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"HAWAD, DER EINZIGE DICHTENDE TUAREG"
Paris, hier bin ich
meinem Kopf vorauseilend,
Meinem Kopf eines ewigen Tuareg-Piraten
Sinnbild des Schmerzes,
ich komme, hier bin ich
den Tabak der Ironie kauend.

Hawad, Horizontenentführung
Beste Hawad

Toe jy op die verhoog verskyn het
hier in Bremen
voor ‘n afgerigte gehoor vol ontwerpersbrille
het ek nie geweet wat om te verwag nie.

Op die feesprogram van International Poetry on the Road
word jy as “die enigste digtende Toeareg”
geadverteer.
Daar is min dinge wat my so minagtend laat snork
as hierdie soort neerbuigende politieke korrektheid.
Hulle kon jou net so wel as
‘olifantman’ of ‘vuurvreter’ aankondig.

Maar toe jy, Hawad,
met jou willewragtag-James Brown-afro en denimbaadjie
begin brom en breek in Toeareg
was ek net bly dat hulle jou genooi het.

In ’n stywe Noord-Duitse lesingsaal het jy my laat hoor
hoe mens in die moedertaal van woestyn
streng met voorvadergeeste en Navo moet praat;
hoe jy die wilde woestynwind paai
in ’n sterwende taal.

Hawad,
as jy so sou te kere gaan op ‘n straathoek
sal hulle jou opsluit.

As jy so sou huil en bid
op ’n anonieme sterfbed in Parys
sal die mense dink jy praat in tale
en die dosis verdubbel.

Beste Hawad
Ek wens jy kon weet
hoe ek verstaan –
verstaan van praat
met ’n koue, nat Novembernag in ’n taal
wat my vrou nie verstaan nie;
hoe ek weet van skipbreuk-roei met die tong
in ’n sinkende idioom.

Hawad, ek sien jy weet hoe dit voel
om dooie woorde te slinger na stilte
as die diep woestynnag
oor jou tent kom buk
om die kampvuur uit te doof.
"HAWAD, DER EINZIGE DICHTENDE TUAREG"
Paris, hier bin ich
meinem Kopf vorauseilend,
Meinem Kopf eines ewigen Tuareg-Piraten
Sinnbild des Schmerzes,
ich komme, hier bin ich
den Tabak der Ironie kauend.
Hawad, Horizontenentführung
Dear Hawad

When you appeared on the stage
here in Bremen
in front of a focused audience of designer glasses
I didn’t know what to expect.

In International Poetry on the Road’s festival programme
you’d been advertised as
“the only Tuareg writing poetry.”
There are few things that make me snort with contempt
more than this kind of condescending political correctness.
They could just as well have described you
as an ‘elephant man’ or ‘ fire eater’.

But when you, Hawad,
in your whirlwind James Brown afro and denim jacket
began to growl and clack in Tuareg
I was happy that they’d invited you.

In a stuffy North German lecture hall you let me hear
how a person should speak to ancestral spirits and to NATO
in the mother language of the desert;
how you can stroke the wild west wind
with a dying language.

Hawad,
if you went crazy on some street corner
they’d lock you up.

If you cried and prayed like that
on an anonymous death bed in Paris
people would think you were speaking in tongues
and double the dose.

Dear Hawad
I wish you could know
how I understand –
understand talking
with a cold November night in a language
that my wife did not understand;
how I know about rowing with the tongue
after a ship wreck
in a sinking idiom.

Hawad, I see you know how it feels
to sling dead words into silence
as the deep desert night
bends over your tent
to put out the camp fire.