in the shadows of blue volcanos

the broken fingers of ancestors strum

koras emitting frankincense



i sleep with a Senegalese blanket

of turquoise sound over me

it stops the helicopter blades from slicing up my peace

spirits sitting upon an orchard of notes

sprinkling my dreams

with promise

as i wait on this celestial cocoon for silver wings

remembering the lesson


in the sacred mud



each morning i read the newspaper

and weep into a pot of coffee

i muffle my whispered screaming

with the music of the masters

i find religion there

rocking in ecstasy

to the heartbeats of loved ones

i open my door and

begin swinging like young Muhammad Ali

i rest between rounds

on a bus stop bench facing east

i fight to knock out the nightmare

in broad daylight

the bus driver is a Sufi saint

who only lets you ride

if you got incorrect change

the Zen bell has rung

[Poet Kamau Daáood is the author of The Language of Saxophones: Selected Poems of Kamau Daáood (Citylights Publishers). He is a native of Los Angeles where he co-founded, with legendary drummer Billy Higgins, the World Stage Performance Gallery, a nonprofit arts institution. Kamau recorded the critically acclaimed album Leimert Park(M.A.M.A. Records), winner of the Josephine Miles Pen Oakland Award.

He was awarded the Durfee Foundation Artist Fellowship, California Artist Fellowship, Cave Canem Retreat/Workshop Fellowship, to name a few of more than a dozen such honors. Kamau has performed his work at countless venues such as Dunya and North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, Earshot Jazz and Bumbershoot Festivals in Seattle, the Steppenwolf Theater and Guild Complex in Chicago, the Getty and MOCA museums in Los Angeles, the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, and the Schomburg Center in Harlem. His early development began as a young member of the Watts Writers Workshop and the Pan African People’s Arkestra, under the direction of pianist Horace Tapscott.

He is part of the Trummerflora Collective, an independent group of music makers that embraces the pluralistic nature of creative music as an important means of artistic expression for the individual and the community and provides an atmosphere that nurtures the creative development of its members.]