not corrupted. Redd said.
“What African animal would you try to domesticate?” Mathias asked them.
They all looked at each other laughed, Andy answered first, “A Poacher, I want to wear its skin.” By saying that the humor dissolved.
“A Leopard.” Andy replied. “More like be.”
“Is that because you are unpredictable?” Boet asked.
Andy laughed, and replied, “And ferocious.”
I think we should do a Cape Buffalo Stampede, Redd replied, Give them an adrenaline kick, to return back cruelty, spare the horns not the rod.
Andy smiled and replied, “10/4 Reddede, ya ya man. We can part your hair down the middle, and curl your hair like horns, similar like pony tails.” Andy laughed. “I cannot find one single Poem about a Cape Buffalo. What have we learned from U.S.A. Poets Sandberg and Trudell, or what the world needs to learn?”
“I am not proud of the deeds of man, the anger and the hate bred by them.” Boet said. “I am not proud of discrimination, corruption and the destruction of our wildlife for money. I am not proud of the manipulation, ignorance and the pain and suffering that it has brought our people. If money is the root of all evil then our government maybe becoming more evil by the day but man I am proud to be an African and I will never give that up. So how do we connect with these wild poachers, and don’t tell me to love them?”
“We are going to have to draw a dark picture for people to remember.” Andy said. “A last warning!”
Redd the Stampede Reddede spoke with tears in his eyes, People do not realize how beautiful life, and animals are. Check out these Cape Buffalo artists online, Stéphane Alsac and Marc Allante. It feels like we are the only ones learning from history.
Everyone was silent, the Poetry Train crew, and organizers from organizations, but it was speaking louder than words.
“We need mounds of poacher skulls, deeds done by their own guns. Predator the predator. Whatever it takes so these trades break. All life is sacred, time to strip these crimes naked. African Buffalo, American Buffalo, plant seeds of Poetry so this wisdom grows. From dusk to dawn until all of the poachers are gone.” Andy blended a poetic cento, so all can feel and remembo!
Charlie posted and sent them a message. ′To All You Poets Out There’
Anguish not if your writings do not bring you the recognition that you desire. Poems are like fine wine. They may lay dormant for ages before their bouquet blossoms as the result of their discovery by those searching through the dusty back shelves of the book stores of the future. It matters not if they were handwritten on the cheapest of papers or printed on the finest of stationeries and bound in leather volumes. Be they eloquent or be they in the many languages of the unschooled they represent the inner feelings of those in the past that took the time to share a precious gift and they may well stand the test of time.′ _Charles H. Gragg.
The Morogoro train station posted an announcement over an intercom, ‘Now boarding to Dodoma, Manyoni, Tabora, and Isaka.’ Redd and Andy knew Charlie was always with them, even he being in the U.S.A. And along the way, meeting people and saying good bye was something they were keen at, but not Charlie. He has been with them since day one. Redd, Boet and Andy looked at everyone in the eye, and Andy said, “I will be the Leopard and the Poachers cannot hide.” And back on the time train they went.
The station was busy, but once the trains wheels turned, and all of this wisdom turned in their brains. And when this Leopard drawn near, the poachers better fear. The Poetry Train Crew wanted to go back, but they were on the right track. Tears, remorse, no booby traps, take them down to the Railroad map.
Boet recited some, Arthur Schopenhauer
You wish to waste wit, you wish to waste soul
The hearts of mankind to control?
Give them good things to stuff and swill
They’ll come in crowds to do your will?
Whatever Boet, Redd replied.
“Look!” Andy pointed to a homemade sign that read, ‘Danger Hatari’ and he smiled, and said, “We are close.”
Boet and Mathias laughed. They all checked with the Conductor and then counted their money.
Outside the window, they witnessed an elder whooping children with a switch for playing next to tracks.
“It’s about time we see someone caring.” Andy said, “Too many times we have seen unattended children along the tracks. Not good. Please find ways to keep Children from playing on the Railways. Trains and trucks hurt, believe me. Mr. Welchberry sent us some railway information, thanks ol’ Pal, charm’d...”
Agreed. Redd replied, and looked at the RxR map of Tanzania.
Mathias asked, “I am going to get me some fried caterpillars, want some?.”
Please get us all some. Redd replied.
Boet played some music from the Tanzania Heritage Project. Their mission is to find endangered music, and share it with listeners around the world. Similar to their lives.
Andy read the history of the Tanzania Railroad history and asked, “Do we have a Safety Plan?”
“The China Africa friendship begins here, y’all.” Andy stated as Mathias returned. “I hope you brought rice and soy sauce with them baby butterflies?”
“Ya ya man, this is all a calligram like an Guillaume Apollinaire, ya ya honey if you dare.” Andy said. “Boet the music is groovy.”
“Thanks, co-put together by Poet Rebecca Corey too.” Boet replied.
