Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

It's Not Over 'til the Fat Lady Sings

Enlarge poem

It’s not over ‘til the fat lady sings.

So the day our hearts stopped holding hands I was on the look out for mountains of hips and marshmellows of cheeks that were bound to vibrate with the moving of her Vienna lips.
Through my wells of tears I made sure my sight had enough leverage to scout out the cookie monster who was about to confirm that I’d lost my chocolate chip that day our hearts’ hands broke it off
I thought our heart-shaped rusk was about to be beaten into crumbs or a death even worse [like being dipped in her sweet tea or waiting to be eaten later from the bottom of her purse].

They said its not over ‘til the fat lady sings…

So with every step that my jelly-knees knocked away from you
I kept guessing her tune.
I imagined her to sing something high-pitched;
the kind of note that would dig a ditch into a keyboard and instruct the deaf conductor to ask her voice to soar even higher until even heaven’s skies cried and the glory of sunshine became crucified and the black pitch from the grey clouds could only be broken by lightning in the sky.
But that was in my mind.
So I carried on with my carrot-fed eyes in the dark of my night to listen out because…

It’s not over ’til the fat lady sings.

And there my pumpkin fears reappeared as I saw this mother of obesity struggling to walk
but her vocal cords trembling directly at me.
I stood still as if ice had frozen my body into a coma but allowed my mind to brew in a ginger of paranoia only later to get drunk on thoughts of being alone.

Dear Miss Cholesterol come closer.
Her voice was as beautiful as I hadn’t imagined it to be.
It was the spreading of margarine on a hot toasted piece;
It was the smell of coffee roasted to a kind of blend that was sure to awaken me.
Fat Lady’s throat vibrated even in the dark of my night
And I hated it.
But damn that tune sounded like peaches dipped in heaven-flavoured cream.

Then suddenly
As I was about to gracefully accept that dear Fat Lady had sung
So our end had just begun-
She stood still-
Only touching my left baby finger,
And it was there that I figured…

Fat Lady wasn’t singing.
Her place was just to hum to the songs of that skinny man who had disappeared into the shades of mountainous hips as they walked the streets.

So question is:
Is it not over because Fat Lady didn’t sing?
Or is it over because she’s been married to this skinny man for so long;
maybe in their union they became ONE
so just as he sings, she hums
and it’s been over all along?
Or am I still to wait for Fat Lady to break out into her solo song?
I can’t be sure because you know what they say…

It’s not over ‘til the fat lady sings.

Katleho Shoro

Featured Poem:

Cape-Berg Remember Me

Enlarge poem

I stood between two grand cities as each of them whispered, “Remember me”

Jozi was lean,
Her walk was packed with ambition
And her hairstyle was gelled in a cosmopolitan composition.
She wore a suave scent laced with aspiration
And tied her thick confidence around her waist with extra intention.
I had to catch up to Jozi.
Jozi’s pencil-skirt matched her high-heels coloured in the pastel energy;
So with every kwai-kwai came a plan,
With every street corner, she moulded a wise man.
Jozi walked maboneng
I had to stand aback to catch my breath and adjust my eyesight to her light…
As I watched her stride,
I noticed how her rhythm was inspired by the bassline from Bree street taxi frenzies,
How di-kip-kip reminded her of childhood simplicities,
And how she kept bopping her head to Gandhi Square after-school cipher beats.
Jozi finally waited for me,
Smiled because she was the daughter of pirates and chiefs
and she still knew the perfect spots to feast on lightly-salted chicken feet.
For a moment in brief…
Jozi took off her branded shades and underneath I spotted her golden humility.
Jozi, the celebrity, reached to secretly touch Cape Town’s arm, whispered “remember me” and carried on walking.

