Senegal in Syllables

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