Forget (Arua) Remember (Pakwac)

Forget how the rolling hills stopped rolling and began unfolding
into flatlands. You have left the badlands.
Forget how the sky opened and left behind skyscrapers and scraped knees
bleeding into pavement
and how blood
paved your way into estrangement.
Your scraped skin already belonged to the streets and the wounds
flowering on your body are the cultivation of your memory
ploughed into the fields of your furrowed eyebrows.

Forget questioning your placement at the back of the van and in the hands
that held you in lieu of seatbelts.
Hands that fed you apple juice
and chocolate melts until you felt
you might laugh or cry or vomit.

Forget airport departures and deportations.
Forget goodbyes to the dearly departed and the smell
of department stores.
Forget that your life has been capsized
and re-sized to compartments and capsules and containers
You swallow them, they swallow you. You
are the ability to fit one container into another.
You can save space. You
are not filling anything. You
are to be filled.

When you reach Arua,
Forget the cramped hotel rooms and hidden hostility and hope
that possibility is all you remember.
That and the sun.
Forget that too.
Eclipse days into nights and gaze into nights
until you starblaze your sight into forgetting what happened
Or didn’t happen in that bed.

Forget your destination
and all destinations which are just the other side of departures.
Forget goals and objectives, object to every spiritual directive
directing you to be reflective.
Forget where you come from, forget
where you are going. Forget
how to get from Kampala to Arua. Forget the path.
Remember Pakwac

Remember small and sweet mangoes eaten to pits
and pit stops that stopped pity
from growing on you.
Remember the sun tattooed temporary on your shoulder
though your temperament already tampered with time
and its laws.

Forget your flaws and how they trickled
with the mango juice down to your elbow.
Remember rest stops and resting and that break
when you were breaking,
when you wished the brakes of the van would
give way to an accident that would rest
you in your final rest stop.
Remember resting even when you are
testing every edge
to see if it can conjure hope.
Forget leaving and forget reaching.
Forget preaching. In fact,
fuck preachers who cheat you into believing
self-loathing is another form of breathing and you
have lost heart beats, now,
it’s just your heart steady streaming.
Forget waking and sleeping, remember lucid dreaming.
Remember how to be in between being
and when you reach the end of your being,
end of your rope, end of your hope,
Forget Arua,
Remember Pakwac.

Link to the Italian translation

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