Wednesday, September 2, 2020

BLK GRL SOULJA, ALIE JONES

 

OUR first general was underground

Railroads couldn't compare to the depths of her mind

On a mission with a vision

Precision In the darkest cave covered by branches

Isolated by shame

no matter where we go

The darkest storms

 

Uprooted Black bodies

We continue to hide how we feel inside

Not equal

Not well

What is being?

The blood that drops

My heart that stops beating

Beating emotions and strength from this Black vessel

Gasping for air

Craving help

Someone to care, ANYONE to see that you are not invincible

 

 

Sold and conditioned

Hanging on by a noose

With no room to break loose

From the labels you didn’t ask for

Martyr complex

Struggling to catch your breath

under the waters of expectation

 Bury your pain to survive

They can’t relate

 

Disassociate

Nuclear           //        fractures

 Familial          //        disasters

Armed with silence

            Surrounded by neverending violence

Haven’t we had enough

Faking like we're fine

Struggling in pride

Lynchings ruled as suicide

Told to hide our wounds inside

Self inflicted crimes

The deepest roots

 

 

Admiral abolitionist writer

Wells of information filled her books

On a crusade for justice

 Fighting to resist

Before a balled up fist

[ Truth ] of Liberation

 Asphyxiation

 

We are the seeds from strange fruit

Lemon Trees in the summer breeze

Hemorrhaging from the root

Under leaves of ignorance

Our minds assassinated

Our souls kidnapped

Our bodies raped

There is no escape

From the scars

This skin

 

 

 

When can we begin

To heal, to feel, to just be.

Free In the cage where birds wish to sing

Harriet Ida Billie Nina

Shapeshifting trauma into triumph

Gardenias bloom across the street

Cope or heal?

Ultimately it's all about how you deal

The deepest roots Hold the darkest storms

Road Food, Amber Butts

Imagine being gutted by a soft, pink feather that explodes into a dark storm that happens to be your belly and buried beneath that is the ocean, a lollipop that flickers into tadpole earrings, a hollow leaflet on the cloudiest of floors, a knife constantly slashing. The tadpole flips on its head but comes tumbling through all the light and as you beg and beg for it to complete its round, it swallows itself into your mouth, leaving you dry with hiccups, tree bark, heavy bones and plaster. 

You are alive. You have forgotten what it is like to be alive.

When the road jumps up and suffocates your sister Kevi after she warned that it would happen, you half don’t believe it because the monster doesn’t leave any of her blood. You cannot blame the rain since The Fast Water happened fifteen years ago and everything is dry. You go to the market the next day and burp a bubble. It is Sunday and every Sunday you play hide the creek, so she must be here. She must see you. 

Any moment now and you’ll both jump inside a single bubble. But Kevi is not here and you have to find her. She is the only living person you love.

You look for her above the tents, the lying bargainers, the oak spice sprinkled over the fires no one is allowed to burn and yet, burns anyway. You get distracted thinking about the tadpoles and the not-creek, the way you two played in the water before it became a weapon too. You used to do the same thing with the road, climbing into its center and giggling when it spat you out. Your mother warned that the road would develop a taste for your bones and eventually decide to keep you. 

You remember Kevi now. The way her hair gathered like fists, fighting at everything, the brush, what water you could find, almond oil, your mother’s voice. It isn’t clear how long you travel in remembering, but the bubble snags on your memory and pops. A dog barks nearby. You fall fifteen feet onto a cow field, cursing the entire way home because these are your Sunday shoes and the dung is everywhere.

You do not remember returning home. You remain dizzy from the fumbling grief of living in a world where the ones you love no longer exist. Or the one you loved most doesn’t. Or sorrow is so deep that you hold your breath to pick through what is now, what was and what isn’t anymore. Your tears turn to sap. You make a map of clouds, chart a new destination, wind a rope around a balloon, and will it to carry you. 

It does not carry you. Your bed is covered in dirt and dung and you move to get up, even though you know you’re spreading the smell everywhere. You eat the last bit of stale bread with walnut soup, and eventually rock yourself to back to sleep. 

The first night you dream up a road that calls cars into its belly but does not harm little Black girls. It crash-winds up, down, on the side and secures a sliver into the OutRealm. Like the dog, it yips at you. 

