From the AFRICA section of Jerome Rothenberg’s amazing TECHNICIANS OF THE SACRED, found in my girlfriend’s bookshelf, which I guess now is my bookshelf by acquisition. I came out to San Francisco with only 4 books: 1) The Art Spirit by Robert Henri which I’ve written about here before and highly recommend whether you paint or not. Greatest book on ‘noticing’ I’ve ever read, which can help any writer. 2) Bound For Glory by Woody Guthrie. 3) Please Kill Me oral history of NY Punk and rock scene compiled by Legs Mcneil 4) King Rat, lent to me by my girlfriend but I haven’t read it yet. Has anyone? Thoughts?
The Train (by Hurutshe)
Iron thing coming from Pompi, from the round-house
Where Englishmen smashed their hands on it,
It has no front it has no back.
Rhino Tshukudo going that way.
Rhino Tshukido no, coming this way.
I’m no greenhorn, I’m a strong, skillful man.
Animal coming from Pompi, from Moretele.
It comes spinning out a spider’s web under a cloud of gnats
Moved by the pulling of a teat, animal coming from Kgobola-diatla
Comes out of the big hole in the mountain, mother of the great woman,
Coming on iron cords.
I met this woman of the tracks curving her way along the river bank and over the river.
I thought I’d snatch her
So I said
“Out of the way, son of Mokwatsi, who stands there at the teat.”
The stream of little red and white birds gathered up all of its track
Clean as a whistle.
Tshukudo over the dry plains
Rhino Tshukudo out of the high country
Animal from the south, steaming along
It comes from Pompi, the round-house, from Kgobola-diatla.