by Alicia Benjamin
Listen and the ancestors will tell you what you need to know.
“To love, beloved, is like walking in a rainstorm. You may want to run, but you will still get wet, mwana. Be resolved to feel, from the beginning. A great soaking can be satisfying.
It will not help to think about capturing your love in a round about way—attack with immediacy. Once you have spotted the one you desire, swoop down on him like a hawk—grasping its most precious prey. Swiftly seize your love with glorious passion and delicious intent.
One thing should not become two, binti. Faithfulness is the way of a true lover. Yes, death will shake and traumatize your heart—But even as a soul unfolds and breathes the last bits of this hidden place, love will not perish. Eternally, love will embrace.”
This poem was inspired by my ancestors, Jim Jarmusch’s film, “Ghost Dog” and the book, Hagakure, a compilation of Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s philosophies.