Missing your sister this much makes an enemy of hugs. Everyone you see asks after her with their eyes but not their mouths. Your bones ache with missing. No matter how many times the road decides who belongs in the OutRealm, the ones inside remain quiet. This is how your parents left. This is how everyone you are close to leaves.

Iya Mori says dimensions go upturned and even if you grasp the rose bottom surface, the loss will still be there. A hole of something gone then transmitted into sorrow, earth, dust but not seed. 

You decide that is not enough. You have lost too many people and your sister was the last person on earth you loved. Iya Mori does her best by making you porridge and offering you shelter. She says she will sit with you in the quiet, as long as you remain hopeful, as long as you let the memories of what life you had with your sister be enough. As long as you don’t go chasing what is not possible.

You tell her no, thank you. You’d rather stay in the house that once held eight. By now your dog has died too. One night, you hear the branches rub against the ruins of the oak door thinking it’s him, only to be visited by his ghost body. 

That is all it takes to make you turn. You make a plan. You accept a job at the nearest entropy station, and learn everything you can about the road. You learn that there is a specific temperature at which it comes most alive. You get your hands on whatever news of the OutRealm you can. 

There isn’t much. The Jacinthe government doesn’t trust its citizens with information about travel and you are no scientist. But two things surprise you. Depending on who you speak with, the reason the road exists range from governmental mistrust and population control, to hunger for human flesh, to an elaborate plan to save Jacinthe’s most promising citizens and then, finally, a transmutation conspiracy. 

After you learn about the quadrant split, you pack a bag and bury it behind the house. You pretend to forget about your sister and shape some resemblance of a life. You go to town on Fridays and dance. You study for the Remni exam and apply for a Science Lens eight months later. You pass. 

In the between spaces of your grief, you practice. You learn about the land of River Snakes. You learn that the quadrants split because Earth could no longer sustain itself. You learn High Scientists have a key granting them entry into the OutRealm, even though they said no one can  access it.

It turns out Iya Mori is a Middle Scientist who studies the vegetation at the edges of the Quadrants. She teaches you many things, including how to make foot guards that’ll electrocute anything within 40 feet of you. She helps you build a training center below ground because you now know how you can travel to the OutRealm and look for your sister. 

You gather the old ocean with memories of not catastrophe amongst the belongings you dug up and forecast a story for your temporary leave. Iya Mori helps you by ensuring her sabbatical lands on the day of your leave. And instead of traveling with her through the water, you plan to go through memories, except Iya Mori goes missing during her excursion. 

So now, amongst searching for Kevi, your parents, and the boy you never talk about, Iya Mori is added to the list. You were Iya’s assistant on paper, so the Council approves your application to lead the search, reasoning that you knew her and her work best. You try not to feel resentful but it comes anyway. 

Initially, you wanted to travel with her but you’ve never been underwater. You don’t trust it and we have no idea what your gifts will do while submerged. It’s safer this way. The trip will take Iya one month to collect the materials and data needed. She’s built organic cases to place samples of the minerals in. 

The atmosphere rotates at the same rate Earth is spinning: approximately 12,050 miles per hour at the equator. Its speed decreases the further north (or south) you go from the equator and its rotation is effectively zero poles. More oceans are being pushed to opposite sides.

Iya Mori is skilled and ready. She’s not worried about the conditions of the water or the impact of the spin speed because she created a vessel that welcomes and listens, instead of fighting. Iya Mori specializes in prime meridian and equatorial knowledge.

Iya Mori’s full name is Chitakrahmori Nnemidu Bonga. She is a pseudo mechanical engineer turned cultural anthropologist who rope jumps in her spare time. She’s an expert diver. Her favorite smells are pickled eel, licorice root and a new hybrid plant she mixed called teekrut. Teekrut is part curry leaf, part guava and part tapioca. It has a full, rich flavor that turns bitter if left in the pot for too long. 

You repeat this when you miss her: It is impossible for Iya to be lost. It is impossible for Iya to be lost. It is impossible for Iya to be lost.

This is when you realize you love her, too. Another love who’s disappeared.

