Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

In Defense Of My Art

Enlarge poem

The first black eye that ever stained my face

Was not dealt to keep me in my place

It was the result of me and only me

Because I’m just that clumsy.

When people saw and asked

I said I fell

But they just thought I

Wouldn’t tell

They assume that I can walk

Quite well.

They are mistaken

I cannot recall

Every fall I’ve taken

But though through life I may stumble

And my fingers endlessly might fumble

The words I have I will not mumble

Because when we speak, the walls crumble.

So speak up, there’s not room for “humble”,

Even if like me you often tumble.

Realize, children of the soil

The blood running in your veins is royal.

Use that blood

And make the link

So that it inks out

What you think.

My life has been that nightmare

Where

You stand up in class and they all stare

And not because

Any of them care

If you have something

You’d like to share –

but because you’re naked.

“Hey kid!” Someone goes,

“You’re not wearing clothes!”

And you froze,

coz now everyone knows.

Luckily, tonight I’m dressed

But it must be confessed

That up here I can’t fake it

And that makes me more naked

I mean,

To stand before you

And give you my prose

Is in many ways harder

Than not wearing clothes.

Poetry takes the pretenses

And when spoken, it strips

Because my hand and my heart

Are expressed with my lips.

My grandmother used to tell me

I have a magic secret

And everything I write

Is how I try to speak it.

My poem goes like a nursery rhyme

And spoken word? That’s playtime.

It makes the spirit feel alive

And lets the inner child survive.

Everything I touch turns to light

Although I don’t have it quite right

But there’s no way I can hide

Because I have a fire inside.

Heat radiates from core to fingers

Burns my nerves and then it lingers

Urging hand to pick up pen

And trace something out again.

The words play hopscotch down my spine

When rhythm lives in every line,

Heart stings are plucked like a guitar

When poems dance down my vertebrae.

My footsteps are percussion

And my language is loquacious

And I’ll finish the discussion

When the disposition’s gracious.

Every word is put together

In order to be efficacious,

And there’s no end in sight

because the page is always spacious.

The haters gonna hate

‘Coz people like to be mordacious

But the poet’s purpose is to always be

Perceptive and sagacious.

Sometimes it’s like

You’ve swallowed a burning thread

It cuts you in side

And often you’ve bled

But sometimes something

You’ve heard or read

Can put things back together

Again.

Poetry is like cotton

That you spool out from your head

It takes things you’ve forgotten

Or things from which you’ve fled

And it stitches us together

Teaches us tread

In time

With beats and rhyme

Suturing our wounds,

Our breaks, divides.

Scribbler?

Riddler?

Call me what you like

But the world makes sense when I stand behind the mic

And I’ll grasp my pen and I’ll write, alright?

All things I touch are turned to light.

Kate Ellis-Cole

Featured Poem:

Fuck Perfection

Enlarge poem

[Fuck perfection

Just give me a chance to love you]

I know that feeling

– I want

you to know it too –

when the sun rises inside:

When the horizon is your shoulders

And your face is the sky

– The rays catch your eyelids and explode into stars.

And just for a moment you know what you are.

I know that feeling

When your voice is too tired to sing

And there’s just nothing

(And everything) to do.

Again, then, I want you.

I want

To plant seeds in your face

In the space

Where things were taken away.

Seeds that grow trees

So everyone sees

The joy that sprouts leaves on your forehead and cheeks.

I want

To dig trenches down your cheeks where tears would be if you ever cried

For me.

Or for you.

Or for anything you wanted to.

I want

to

disappear into you

The same way that fingers do

If you press hard enough against soft sand

With the flat palm of one hand.

I want to bundle you

( safely )

in my heart

And wrap you snugly in my skin

So that no one else can ever get in.

I want you to take me to places you’ve been.