Cape Town said it in a light breeze,
His smooth baritone made my frantic heart freeze
As he reminded me to just…
breathe…
He maintained his cool pace by letting beach sands filter through his crooked toes,
And how he always captured a bottle of perfect merlot,
Not even he knows.
I tried to rush him to catch to Jozi,
but Cape Town just strolled.
He spoke slow…
Telling me how he frequently had lunch with visiting ladybugs on mountain tops,
how from up there it felt like the Atlantic sea warmed itself under his feet,
and how fresh air made life easier to eat.
Winds made his linen shirt rise from his fertile chest,
while winter rains made his bare feet wet
but, unphased, Cape Town carried on telling me how he appreciated a bobotie mess
and cried whenever he thought of Clanwilliams in living context.
Mr. Cape Town spoke of ironies like: beautiful bergies and short stories told about long streets.
His kaapse taal swept between his naked gums as he punctuated in Xhosa clicks.
He had time to tell me many things (and still write to Jozi)
but it’s the peace that he fed me as we wondered through his Garden route that articulated: “Remember me”

I stood between the two cities but this time I asked them to “remember me”

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

Comments

  1. KK, your abiity to capture both the visual and the sentimental with your sprinkles of humour is awesome! Cape-berg is so spot on – beautiful work!

    Rue

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Katleho Kano Shoro is a performance poet, writer, social science graduate (MA) and steadfast enthusiast of Africa-centred literary initiatives.

This Johannesburg-born poet has been writing and performing poetry since the mid-2000s. She has taken to infusing her poetic proclivities within her scholarly pursuits: namely, through her Honours dissertation which explored contemporary performance poetry in South Africa (2010), and as the co-editor of The Spoken Word Project: Stories Travelling Through Africa – a publication edited together with Mbongiseni Buthelezi and Christopher Ouma and anchored within a Goethe Institute project. While she has participated in African literary initiatives in various ways, her work with the African Arts Institute (AFAI) and Langaa RPCIG is worth mentioning. As a former project manager at AFAI, she coordinated African literary discussions in Cape Town and hosted African writers as part of the Franschhoek Literary Festival. Katleho’s work with the Cameroon-based research and publishing initiative, Langaa RPCIG, has included coordinating and facilitating literature workshops in Cape Town and Cameroon.

Katleho has performed her poetry in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Grahamstown and Swaziland in spaces such as Yfm, Verses and HOLAAfrica events. Between 2008 and 2009, she was a finalist and core poet in Poetry Delight Cape Town and Poetry Delight Johannesburg, respectively. Through the collective, she also produced Poetry Delight Grahamstown: Chemistry of the Arts – a theatrical poetry production which formed part of the National Arts Festival Fringe programme (2009). Katleho was a featured poet in Nike’s CAPE/BURG (IAM1) Project in 2009 where she wrote and recorded the poem, “Remember Me”, for the project and CAPE/BURG (IAM1) book.

Her poem, Sesotho saka will not be written italics, was recently published in the journal, Killens Review of Arts and Letters (2015). She is currently editing her first collection of poetry, Serurubele Poetries.

Katleho Shoro

Biography

Katleho Kano Shoro is a performance poet, writer, social science graduate (MA) and steadfast enthusiast of Africa-centred literary initiatives.

This Johannesburg-born poet has been writing and performing poetry since the mid-2000s. She has taken to infusing her poetic proclivities within her scholarly pursuits: namely, through her Honours dissertation which explored contemporary performance poetry in South Africa (2010), and as the co-editor of The Spoken Word Project: Stories Travelling Through Africa – a publication edited together with Mbongiseni Buthelezi and Christopher Ouma and anchored within a Goethe Institute project. While she has participated in African literary initiatives in various ways, her work with the African Arts Institute (AFAI) and Langaa RPCIG is worth mentioning. As a former project manager at AFAI, she coordinated African literary discussions in Cape Town and hosted African writers as part of the Franschhoek Literary Festival. Katleho’s work with the Cameroon-based research and publishing initiative, Langaa RPCIG, has included coordinating and facilitating literature workshops in Cape Town and Cameroon.

