Cristo Redentor

know / finally / that it is not the statue / that overwhelms. the soapstone exterior / is not so noteworthy / the iron core is not noteworthy / nor the head / downcast & leftwards just-so / with L’Oreal hair. it is not / the roman nose or the hands / hole-punched / so clean / & bloodless / sans cross. realise / it is not the statue that overwhelms / if you have to / say it whelms at best. & yet it is not / the statue / the metal  / or the stone / but the mountain / the mountain / or rather / the statue the statue stands on. & now / with your feet placed for the first time / below saviour’s toes / know / at last / that if there is a holy spirit / an espirito santo / to find here / on this mountain / redeeming you / turning some wrongness in you right / know anyway / that it is not holier / than the thousands of older holies / only taller / in a soapstone rendition. it is not / his figure that astounds / it is not the soapstone / that asks to be fathomed / but the view from here / which came first / & makes the jaw to slack / & falls the mouth open / & moves the tongue to remark / in a tongue indigenous to you / up here where there is no birdsong / but wind. it was never the statue / that was large but the land / but the land / but the land that is / & the sea / & the sea / & the sea that is / so endless & nothingness in sight / until the next mass of land / past the soft horizon that is / & is  / & is until Africa. on the mountain / at his feet / your only questions: / in whose world do you hold / this stubborn wilfulness to awe / at what you cannot claim / to have made? what does it mean to sing / not of the world’s wonders but / what was built upon them? how / do you speak / of those who came as guests / but christened this place / a new world ? / with which words do you tell / of such blindness to wonder / wherein the mountain was seen / but not the gods / the gods / the gods / there already. 

Junk DNA Haiku

They would have thought the

first sea-crossing would have been

their only & last.

What odd seasickness 

lives in me today beneath

this unbeaten skin?

What memory of

ghosts, what fear of abduction

do I carry now

awaiting trigger,

asleep in my liberty?

There is no answer

just a mute prayer

that no part of me still hears

water against wood

& begins to drown.

There is no knowing for sure

what junk DNA

walks me through my days

waiting to come into use, 

maybe save my life.

What happened back then

happens still; differently. 

What persists in me

knows this. Keeps a gun

under the mattress, keeps watch,

too, differently.

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