We need to listen to this. Redd declared. We are on the Uhuru, Freedom Railway, and twitch your ears to the ‘Wind of Change’ speech by Harold Macmillan.
As they listened, Redd commented, Fifty seven years later, and the world has shrunk. There’s dignity in this speech.
“For whom the Poetry Train rolls, the Poetry Train rolls for thee.” Andy said with a British accent, and Mathias laughed.
Love this speech. Redd said.
“Me too.” Everyone replied.
Andy snapped his fingers and played a song called ‘Le vieux train’ by Alaclair Ensemble. The train began to slow down. Boet and Mathias got some money together to get some soda, bananas and coconuts from the locals. This type of business from the Railroad has shown to help the economy and livelihood of the people. A lady in a cabin in front of us gave away candy to kids on the other Railroad tracks. A train passing by was a high light to these children’s lives for sure. New passengers come on the train, and again, children waved good bye to everyone. Andy and Redd loved that, never in America and Canada was this seen, yes a few families here and there but not everywhere like this.
Boet spoke, “I am out of baby wipes, and laughed back to tp, and laughed again.
Redd shook his head and smiled.
Andy looked at Redd and recalled a moment when he slept in his seat, with ball cap, pulled over his eyes, and with head phones on his head, and all the big important things they two have said about the use and power of unity instead.
“Cheap Safari so what, I love all this.” Mathias said, and Andy thought about the Selous Reserve and all the hunting happening at this moment.
“Taking a shower fellas.” Andy said.
It’s a beautiful thing when your children bring your Poems back to life as the Poet Sheikh Kaluta Amri Abeid’s son does. Beautiful Poems they are, and his sons’ voice is beautiful too at reciting them. Redd proclaimed.
“The book publishing here is in an economic crisis in both Kiswahili and English languages.” Boet said. “They say they have no strong strategy.”
Let me guess, Redd said, the meteor of the English language?
“Afraid so.” Boet replied.
“Pull the train stop lever cord!” Andy demanded “We need to go to the book cafe at E & D Vision Publishing.”
Boet and Mathias laughed.
Andy we are going west not east. Redd replied. That’s way back in Dar-Es-Salaam.
“I know, but it’s been so long since we went in a cafe.” Andy said, “They have wisdom power and quality books.”
“After listening to Moky Makura, and her Tedx Talks online video, entitled, Finding African Stories.” Boet said. “Did it deepen your anger for Poets’ rights online?”
“What’s wrong Andy?” Mathias asked.
“I am just thinking about diamonds and why.” Andy replied, but not fully, because he wanted to keep his cool, but he has seen something.
Redd saw it too, and replied, Yes, we are passion Lions.
What’s important is that she’s sticking to her guns, and she knows writing for someone/something is not a hobby. It’s their lives and writers that were alive and accomplished do not even have a memorial for their graves.” Andy said.
No appreciation alive, no appreciation dead. Redd added.
“Exactly.” Andy replied. “Take for instance Poet Shaaban Bin Robert. Boet, pull up some poems please.”
“This is his land, and he’s taught in schools here.” Mathias said.
“Mathias, How can we cause awareness for his grave?” Boet asked. “At present, there are no indications from the authorities concerned of any plans to maintain the grave and the surrounding areas or to establish a memorial in Tanga.”
Andy looked at Redd and shook his head in disbelief;
The day and ride was a long one on them, a nap was sneaking up on them. Once the nap snook on them they dreamed of many things. Andy got pick pocketed on a train in the U.S.A. Redd had a dream of his family he never seen in twenty eight years, and Boet of a musical performance group that played cover songs. Mathias stayed awake talking to Poet Mutiu Olawuyi who was riding the trains to his home in Somaliland. Aka Somalia. For the world to note that what not these dreams would show was their spirits as well as anything else, in how compassionate and true they are to family, friends, life and strangers. The four of them are the four pins holding the wiggly and wobbly train carefully in safety. Andy and Texas U.S.A. Poets John P. Sturgill & Larry Kelly created a Poetry Videos of Johns’ poem ‘The Whistle Still Blows’ and Larrys’ poem ‘Train.’ Furthermore Greggory Fino poems.
Mathias spoke and this sparked wisdom, “My first collection, ” MOBUTU’S NAKED PALACE won the Poetry Trains’ 2016 Alphose G Newcomer Poetry Award, and I don’t intend to try to win anything. The more I look at African Literature awards or any other African competition, the more I see artists, if not artisans, trying to brand Africa instead of trying to brand themselves; the more I see literary judges, as if there is a yardstick for art, trying to promote a friend or a countryman. To be very blunt, the best teacher you can ever get for writing is in your heart; and not in that fancy Writivism festival, Kwani? or Caine lecture auditorium. While the best masters from Aristotle, Dickens to Conrad are self-taught, an average writer in these parts of the world is trying to rebrand African Literature the way he heard so and so, say African Literature should be. We need to get the difference between writing and typing first, theorizing and gambling, thinking and drafting, speaking via art; and yapping through ink and paper. One of the worst collections I’ve ever read is Chinua Achebe’s Commonwealth Poetry Award Winning Beware Soul Brother, 1974. Beware soul Brother, we are now stuck: Too many poets, and not enough poems, too many creative writers and not enough fiction after the first generation writers.”
