top of page
As My Father's Eye Eatches Me.webp

Selections From

I Could Wring That Sparrow's Neck©2015

The Unpublished Manuscript
By Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

I Could Wring That Sparrow's Neck


The truth was
what you taught me
in my bed at night;
when mother slept not soundly,
as her house crumbled down
around her;
as her heart crashed down
around us.

Stillness throughout
our prison walls,
the birds outside were free;
and how I could wring
that sparrow's neck.

To be so free
in the bracing clouds,
the fields of sapphire blue;
singing as the walls
fell down around us.

Mother, how peacefully you slept,
while my innocence
disintegrated inside my sheets;
your sheets,
his sheets,
wet with my salty sweat.

How quickly faith dies,
while everything I held to be true
became lies.
Your perfect red lips, your illusions;
you slept,
while my childhood fell to pieces
around us.

How pious,
to feel the words of that black book
pass clean through me
like a sword;
cutting, tearing, slicing
my innocence away.

Your one God, your prophets,
your commandments;
all lies,
and the world falls down
below you.

Sleep soundly now, mother;
I dare you to dream again,
to feel safe in the silver sky;
lit by a delicate moon,

Are you free
in your sapphire sky,
your affluence?
And do your tears
taste like diamonds;
cutting hard, tearing harder.

I have passed through
all these ephemeral things
-God, prophets, commandments while the sparrow sang,
free and embraced by the clouds;
as my idealism crashed down
around me.

Now I pick up my two feet,
while the earth remains
still beneath me;
gently calling, calling, calling.

Even the free sparrow must alight
to find its home
in the full, green branches;
as time passes on around us.

One God, I have no use for you;
prophets, your words failed the naked child;
commandments, your anger and jealousy
I banish from the citizenship of my soul;
black book, your pages have no wisdom left
to bind the passions of my heart;
as humanity goes on and on
without you.

Little sparrow, free sparrow,
I make peace with your liberated nature;
now that I have let loose
the binds that kept me;
as the walls of my boyhood
crashed down around me.

Hush please,
and let me sleep tonight,
alone and in peace
in the silver sapphire of the sky;
as time and the world
pass on without me.


Flight of the Jabiru

The Sun has been swallowed
like a ripe mandrake,
intoxicating the tongue
of the Sun-God
to sleep.
His heaven, His veil, His firmament
glowing defiantly;
harboring the wings of spirits,
going down, going down.

I never feared
the flight of jabirus,
whose winged grace
signals the death throes
of the sun.
His kingdom, once on fire
with liquid gold,
cools my breath;
a heavy, drowsy curtain,
as the wings of spirits
go down, go down.

Did you hear
the flight of the jabirus?
Their wings disturbed
my placid countenance,
rippling like the waters of a mill-pond;
stirring, casting doubt on permanence.

I waded in after them,
those ripples of wet blue,
an azure mirror of the sky
flaring above.
But the shadows of their wings
gave my heart notice;
that you were gone,
gone, all gone now.

A lonely torch burns,
as the sun retreats
in a torrent of red, orange
and sanguine illumination.
My heart stopped
when it saw that you had stopped;
gone down, down, down.

This is what wise men say
happens to us all,
even in the flush of youth;
sensual, carnal ecstasy.

Lovers exhaust love;
climaxes leave tingling skin
wanting more.
Hearts left alone
in the startling sunset
pine still for more light;
your promises made
in the heat of the moment
now whisper and die away, away, away.

I could not halt
the flight of the jabiru,
those Souls in light-dappled plumage;
so I brought a candle
to illuminate your grave,
and tears gave renewed life
to the hot desert sand flickering, flickering, flickering.
The sunset called your name;
my heart, still in love,
could not help but to listen,
listen, listen.

I let them carry you away,
enfolded by wings
whose tips had stirred
the Imperishable Stars;
a host of spirits
to make light the path
once trodden by darkness.

Darkness, you let in light;
light, you kiss the darkness,
and make love to twilight;
even as Mother Heaven swallows
the golden flesh of the sun.

I cannot call you back
from your lofty flight;
the jabiru comes and departs
again through the western passage.
All of the things I have loved
have been removed
with those elegant wings;
softer to you now
than the kiss of my bed,
naked and charged with youth.

I call to the West
waiting for your return;
like the face of the rosy sun,
bursting in blood and fire
between the legs of Mother Heaven.

They make their flight,
signaling the departure
of all cherished things;
coming and going,
coming again and going again;
through the endless
passage of the night.


You swallow the sun
every morning,
when the fragile earth
still sleeps
beneath a pallid sky.

Fragile too is my home
beside the churning ocean,
the air captivating my eyes;
its memories dancing,
laughing, crying with joy.

Bereft of wisdom,
I came here
to find what was left of me;
after the broken glass
of my childhood.

I buried my father
as deep as I could.

As for my body,
it awoke to find freedom
from the storm of parentage;
blood is much more thin
than water.

I learned this in your bed,
but I opened up a window
and fled to the dazzling ocean;
to a bright shore,
unscathed, unsullied;
still a virgin, untouched by
his desire.

Far away, far beyond the horizon,
I see a shape glinting,
promising a relief from my shadow.

Will it come
before the Afterlife?