I want to be terrified

And lost inside

The haunted house part of your heart;

see the parts that hurt the most,

And tell you I don’t fear your ghosts

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (3)
  • Pride (0)
  • Optimism (2)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (0)
  • Reflection (0)
  • Captivation (1)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (2)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (1)
  • Jubilation (0)

Comments

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Kate Ellis-Cole is an enigma. Always perfectly styled, she carries herself with a secret confidence that’s almost regal. Grace and eloquence spill from her lips in conversation and it’s difficult not to form certain preconceived expectations when this soft-spoken lady steps on stage: she’s white, she’s a woman and she clearly sounds privileged. And then she opens her mouth. Kate’s poetry and subject matter is far from what the initial impression would lead one to expect. From political satire to the strong cross-cultural ties she experiences with land and country, her poetry reflects magnitudes of conscientious and sensitive living and there’s something about her and the unapologetic sincerity with which she speaks and performs that’s endearing and mesmerising.

Kate Ellis-Cole

Biography

Kate Ellis-Cole is an enigma. Always perfectly styled, she carries herself with a secret confidence that’s almost regal. Grace and eloquence spill from her lips in conversation and it’s difficult not to form certain preconceived expectations when this soft-spoken lady steps on stage: she’s white, she’s a woman and she clearly sounds privileged. And then she opens her mouth. Kate’s poetry and subject matter is far from what the initial impression would lead one to expect. From political satire to the strong cross-cultural ties she experiences with land and country, her poetry reflects magnitudes of conscientious and sensitive living and there’s something about her and the unapologetic sincerity with which she speaks and performs that’s endearing and mesmerising.

In Defense Of My Art

Enlarge poem

The first black eye that ever stained my face

Was not dealt to keep me in my place

It was the result of me and only me

Because I’m just that clumsy.

When people saw and asked

I said I fell

But they just thought I

Wouldn’t tell

They assume that I can walk

Quite well.

They are mistaken

I cannot recall

Every fall I’ve taken

But though through life I may stumble

And my fingers endlessly might fumble

The words I have I will not mumble

Because when we speak, the walls crumble.

So speak up, there’s not room for “humble”,

Even if like me you often tumble.

Realize, children of the soil

The blood running in your veins is royal.

Use that blood

And make the link

So that it inks out

What you think.

My life has been that nightmare

Where

You stand up in class and they all stare

And not because

Any of them care

If you have something

You’d like to share –

but because you’re naked.

“Hey kid!” Someone goes,

“You’re not wearing clothes!”

And you froze,

coz now everyone knows.

Luckily, tonight I’m dressed

But it must be confessed

That up here I can’t fake it

And that makes me more naked

I mean,

To stand before you

And give you my prose

Is in many ways harder

Than not wearing clothes.

Poetry takes the pretenses

And when spoken, it strips

Because my hand and my heart

Are expressed with my lips.

My grandmother used to tell me

I have a magic secret

And everything I write

Is how I try to speak it.

My poem goes like a nursery rhyme

And spoken word? That’s playtime.

It makes the spirit feel alive

And lets the inner child survive.

Everything I touch turns to light

Although I don’t have it quite right

But there’s no way I can hide

Because I have a fire inside.

Heat radiates from core to fingers

Burns my nerves and then it lingers

Urging hand to pick up pen

And trace something out again.

The words play hopscotch down my spine

When rhythm lives in every line,

Heart stings are plucked like a guitar

When poems dance down my vertebrae.

My footsteps are percussion

And my language is loquacious

And I’ll finish the discussion

When the disposition’s gracious.

Every word is put together

In order to be efficacious,

And there’s no end in sight

because the page is always spacious.

The haters gonna hate

‘Coz people like to be mordacious

But the poet’s purpose is to always be

Perceptive and sagacious.

Sometimes it’s like

You’ve swallowed a burning thread

It cuts you in side

And often you’ve bled

But sometimes something

You’ve heard or read

Can put things back together

Again.

Poetry is like cotton

That you spool out from your head

It takes things you’ve forgotten

Or things from which you’ve fled

And it stitches us together

Teaches us tread

In time

With beats and rhyme

Suturing our wounds,

Our breaks, divides.

Scribbler?

Riddler?

Call me what you like

But the world makes sense when I stand behind the mic

And I’ll grasp my pen and I’ll write, alright?

All things I touch are turned to light.

