Thursday, July 30, 2015

"No Title"

Learning a language is often fraught with humor. Either humor or shame. And it seems to me it leans not to the latter but the former when learning in the company of friends. And for this knowledge, I am blessed.

yanchi fiqregña konjo newo? T asks me at work one day, is your sweetheart handsome?

Friday, July 24, 2015

“Work in Progress…”: parts i & ii

part i

In the light of this summer (the massacre of nine black people in a church in Charleston, the burning of more black churches, Sandra Bland now wrongly arrested and found hanged in her cell, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ new book), and at my father’s urging, I want to reflect on my months of respite from American race politics: I came to this place to recover myself.

black folk always be leavin the segregated states of amerikkka – to free themselves, find themselves.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Gestures of Piety

“kefitfitu fitu.”

Which translates roughly into: “Rather than the fitfit, the face.”

In transmitting this proverbial gem, my Amharic teacher sets an everyday scene, so familiar to the fabric of life in Ethiopia: a plate of firfir, or any food, and an invitation to eat.

yekremt git’im : poem of the rains

Rain in Addis arrives like poems.

Without warning words arrive,
channeled from the deep.
Intuition swells, bursts:



On Signs and Dogma

There is a small sign on the side of the road that leads to the compound where my aunt’s house is located. It is nondescript, and easy to miss. But since it has caught my eye, I have been unable to get it out of my mind. I suppose it has caught my mind, too, as a consonant on a vowel, or thread on a hook.

Friday, July 03, 2015

asunder, a city

Today, as with any other day, having paused in the afternoon bustle of Piassa to browse the book titles laid out for purchase, two young men passing by –

faranj nech.

ay, habesha nech.

they argue with one another, peering back over their shoulders at me as they walk on. If not used to it, at least no longer surprised, I just shake my head and laugh to myself in reply.