The first time you were able to travel into another body’s memories you couldn’t figure out how to leave it. Simulation, as Iya called it, allows you to project your appearance in one place with the edges of your mind and travel through people using the center of your brain. Managing appearances is a challenge because you’re not exactly exciting to be around, but when you aren’t completely inside yourself, you become the version of you other people like. Iya points out the flaw of this logic, like she does everything else. For people who already know you, the newer version of you is suspicious.

You haven’t received a transmission from Iya Mori in two weeks. You were supposed to meet at the edge of Tanzania four days ago, in search of Kevi. 

Not panicking is hard work. Before you left, your work performance was slipping. Maybe no one noticed but the company hasn’t asked about Iya since you’ve been assigned and her transmitter screen needs to be serviced. You need to find her.

You find your sister first in a state with no name and you’re shocked by this vision of her: a flower in her hair, her body pushed by a small child in a swing, her legs flying in the air, her giggle a high, soft shriek. She looks happy. You realize in this moment that you have never seen her happy. Not like this.

She doesn’t see you. Not you, really, just the body of the man whose memories you’ve traveled into. For a split second, you see recognition in her eyes and then it goes away. She is dead to you again now, but this time is even worse than before. This double death has no space for you, only her new life.

You think maybe Iya got tired of you too. Maybe her disappearance, like Kevi’s and possibly even your parents and the boy, was purposeful. Maybe they all wanted to leave you. Maybe the road was an excuse, an elaborate ploy to get you to stop searching, stop asking, stop hoping. 

You stop looking for everyone after that. You let the hole that’s been in your heart close. You forget all that love and turn your focus towards everything un-human.

PERFECT HUSH PUPPY, DonJuan Carter-Woodard

 

Reading thru the lines of this high powered military issued magazine/

I love the smell of poverty in the morning/

Dilapidated buildings tell the same story heroine addicts do/

Tales from the hood/

Glory day stories that start with the line you know back in my day youngsta /

When I reminisce over you/

My God/

Excuse these tracks I choose not to hide/

The road map to heaven and hell/

Can you taste the history in the perfect hush puppy/

Gives me the feeling I can survive through anything/

Everyone says they would have joined the Underground Railroad until they ride along I-20/

Water moccasins are not the only things to fear in marsh land/

The swamp plays its own tune/

Thelonious Monks tells me Round Midnight you can hear Lady sings the Blues/

Or something of that nature/

My birth right is in the walls of West Oaklands California Hotel/

But Im waking up here in Hotel California/

Maybe they are one in the same/

They say justice is impartial and objective/

But they never said she was color blind/

And you dont have to read braille to spell out the injustice on a runaway slaves back/

These cattle brand marks on a dead mans corpse shows how much he was loved/

The comfort of this smoke in my lungs suggest in my past life I use to breathe Fire/

Or use to work in a refinery/

Which ever sounds best on my tombstone/

Caring more whats written in my will then in my obituary/

Change of perspective comes from change of Vantage point/

Wondering how tall you have to be to stop being afraid of heights/

I swear the world looks so much bigger when you are looking down on it/

Significant contusions on my head shows these glass ceilings are real/

Does breaking through damage the people that choose to follow behind me/

I apologize for not coming back to remove all this broken glass/

They say scars build character/

Blood teaches better than words/

Well the ground knows me better than I know myself/

Excuse me as I send kisses to the sky/

Im sorry if your cries for baby formula falls on deaf ears at 3am/

In this heat you can smell bullshit from a mile away/

Or maybe thats from constantly trying to smell the roses/

Putting sugar on shit doesnt make it easier to digest/

Black folks are use to this culinary delicacy/

The shit they feed us in the news/

In our history books/

In our own community/

I mean you have no idea how much history is in the taste of the perfect hush puppy/

You can find how we took what we were given to survive on and created comfort/

Turning leftover to meal/

Making a dollar out of 15 cents/

Turning our Blues into Americas favorite genre/

Crazy double entendre/

So as I read through the lines of this high powered military issued magazine/

I realize how common the smell of poverty is in the morning/

And I notice/

If you sit in shit long enough you start to smell like it/

Also you get use to the smell/

Get use to the taste/

Excuse these tracks on my arm I choose not to hide/

These hoop dreams of mine died years ago/

But I still find a way to fly/

With my back planted firmly to this concrete/

So excuse me as I take this ride to Heaven/

Because as you can plainly see/

I already been through Hell/


Assume The Position, Jive Poetic



IN THE CITY, Joy Priest




No Bedtime Stories of Soil, Landon Smith

 

Told that we are on even footing

            without checking the soil my

great grandfather was hate crime’d into.

