Poetry

Darkness

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Silence has sirens

Cardiac sounds burn to the grounds

Romantic nights of sore endings

Stars quit their morals

Skies betray the eye’s trust

The moon wears his lewd ornaments

Around his thick fleshed neck

He makes a deal with the hungry sun

“Hide until greedy graves feed”

Eyes are bleached in pale shadows

Unblinking mistresses of the face

Silence has melodies

When the sockets run free in bloated seas

Darkness dips its toes in sloppy pores

Death becomes a smiling whore

Gyrating its thighs on the laps of our beloveds

Kissing their eyes with its sooty mouth

Here we are the ones left behind

Buffoons circling the eyeballs of coffins

Death and life juggling our tender lungs

Gambling with the ones we breathe for

In this long and short while of endings

Hearing silent sirens

Here we are with nothing

But a night gone with everything


Gravity

“Set him free”

They said

So I left with the gravity
Beneath his feet
And he floated freely
Until he had nowhere to land
No grass to lay his head
No heart to call his home
Set him free, I did
I took his gravity with me-NM Seg


Things…

They were words on crutches

Disorganized lines left untouched

Of things too raw
Of things wrapped in thorns
They were falling bricks
The cracks never sealed
The souls that always leaked
All the rights that should’ve been
Lost in words we couldn’t speak
In the sins we couldn’t forgive
And wounds that didn’t heal

They were words made of mist
Existing in chances we’d missed
-NM Seg


Pretty Little Bird

Pretty little bird lives in a cold nest

On a sterile tree with dead leaves

She flaunts her rainbow coloured breast

And spreads her silk and sea-glittering wings

For all the idle trees to wrestle in contest

To have her peck their stems with her silver beak

In the wild forest, there’s a majestic tree

With a stem as hard as the chest of a god

Branches that spread with grace and symmetry

Alluring and bewitching to one who beholds

Its august shade and its virile leaves

When the sun retires to an unknown land

And the moon stretches out across the sky

Pretty little bird finds the tree without help

Singing sweet songs into the amorous nights

All the flowers the tree gives into her lap

Until the bark dries and all the green dies

Right where the tree stands, deep in the earth

Lies the strong arms of its nurturing roots

That feed the beating of the tree’s heart

And tailors the strength in the fibre of its wood

The power to the branches that hold the little bird

The soils whisper the secrets of the darkness

Of clandestine pecks and romantic coos

The moon can no longer keep it all in silence

Of rattling leaves and the fruits’ flowing juices

The wise forest details the night’s affairs

When the tree learns of the death of its roots

And fails at the attempt of a late resurrection

Pretty little bird flies off for another tree to woo


Forgive Me But I Have to Dance

Forgive me for I can’t stay

I’ve been sitting for far too long

Even time can’t remember

So I leave you and take a step

Towards his hands, to dance

I heard he’s a lover on the dancefloor

Seductive in all the ways that humans crave

You know I’m one too deeply buried in troubles

And I know your intentions are as pure

As the heart of an unborn child

But there’s a song scratching within me

It wants to sing through the chords of my feet

So you see, I have to leave

Here he comes, the misunderstood gentleman

I want to lead, so I take him by the hand

Lead him to the rhythmic night

For there’s too much silence in this life

This life where we make excuses for our pain

Where our fears to seek a helping hand

Are much greater than the very fears we battle

So here we go, floating on melodious stairs

I hear the orchestra call my name

I will lead death by the hand

And we’ll dance to the song of eternity


my lover

it all stood still

when he hid time in his pockets

and took it with

i crave the taste of its tick and tock

on the grooves of my palate

he left with the sun on a string

swung it behind his turned back

left the curtains of night shut

and darkness laughed at me

he sewed the pores of my lungs tight

and i stood at the sidewalk

begging for morsels of air

but he folded my breaths

and carried them with

like the dry earth begs the rain to marry him

courting the clouds

and clinging to her damp skirt

i miss him

like the old man whose wife is gone

and longs for death to reunite them

like the seeking mouth of a suckling

searching for its mother’s bosom

with eyes shut yet knowing

i miss him

i miss the things in him

the things about him

and all the things he leaves in me

my lover, i miss him


Untitled

who takes a second each day,

to command their ears

to listen to hearts while they beat?

