A Traveling Soul

by Judah Mhlaba

At night, when all is quiet, when all is still and every spirit lies where it should, simple sounds of the city can be heard. Every squeak from every loose hanging street sign sings. All the papers and rubbish shake and spin with the whistling wind between alleys.

It is almost magical, to stand and watch as traffic lights of this long west street turn green, red, orange and green again. Eyes stare through a window of a house with no yard nor grass, just a balcony on the 4th floor. With each star in the sky a wishful prayer can be heard.

If I could open my words wider, like a woman spreading her legs to become a mother, I could kill death. I would fool everybody and say "May the dead be raised and may we celebrate!" Celebrate a time which has been lost. Let death be the door to birth.

Let nothing stop this process as I die, only to scream in terror as I enter a new world. My fears won't be heard and my thoughts won't be written down. My journey will be in vain as I grow up forgetting my identity. But may this night, this magical night, may it be my ally and caress me to sleep. May songs be hymns burying me so deep.

Music / video composition by Victor D. Sandiego

Judah Mhlaba, 26 years old, was born in Nelspruit Mpumalanga, South Africa. He writes poetry and short stories and is studying photography. Judah says: “I live for art, be it written, touched, seen or heard.”

Since 2010, Judah has been a member of Afro-Alphabets, a poetry group founded by the Arts and Culture Department at the University of Johannesburg. He has performed a stage presentation based on the anthology Footprints Of The Heart, a compilation of work by the group. His has also performed at the Grahamstown Art Festival and Poetry Africa, 2011.

Comments

By sinqobile.zulu on May 13, 2014 14:24 (UTC)

WooooW!!! I am so taken by the way you right and even recite your poetry.Its so original and unique.Keep writing ,so that the power of words can keep manifesting itself on us.
Thankyou for sharing your talent,hope God strengthens you and never give up because it is your most powerful tool and nobody,as in...NOBODY can take it away from you.:) ;)
Sinqobile Zulu

By sinqobile.zulu on May 13, 2014 14:26 (UTC)

ooops!! sorry* meant ''write''*

By J. Glenn Evans on May 15, 2014 12:08 (UTC)

Very moving and takes us back to where we all began. Thank you for these lovely lines and keep writing.

By leo on May 16, 2014 18:15 (UTC)

a spooky haunting quality to this one. your voice is incredible, very well reading. and the music zwows it right along...kudos to all. leo

By Cynthia Low on May 17, 2014 15:18 (UTC)

Ancient, ancient 26 year old. Spin words dear one, you are an art hero.

By Lois on Aug 18, 2014 14:40 (UTC)

Great to hear this rekindling of life cycles. It makes me think of our path through samsara. Whether or not one believes they come back. I do feel there are memories that stay with us and the decision to remember is very strong. This especially fine:

If I could open my words wider, like a woman spreading her legs to become a mother, I could kill death. I would fool everybody and say "May the dead be raised and may we celebrate!" Celebrate a time which has been lost. Let death be the door to birth.

By Marjorie Rommel on Sep 15, 2014 19:54 (UTC)

Judah, I so admire this piece, your voice, and the music that accompanies it, which couldn't be more perfect! Are you familiar with John Phillip Santos, author of Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation, and The Farthest Home is in an Empire of Fire? In pursuing the history of his family from Spain to Mexico to Texas, with genre-bending side trips in and out of another mental/physical state entirely, Santos shows us the continuum of civilization, and the degree of our interrelatedness -- even with the dead and those yet unborn. The Farthest Home especially has a spirit that is close kin to your "Celebrate a time which has been lost. Let death be the door to birth." Wherever he is, I feel sure Gabriel Garcia Marquez is smiling.

I will look for more of your work.

By Lenora Good on Sep 18, 2014 07:03 (UTC)

Wow. Simply Wow! A marvelous poem, and beautifully spoken. I, too, was going to compare it to Santos's books, but see Marjorie Rommel already did. This is a poem that encourages pondering, and re-reading/re-listening. Very well done! thank you for writing it.