13 December 2019

Lesotho 1970 -- Private parts

"A man had his private parts tied with a piece of wire which was in turn made tighter by twisting it with a pair of pliers until he dropped dung like an animal."

— from "Lesotho, an African Coup Under the Microscope", by Bennet Makalo Khaketla [Source]

Power/Control, a song by Various Lesotho Artists

10 December 2019

I met a woman like my mother in Tennessee, by Rethabile Masilo

After my mother had grown big with me
she kept me in, until she found a proper place
to empty me, her body still quite young
(though broken already from the morning toil
of the days before spring, preparing the soil),
far too young to carry such a big head growth.

I met a woman like my mother in Tennessee
just below the Mason-Dixon line, which holds
with its belt the knickers of racism, and together
we bred children of our own, substantial lumps
that had refused to be stomached further either
and had grown like pieces of dough in the sun.

So we waited, inspired by spoons, spines curled
like smiles at their moment of rapture, even after
the elders had said, the time we climbed up to
the village in Quthing, that it was the memory
of a whole people she carried in her. We found
a place, a place like a nest, and laid them in it.

7 December 2019

The damnedest things, a poem by Rethabile Masilo

We could have done something else and not made love,
gone through another act, not be here at all
to watch this moon being born, watch it from earth.
Like an eight softly sitting up, our son says, as he looks
from another planet on the way home at dusk after table-
tennis, carrying milk and honey in brown paper bags,
receiving promises from the future: a world of stone
stands before you!
But we made love madly until it rained earlier
on the subcontinent that year, and made shanties
tremble with anticipation and fear.

Whenever the monsoon keeps its word the Ganges stays
within bounds, and Shiva, with a force
that keeps the world in space, cradles a crystal ball
in her palms as a way of thanks.

And our moon soon stops hanging,
rises on its way, puts stars in your eyes: folly
to those who condemn us for looking the way we do,
you so socially white and me communally black,
beyond your light greyish-brown skin the colour
of undyed wool and my milk-less coffee hue,

we rise, and, continually, I, past your breast and thigh,
love you. We stand (with the world in our hands),
wondering if anyone will bear witness to this kind of life.
Our daughter asks about cardboard mattresses, why so many,
and brown like government envelopes; we thud the question
on the table: our frankness disconcerts everyone.

You ask me who God is and why he’s silent, why everyone
speaks for him. You say the damnedest things. We search
through distance, scan roof-tops for him. Around a stove
in which matlakala, lisu and fagots of aloe tied and dried
in a season of happiness, burn, we give alms to the soul
and try (in the name of love) to stop this, before a world
which washes its hands, like Pilate, and releases Barabbas.

Brian from Bountiful, Utah, USA
[CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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