East of the River Nile

East of the River Nile

From street vendor mystical riddims

came forth the pied piper of the herb.

As buses bunched up at the Nag's Head

I was shepherded down Seven Sisters Road

then blown like a puffball of seeds

far east of the River Nile.


Falling into copper chambers

dancing in suspension to an engine of sound.

The echo of platelets coursing

through rivers and veins in search of a

heartbeat to propel them anew.

Blood and fire and earth that thunders

with all the industry that sound systems

the size of factories can muster.


Tyre tracks skirt the quarry.

Jagged rim of a pulsing crucible

where planets and stars are forged

in the likeness of our gods

and the heavens wrap

my vaporous form in a

swaddling of bass.


The wind carries me up Warrika Hill

rotundas like crop circle visitations

mark out the shape of a city.

Its people toil with

bent backs of devotion

harvesting the earth's deep time.


Down Black Ants Lane

the forest brings with it the night

I'm swept along in the exodus

from the heat of the plains.

Cradled in an alchemy of sound

we push deep into understory

towards clearings where

the world drops away into

an infinitude of space.


At 555 Crown Street

by way of 1 Rutland Close

a transaction is made.

I skank alone back through the city

the scruff light of dawn is dragged

from behind the gasworks

shunting shadow across the sidings.

Time shimmers in reverb and echo

where the towpath slips under the bridge

and footsteps pound the percussive heart

of a morning aflame with ambient skies

that burn all the way to Java.

January 2020

Augustus Pablo at Kamakura, Japan (late 1980s/early 1990s)