“If You Knew” by Ellen Bass (repost) and “Soul Makossa” by Manu Dibango

What if you knew you’d be the last
to touch someone?
If you were taking tickets, for example,
at the theater, tearing them,
giving back the ragged stubs,
you might take care to touch that palm,
brush your fingertips
along the life line’s crease.

When a man pulls his wheeled suitcase
too slowly through the airport, when
the car in front of me doesn’t signal,
when the clerk at the pharmacy
won’t say Thank you, I don’t remember
they’re going to die.

A friend told me she’d been with her aunt.
They’d just had lunch and the waiter,
a young gay man with plum black eyes,
joked as he served the coffee, kissed
her aunt’s powdered cheek when they left.
Then they walked half a block and her aunt
dropped dead on the sidewalk.

How close does the dragon’s spume
have to come? How wide does the crack
in heaven have to split?
What would people look like
if we could see them as they are,
soaked in honey, stung and swollen,
reckless, pinned against time?

“If You Knew” by Ellen Bass from The Human Line

originally posted: 4/18/14

“Soul Makossa” by Manu Dibango (12 December 1933 – 24 March 2020). Sadly Dibango died in Paris today from Covid-19, but he left a legacy of music to shine upon the world.

For a much needed smile, watch the above video of his song “Soul Makossa”; the dancing may inspire your own dance party, or at least bring you a moment of joy. Remember, as Bob Marley sang,  “Love would never leave us alone, A-yin the darkness there must come out to light.”

Look for the light my friends, -christy

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