Katleho has performed her poetry in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Grahamstown and Swaziland in spaces such as Yfm, Verses and HOLAAfrica events. Between 2008 and 2009, she was a finalist and core poet in Poetry Delight Cape Town and Poetry Delight Johannesburg, respectively. Through the collective, she also produced Poetry Delight Grahamstown: Chemistry of the Arts – a theatrical poetry production which formed part of the National Arts Festival Fringe programme (2009). Katleho was a featured poet in Nike’s CAPE/BURG (IAM1) Project in 2009 where she wrote and recorded the poem, “Remember Me”, for the project and CAPE/BURG (IAM1) book.

Her poem, Sesotho saka will not be written italics, was recently published in the journal, Killens Review of Arts and Letters (2015). She is currently editing her first collection of poetry, Serurubele Poetries.

It's Not Over 'til the Fat Lady Sings

Enlarge poem

It’s not over ‘til the fat lady sings.

So the day our hearts stopped holding hands I was on the look out for mountains of hips and marshmellows of cheeks that were bound to vibrate with the moving of her Vienna lips.
Through my wells of tears I made sure my sight had enough leverage to scout out the cookie monster who was about to confirm that I’d lost my chocolate chip that day our hearts’ hands broke it off
I thought our heart-shaped rusk was about to be beaten into crumbs or a death even worse [like being dipped in her sweet tea or waiting to be eaten later from the bottom of her purse].

They said its not over ‘til the fat lady sings…

So with every step that my jelly-knees knocked away from you
I kept guessing her tune.
I imagined her to sing something high-pitched;
the kind of note that would dig a ditch into a keyboard and instruct the deaf conductor to ask her voice to soar even higher until even heaven’s skies cried and the glory of sunshine became crucified and the black pitch from the grey clouds could only be broken by lightning in the sky.
But that was in my mind.
So I carried on with my carrot-fed eyes in the dark of my night to listen out because…

It’s not over ’til the fat lady sings.

And there my pumpkin fears reappeared as I saw this mother of obesity struggling to walk
but her vocal cords trembling directly at me.
I stood still as if ice had frozen my body into a coma but allowed my mind to brew in a ginger of paranoia only later to get drunk on thoughts of being alone.

Dear Miss Cholesterol come closer.
Her voice was as beautiful as I hadn’t imagined it to be.
It was the spreading of margarine on a hot toasted piece;
It was the smell of coffee roasted to a kind of blend that was sure to awaken me.
Fat Lady’s throat vibrated even in the dark of my night
And I hated it.
But damn that tune sounded like peaches dipped in heaven-flavoured cream.

Then suddenly
As I was about to gracefully accept that dear Fat Lady had sung
So our end had just begun-
She stood still-
Only touching my left baby finger,
And it was there that I figured…

Fat Lady wasn’t singing.
Her place was just to hum to the songs of that skinny man who had disappeared into the shades of mountainous hips as they walked the streets.

So question is:
Is it not over because Fat Lady didn’t sing?
Or is it over because she’s been married to this skinny man for so long;
maybe in their union they became ONE
so just as he sings, she hums
and it’s been over all along?
Or am I still to wait for Fat Lady to break out into her solo song?
I can’t be sure because you know what they say…

It’s not over ‘til the fat lady sings.

Featured Poem:

Cape-Berg Remember Me

Enlarge poem

I stood between two grand cities as each of them whispered, “Remember me”

Jozi was lean,
Her walk was packed with ambition
And her hairstyle was gelled in a cosmopolitan composition.
She wore a suave scent laced with aspiration
And tied her thick confidence around her waist with extra intention.
I had to catch up to Jozi.
Jozi’s pencil-skirt matched her high-heels coloured in the pastel energy;
So with every kwai-kwai came a plan,
With every street corner, she moulded a wise man.
Jozi walked maboneng
I had to stand aback to catch my breath and adjust my eyesight to her light…
As I watched her stride,
I noticed how her rhythm was inspired by the bassline from Bree street taxi frenzies,
How di-kip-kip reminded her of childhood simplicities,
And how she kept bopping her head to Gandhi Square after-school cipher beats.
Jozi finally waited for me,
Smiled because she was the daughter of pirates and chiefs
and she still knew the perfect spots to feast on lightly-salted chicken feet.
For a moment in brief…
Jozi took off her branded shades and underneath I spotted her golden humility.
Jozi, the celebrity, reached to secretly touch Cape Town’s arm, whispered “remember me” and carried on walking.