            How much white wealth was grown

atop

his blood

in that soil telling me we are on equal footing without checking the PH first.

Forced extrication within

 the only nation birthed in a pool of racist capitalism

still bathing in the fluids happily while telling me the water is fine.

Stipulations mixed into organisms easily denied.

   Power structure complacency compartmentalized 

morality

sold in a firesale

   reigning ashes from trauma profiteers.

            Blood in the penmanship on scrolls behind fiberglass in museums now.

Written into the trauma

cracked into the fractures of family lines

I am not told outside of museum tours

                                   to not re-live horrors.

Who tells bedtime stories of trauma

            to kids in search of roots

fractured by frabjous accents dancing on the broken

lines trampled        

by theft

                        disguised as equal opportunity investment

or

                        survival of the fittest

rather than

rigged implementation of dehumanization for the sake of sociopathy in the form of wealth accumulation and joviality in amnesia.

White supremacy is a disease.

            The soil is poisoned without allowing questioning of who is pouring -

Deeds signed in genocide ink later denied.

I have blood in my family line that I haven’t been shown

and mama says you have to know where you’ve been to know where you can go

but I am tired of

                        stepping over dead bodies left in the middle road in a red summer

red state only red from the blood on the gravel

            to fester as a promise of fractured lineage

                        and black holes in the space I will never

know because who tells bedtime stories of trauma?

 

Weighted guilt from balancing blaming my parents

while not blaming my parents

for not telling stories

of broken roots and poisoned pathways

to re-live blood showers they overcame

                        because

who wants to tell kids bedtime stories in blood pools?

      Whose lullaby rocks bassinets to genocide next to night lights meant to ward off monsters

       knowing monsters loom in gene pools of sociopathy

cast as patriotism brandishing omission and ignorance as a badge of honor?

Knife still 6 inches.

No acknowledgement of the wound.

Mobility still opined as equal

knowing monsters loom.

 

Wonder what that land worth now.

Wonder how the blood lines mend now.


Ain’t got much space for wallowing, Mahogany L. Browne

 

We walk three speed up a block for a two-piece and a biscuit

Until the moon scare us home
Street lights sound different
During an apocalypse
They say pandemic
And all I hear is economic cleansing

Who do you pray for?
When your tongue is blistered
And you throat is on fire
And your new neighbors practice an anti-vac life with weekly wine deliveries
And you haven’t smelled a smell since your hands baked a box lemon cake
All praises due
The ability to have heat and water and box cake with sprinkles

This is WIC on steroids
This is a baby mama dream deferred
This is a church sermon on Easter Sunday to an empty room of roach filled pews

We been missed his return to the hood
We been forgot to turn the cheek
Wash our hands
Wipe our feet
Bow thine head to the hate
But swing your sword for righteousness

Who do you pray to?
When the sun is out but it feel like
Acid on your skin and your scalp
Swoons every time you touch the bald spot with tea tree

How sacred is a death
Chambered between bi partisan promises and a congress of thieves
Den masters speak Dutch
Double handed loans for the homies
And I remember the sky
She red like woo
She fire too
I figure I’ll see her again soon

When I’m not peering from the basement window
Clanking pots at 7pm
And dusting off my sinus pills

This whole system is affected
Afflicted by disorder
Sky been falling to tune
Pennies from a crooked government
That pretends America
is heaven

Keep your fists up
This country will feed your children
To Dr. Oz if you ain’t careful

Another 2% dead
Another 2% gone
Another 2% born

as stock options worth selling like:
Core Civic, Kingman, Crystal City, Lawton, Newcastle, Two Rivers, Walnut Grove, & Winn Correctional

Check it
The prisons still full of bodies
Rona ain’t take care of
Yet

While I got the luxury
of daydreaming
about chicken wings & hot sauce
with a palette raptured by this new age plague

Look North
Look North
Look North for setting sun

I heard it’s gone shine forever
Whether we praise it

or nah


How To Get Murdered Abroad, Zenya Prowell

 

Be young and walk “like a duck,” you’ll hear later. Be worthless. Pack everything you’ll need for a last month of life into one wheeled blue suitcase with fuzzy seams and a rickety handle. Let your friends and colleagues admire your gumption. Latin America is a good choice. Don’t forget all your electronics and jewelry.


