Saturday, October 29, 2011

Magwaza & Other Saturday Thoughts

A belated happy Saturday to you all.  A meditative post this afternoon—probably short, tho with a long song appended!

The sun is shining in Portland after a gray morning & a rainy night.  As for me, I’m experiencing the odd tiredness that often sets in on me this time of year: a sometimes uncomfortable mixture of wishing to hibernate combined with restlessness about the short days & the onset of the cold.  

In addition it’s a weekend for ghosts, & I’ve reached the age & point in my life’s circumstances where I experience such things only too literally, tho not in the paranormal sense of the word.  The ghosts I know come from a note of music; a sentence in a book; a “certain slant of light;” the odor of dinner on the stove.

Here’s a ghost, & I don’t know what to make of it.  One time in San Francisco back in the 90s I found myself in the Mission District for the Día de los Muertes parade.  In a back alley, there were several costumed musicians wearing various death masks playing & singing “Magwaza,” a traditional South African tune that was covered gloriously by the great Johnny Dyani & his band on his album Witchdoctor’s Son.  Witnessing that scene has always stayed with me—as if I’d stumbled briefly thru some veil like a character in one of the psychedelic 1960s thrillers.

Perhaps something in this season that speaks to the loneliness at our shoulders.  Or is thaqt just my own obsession?  One time I was asked how my early poems differed from the ones I wrote over the past few years.  I said the early stuff was all about sex; the later stuff all about loneliness.  Is this true?  Sometimes I wonder that we even separate the two….

Thoughts as the music streams & the sunlight appears at the window—the sunlight itself seems a bit reluctant today—a bit reserved.

I’m going to venture out into that sunlight tho & find something on Portland’s streets this afternoon.  What?  A photograph, a meal, a book, a memory, a glimpse into another day….

Hope you each find something meaningful today.


  1. Sex and loneliness sometimes are intertwined.

  2. Hi eViL pOp TaRt: Yes, often I'd say, tho in my experience at least I'd say the ways they intertwine change over time. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. The music is atmospheric and fits in with the scene you describe. It's interesting how some of the old ghosts don't even have to be someone or something that's deeply personal initially, but start out as a random encounter that's burned into the mind.

  4. Hi HKatz: Yes, it is odd about those memories that seem impersonal & yet remain so vivid. Glad you enjoyed the music!


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