Thursday, February 12, 2009


I read alot alot alot ALOT. (More on that in a future post) And one of my favorite books is "Lion's Blood: A Novel of Slavery and Freedom in an Alternate America", by Steven Barnes. It is not an easy book and even though I've highly recommended it to a few friends, they had to give it back to me unfinished because it was too heavy.

Basically, the story revolves around the idea of Egypt defeating the Roman empire, therefore causing Africans to have European slaves in what is known as the New World (aka United States). The story revolves around Kai, whose family owns a plantation known as Dar Kush, and Aidan, a slave who lives there. Despite the circumstances, the two become friends. The story includes some historical figures like Shaka Zulu. Anyone who has seen the Shaku Zulu movie (the first one with Henry Cele, not the Grace Jones version) hundreds of times like I have will get a kick out of his antics in this book. There is also a sequel, "Zulu Heart", which is equally good.

I mention this book because it introduced me to the 14th century poet, Hafiz. I don't mark up my books much, so when I do, it's got to be a special line. There's a scene in the book where Kai is chatting with his brother's fiancee', also the woman Kai loves. They begin reciting Hafiz, eventually leading to a poem I now know is called "No Other Kind Of Light:" Find that flame, that existence/That wonderful man/Who can burn beneath the water./No other kind of light/Willl cook the food you need. Beautiful! So yes, I underlined page 425 in pen, a clear no-no by my rules.

I did some research and became a fan of some of his other poems that are posted online. He has a timeless poem that I'm sure alot of people can relate to. It is called "Find A Better Job:"



All your worry

Has proved such an





Find a better


There are two other Hafiz poems in "Lion's Blood", but for the life of me, I can't figure out the titles. Here are the lines: We are exquisite coral reefs,/Dying when exposed to strange/Elements/Allah is the wine we crave -- we miss/Flowing in and out of our pores. The other poem goes like this: Why all this talk of the beloved/Music and dancing, and/Liquid ruby light we can lift in a cup?/Because it is low tide,/A very low tide in this age/And around most hearts. If anyone knows these titles, or knows how I may find more of Hafiz' poetry, please let me know. In the meantime, I do plan to check out "The Subject Tonight is Love: Sixty Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz."

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