Try the capital. Its gray will overwhelm and the prospect of an anonymous alley knifing will seem dreary. Reconsider. Look at some maps. Know some Spanish: enough to ask after a bathroom, or for water in a restaurant, but not enough, you’ll learn, to navigate an hours-long bus ride that will take you from the capital to a small spot on the coast. Be alone when you drag your luggage through the bus station. Be conspicuous. Request a bus ticket with words you remember from seventh grade.  Billete. That may or may not be right.

Ride the bus across the country. Be ignored. Ignore them back. When armed policemen get on the bus to check IDs, don’t look afraid.

Get off the bus hours from where you meant to. Decide you’ll take a cab the last few hundred miles. Flag one down. The driver will have a moustache. Pay attention when a woman selling keychains near a storefront catches your eye and gives you a grave and tiny headshake. Make an excuse to end negotiations. Not here, not just yet. Nod your thanks to the old lady. Don’t take it personally when she doesn’t acknowledge it. Do take it as a good sign when you make a deal with a new cabbie and she keeps her face blank and aimed elsewhere. Later, it will occur to you that you could have at least bought a keychain.

Appreciate your new driver’s can-do attitude and love of old soul music. He’ll hum along to the radio while you wind through mountains. He will tell you his name is Paolo. He’ll tell you long laughing stories about his daughters. At some point he will pull over the car to show you a hidden waterfall. It will be tall, skinny and green-blue, pink in some places. He’ll offer take a picture of you in front of it if you like. Squint at it from the car window. No lie: you will want to stretch your back. You will consider going near the water, smelling it, sticking your hand into fresh mist. But you will recommit to backseat plastic. Tell him, no thanks.

Arrive, finally. Paolo will give you his number, will suggest more than once that you call him “if you need a drive.” Of course. Lose it.

It will feel right: orange dust on the ground and water nearby. Check into hotel. Be the only customer at the bar. The bartender will be white, blond and grizzled, with a rigid mouth full of questions. His eyebrows will be white-blond and concerned. That, or he wants to fuck you. Offer nothing.

In the morning, up you go. You’ll want to find an apartment where you can live for a month or so. It certainly shouldn’t take longer than a month.


Hit the street. This is where that duck walk will come in handy. He will clock you in less than ten minutes. Who saw who first? You’ll never know.

He will have dark skin like yours and kinky hair dyed yellow-bronze at the tips. He’ll be thin and wiry and there will be a rip in the front of his t-shirt. He will have a lotioned glow and quick dimples. He will look at your face, chest, shorts, legs, legs, shorts, chest, face. He will speak Spanish, perfect English, and silk: “Hello, friend.” He will sound like that waterfall. Up close, he’ll smell unwashed. Smile.

Tell him you have to find an apartment. Tell him money’s not a problem; there’s loads of cash. Absolutely loads of it. He’ll have some things to wrap up with the tourists he was working. Agree to meet him in twenty minutes.

Andres, he said his name was, will show up right on time. Follow him to secluded wooded corners of a transient town you know nothing about. Let him make calls with your cheap prepaid phone. Things will start looking up when he borrows a machete, but that’ll just be to hack open a coconut for you. His dealings on your phone will turn up a back garden apartment in a small complex with flowers and a gate. Add the landlady’s stony expression to the tally. Have him go with you to an ATM across from a green but littered park. Have him by your side when it spits out hundreds of dollars. Count out the deposit for the landlady. Ask him to double-count it for you. Be impressed when he thumbs through to your number and hands it all back.

Thank him. Offer to buy him lunch in appreciation for his help. He’ll take you to a place outside of town. Where the real people eat, he’ll say. After lunch, let him kiss you.

Let him insist on helping you move from the hotel to the new place. You’ll have  a bathroom, a TV in a wall unit, and a bar with two stools separating the kitchen from a queen-sized bed. Let him be when he flops on it and starts snoring. Give yourself a pedicure in the sink. With him sleeping, and a neighbor’s music outside the window, and the kitchen bright yellow, and your feet soaking in warm water that smells like lemons, you’ll think of heaven. Soon, you’ll be vapor again, stardust again. Be excited.