Cape Town said it in a light breeze,
His smooth baritone made my frantic heart freeze
As he reminded me to just…
breathe…
He maintained his cool pace by letting beach sands filter through his crooked toes,
And how he always captured a bottle of perfect merlot,
Not even he knows.
I tried to rush him to catch to Jozi,
but Cape Town just strolled.
He spoke slow…
Telling me how he frequently had lunch with visiting ladybugs on mountain tops,
how from up there it felt like the Atlantic sea warmed itself under his feet,
and how fresh air made life easier to eat.
Winds made his linen shirt rise from his fertile chest,
while winter rains made his bare feet wet
but, unphased, Cape Town carried on telling me how he appreciated a bobotie mess
and cried whenever he thought of Clanwilliams in living context.
Mr. Cape Town spoke of ironies like: beautiful bergies and short stories told about long streets.
His kaapse taal swept between his naked gums as he punctuated in Xhosa clicks.
He had time to tell me many things (and still write to Jozi)
but it’s the peace that he fed me as we wondered through his Garden route that articulated: “Remember me”

I stood between the two cities but this time I asked them to “remember me”

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

It's Not Over 'til the Fat Lady Sings

Enlarge poem

It’s not over ‘til the fat lady sings.

So the day our hearts stopped holding hands I was on the look out for mountains of hips and marshmellows of cheeks that were bound to vibrate with the moving of her Vienna lips.
Through my wells of tears I made sure my sight had enough leverage to scout out the cookie monster who was about to confirm that I’d lost my chocolate chip that day our hearts’ hands broke it off
I thought our heart-shaped rusk was about to be beaten into crumbs or a death even worse [like being dipped in her sweet tea or waiting to be eaten later from the bottom of her purse].

They said its not over ‘til the fat lady sings…

So with every step that my jelly-knees knocked away from you
I kept guessing her tune.
I imagined her to sing something high-pitched;
the kind of note that would dig a ditch into a keyboard and instruct the deaf conductor to ask her voice to soar even higher until even heaven’s skies cried and the glory of sunshine became crucified and the black pitch from the grey clouds could only be broken by lightning in the sky.
But that was in my mind.
So I carried on with my carrot-fed eyes in the dark of my night to listen out because…

It’s not over ’til the fat lady sings.

And there my pumpkin fears reappeared as I saw this mother of obesity struggling to walk
but her vocal cords trembling directly at me.
I stood still as if ice had frozen my body into a coma but allowed my mind to brew in a ginger of paranoia only later to get drunk on thoughts of being alone.

Dear Miss Cholesterol come closer.
Her voice was as beautiful as I hadn’t imagined it to be.
It was the spreading of margarine on a hot toasted piece;
It was the smell of coffee roasted to a kind of blend that was sure to awaken me.
Fat Lady’s throat vibrated even in the dark of my night
And I hated it.
But damn that tune sounded like peaches dipped in heaven-flavoured cream.

Then suddenly
As I was about to gracefully accept that dear Fat Lady had sung
So our end had just begun-
She stood still-
Only touching my left baby finger,
And it was there that I figured…

Fat Lady wasn’t singing.
Her place was just to hum to the songs of that skinny man who had disappeared into the shades of mountainous hips as they walked the streets.

So question is:
Is it not over because Fat Lady didn’t sing?
Or is it over because she’s been married to this skinny man for so long;
maybe in their union they became ONE
so just as he sings, she hums
and it’s been over all along?
Or am I still to wait for Fat Lady to break out into her solo song?
I can’t be sure because you know what they say…

It’s not over ‘til the fat lady sings.

Comments

  1. KK, your abiity to capture both the visual and the sentimental with your sprinkles of humour is awesome! Cape-berg is so spot on – beautiful work!

    Rue

Your email address will not be published.