22 March 2015

Please come back soon

Poéfrika is going to be shut down until after WASLAP, Rethabile Masilo's 2nd book of poems, has been published. Apologies for any inconvenience.

15 March 2015

The blade

I saw history, and I ringed its nose, in a story
carried by altered lines I saw the end. Meanings
of night rend into this cloth again and again,
till we can fashion but nothing for our lives
save doeks and arm-bands we wear year in year out.
The blade makes a sound, before slashing waft
by individual waft at the silence of precise noise,
which is like a fact that no one can fathom—
but now, when I gaze at the sky and struggle
to hear it, and, even afterwards, as dawn lies
bleeding on the ground before the main house,
words form in the mouths of open graves, from
what it is graves see of the world when they awake.
We went from sons of relatives to here, hanging
onto lineages, from thread woven into us again
to these frayed strands of hope, to each promise
that on a rock is being broken. For I was born
by those felled in mid-sleep, those never afraid
to furnish some little hope, to re-enter shadows,
which in a million deaths will never have us.

14 February 2015

On a gare St-Lazare platform

The way she stood on that platform that morning
made me guess that she was approximately fifteen,
waiting for a train to pull in, her profound beauty
saying, while I stiffened and continued to stare
at her profile, that she would be a queen someday.
She knew too well how to absorb men's looks,
breathe their aura in, and salt the charge away
in breasts of her flesh and the valleys of her form.
The world is entering an era of great distress.
I thought she might be a fallen angel, standing there
taking our lust in, savouring it and hoarding it,
like some good-looking robot telephone sucking in
the electricity of men. Such kind of force can
destroy a world and break the matrices of its
unfortunate hearts. I wanted to know if the volts
of my thoughts had affected her. But I was late,
so I made haste upstairs, and also my connection.
But I'll never forget the atmosphere of danger
around life, on that platform of gare St-Lazare.

22 May 2012

"Not My Business," by Niyi Osundare

NOT MY BUSINESS They picked Akanni up one morning Beat him soft like clay And stuffed him down the belly Of a waiting jeep. What business of mine is it So long they don’t take the yam From my savouring mouth? They came one night Booted the whole house awake And dragged Danladi out, Then off to a lengthy absence. What business of mine is it So long they don’t take the yam From my savouring mouth? Chinwe went to work one day Only to find her job was gone: No query, no warning, no probe - Just one neat sack for a stainless record. What business of mine is it So long they don’t take the yam From my savouring mouth? And then one evening As I sat down to eat my yam A knock on the door froze my hungry hand. The jeep was waiting on my bewildered lawn Waiting, waiting in its usual silence. © Niyi Osundare [more...]