Friday, November 28, 2014

An ISIS Nursery Rhyme by Donal Mahoney

Image -

Listen, young lady,
this is the man 

who will cut off your legs
and this is the man 

who will cut off your arms
and this is the man

who will cut off your head
if you fail to tell us where  

your parents hid the gold.
Had we known about the gold,

they’d be here, not over there
in chunks, baking in the sun.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tears Of My African Mother by Derby Bheta

These are tears of my African mother
And its colour that shows all her fears
She still hopes the darkness will clear
Divorced by life now married to poverty
One’s a wife now just a nobody
At night she cries inside
I hear her cries as I sleep
In the morning she puts a beautiful smile to the world
But deep down I know all those glitters are not gold

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Months by JD DeHart

The months came by the visit,
June with her sunny disposition
and April with her warming charm.
December was silent and deadly,
as usual.
August was barely dressed
and October wore his favorite
costume, munching on candy.
The evening came and they swept
away to set the rest of the year’s
gradual time.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Two Flying Saucers by Donal Mahoney

A flying saucer whirrs 
through the kitchen air
almost hits him in the head

flies out the open window
followed by another saucer
sailed at him by her 

angry that he's earthbound
can't take her to the moon
one more time tonight.

He's getting old, he tells her.
She should have come aboard
when he was 23 and flew

all night from star to star.
He ducks again and gasps,
"Once must now suffice."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

New Girl by Tinashe Tafirenyika

Madam says to always keep your eyes open
Stare at the ceiling
Don't look into his eyes
Wear black panties
Lace is very pretty
But it tears easy
Some nights get real busy
But you look like a clever girl,
You'll catch on quickly

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Same Old Story by Donal Mahoney

When Martha gets home from 
cooking class this afternoon,
Martin will be gone 

after 30 years of marriage.
Martha won't know why
but it's the same old story

another woman
this one young and beautiful
but deaf and mute as well

a woman Martin likes 
because her body speaks 
a language of its own

a woman who stays home
unless Martin chooses
to walk her 

along with his dog, Sparky,
an old sheepdog his wife 
gave him as a pup.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Terebinth by JD DeHart

Isaiah wrote about the stump
Left behind in the world
After the sweep of judgment fell
The oak and the terebinth remain

The sawed tree leaves a pattern
Ridges and narrow passageways
You could trace a star with
Its end a raw, gnarled appendage

Isaiah wrote about the ravaged
Field and ruin, while juxtaposed
With the remainders, the seed

The excerpt implies a peace
Larger than truth, that even when
Broken and crumbling, twisted
There is a small grain of hope

It lies beneath the surface, small
Inclination of a behemoth below

Blessing is a small wordless child
Sitting amid the curses and fears.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Monthly Dues by Natasha Chebet Mutai

The dark days have come!
When I dread to walk around,
In school I can’t keep up,
Those days make me sick!

The red liquid keeps flowing,
Why can’t I just stop it?
Surging pain in my abdomen,
Every single limb in me aches,
Yet I have to work and read!

Mama struggles for me,
Leather she borrows for my sake,
I sit on the damp soil till dawn,
Mama pities me, she cries for me,
And I along with her, will relief ever get here?

In school the students mock me,
I’m embarrassed, I’m ashamed,
This is too much - why me?
No tampon for me, no sanitary towel,
Nothing to shield me, to hide my shame! No one to protect me!

My heart aches for that day,
When I can dance through my cycle,
When checking becomes a vocabulary,
When the period of shame becomes the period of pride,

When my heart falls in line with natures phenomena!!!!!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Music by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Victor Kunonga during Bulawayo Culture Festival 2013. Picture by Tswarelo Mothobe

If everyone could make music
then everyone would be a musician.
It is the finest of the arts.
So in tune with human desires, so emotive
when done right.
Music can move people like no other medium.
I wish I could make music.
All I have are these words.
And they will have

to do.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Polkadot Skirts by Zibusiso Mpofu

The last time I saw Sekai
She had dust on her feet and grasshoppers in her hand
She loved chasing dreams and always danced in the rain
Hoping, secretly, that her cynical and old great aunt wouldn't catch her
With her feet in the sun.
She had the heart of lion, used to go round places
Stealing mangoes into her old panties, and showing us the chocolates that her father
Sent to her,
''Where is he?'' we used to ask...''In the U.K'' she used answer simply
Nobody, but she and her cynical and old great aunt
Who had hair full of years and no teeth, knew where that was.
Sekai loved catching fireflies

That Was Before Her Father Took Her Across The Ocean

Now she wears polkadot skirts, and little polkdot tights
And talks in a tongue that her cynical and old great aunt can't understand
No one calls her Sekai anymore, but Sarah or Susan or something like that
And no...the girl in the polkadot skirt doesn't remember me at all.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Alone By DJ Tyrer

I sit alone
In a room filled with people
I cry alone
Amongst the hubbub and bustle
The Clown wipes a painted tear
From his eye
The clown lives solely to entertain
Watch him die
Death mocks him with his fixed smile
A crocodile grin
Death challenges the Clown to cards
Knowing he’ll win
The pale mask slips from his face
It reveals Truth
A child questions it all
Slay the youth
But I do not dare to do so
Nor does the Clown care to do so
One by one, they all file out
From the room, they all file out
Leaving me to sit alone
Leaving me to cry alone
A witness to something more than myself
Too preoccupied to see beyond myself
I sit alone
In a cold and empty room
I cry alone
Sitting, waiting for my final doom.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Romance in the Modern Age

Spread 'Em for Anyone Edna
had always had trouble with men.
It started in high school when Edna,
big for her age, hosted the soccer team,
one by one, provided they won.