Featured Poem:

Fuck Perfection

Enlarge poem

[Fuck perfection

Just give me a chance to love you]

I know that feeling

– I want

you to know it too –

when the sun rises inside:

When the horizon is your shoulders

And your face is the sky

– The rays catch your eyelids and explode into stars.

And just for a moment you know what you are.

I know that feeling

When your voice is too tired to sing

And there’s just nothing

(And everything) to do.

Again, then, I want you.

I want

To plant seeds in your face

In the space

Where things were taken away.

Seeds that grow trees

So everyone sees

The joy that sprouts leaves on your forehead and cheeks.

I want

To dig trenches down your cheeks where tears would be if you ever cried

For me.

Or for you.

Or for anything you wanted to.

I want

to

disappear into you

The same way that fingers do

If you press hard enough against soft sand

With the flat palm of one hand.

I want to bundle you

( safely )

in my heart

And wrap you snugly in my skin

So that no one else can ever get in.

I want you to take me to places you’ve been.

I want to be terrified

And lost inside

The haunted house part of your heart;

see the parts that hurt the most,

And tell you I don’t fear your ghosts

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (3)
  • Pride (0)
  • Optimism (2)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (0)
  • Reflection (0)
  • Captivation (1)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (2)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (1)
  • Jubilation (0)

In Defense Of My Art

Enlarge poem

The first black eye that ever stained my face

Was not dealt to keep me in my place

It was the result of me and only me

Because I’m just that clumsy.

When people saw and asked

I said I fell

But they just thought I

Wouldn’t tell

They assume that I can walk

Quite well.

They are mistaken

I cannot recall

Every fall I’ve taken

But though through life I may stumble

And my fingers endlessly might fumble

The words I have I will not mumble

Because when we speak, the walls crumble.

So speak up, there’s not room for “humble”,

Even if like me you often tumble.

Realize, children of the soil

The blood running in your veins is royal.

Use that blood

And make the link

So that it inks out

What you think.

My life has been that nightmare

Where

You stand up in class and they all stare

And not because

Any of them care

If you have something

You’d like to share –

but because you’re naked.

“Hey kid!” Someone goes,

“You’re not wearing clothes!”

And you froze,

coz now everyone knows.

Luckily, tonight I’m dressed

But it must be confessed

That up here I can’t fake it

And that makes me more naked

I mean,

To stand before you

And give you my prose

Is in many ways harder

Than not wearing clothes.

Poetry takes the pretenses

And when spoken, it strips

Because my hand and my heart

Are expressed with my lips.

My grandmother used to tell me

I have a magic secret

And everything I write

Is how I try to speak it.

My poem goes like a nursery rhyme

And spoken word? That’s playtime.

It makes the spirit feel alive

And lets the inner child survive.

Everything I touch turns to light

Although I don’t have it quite right

But there’s no way I can hide

Because I have a fire inside.

Heat radiates from core to fingers

Burns my nerves and then it lingers

Urging hand to pick up pen

And trace something out again.

The words play hopscotch down my spine

When rhythm lives in every line,

Heart stings are plucked like a guitar

When poems dance down my vertebrae.

My footsteps are percussion

And my language is loquacious

And I’ll finish the discussion

When the disposition’s gracious.

Every word is put together

In order to be efficacious,

And there’s no end in sight

because the page is always spacious.

The haters gonna hate

‘Coz people like to be mordacious

But the poet’s purpose is to always be

Perceptive and sagacious.

Sometimes it’s like

You’ve swallowed a burning thread

It cuts you in side

And often you’ve bled

But sometimes something

You’ve heard or read

Can put things back together

Again.

Poetry is like cotton

That you spool out from your head

It takes things you’ve forgotten

Or things from which you’ve fled

And it stitches us together

Teaches us tread

In time

With beats and rhyme

Suturing our wounds,

Our breaks, divides.

Scribbler?

Riddler?

Call me what you like

But the world makes sense when I stand behind the mic

And I’ll grasp my pen and I’ll write, alright?

All things I touch are turned to light.

Comments

Your email address will not be published.