JOURNEY INTO SONGS by Gbenga Adesina (Nigeria)
(On the Benin road)
The leaves are an imagination of green:
Self-preening Limbas, doting, motherly Guava trees unfurling their
arms on this road. The oaks and mahoganies loop like
map lines that lead to love.
And you, being you, find yourself in a state of desire
You want to touch and be touched. To fold yourself into a song, into a ballad
and give of it to this air. To re-listen to these places with new eyes, you
yielding to the road, the road yielding to you. Hugh Masekela cooing beside you;
the sheer thrush of self-surrender.
But really, I’m thinking these greens, these twigs are opening sentences
I’m thinking, really, that roads are people and people are roads and
when we take them, navigate them, what we come into is a soft surprise
of songs. Some bright watermarks, some dark or maroon like love or loss
like these trees and their cheerful leaves beneath which there is a dying and a sighing
and a loving, like the red wound in Hugh’s voice as he twirls and twirls me into his space,
my hands trembling on the gear.
I press down on the pedal. Our car is a purr scissoring through the night.
We are now at a junction where a slim, red-brown road on the left
slithers down the green into something we do not know
If I turn this wheel, careen down the road into its dusty insistence
Will I see her
My mother: a little Benin girl again making dreams in sand
or her father, Abulema, bare chested sculptor, his fingers
quick to love as to wood, nursing a bronze slap into a god
a waiting in his eyes, under this April sky relentlessly preaching
the gospel of rain.