Friday, April 8, 2011

Remembering Sarzent the Mad Man

A celebration of Sarzent,
no not Sargent the English painter
But Sarzent the Senegalese traitor.
I read about him when I was sixteen
It was a book that brought beatitude to negritude.
The Afro-French writers were celebrating a renaissance
as usual I acquired the book by chance,
it's funny Steve just mentioned serendipity
hah! Ain't life silly

But back to Sarzent the mad unholy saint.
The story was a piece of romantic fiction
not like those described in Barbra Cartland's pages.
And other bodice rippers designed for the ladies.
No more like the German who talked about the quest for He-man
Starting with Goethe, through the nineteenth century
they talked about those who try not to bleat like sheep
Why don't you read Keats?
In the present day there was Thomas Mann

But back to Sarzent
the writer's lyrical plan
left me stunned, he showed me a man who got himself canned.
Sarzent who forgot who he was not
he went insane
In mental anguish he forever will languish
and in his pain he did sing
a song about valuing the old age.
It has been more than ten years
the words he spoke I can no longer evoke
However my head still rings with his raucous chorus
listen to things!”, “listen to things!”

It always made me want to sprout wings
discover the unknown
hold it in my hands
in the meantime I listen for my still, small voice
I see my fading secret self
but he responds with endless silence
it deafens me with notes about ancient tragedies now remote.
The lynching of the Gracchii
for poor romans they kept bitching
I daily mourn over their faded, jaded glory.
Thoughts as these bring a semblance of peace
but I still explore my wild places,
my dark horse kicks the traces
running to and from my ancient places
trying to set new paces

As I swim through my conscious stream
the sun reflects off another mad gleam
and once again I grasp it's supporting beam
May I never wake from this walking dream.
Maybe, next we shall talk about Daddy Mboya's cannibal ram

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