Meaning-Making at Night

Prince Adika


For Kofi, Ayikwei, Ama, and all who still ask,
Amidst the mists of carnival dances:
Why are we so blest?


Those who seek meaning
Must seek it in the silent,
Tortured intervals between
Our birthday chimes and our deathday tolls

I have heard some call this asphyxiation life;
I have known their intentions sprout from good;
Sometimes, they have sounded like the mind of God
in revelatory motion

I have even joined at times
Like one charmed and entranced
By the herd-instinct of neighbors
Whose Halleluiah Choruses chant
An inner Will to Manufactured Laughter

But I have known of lonely nights too:

Nights that draw from the comforts
Of the herd-hope-making
And while you are alone,
Coerce you to recall questions
About myths that sustain the day;
Nights that leave you, alone
With the unenviable task
Of putting meanings to shared shards called symbols;
Of explaining why some bards are black
And yet bear the burden of song so long

It's such nights that re-layer
Day-time palimpsests
Of happy intentions
And drive home new questions,
Poignant, to sleepy souls.

In the stillness of such nights,
I want to sing of love too,
But over and over again,
I find myself, pelican-pecking
A heart in the throes of death-pains

Is life all about self-deceptions?
Is the joy the famous have fabled
Only a spell whose formula belongs to the chosen few?

Sometimes Hollywood roadshows hurt the most
For beyond the thrills of the circus stage
There must still be the reckoning of the night
Where alone, the blues exact their price from us.

Normal, IL. 10.13.04

Euphemism Campus Box 5555 Illinois State University Normal, IL 61790