Thursday, August 13, 2009

juba girl (15)

juba girl

disambiguation in five parts
november 30, 1976

juba girl
a dark dawn dance
mpenzi yuko wapi
(where is yr lover?)

a lucent
judas tree in bloom
upenzi uko wapi
(where is yr love?)

her plunging roots
impale the brain
& leave the heart
a begging bowl
mungo yuko wapi?
(where is god)
ni namhitaji sasa!
(i need him now!)

picking up the pieces,
part i

facing myself in the glare of morning
the all important looking glass remains
for once without comment
vainly i try to scrape u from my mouth
but tongue & teeth, too, have memories,
nor will mine soon forget yr suck & whirl.
the evening past was not without its magic.
though evenly matched, we dared try each other –
i with secret knowledge; u with guile & years.
a bold advance. a sweet parry an exchange.
twice u melted under fire; twice u recovered
in time i fell before yr furtive past, defeated
& could not take u.
i am not bitter.
my blood though aches with yr confusion.
if u are shy of pain, are u not shy of joy?
would u reach out to touch desire &
doing so retreat to the void for fear?
perhaps i am bitter!

picking up the pieces,
part ii

a fragmented heart like a
nub of hand or stump of leg
is not without its special pain
what hurts so is missing.
one seldom offers a nub
or braves a stump to stand on.
so is a burst heart grudgingly
given unless
one like u retrieves those
scattered fragments
or most
i taste yr back
& stare down its scented valley,
wondering why an injured hand or
leg so well preserves its tragedy
but seemingly,
the heart so soon forgets

picking up the pieces,
part iii

at decision’s forked road i sit, a jellied heap
for now. my stomach weighs a writhing ton.
how large do nostrils grow? & does the mind
flux & drip right through them?

i am drunk on yr mixed signals
yr skin & all beneath says
love me

yr mouth forms words of non-involvement

i would believe u & flee, leaving
yr shadow with others who give relentless

but that’s old even another life
& what of pride?

i’ll not take what is not freely given
so i sit & finger the wind –
at least until tomorrow.


i must stop this dull ache

the night offers no soothing balm
nor is the radio anymore than

i believe
i believe i’ll go back home
dust my broom
or change the lock
on my door

i’m putting time between us
hoping my walking shoes are
seven league boots
i wish i were a giant again.

©Joseph McNair 1976-2009


  1. How old is this poem? It seems to be a much younger you, although there are elements that seem the same.

  2. It was written in 1977. How perceptive of you!