25 August 2019

Middlesea blues, a poem by Raphael d'Abdon

We have crossed the desert and the sea to arrive here. We are
not afraid of death. If we have to die, we will die.
—15-year-old Sudanese migrant, trying to cross the French border from Italy

we sneak
into the underground corridors
of your safe existence
eager to catch bits of sun
with our broken fishnets

lighthouses illuminate the transparent walls of our life stories
as the wind steals our memories
and abandons them on the waterfronts that left us
the day we
left them

the seagulls and the waves
on whose wings we travel
vanish behind clouds
in the twilight breeze
like drumbeats do

we have been crossing seas, deserts and borders
like our ancestors did
like our children will do

keep on moving
towards the unknown

middleseas have been swallowing us
and in their belly
we have learned how to sing the blues

we are still here today
to sing it back to you

and when it is too hard to sing it
we hide it

inside a smile

(Pretoria, March 4, 2017)

This poem was first published in Muse India, Issue 73 (May-Jun 2017)
and was inspired by MiddleSea, a film by Zineb Sedira (sound by Mikhail Karikis)

Raphael d'Abdon at Poetry Africa

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