but when they echo silence

all we want is to replay their song

singing lyrics of regret

and faces melt with could-haves

we fed on quarrels

when laughter was enough

now they’re gone

and we find comfort in a fraction,

of good memories that agree to surface

but we know it’s only half the table

of what we could have had to feast

that if we had learned to love the beat

it would’ve been a daily celebration

but it’s too late

we have but our grief to eat


Woman, You Are

Woman

You are the universe in summary

All the mosaic elements

Of all that is in existence

are written beneath your flesh

You’re the walls that erect galaxies

and the fingers that mould dust into stars

You carry the sun on your back

And the moon on your face

Hiding light in your womb

Clasping secrets in your fists

You’re the author of our dialects

Bending corners of syllables

Straightening creases on our tongues

Teaching your creation how to speak

The curving dimensions of your form

The mountains, the seas, the waves that crash

Within confined spaces

Where time ceases to be

And all the energies that quake

From the narrow parts of his passages

Converge in the chamber between your legs

From the stitches of your nest

You sew the genesis of life

Threading membranes into unified patterns

That stretch into our divine bodies

Just as rains whisper colour into waiting soils

You cry blood into empty veins

and beat our pulses into tune

Kissing breaths into our lungs

You are the universe in summary

You are all that’s in existence

And you exist in all that is

You are WOMAN


Playing Records

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(Image: HottyToddy)

I used to sit in his chair

Tiny feet dangling

Age of four or five

And listen to the vinyl

Beg the needle to be gentle

With the deepest voice

A girl my age could borrow

I’d sing with Barry

Oblivious to the seduction he played

And he’d laugh and say,

“When you’re older you won’t sing it around me”

Dionne, Diana, Donna and Donny

We were all in one room

Our private disco

Here I am, a woman my age

Sitting on his chair

Feet refusing to touch the ground

Knees to my chest

Bleeding the blues

And the record spins

In mournful spirits

If only this music could revive him

With each rise and fall

I imagine his breath once more

He’d be here with me

In this disco we once shared

When the record stops

He’s gone once again

And so I’ll spin another one

Stevie, Bill, Barry and Ray

We’re gathered here today

To pay tribute to the man I lost

Whose life played like a spinning record


Take Me Home

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(Image: 50/50 by 2020)

I left a trail of heartbeats

Like footsteps behind

That would lead me back home

Somehow, the winds wiped them off

The face of the soil

And here I wander through nameless spaces

With the loudest of shouts

My unsure voice is swallowed

Kidnapped by borrowed sounds

That dance on my palate

And wrestle on my wooden tongue

I’m ashamed of the swarthy gown

That dresses my bones

I hide behind unfamiliar colours,

Sold to me at exorbitant prices

I’ll grit my teeth as you scald my skin

With deluding hair concoctions

To train my wild hair into obedience

Lie flat! Fall straight!

Perhaps if I bathe in milk

My skin will play chameleon

If I pinch my cheeks a million times

They’ll burn a bright rosy red

I want to return home

Dress me in royal garments of my ancestors

Place a crown of our soil on my head

Adorn my arms in bangles made

From the beads of sweat from my foremothers

Paint my skin with colours

Of their chants to the earth

Cleanse me in their sacrificed blood

Teach me to go back home

Teach me to return to my BLACK home


Your Tragedy

Pockets full of spinning storms

Dilapidated fists holding winds

Eyes crammed with wild snow

Shouting hail piles up within

Pull your guts back in

They’ll find no place to hide

Peace neither whispers nor winks

Cyclonic dirges sung to you at night

You see, you let the rains fall

Into the wells around your heart

And each pulse devours all

Your drowning breath’s an art

I’m the catastrophe churning your mind

The war that kisses your bones with pain

The shiver that wears your skin thin

I am your beautiful hurricane


The Day He Loved Her

When he saw light spill from her pores

The sun lived inside her ribs

Its rays wrote poetry on her flesh

He drank the life from the warmth of her skin

 

The day that all-time favourite songs

The music from the earth’s throbbing cords

Stood nothing against the energies

And the winds of her voice

When she shaped the syllables of his name

As if his name was her prayer

 

