Outside my window the digger, digging, plunges the spade, with target
perfection, in gravelly ground hissing needle-sharp sound into palpable
rhythm as green buds, cracked in the dry harmattan throw dust around. At
each succeeding stroke this hard land trenches longer and deeper by the
bitter glint of the spade.
During the aerial suspension of the spade, he pauses, stares into blue
haze, stares into blue haze: that mirage over on the noon highway, these
primal years that run from us useless as free paper in a printing press
or the jocund lovers who deep in the night disappear like methylated
spirit. Insults of the proud stick in the digger's memory like a
tattoo. When he tries to wash it off, it will not rub off. Of his
father's tutelage, firewood is only for those who can take heart.
That is why not all can gather it. He shakes his head. Grip grip, grip
hard and downright down strikes the vengeful spade.
He accused life of myriad standards in its airtight dragnet, roadblocks
everywhere borders tight as steel ziplocks checkmate every hope. Yet
many people of lesser talent slip out, unabated, with ease.
The logic of existence replants us in alien soils. We tear round the
hairpin corners of the word divided to the vein: to stay put or to go.
So the periodic spade strikes, each stroke the rasped desolation and
anger of the soul. Tribulations of a black-gold age. The excavations and
makings of our blood and drainage.
Before the harmattan and the digger, unmoving I sit; before these
intimate vengeance, I am the watcher. I could not dig as the digger
does, convinced I could with pen, I turn my gaze back to the empty page
I fancy is waiting.