They looked at each and smiled, and Mathias looked at them all and said, ’Let’s keep the Poetry Train beast moving.”
Andy spoke, “I will tell you all what, combined with Operation Jester. These people who come to these trains here in Africa with fruits, vegetables, water and soda pop, you have to love them. This is the way it’s supposed to be, locals knowing and caring about train passengers. They know we are hungry, not this bs y’all, and this is where Poets in the world can team up with them too along every train station, and share the love of word and nutrition.”
Redd smiled and replied, “I agree.” and Redd went back into dealing with business of copyrights with the Library of Congress, and they all know, many in such halls are glued to their cell phones, either taking an app nap, or playing video games, spy games, and love-lust electronic manifesto, and need to get back to work, and read the Poet Igloo. Because history is known for repeating, and Alexandria is due. Danger that is due to show her work.
The world knows Mathias and the Poetry Train crew are wise, mad, and the bottom line is care, and this care was growing slowly but surely, the Poetry Train gang was being known for not playing around as the world changed. Whales, baby whales of Poetry and literature all grown up, and growing up. They were Rudolph the red nosed Reindeer all grown now dashing through the worlds bullshit.
Mathias spoke again, “Writers of the first generation used to theorize and make statements: Very calculated artistic gambles and experiments. Ours is of Poets who win awards before they can write a line in rhythm; of prose writers who publish novels without an idea of plotting.”
Same ol same ol in the U.S.A. Mathias, Redd replied. Canada, we never went séance mode, but from some posts years back, yes, they were punished with favoritism too. We have political enemas, bet that.
“Who taught Plato?” Mathias asked with power. “Who taught Homer? Who taught Sembene? Who taught Tutola? Writing remains property of what the Greeks called the Muse, the bitchy female god of Poetry. It totally refuses to be a science someone wants it to be.... But then how are we going to advance? Via these literary festivals and awards? I’m told thousands of dollars are for grabs in Nigeria for literary awards.., but I’m yet to read more than a few jibberish from its recipients Henry Cmt Sikes.”
Mathias’s online colleagues have joined him in this conversation, and Redd, and Andy looked at Mathias and Boet, and took in all of this wisdom, and smiled inside and out.
“Mathias, I am pipe smoking mentor, but you know that, ha ha ha ha,” Andy said and laughed. “Thanks to these trains here we can open the windows. Back in the day, I found a Poet named Oooze, and he did not care what Poets.org or PoetryFoundation.org did choose, it was he, and he only had Poetry oozing out of him and his shoes, and he was a winner and by this, he never did loose. Ooze was his name, Ooze. Somewhere in dark Poetry forums you can find him if one did choose, but beware, you may never come back and care.”
Gives us more reason to not academically reason, Redd replied and laughed.
Andy took two pencils from his back pack, and played the drum beat to ‘Planet Rock’ by Afrika Bambaataa on the train cars’ dining table. Moving the ranking a bit onward and upward... And he laughed and laughed... They began to read the Poet Mutiu Olawuyis’ work and asked him to make a Poetry Video for the channel. They encouraged Poets to become actors; actors and actresses to pay attention to the fire, and producers to take note.
Andy spoke and posted, “Poets world wide stick to your Poetic guns dance world because the sleep walking disease is a world wide-wise disease!”
Red looked at Andy and said, You and Poet Samuel Edward Krune Mqhayi have a lot in common. Determination!
“Ha ha,” as a prolific reader,” Andy replied. “You too man, come on now. Redd now we are on the hunt for his lost book “U Samson.”
Boet looked at Mathias and smiled. Boet spoke, “Like Samuel Edward Krune Mqhayi you both are no ordinary Pioneers, with a capitol P for Pioneer and Poet. Like he, keep on piercing the curtains so there’s no lost sight of the past and traditions. I feel most people don’t want to think deeply or critically. That’s why they’re on Facebook not reading Hemingway or others. Most people don’t want to reflect on themselves and think introspectively, imagine how scary that is to the person unaware of their infinite potential. The issue also is that people have short mind spans as well and don’t want to read a big wall of text. Facebook’s slowly desensitizing everyones’ minds. Our brain operates on different wave lengths. It’s easier for even the big sites or they think they are anyway to disconnect than to attempt to connect on deeper levels with us or the Poetry readers as we are, or open themselves to the unknown or come out of their comfort zones also.”
