All rights reserved – copyright C.J. Birch ©
Can you hear that grapevine, brother?
I can hear it, singing.
The song – that same one that spilled from the leaves to the wind
so many lives ago.
The song is strong. It is a song of parts.
Parts of us, our stories. 
And whether it is a bad story, or a sad story, it must be heard.
We all have our responsibility. 
We share a common dream. To be free of oppression.
And if after all it is you that oppresses yourself, then you must be free of yourself. 
We inhale another’s sighs, dreams, wishes.
We inhale their hatred, their pain, their anger.
These are not ours to keep. We must pass them on.
Getting tangled in another’s dream is a complicated business.
That is why communities come together.
When we share the business becomes not so complicated.
The grapevine is alive.
Swollen with spring.
I want to harvest those grapes,
one by one, 
feed them to my feet.
Did you see the smoke from my home-fire burning, brother?
I saw it, I see it.
I watched it rise from the ashes and feed the wind our dreams
so many lives ago. 
That smoke became rain. It fed the earth.
It grew into a tall tree that shakes its fist at the wind.
The same wind that left my fire shakes its fist at me another day.
One other time, it might rain on me.
That is just Nature’s way.
Reaching yourself through another’s dream is a risky business.
That does not mean it should not be done.
Did you not know that risk is the currency of the braveheart?
The smoke is alive.
It burns its message into my eyes
I shut them against the sting of 
a sandstorm, a hailrain,
Do you still tell your time by colour, brother? 
In shades, hues?
I tell time by the shadows. The length of night.
Those sorts of truths.
The blue of the sea, for instance. 
The depth of the sky.
The colour of blood.
I know how thirsty I get, for instance.
Then it becomes time to drink. 
When my pupils dilate, it is time to hunt.
It is always time for something.
That is why I can lie serenely with silence 
dream the dream I dream.
When it is time to wake up, I will.
I trust the sun.
It is the cock’s crow.
Did you ever see a dawn sleep through another’s dream?
I saw this business. I was a bit taken aback.
As with dreams, I thought the dawn had a set schedule.
Time is alive.
Sharp with sounds of tomorrow.
Peaks, troughs, that is the way with any axis. 
This point intersecting that point.
This x = That y
I add up the pie-charts.
They spell 100% in slices of colour.
I don’t attach to them values.
Values add themselves up.
Have you felt that blood pumping, brother?
I heard it thundering in my ears.
Tearing through my heart.
I bled the transfusion.
Your community bled to their deaths.
Time and again. 
We all got used to that.
Time and again.
I think that is where the problem started.
We should never get used to such things.
We can always check ourselves on this.
Did we care that a man had his lips cut off? 
Yes. We cared about that. Check.
Did we care that a thief stole our children, our futures?
Yes. We cared about that. Check.
Do we care that love is louder than lies?
Yes. We care about that. Check.
Did you ever get the feeling you were real?
It is a feeling of being alive, in a dream. 
Like if you should stop breathing, for instance, another would die.
Life is alive.
For the first time in many, many moons, 
it breathes.
Each inhale, it says yes.
Each exhale, it says ‘asante’.
A small exchange between friends.
In, out.
Come. Go.
There is a lot to be said for symbiosis.
Did you buy yourself out of chains, brother?
For that, no man can blame you.
In any case, blame is a waste of time. 
It is better to move on from that line in the sand
that swallowed the ostrich’s head.
You ever try swallowing sand?
It sticks in your throat. 
Draw a line in the water.
It swallows itself after showing you its shape.
It is up to you to remember where that line is.
You will never see it twice.
Like an open wound, closing like magic.
Can that story of chains ever be forgotten?
No. It cannot.
But none of those stories need be tomorrow’s memories.
We can jump that line before it fades.
That is our collective duty to ourselves.
We can put something in the time-capsule of today.
Something that reflects our diversity
and refracts the past.
It is time we stood up for ourselves.
It is time we stood up to ourselves, too.
Breaking chains is a tricky business. 
Like divination
All rights reserved – copyright C.J. Birch

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