City in Ashes


Credit: Elliott Erwitt, New York, 1955.


Armel J. Ngamaleu

March begins its long ordeal towards Golgotha.
I caused pain to my London mother.
She wept without speaking and her tears drowned me.
This is the month of penance and forgiveness ;
And early this morning she got out of bed to forgive me.

I read her tears flowing
Like a spurned lover.
How clumsy I would be in speaking as in writing!
I speak as I dance
And I write like I smile.

I will wear my cross on my forehead to say thank you
And I will wander in all the arteries of my pagan city.
It is reason that scandalizes and not faith.

I cry out not to die twice.
To write a poem to ask for forgiveness
is like confessing three times.
Receive these enigmatic words from me as a gift.
I love you my Princess Prophetess,
Each line is a rare caress.

I am between Pascal and Montaigne.
I am so alone in a murderous city
And haunted by the sounds of sirens.
I survive and I struggle.

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