Nudge, elbow, prod, bump.

I’ve got a lot going on now that the new term has started and (sigh) fashion is pretty far down my list. I have the urge to get something going for tomorrow that has some sass to it.  But until then, I’ll have to be satisfied with a poem or too, celebrating Napowrimo

April 11 – The rollin’ cart

The wood smoke smells like Africa
Low to the ground in the bowl shaped city
the streets of Mali wreath with cooking fires.
The children peer at us, we are specters.
Babies on the sotrama take a glance and wail
we are the ciphers of their dreams, the bogeyman
the ghosts, the risers of the dead.
The small man comes in his cart.
there is no driver, there are no horses
no donkey, no goat, it pulls itself
through the dense streets, while the man
bleached by the sun, blanched by the moon
looks with glistening eye through the dusty gloom.
Busy children can forget to fear
until surprised, the small man scares up their street
they see their faces,  mirrored in the eye, it means
they have been out too long at play
too soon the dusk has turned to dark
there he is in his rollin’ cart, coming their way
Come howl baby, scream and keen.
Maybe your momma has got sudden sight
the small man and his rollin’ cart are pulling up.
The fires wreath the cooking pot
with watery eyes the children see
the toubabous tread softly up their street
Their mother’s call is supple on the air.

“Small man” is the name given to a man who rides in a cart drawn by itself and picks up any child seen outside after sundown, the term “rollin’ cart” was used to scare children who misbehaved. Anyone taken by the small man becomes a small person and has to ride on the back of his cart with him forever. (West Indies/Bahamas from Wikipedia). Toubabs are white people

Ferry 0421

Crossing the Niger in Mali