Friday, December 23, 2011

Being An Artist by Mgcini Nyoni

I perform with broken ribs
caught up in a sugar stampede
Bruised by baton sticks
stomped by booted feet
A running nose
remnants of teargas
in my nasal passages
I stand on shaky feet
having walked into town
A crowded bus for the return journey
Buttocks of someone's wife against my groin
I stand dizzy
A packet of maputi for lunch
The water is dirty
I have diarrhoea
I stink
Have learnt to bath with a liter of water
The smell of smoke
Cooking with a thorny bush fire
I stand here and talk about it
I will be accused of being an imperialist stooge
I need a bulletproof vest
They will graduate from baton sticks to guns.
After I am gone I won't rest
they will set up roadblocks
Harass the mourners
And ask ‘where is the police clearance
Previously published in the anthology FIRE IN THE SOUL: 100 poems for human rights by New Internationalist and Amnesty International.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Quincy, Illinois: 1962 by Donal Mahoney

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 long before Barack Obama

In 1962 my father toiled in Quincy,
two weeks, no more,
and saw no blacks except for
two young ladies
who moved like swans
busing dishes
in a farmer's cafeteria.

Daisy badges on their uniforms
announced their names,
their years of service.

He still remembers how
throughout his meal
he wanted to stand,
a stranger in a
seersucker suit,
and shout:

"How can you live here?
Where, except in church,
can you clap your hands
in emancipation?"

Monday, December 19, 2011

I Guess It Was Me by Raylton Nhau

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It maybe me, but that l doubt
 It is not me who sang that song; it was the song that made me sing
 It was not me who said those words, but it’s the thoughts l had bottled inside me
 It still is not me who was there; it is me who only stood up to myself
 It still is not me who had that shadow but rather it is the shadow that had me.
Trust me it wasn`t me.

 It is not me but it`s the life l share with myself
 It is not me who ponder with my thoughts but it’s the thoughts which take me yonder
 It wasn`t me who came there but my nobility took me there
 Oh that, that l did not say to you, it just came out of my mouth
 The smile, it wasn`t me who flashed that smile, for it takes more muscles to smile than to frown
 Then it wasn`t me who was there.

 It’s not me who stood there & made you smile
 For my presence does not put a smile on any face
 It was not me who came and you talked to
 It is the man l hope to be one day
 It maybe me, but me, that l doubt
 It was not me but maybe something inside me..............

 The song l sang came from within
The words simply came from my heart
 Those thoughts are of the people l love the most
 There l stood to be by your side
Oh that shadow, it always keeps me company
The memories make my tears fall like trickles of water
 And the nobility defines me
 That smile l am always afraid to flash to you
For my presence means a lot to you
 But .........., l am afraid to accept the man l am


Friday, December 16, 2011

The CSOs Consultative Meeting by Mgcini Nyoni

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Half were on Facebook
a quarter were asleep
the rest were feigning alertness
whilst waiting for tea break
The ones on Facebook
and the ones sleeping
were also waiting for tea break.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Ruling Party's Final Congress by Bhekumusa Moyo

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Dear Comrades
Welcome to our congress
We are not here to impress
As in order of introductions
Not the list of sanctions
Here there are dogs,
Chickens and pigs
Elephants, awls, lions and you
Yes, you
Dogs have no respect
They bark at our esteemed visitors
Bite our private partners
They fuck in public
They leak the dirt of other dogs
They find joy in eating leftovers

Friday, December 2, 2011

Once, We Were Still Black by Tswarelo Mothobe

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Somewhere in the loss of true memory
Our black was beautiful
You must remember US,
When being black was the most vivid of dreams
Raindrops wetting to life those landscapes within
An idea brightest in the blackest of times
Because it was then, that point of creation
And then light

Now being black is a nightmare
A lonesome memory trapped in third world politics
Education systems that blind our ability to dream
Arrested development as we slave in modern day plantations
Structured to seem to mind as our salvation
A nightmare from which if we sleep
We may never awake

Black was a feeling once
A mood dressed in the most moving of music
When drums would sound the pulse pace of warriors
Mbiras the guidance of those alive within us
When the most eloquent of tongues exhaled words to life
A young man’s guitar
Would sound to the Heartbeat of the most virtuous sister
As they moved within the rhythm of love
A most sensual dance
A most intimate of refrains
Skins glistening with wetness
Black was passion being born

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

With Primrose's Permission by Clemence Chinyani

I will as I promised,
Attach your poetry to a kite,
And let it out of the window,
... ... So it soars, high above our heads.

I shall,
As I promised, you my little cousin,
Paint it bright, your poetry,
So that we will gaze at it,
Floating in the sky,
And we will also be seeing,
Beyond it,
The blue sky,
Where the heavens are,
Where eagles play,
And swallows fly.

I shall,
Dear young Primrose,
Fly it on a bright and sunny day,
When everyone can breathe,
The crystal clear morning air,
And see the sun shine,
As brilliant as it could.

I will fly your poetry,
On Christmas day,
Maybe it will snow,
Or it may rain,
Whatever the weather's mood,
I shall fly it out,
Bright and happy lines,
Smiling onto our faces,
Celebrating the birth of a baby king,
And you my cousin shall smile,
Together with a million other smiles,
Oh what a happy day?
To see the works of your hand,
Floating in the works of the Creator's hand,
And then we shall sing,
A happy good old song,
And sit by the sun,
Or by the fire grate,
Depending on the outside,
And tell happy old happy stories.

I promised Primrose,
I will do it,
This be, my second promise,
God willing your heart will be soon soaring,
With your lovely rhymes and verses,
And that lazy attempt at Haiku,
But you sure tried and I'm proud of you,
Wishing you blessings,
And the best of everything,

I love you Primrose,
And your poetry I shall tie to a kite,
And let it rise freely to the sky,
To the hills yonder, and maybe across that river,
It will fly on and on
And till it touches the horizon,
And maybe, as I wish,
The heavens.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Beautiful Venting... by Zibusiso Mpofu

Photo by Mgcini Nyoni

As the dollar rises
Each day
I count the rays of the sun
Piercing my grouchy skin
To blackness it has never before seen
As the dollar rises
Each day so do my hopes and dreams
Dreams of a proper meal
A day
A slice of bread, with the
Morning rain
And morning tea
In a fragile cup of porcelain frivolity
Yes, a proper dream
Of a hope for my children’s children...
As the dollar rises
Each day
I do dream of a cool day
Of morning dew touching my clear skin
As the morning rain
Pit-Patters on the little horizon
A proper dream
A slice a day
A hope for my children 's children
Just a proper dream.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Nust Days/ (for Marie 26 June 2007) by Mthabisi Phili

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I missed you-
the very moment you turned to go into that Harare
I saw the cold night already –
the racked night red and empty
I shivered
put my hood-on
my hands in my pockets
and walked away from warmth
…with a broken heart!