Home at the end of another world


Home at the end of another world…


I hid in my mothers’ womb,

Curled and turning in suspended animation

waiting for the right time

but when the bombs fell at Hiroshima


Why did I ever come out into this world?

At this time?

The flames

The screams

The stench





But there…in the dining room

In a brownstone

On the south side of Chicago

My grandmother’s jasmine spirit

Billowed & blew in the sheer white curtains

Hot whispers of spring

In the greening

In the blooming

My mother & father entangled:

Sweat, breath, flesh

Thrust, twist, grips, caresses

Little deaths

And the world spinning

Turned and turning

My spirit said


To a new year

To A new day

Now is the time!

& 9 months later

I awakened in dreamtime

Between darkness & light

Between yesterday & tomorrow

Old year & new

…Now here we are at Fukushima

“The Blessed island”

Rocked by tsunami & earthquakes

Pouring poison

Fukushima, Hiroshima, Fukushima, Hiroshima

And the fire burned this time

So I am born again

With my own song

Known & knowing

From lifetimes of experience

That the darkest hour

Is still just before the dawn

And I return to



Louis Alemayehu



My last name means “I see the world.” It’s an Ethiopian name I took as a young man during the Black Arts movment, when a lot of us were dropping family names that were reflective of our captivity through the slave trade and reclaiming cultural roots through a new name.  This blog is a journal that reflects a life transition and also reflects global transformation. It’s both personal and global, documenting a journey from Minnesota to Ethiopia, which I look at as pulling together multiple threads in my life and focusing how I walk through the world. I’ve been a teacher for a large part of my adult life. Now what’s going to inform my teaching and my activism is my relationship to Buddhist Dharma, without being dogmatic but valuing it as a practice that helps to be present,  to act in a way that affirms the interconnection of all life and to live in a way that does no harm. I see my trip to Ethiopia is a trial — stepping into a completely different environment and seeing how it may reveal some hidden assumptions I have about myself and the world. 

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