“Ya ya,” Andy replied, “What you are saying is they are politically and internet mind f’cked in a nice way.”
They all knew Boet was in love and Boet was in an epiphany that they were the new poetry whales.
“We are looking for stainless steel Poets,” Andy said, “Simile smiles, Poets with camera mounted Poems. Imagine that.”
Andy spoke up to them all, “Howdy Tanzania, Sup y’all, we are looking for these Poets, ya ya Poets and what are their names Redd.”
Hammer, Voice of Darkness, Jitu Kali, Male Lion, Youth, Dust, Nightmare, and Old Man from Mwanza, Redd answered.
“Ya ya, we heard they were slinging Poetry books,” Andy said. “Ya ya, we brought some too, match yall. Paper and ink, and berry juice to get loose.”
Boet was smiling from ear to ear, and as he turned down his music from his phone he spoke. “Ya ya we have extra train tickets too, so where the round table at? We are Poetry Promoters from well a Super Igloo way up in the cold, large. Hey don’t look at me all crazy, these two aliens are like an American nightmare, ya ya. They are still rolling. They save Poetry. They don’t want to die, they want to learn to hear some Sawali!”
Ya ya we don’t google minus. Redd added. Do not mistake all of this for gun running, more like bad ass Poetry. We heard the word was with Hammer, Voice of Darkness, Jitu Kali, Male Lion, Youth, Dust, Nightmare, and Old Man from Mwanza.
“We bleeding, not scared.” Boet said, and got up, looking all around. “You all are so brilliant it is not even funny, although making funny is how we as people - Poets are thrown to.. All I know is the sleep walking disease is real, and there are many suffering.”
Andy noted down in his note book, ’The search for the ambidextrous Twin Poets and the left handed piano... ’Operation Jester is crucial worldwide. The world needs this experience. Incentives to passengers, and the new movie world.
Boet spoke, “The Poet Euphrase Kezilahabi and his publication of Kichomi created a fiery debate on Poetry as conservationists and modernists argued over whether free verse Poetry can be called Swahili Poetry. Traditionally, Swahili Poetry was written by native Swahili speakers.”
This Poet is beyond powerful y’all. Redd proclaimed, He saw the future and never forgot the past. Ya ya Boet and Andy replied in sync.
We really like this Poem Mathias, Redd said with a smile. ’AA! HAIL THE HERO OF BRITAIN! By Samuel Edward Krune Mqhayi, he said his farewell to the African volunteers who served in France during World War I, some of whom perished when the SS Mendi sank.
Redd checked his email and read a reply from the Library of Congress to obtain clarification on the book Poetry Train Canada. They wanted to know what we were registering. Who created it? Who owns the work that was created?
Geo Thompson and Charlie Gragg are the first to come to Redd’s mind, and the struggles of the time.
A Literary Body Guard a term the Library of Congress has never heard before, a thing, a responsibility, an honorary chore to protect a Poets, a Writers literary work in case of an emergency. This is as important then as it is now. This conversation was touched a few weeks ago with Poet Olan L. Smith.
Who would protect, safe keep a Poets work if and when they pass on? Many Poets have no one. Poetry of a Poet is so sacred to them no one seems to understand. How many Poets poems get lost through time? Poems and Poets with beauty unknown.
Redd didn’t say anything as of yet, but played a writing online reading, ‘The Broken Heart’ by Washington Irving. Redd knew Andys’ heart on this matter and one of the things is, Andy believes a Poets heart and Poems never die, and that’s why he does not like to post R.I.P. Or some mini eulogy. But like Andy he hopes every Poet has a Poet Body Guard. They both are writing a screenplay entitled, “We Buy UnWanted Poems.” about a Poet whose Poetry journals were stolen by a girlfriend when Joseph Burgher passed away in his sleep, and years later this woman found remorse and inherited a fortune. She has changed, and gives her life and fortune to the Poetry and Poets who deserve such uplifting. This screenplay is not complete because they are too busy and it touches their souls because the story is real, it has happened but not the return of Joseph’s Poetry or his girlfriend. A great fear they have for all of their work, because they understand a Poets’ life, world and spirit. They are Poetry Patriots fighting the good fight with all they know and feel. Geo and they had great conversations, and Geo enforced these words, ‘Keep the Course, Keep the Course.’ When they felt down, unheard, these words came to them, along with Charlies’ words, ‘Onward, And Forward!!’ These days, they have a new Literary Body Guard, a Poet from Poetry School, Munia Khan, and she uplifts them, when Andy, Redd and Boet feel alone out there fighting for Poetry, and the Railways. Without any of them and other Poetry friends, they feel they are alone, even though they have each other. Who has the answers when Poets have no one to protect them online, offline, and when the lifeline exchanges into the next realm? Who, whom??
Redd forwarded the email to the Poetry Train Team, and the train rolled onto Burundi, Africa.