Edna had strong school spirit 
but the players were not sportsmanlike, 
telling classmates Edna was a bad goalie.
She had let everyone in.

Edna's largesse continued in college 
with lanky lads on the tennis team.
Tennis players had more couth, she said,
and they certainly knew how to serve.
They would take Edna to dinner and a movie
and she would send them home smiling, 
victorious, three sets to none.

Then one Sunday morning
while home on vacation, 
Edna took Grandma to church, 
a place Edna had never been.
She found the preacher attractive.  
He stared at Edna throughout 
his fist-pounding sermon, 
fire raging, brimstone crackling.

That Sunday, Spread 'Em for Anyone Edna 
answered the altar call and was born again.
After seven abortions Edna decided 
to limit her kindness to one man, 
a dentist named Dr. Throckmorton,
a renowned specialist in root canals,
a wealthy man she would eventually marry.
She admired his technique with a drill.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Poem To Africa's Greatest Son by Lesedi Evans Shumba

Gone too soon
Always will be remembered
I will cherish your loyalty to Africa
until the day I also see you sited somewhere beside
Peter, Mahatma, Martin and Teresa

I could have sworn I felt the ground shake
When your soul escaped form the body it was kept
I could hear the sounds and celebrations of the jubilations in hell
last night when the world wept -
the angel has gone where he belongs.

Hope they tell me where they bury you
so I come and lie down near you and listen to all your stories
Stories of how you and your comrades marched down the streets towards the enemy
Ran Soweto carrying nothing but banners
the only bullets you had was the shouts of 'freedom'.
How did you really feel when you drank coffee
with the same men who put you in cages?
I bet they almost died of your brutal, unconditional forgiveness.

Dear Nelson
Take thy place as God's greatest grandson
Bring thy head forward to receive your crowning as Africa's greatest son
Twinkle, Twinkle little African star
How I wonder why so soon.
Wish I could put your spineless spirit in a bottle
Then drink it until my heart burst.

One last time
fold your fist hard, bang in the air
Just like how you used to stand in the crowd saying:
"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling but in rising every time we fail"

Your enemies and even your dearest comrades
have tied to destroy you but failed each time
You are a lion with nine lives and a thousand hearts.
Wish I could write 10000 words
each for each day you spent in prison
I know you will shred your soul into a thousand pieces
then drop it into the hearts of all the
Leaders of the world, then maybe they would know
how to really treat their people.

Nineteen years ago you made a nation
out of a notion you strongly held.
Nineteen years ago I was born free,

Your hustle was not, just meant for Africa to see
Your courage was like a virus
which I tested positive.
Looked into your eyes and saw a thousand pictures
I Take your soul and make a thousand copies
One great leader is worth a thousand dictators
The giant has closed its eyes
for the world to open its minds and souls

I am a present of the past
Because you made your present not resentment over the past
but the refurbishment of the future,
My future.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmastime in America

You see the oddest things 
at Christmastime in America.
The bigger the city, 
the stranger the sights.
I was driving downtown 
to buy gifts for the family 
and enjoying bouquets
of beautiful people
bundled in big coats
and colorful scarves
clustered on corners,
shopping in good cheer
amid petals of snow 
dancing in the sun. 

One of them, however,
a beautiful young lady,
had stopped to take issue 
with an old woman in a shawl
picketing Planned Parenthood.
The old woman was riding
on a motor scooter 
designed for the elderly.
She held a sign bigger
than she was and kept
motoring back and forth
as resolute as my aunt
who had been renowned 
for protesting any injustice.
Saving seals in the Antarctic 
had been very important to her.

On this day, however, 
the beautiful young lady
who had taken issue
with the old woman  
was livid and screaming.
She marched behind 
the motor scooter and 
yelled at the old woman 
who appeared oblivious
to all the commotion.
Maybe she was deaf,
I thought, like my aunt.
That can be an advantage
at a time like this.

The letters on the sign were huge
but I couldn't read them
so I drove around the block
and found a spot at the curb.

It turned out the sign said,
"What might have happened
if Mary of Nazareth 
had been pro-choice?"
Now I understood 
why the young lady
was ranting and raving
and why the old woman
kept motoring to and fro.
At Christmastime in America
people get excited,
more so than usual.

When I got home 
I hid my packages 
and told my wife at supper
what I had seen.
I also told her that if Mary 
had chosen otherwise,
I wouldn't have had 
to go shopping today.
That's obvious, she said.