Translated from the French by Connie Voisine and the Author
Ode To The Organ Mountains
To Richard Greenfield
this relief is a sight indeed
music that captivates us approaching.
Wilful charmer, earth
which the naked eye cannot grasp
before me, and behind me
this plain stretching endlessly
to the edge of the sun
setting himself, dragging his feet
under the spell of this instrument
with an arrogant delicacy
It’s here in New Mexico
at the foot of these Isis peaks
that my heart found
its soft spot for America.
Words Here, Like Hello, Are Made Of Snow
“All the sad beauty of a calm morning
where I find myself alone,
a way like any another
of consoling a heart
to the rhythm of the music”
—Songs of Sand, Ayi Dossavi
Words here carry the scent of snow,
mapping a memorial on my face
unexpectedly morose, staring at me.
Don’t you know any warm words,
like Vogan ,
where burning pork sauce journeys from
your nostrils down the backs of your hands to fingers
crooked like a question mark?
I invoke Vogan to inhabit the snow-words
because the commas that separate them from me
are also drunk on Fela  and
carry the taste of sunshine on their wings—
dziŋkpakpa wele wele
dziŋkpakpa wele wele—
but butterfly wings don’t survive
nor its pitiless white teeth
which have devoured the flowers even before the season,
Sculpted mores and tempers,
desires and dislikes,
assaulted bodies and hopes
where some feet return in search of balance.
A cold powder whitens what we call
the American dream. I summon the cities
with Fela’s heat to inhabit these snow-words.
He Dances And Gets Excited In Collection Baskets
Reference to collections
—Connie Voisine, Cathedral of the North
—Kwame Dawes, City of Bones
The cathedral of the north
adorned with verses
is well suited to the city of bones
mimicked in my dream.
Here unlike elsewhere
the churches are
overflowing with loneliness
their walkways bordered
by flower beds
yellowed with absence.
It’s like god
is too short on time
our offerings or he feels
too sad to dance to the song of
reaching through our bodies which are
cathedrals, and museums too,
a shelter for all these objects
charged with clinking and heliheli
which pokes this god out of his silence.
Elsewhere he’s been made a book, where he dances
and gets excited in collection baskets.
 Vogan is a town northeast of Lomé , known for its Friday market, which is one of the largest pork sauce and vodu markets in West Africa .
 Fela Aníkúlápó Kuti, also known as Abami Eda, was a Nigerian musician, bandleader, composer, political activist, and Pan-Africanist. He is regarded as the pioneer of Afrobeat, a Nigerian music genre that combines West African music with American funk and jazz.
 Butterfly, fly, fly.