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.

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