Minds of every hue intermingle with matter
Only of concern of the Censor; Athena
And Malcolm X are the hosts, dealing
Out dagga and kachasu to freedom veterans.
I enjoy a precarious dance between the traditional ideas about the shaman and a more abstract idea of the modern, 20th century shaman. Marechera is both, and CEMETERY OF MIND revels in shamanistic disorder.
When Marechera's poetry "heals", it does so violently -- in the same sense that a surgeon is violent. This may not be the soothing impression that most would want to maintain about a "healer", but this healing that takes place through an encounter with violence and disruption. The disruption, the chaos-making may be Dionysian, but so is the shamanic "ecstasy" of his poetic writing. Healing and wounding cannot be separated, either in the poetry, or in the ordinary surgeon's work.
Ah, why does Marechera as one who confers with the dead (in "Throne of Bayonets", quoted from above) offer kachasu to the spirits of the dead freedom fighters? Doesn't he know that it is made of hedge clippings, rotten fruit, and other things found on the rubbish tip? I have this from an authoritative Zimbabwean source!
The verbal chaos and disturbing contents are precisely what the writer offers for his nation's healing. He is the psychopomp who offers up spiritual nourishment for war-battered heroes.