He’ll like hot, soapy showers and never again smell like he did when you met him. When you take walks to the main road together, he’ll hang back to watch you from behind and laugh. He’ll say your duck walk makes him want to crow like a rooster.


If you buy, he’ll cook. Have one little candle on the table during your lunches and dinners. Let him put his fingerprints all over you and your things, in case he’s the serial kind and it might help someone. He’ll play you videos of his favorite songs. Dance with him in the tiny one-room apartment. He’ll light up and encourage you  when you speak your broken Spanish. Out front you’ll have a little patio where you’ll sit in white chairs and have beer and cigarettes in the mornings, him shirtless and you barefoot. When he says “I love you” and “I dreamed we were married,” you’ll think: of course you do and of course you did.

He’ll have nightmares even in the middle of the day. When he wakes from them, he’ll reach for you like a child. Pay attention when he lays with his head close to you and tells you how he has no one, how sometimes he wishes he’d never been born. Trauma makes for good murderers.

When it’s been a few days, you’ll get bored with his constant mellow presence. Ask him, “Don’t you need to go work?” When he does, go out to lunch in town with another man you met, an American with a reptile’s wet eyes, who knows your landlady and saw you moving in. He’ll be middle-aged and use the word “pussy” three times in one hour. Go back home. Andres will knock on your door once he’s made some money. Tell him what you did that day. Tell him he’s overreacting when he gets upset. Kick him out.

Watch a movie. Have a snack. Do your nails. Feel pretty good.

 

 

Answer a knock on the door at midnight. You won’t have been sleeping, and your light will have been on.

Andres will look tired and troubled. He will sit on the bed and put his head in his hands. He will ask you if you can talk to him in Spanish because speaking English all the time makes his head hurt. Don’t.

In English, he’ll ask, “Can I just stay here tonight?” Tell him no.


He will ask you why you’re treating him this way. He will ask you what he did wrong.

He’ll say, “You don’t want me because I’m poor.”

 

Sit beside him and say nothing. His face will close up to cold rock.

 

Get up and go to the door. Say, “I think you should leave now.” Watch him sit.

 

Repeat yourself. Watch him watch you back.

 

Be alone halfway through a black night in a secret corner of a back town, oceans away from anyone who knows you, in a cotton dress, rebuffing a homeless (you’ll realize now) man you met on the street three days ago. Hold the door open. Watch him rise up. He’ll loom over you. Repeat: “You’re not listening. You’re not respecting me. You need to leave now.”

Something like derision will arrive on his face. Your heart will start to move in a way you’ll have never felt before.

He’ll mock you with soft menace: “What are you going to do, scream?” Say nothing.

He’ll relish a long moment of your fear. And he will leave, but the last glance of contempt he will flick at you on his way out will warn you: for now.

Once you close and lock the door, what your heart is doing will hurt your chest and inside your ears. It will overtake your stomach and throat too. He could come back at any time.

In your mouth you will taste destruction and understand that this is new, that nothing that happened before (even that) ever tasted like this. This new pain will roil through your whole body as if trying to break through you to get to him, wherever he went, as if whatever created you - your mother, or the moon, or the ocean - above all will not tolerate its creation threatened. You will feel dwarfed and deafened by this presence of cosmic maternal rage that you did not know existed until now. You’ll feel stupid.

And small. You will start to shake. You’ll think of the keychain lady, of Paolo, of the white bartender, of your landlady. You will remember them looking at you and seeing their daughters. You will wonder if they went home to beat the shit out of them for ever even thinking of doing what you have done.

You will lie rigid in your bed to wait for the sun to come up. At some point, you’ll make a run to turn off the floor lamp and back to the bed because being in the dark will feel safer. At least in the dark you can hide, theoretically, if he busts back through the door.

But then it will be dark when it occurs to you to make another run to the kitchen for a knife.

It will take an hour, maybe two, maybe five minutes. You’ll hear a key in the door. You will hear the door open and jam against the inside chain. There will be a pause before the chain gets busted from the frame without much difficulty. Your heart will overtake you, will be made of the whole ocean now, a hysterical lullaby in your ears.

