Will anything be left by the time I make it across these oceans?
Back to the beginning where your handprints, coated in spice, melt into the cracks of the casbah walls.
Can I race the clock to undulate?
High pitched, twirling in djellaba's threaded with gold.
Fatima paints spirals onto my cheekbones, etching tattoos onto my chin with the emperor's silver
Dipped into ink as jet black as your cascading mountainous curls.
Does time remember the tears that stained my very un-Cherokee cheekbones?
When the baby sat on my hip.
You boarded that plane to get so close to my destiny, yet, far enough away, the smell of bubbling
couscous did not wake him in time to see me heaving my shoulders in defeat.
Brother slurped harira.
The picture is grainy.
Black and white.
Faded from centuries of laying quietly in hand painted camel covered tin boxes.
Waiting to be discovered after your death.
After your cremation.
After the powdered sugar sticking my lips together with sweetness has been washed away.
Marrakech beckons to me as the gypsy girls on the corner wash windows.
Taunting me in their velour diamond encrusted skirts, mismatched head scarves, thick chunky clogs.
I plan secret trips to disappear into woven alleyways.
Following a dark skinned jewel to a cool waiting bed, exhaustion knocks me out.
Next time you should take me with you.
Next time you should make me learn the dances, the songs.
Make me learn how to bow down to a man so I am not always so alone.
Make sure you are on the dock waiting for me.
Invisible energy wrapping me in those tender embraces that were few and far between.
I can raise a glass of mint tea to you.
Smile secretly as the ship leaves the harbor.
Make sure you watch over us as the bus bumps along dirt roads that these Berbers walk for miles.
To watering holes where the knives are washed clean after the goat is slaughtered to make that
It used to sit in the corner of your living room...
There goes that haunting melody the Gnaoua chant.
Bringing me back to life.
There goes that hint of your spirit escaping through whitewashed walls as the Mu'Addin calls me to
As the Rabbi calls me to a forgotten piece of home.
Biting cold whips across the ponte stinging my face.
Burning my ears.
Making it impossible to light a smoke.
The arabs are late to meet us at the piazza.
Cheap attempts at a pick up.
We have to get going before the hip hop club closes leaving us with nothing to do...
Eat pastas at the all night shop where men get a little too loose with their hands.
Their mouths say absolutely nothing.
On the way over we stop at the merry-go-round for a ride pretending we are children out late playing
I remember the fettuccine al funghi orgasmed me in my chair.
A classier Harry meeting Sally.
The red wine flowed freely.
My African companion refused to partake citing boring religious doctrine.
I yawned and threw it in his face.
Moral obligations vanish in lieu of blow jobs.
The cafe serving sambucca with their soy milk cappuccinos also served angry drunk aggressive men.
He could not accept I really did not have any cigarettes to spare.
Time for the train.
Back and forth to la stazione Santa Maria Novella.
Changing to Bologna.
Hopping flights to Amsterdam.
Hopping out of the grasp of tiny gypsy hands worming their way into my pockets.
I sobbed all the way home to call you.
Talking until you got me to laugh.
Stumbling over rough cobble stones after too many shots.
Looking up to wave at old nonas closing their shutters for the night.
You two must have looked beautiful gliding around town.
Starlets in the anarchy making.
Swapping lovers swapping clothes.
Insisting somehow it could all work out if only you remembered the foundation.
Didn't you always say you fell in love with her the moment she stepped off the ship?
Before you knew her name.
Before you would ever get the chance.
Didn't you sometimes wish you could have stayed just the two of you hiding away from the rest of the
world with its necessities?
Take the overpass through Turkey to the Far East stopping to sample crystal clear hashish in echoing
mountain ranges where the poppies ooze lust.
Never ever cut you hair.
Never ever change your clothes.
Arriving at the beaches where the hippies run naked.
Sneaking off into low tide caves to make love scratching the grains of sand into your very core...
Too bad you were never a drinker.
You could have driven up into the hills of Toscana sampling blood red wine crushed into sweet nectar
smeared across her breasts.
The heat never came on in the hotel where they stayed.
The water always tepid.
Oh but wasn't it amazing?
Wasn't it freeing?
Didn't it make her always wish you had been Italian to never set foot in America again?
Her van was green.
Which one were you in? ...
I forgot my scarf.
Now the fog is biting.
I need to borrow yours.
The one that matches the cover of Blonde On Blonde.
The one scented with your heady oils.
The one that speaks Italian in the night when I cannot sleep.
Children down below have no homes to go to.
Here comes that wind blowing over the ponte blasting in from the Arno...
Go ask the guy if the hot water has come on?
Go ask what time is rehearsal?
Eva Cherokee El Beze grew up in San Francisco, CA in an anarchist theatre collective. Eva has been published in magazines, journals and books for her poetry, personal essays and creative nonfiction as well as won awards for stage and film scripts. She divides her time between India, Europe, Africa and California.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.