Senegal in Syllables

Naomi Wright - Senegal


May 3, 2011

Over the past months, I’ve occasionally jotted down little haikus in my journal. Perhaps you’ll get a different perspective on my life in Senegal from these mental musings.

I have drunk friendship,
Brown-olive, thick with sweetness,
From a glass teacup
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Sneezing and smiles:
The same in every language.
Ah-choo! Ah-choo! Eeeee!
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Beans make sounds of rain
Tumbling into tin cans;
One kilo, cent franc.
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Red coals burn, ash rimmed,
Spilling smoke in smudged curls
Fighting mosquitoes
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Prayer call on Fridays
White sun heat of two o’clock
Devoted drift by
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Sale! Phone cards! Good deal!
Cheap street corner calls for help
Still aren’t being heard.
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No running water
Cash for new TV, cell phone
What’s development?
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Here I walk slowly
Feet sinking in orange sand
On Africa time
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Stooped to concrete gods
Lets stream hot urine—ah!
Street public restrooms
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Flies make the wall black
Sipping at my eye juices
Cannot slap a one
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Water splash, high chirp
A bat lives in my shower
We all live somewhere
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I can’t speak their talk
So I’ve eaten words instead
If not out, in works
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Twilight comes coolness
Flies flesh out to mosquitoes
Bird trills now crickets
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Fill, fill, fill me
I want to live until it hurts
And I am happy

Naomi Wright