The weight in the way she exhaled

The sound of her soul’s orchestra

All her organs, her life’s musical instruments

He found himself in the lyrics of her breath

 

In her presence his religion was found

In the river flowing between them,

Was where his sins were drowned

In the fire of her heart, he discovered God


A Cave of Death

Taken from Poetically Ghetto by Nthepa Moitsheki

I invite the hum of death into this abyss

To collect these unwanted fillings

Wrap its fatal branches around it

And whisper to it its mortal appeal

 

It hasn’t been thirteen weeks

The shameful paunch isn’t revealed

I’m still in my tender teens

And so I invite death to come within

 

The elixir to my irresponsibility

An antidote of my recurrent mistakes

This time’s the third, fourth, fifth…

I guess my conscience’s been defeated

 

To keep it is to beckon more poverty

How shall I raise it in such beggary?

The father’s in no known vicinity

So shall death be my ill-fated remedy

How many corpses do I keep within?

Counting shall only bid my lunacy

Remind me not of my strained fecundity

Choice is not one of my privileges

 

It’s all done and over with

Just when I think I shall never repeat

I’m of child again

But this is the last, I promise


A Little Bit of Love, Maybe

There’s a bitterness in the taste of me

All evils coalesce at this spot within

If you want to dine with the devil

By all means,

Fall as deep as you can for me

 

Two walls and a little way in between

No light to lead your way

But the moon’s wink and stars too shy

To shine you through this alley

I call my heart

What lies between beginning and end

Is the mystery

 

Love me anyway,

If you must

Without the fear of solitude

Or the pleasure of mystery

Love me because even dark places

Need to be loved and filled with light

Love me because even the deepest waters

Need to be crossed

And the hardest of paths need to be walked

Love me because even the ones like me

Need to be loved


Mama’s Letter of Regret

I seal this letter with prayer

Knees rooted to this alter

Digging the hard earth

Searching for forgiveness

 

Years apart draw deep fissures

I can hardly remember the colour

Of your name

Or the song of your heart

The wind in your lungs

Or the summer in your eyes

 

You left your skin behind

Your footsteps faded

Until I could hardly read

The trail to where you lead

 

I’m at the edge of the edge

Where one argues with finality

Begging for a second after another

For wrongs to be unbent

Until peace pretends to near

 

I’ve committed my corruptions

Bribing demons in hell

As I placed my wager on the table

A child’s love and an umbilical cord

And walked away with a loss

 

I’m at the end of the end

Swimming in grey clouds

Seeking your forgiveness

I thought I did all a mother could

But deep within I know

I chose myself over you


Your Moments

Unwritten stories

The ones  in your heart

But you fail to see the chapters

As you wait for someone to pick up the pen

 

The greatest moments

You triumph with oblivion to your fight

You blindly toil and break

And just before the ground hits your face

Favours return from the universe

And the fall becomes worth it

 

The little miracles you don’t believe

That couldn’t be happening to you

Because you don’t deserve them

The honey that trickles into your mouth

You think is meant others to taste

 

The ones you recreate until they fit

Until they become the lens through which

You wish to see the glories of your life

The choices that make you one of a kind

 

The flowers you pick

In a garden of weeds

The rays of the sun you see

Through the drops of rain

The colours of a growing rainbow

You see piercing the grey clouds


When Heavens Laugh

It’s in the sweet laughter of children

Giggles wrapped in sheets of mirth

Skipping to no particular song, but that

Played by golden harps

Unheard by ears of ones too old to hear

 

It’s the smell of rain in the morn

When drops nestle in the arms of the soil

Waking scents unfold buds of nostalgia

Blossom into flowers of charming memories

Curving unconscious smiles on your face

As drops fall slowly on a window’s cheek

 

It’s the interlocked hands of the aged

Glossy eyes with wrinkled corners

Brackets on the skin formed by laughter

Waking to the rising and falling sun

They still chuckle and blush

As she thaws like an infatuated lass

 

It’s the burst of air in amateur lungs

A rich cry of human wonder

The smile of its untrained mouth

The light that meets its squinting eyes

The curve of its mother’s warm arms

 