Sinking beneath the waves,
shattering, my old life dies;
yet I am renewed by solitude
in the silent kiss
of your contentment;
content to lay without touching,
lips without possessing,
ecstasy without violation.

Where did you come from?
From the raging blue waters
or from the naked sky;
decorated with gilded stars
and the hallowed moon.

It is all a wonder
to my boy's eyes;
that life should hold
such ancient mysteries;
that an entire life
can be renewed
after it was lost.

Not by chance
did you come;
not by a happenstance
did the ocean part
from his lover's embrace
with the sky.

You open up your mouth
to renew the light of the sun;
to spread my wings again;
to stretch my two wings
over the salty and dangerous sea.

Gossip of Sparrows

Betwixt heaven and earth
the eaves clad in trailing vines
summon the nests of sparrows.
Little birds, little birds;
I heard your exasperated calls,
such conversation
tumbling over a morning breeze.

Your gossip reaches my ears,
content not to alight
on ancient willows;
bending beneath their own might,
a scent embracing
in the arms of the morning dew.

I returned again
to the place where we first kissed,
my eyes not innocently caressing
your hidden skin.
Were those chattering sparrows
Did they carry my lust to your ears
even then?

I passed the afternoon
in idle pursuits,
dreaming of the nightfall;
decorating your bed
with my sweat,
your hard thighs with my kisses
like prayers.

I prayed for you,
locked away my dark secrets
for you,
became a virgin again
for you;
but none were taken.
You, a god, remained silent
to my prayers.

The willows rustled
over my grave,
waiting for you to bring me flowers;
perhaps jasmine in bloom,
perhaps lilies to entice
a lusty bee.

Your sting has captured me,
not deterred my heart's intentions;
your protestations
all were in vain.

When the scent of you lingers
over the dusky mountains,
as the stars are ensnared
by the midnight-black veil;
an alabaster moon strokes the
naked earth,
as I in my dreams stroke you.

It is a blasphemy for any other man
to speak your name
as I do;
for wherever you travel,
there shall never be another disciple
so penitent at your feet.

Betwixt moon and royal sun,
the eaves in the evening sing
with the gossip of sparrows;
where lie my intentions, trembling.
And you, too, will one day
wait for the pleasure of
my hand.

I Carried Them Away With Me

I am not afraid
to give everything away;
for a moment, an hour, a day,
when, with you, time has lost its validity;
the power of the future is undone.

Immortality, I can taste;
the beginnings of you,
which the Ancients sought,
and some found before
their own glories collapsed.

And what monuments shall you
leave behind;
fame, fortune, the admiration
of the masses?
Those pale and are ephemeral too;
I want none of them
between my legs.

What takes hold of my senses
is the present field of your body heat;
a light-dappled shadow,
casting its essence
through the room.

I feel as if I never lost you;
your skin was my skin,
your sorrows, my suffering to carry.
And where have I carried you?
With me, with me.

Sunlight gives way to invading darkness;
I know you dwell there.
Secrets half-revealed;
I know you unveiled these, too.
Did you ever reach the bottom
of these mysteries?
I did;
and I carried them with me, with me.

I had a dream,
when you and I were alone together;
that you and I were alone together,
your fear having been lassoed
in a golden net;
your tongue was the sun,
and my body the sky.

You drew a map of stars
across my trembling sky,
where I felt the Milky Way
burst as a shower of white
liquid light;
I took you all in, all in.

When we were done,
I left behind me
the invisible scent of my passion
well expended.
Sun, you knew me;
moon, I will never fear you again.

My arms may once have been empty,
but this mythology I had written
is now dust on an empty page.
And as for your fears,
your disjointed memories,
your fine-tuned misgivings;
I have carried them with me,
with me.

Let the clouds gather,
I laugh and defeat them;
let the desert storm take hold
on the horizon;
I cast these out of my heart.
Quietly you make love to me,
and I take you all in, all in.

But now that you have gone,
I turn my back on the lacerating present;
let you all in, all in.

Darkness, I call you the companion
of my days;
my days the companion of him who
departed me.
And where have I carried you?
Away with me, with me.


I Sat Near a Stream

I sat near a stream
to see where your love
would take me.
The trickle of cool water
carried me away
from the frantic heat
of a mid day sun;
set high in the empty sky.

You flow with the clouds,
away and beyond my grasp;
though once I languished
in your bed,
even long after the sun
captured the innocent sky.

Tender leaves, falling;
blue-bellied birds, calling;
the pallid moon, never falling,
asleep in my waking dreams.

I sat near your coffin
awaiting your return
to life;
your chest to rise and fall,
the love in your voice
to call.
But the Summer sun faded
before my very eyes,
the rising crescent moon
smitten by midnight skies.

How short are the Winter days
you left behind,
your hot lips a memory 
I have jealously locked away;
the eager pleasure of your
hard body,
staying green in the field
of my abundant memories;
though the touch of your hands
has faded, never again.

I sat near a stream
to see where my life would ebb.
How many breaths could I take;
beneath the water,
filling my lungs
with liquid slumber;
like a baby in my mother's womb.
Will the empty sky miss me,
the earth taste my still fair flesh?
How long will the waters flow
without me,
once my soul is flying high?

bottom of page