Gabriel Awuah Mainoo

in the paw of the night

//…there’s a natural mystic blowing through the air, if you listen carefully now you’ll hear…//
where we sat under the pavilion on the rough hedge/ side by side leaning against the thick dusk/
picking oysters from the dinner glass blues/ chardonnay stung on our breath/ we morph
memories in the fume of the carafe/ the night is like a tripod where the stars spin on the axes
recording our names towards home ─ to learn the value of personhood/ things to remember by
help of the wind/ memory is a city of cologne, we take turns wearing distinct scents/ the burst of
Marley’s ‘Natural Mystic’ drifts a woman into a vacuum/ she’s a traffic light, counts up to 7,
winks & shreds/ allow her to wring out her marrow into the tupperware bowls/ she bears such of
our stories sweetened with lemon/ this is the night of moulting & new revolutions/ yesterday was
the last day of your life, you said that, sniffing the oyster stew…

//…though I’ve tried to find the answers to all the questions, though I know it’s impossible to
live through the past…//
my nose is clawed by the gin on her laugh/ hey sweet pea, can you reveal the birth mark from the
hijab?/ gypsy woman, I pour her whiskey/ I drink to remember/ she drinks to forget/ the pang, an
intermittent fizz of memory/ you’ll need iodine or the sea/ she spits a switchblade & cuts me
with a frown/ you should have told me the sea swallowed your race/ I have a way of puncturing
its nape with a knee/ it pukes, beginning time in Minnesota/ in your scruffy hair you’ll find fecal
matter, bones, bugs, rotten fish, sulphur, dust mites…

//…one and all have to face the reality now…//
it’s a false truth, I am only advertising my capability/ reggae in the morning, baroque at twilight
until stars melt through the fanlight/ Les demoiselles & d’Avignon or Guernica; like Pablo
Picasso I make art my heart/ the calypso is whirling/ allow the drunken woman to advertise her
leprosy, gently, the chicken fight/ an ancient-night-squall scrapes the red mucus from her nose/
the pang’s jab, heavy as the night/ when jazz explodes from the radio, the white smoke swirls &
sways in my grandfather’s room heating into a blanket of liberty/ I clutch the minute as if it is
part of me/ I do the ball change & kick it & do the ball change & kick it/

//…many more will have to suffer, many more will have to die- don’t ask me why…//
Elton John is a post man/ I bump into him in a counseling room in Pinner but the widows are not
piercing him with questions on heart anatomy/ the exact mystery behind a person’s heart
drumming in a withered body/ quiet as sleep, they are thinking, with hard nipples, time will heal
it, but not admitting/ it is two hearts living in two separate worlds/ you feel I am talking about
relics & whiskey & love & art & rhythm/ Martin Luther King Jr is mewling in the dense woods/
his tribe is grazing in grime/ I am talking about everything/ the live wire lurking naked in the
paw of the night/