We’re Survivors

We’re trees crying tears of leaves

For the birth of a red autumn child

We stand grand in summer’s embrace

Fresh green mane on elegant shoulders

 

We’re reptiles slithering in dust of woes

Skins dulled by drains of troubles

We shed the old, crawl out of our burdens

Clad in new scales we glisten and grow

 

We’re heated waters, faults boil our cores

Sorrows rise in temporary vapours

Cold airs aerate our thoughts

A rain of redemption falls

 

We’re open wounds oozing pain

Thick clots lull our bleeding

They’re horrid scabs but when we settle,

Our scars curve into heroic stories

 

We’re botanical wonders, fruits of existence

Devoured by unpredicted mouths and spit

Our seeds find fertile earths to revive us

We re-emerge, bursting with sweetness

 

We’re darlings greeting lucent unknowns of birth

We’re grey-haired wisdoms retiring to death

Born to survive the erratic weathers of life

Our medals are that which we leave behind


The Poor Grandmother

Dawn dances on her sagging flesh

Rewriting wounded stories

The rays scribble on her face

Digging worrying furrows

 

Memories sail off to her cubs

Lives poured into mortal cups

Drunk by that which ailed them

The orphans are their lives’ sediments

 

She digs into barren pockets

Pursuing infertile dreams

Combing the cobwebs of its frayed belly

Her defeated palms return empty

 

Sunset promises another loss

The end pulls them across

Into darkness, each breath follows

All she hears are crying shadows


Speak Without Words 

Skin to skin, breath to breath
Speech is a burden
Bury your words under your tongue
Converse with the light in your eyes
Spell the letters of your name
With lines that shape your face

In a world sated with the superficial
Keep your background
Swallow your titles and designations
Shake my hand in silence
Show me the shade of your spirit
Colourful!

Dance with me
Draw sentences with your feet
Vibrations from your graceful soles
Tap the earth so fluently
I hear it all, beginning to end
The coherence of your secrets
The urgency of your sacred thoughts
Truths from the twists of your flesh

Palms on each other’s chests
Stories run through our veins
Then, now, will be
Untainted by cosmetic narration
That aim to please unimportant ears
If we bleed them in their purity
Our tales will be extraordinary

Hush! Spoken words are too shallow
Devoid of substance and marrow
Play the rattle of your bones
The timeless song in your soul
Skin to skin, breath to breath
Heart to heart, human to human

Ragged Dolls

Clad in tatters, ragged dolls dot the sidewalks

Shadows trampled on tar carpets

Where’s your shepherd, you lost flock?

Did He tend to the favoured?

And left you without rescue?

 

Hopeless crawlers of night wander the dark

Hollow guts follow whispers of caliginous trails

Throats parched by harsh suns of impotent journeys

Behind winds promising unhappy tales

 

Did you grow into a weed in your kin’s garden?

When she found new love you deranged the equation

Perhaps you fled from fists that swore you a coffin

For your butchered soul had no shield

 

Chauffeured by political typhoons into gloom

Unaware passengers dropped at hell’s doorstep

Or displaced by one of nature’s turbulent moves,

That sent you running on hunger’s infinite lap

 

Gold-revering vultures send charming invitations

Holding leashes cwith seductive scents of bread

You’ve become hands that feed vulgar obsessions

Housed by walls where prayers ricochet unheard

 

Muddy flowers, they won’t see your splendour

as you sniff from the sticky bottle that numbs your pain

In their rainbow scented air you’re the corrupt odour

Ragged dolls, who shall come to your ail?


Weaving Threads

There’s no amount of ink better spent

no load of alphabets worth any less

than to lay your name on my loom

and weave the threads of your soul into a poem

I say, there’s not much better task

than to scribble on sheets of clouds

of endless dreams and soundless fantasies

the impressions of your delicate face

Who could ask for a better calling

than to warp the strings of your heart’s light

into plaited paragraphs that halo seraphic heads

and fabrics that clothe the shoulders of gods?

These hands marvel at the given prestige

the honour of feeling the texture of your breathe

the gravity of your pulse at the edges of my finger

as your voice drips from the pore of a nib

I tell you, there’s no better mission

than to hold the graceful lines of your smile

and interlace them into a poetic pattern

that warms the hidden depths of my soul