The shadow will be of average height and chubby. It will move with surprising speed for its bulk. It will smell like liquor and meat. Its weight will break a few of the cheap wooden slats under your mattress; you’ll hear splintering and cracking and feel yourself drop an inch closer to the earth. You will feel slick skin that has never touched you before. The dark you thought would protect you will hide the knife from you when you lose it in the bedsheet. Panic will blot out most pain - a small grace, maybe. It will invite you out of your body and up to the ceiling to wait. Up there you will feel nothing but sadness.

Watching him with it, you will miss your body already. You’ll wonder who you could have lived for, if not yourself.

You’ll think of the long line of women you must have come from.

 

You will be amazed to feel them gathering around you now, shielding you with skirts and covering you with blankets. You’ll feel now how many of them were there in you, how much of their strength you let atrophy, how many gifts they left in you that you didn’t open, how many letters they left that you didn’t read.

But they won’t be angry.


You will wonder if he has been watching your door, if he saw Andres leave, if the police, such as they are, will be looking for Andres tomorrow. You hurt him and he scared you, but Andres has no money and no family.

You will think

oh God. I’m so sorry. And 

she will say

It’s all right. Just come home.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

When world unite, Sehloho Piet Rampai


Hatred will lose its humongous value
Selfishness will die in striking solitude

Our night will be addressed as daylight
For gloom never will cause us doom

Heaven will cast upon us, stares of jealousy
Celestial bodies will wish to resign their duties

Mama will roll her wrapper peacefully
While offering her offspring's mirthful smiles

Papa will crown his cap unperturbed
Walking the heart of town undisturbed

No room will be allocated for chaos
No space, be given for weighing woes

We, in safety sip our sultry soup
And lay our heads in serene tranquillity

Ears shall cease to hear smearing sounds
Sounds so strange that strangle souls

When world unite…if world unite


Sehloho Piet Rampai @Rampai80544953 is a South African Poet, writer and author of various poetry books namely The Words, Poetic justice, Poetry o clock and Mabinabine. The Poet was born in 1985 in Ngwathe, Edenville and grew up in Odendaalsrus Province of the Free State.

there is only sky, Gitan Djeli


there is only sky

deep into the whole of being,

the outer-ring overwhelmed by depth,
ridges on the edge stretch reach out.

there is only deep,

staggering smooth depth

a universe,
a dome of light,

         knowing, being, floating

shapes wave immensity obscured.

in a hole, in a well.

open,
if it overwhelms, well…

        followers, converters suffocate,
        like train delays,
        empathetic voices without empathy

the well sits still solid, on its own,
wild scape,
(is)land of the land,

         come who may come,

not inviting,
open indefinite,
find relief in earth waters if you may

intimacy

            we pause, we tend, always negotiated

in formed spaces
with/within/outside/inside other spheres.

invite the sky in

          without shapes, without break, waver the circle of light

blurs of distance,
symmetry is irrelevant

there is only sky.




Gitan Djeli @gitandjeli is a London-based Mauritian writer and researcher in cultural studies. Her latest poems appear in Poetry, Adda, Amberflora and Parentheses Journal.

Post-Mortem for the Revolution, ML Kejera



The war?
Won.
Our cause,
just.
The dictator?
Two million bloodless holes.

Our alliance?
Shaky.
The river?
Ours.
Our scattered?
Returned.
Babylon?
Distant.
The sea,
unforgiving, unrepentant.

The horizon,
boundless.
The children,
breathing.
Our martyrs?
Legion.
Our voice,
soft.
Our stick?
Miniscule.

Our father,
crying.
Grandfather,
cheering.
Mother,
whooping.
Grandmother,
dancing.
The old,
planting.

Victory,
ours.
Defeat?
Forgotten.

What is left, but to turn the wheel?
On 21st January 2017, The Gambia’s Dictator, Yahya Jammeh, ultimately agreed to step down from power after being democratically ousted. His initial refusal caused an exodus of refugees into neighboring Senegal.




ML Kejera is a Chicago based writer of Gambian origin. His work has previously been published in Strange Horizons, The Outline, and Cafe Irreal. He was recently shortlisted for the 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize and nominated for the Caine Prize for African Writing, both of which he hopes to win. He is at work on a collection of short stories about the fictional nation of The G, for which he is seeking representation.