Monday, July 17, 2006


Salaam - a free music festival featuring Muslim musicians from all over the world: Iraq, Bosnia, Kenya, China, India, Pakistan, Morocco, etc.  

The beauty of a festival is that people have come for the express purpose of sharing common ground. Winston made many friends. These are the clips.

Under the heavy arms of an old Mama tree,
Winston finds a boy. Louis is perhaps seven.
Two shades darker than Winston.

Hair the same ancestral testimony.
Equiangular slick fine nautiluses, rams
whirling horns and Archimedean galaxies

from crowns simultaneously firing iron flat
golden wisps of chaos. Love given root
in heads big enough to hold the difference

between space, time, nature and
age. They played across expectations
of ability. Louis bending down to hear

Winston casting his ideas
into a void - like The Who’s
Horton heard. And all acted.

Copper and silver horns trumpeted;
drummers and dancers demanded
salaam; two boys chase each other

flinging spells, dying, laughing.
Resurrecting themselves

to do it again.


Many older children were curious why
we -as non-Muslims - would attend such a festival.  
We asked them what the name of the festival was.  
“Salaam,” They answered "Salaam."  

“But, what does that word mean?” We asked.
"We are always brothers and sisters in peace -
so if there is a call for peace

we should always do our best to be there."  
They seemed to understand
this. Wisdom is part of being
a child.


All the differing
hues, colours, styles of dress -

women in burkas, hajib, any old scarf,
Louis Vatton hajib and matching hand bag,
flowing hippie skirts, shorts and bikinis.

No one judged
another. Good day.


Went to our home park - London Fields - this weekend for Grassy Art or some other such lame name. There we happened upon some Senegalese drummers with a lone dancer in green.

He danced with fire and sometimes just presented the same emanation from within. Winston was entranced.

Across ten years came a man with whom he’d danced as a boy
or perhaps the fonder memories are of football. Kinetic pick up

expressions of boy bodies energising the space
around themselves. It is the thing of fondest recollection -

frenetic childhood joy. How precious.
To wrap your arms around your childhood

after so much time. They danced together
again. In a foreign land Winston saw possibility;
ate barbecue chicken offered him by the new dancer’s wife;

and when sated, his limbs imitated dreams
he doesn’t know how to tell.

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