[ Issue 4 / February 2013 ]
Deep in a meditation trance on a hill top all night long,
I sense the chill of the dark residing on the hairs of my arms.
My eyes slowly open to the valley in front of me,
Resting on a Bolivian village waking up.
Dawn has trickled out of the sky.
The sounds of village life play their panpipe laments.
A rooster’s crow, the tack-tack of a hammer, the dripping of overflowing
Each sound, each movement, each visual
Soaks up the natural ticking of each drawing minute
As if time stands absolutely captive like a still photograph
And yet moves, second by second, like a pelota game in slow motion.
Hut rooftops yawn,
Some exhaling thin wisps of smoke.
A flame of voices float across the crisp morning air
Legs move, doors open, the morning begins.
As Inti, the sun god peeps over the hills,
People shed one layer of clothes for another.
Picking up wind and oxygen, the voices
Turn into a fire of words,
Some in Spanish, some in Aymara,
Wheels crawl out of their sheds,
A bicycle, a wheelbarrow, the engine of a moto starting up
They swerve onto the dirt path between the huts
With a Brahma bull, a cui scurrying, two dogs chasing each other’s tails,
A woman with laundry tucked under her arm in a rattan basket.
Motion, changing places, merges into a pulsating blur.
A pattern emerges
Interwoven between time and motion —
Between the song and the lament,
The calm and the frenzy,
The slap and the gentle stroke,
All moving together yet constant like a drop of water in a fast moving
As if some clever quilt maker up above,
With a magical needle and thread in hand,
Was busy meticulously weaving each stitch
Between the tick and the tock
Of each new day.
*pelota* – an ancient Mayan and Inca game played with a metal ball
*moto* – Spanish slang for ‘motorcycle’
*cui *– a rodent-like animal
Mo Tejani is an acclaimed writer, poet and global nomad who has travelled across all five continents. The first volume of his travel memoirs A Chameleon’s Tale: True Stories of a Global Refugee was a PEN Book Award finalist in New York. Three of his stories from the second volume Global Crossroads: Memoirs of a Travel Junkie have won prestigious awards in USA. Presentations of his work include a TEDx talk, book tours in Thailand and Australia and readings at Writers Festivals on the Asia circuit. More at www.motejani.com