Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Afriquè du Süd

Enlarge poem

I heard what they did to you

How they fought over you and called you names you couldn’t spell or pronounce.

They pulled your hair and ate the fruits of your loins

They shot you in the face, put you father in dark holes underground, called your mother Mavis, tore up your labia and then, for the briefest moment, promised you the most beautiful of things and in that moment, the whole world stopped and loved you for a change.

You held your breath while your rapists were hailed as your heroes.

Nothing grows in the dust of your 20year old womb anymore.

The flowers of the moment have died prematurely.

Even the bone of your fingers have ebbed.

Where once the flint of your teeth could spark a revolution, now even your humming barely soothes your starving children.

And still, they act as though you never ever had a name

like you and them are neighbours and friends.

In 2013, Nelson Mandela passed away.

The man, the mythical being, the husband, the legend of literature.

Nelson Mandela slipped from the clutches of humanity and became

A saint.

During his lifetime he was immortal, against all his might he became a messiah.

Mandela was our jazz, our opium, you were strange if you didn’t take some when it was offered.

Mandela made, voting, our religion.

Important questions are always unanswered.

Even the saint attached to Nelson Mandela couldn’t answer them:

What is Black?

Who raped my family?

When will reparations be paid?

Where do we go from here?

It is 2014 now and everybody seems to know exactly what you need, of course, everybody, but the born frees.

Kneo Mokgopa

Featured Poem:

Ex Child Soldier

Enlarge poem

When I first saw your body, I thought everything you had ever told me about you was lie.
I thought your chicken pox scars were bullet wounds
I thought
You were an ex child soldier who had fought for their lives into my arms
You became precious for it
My blood diamond

I counted the number of times they shot you baby, you survived 27 shards of life
You carry bullets as baggage

You ran

You ran
And smashed otherly into my embrace and were loved, instantly and ignorantly
I became drunk off your spit
Your breath became my Talmud
Your eyes my new testament
I obeyed your sighs and gasps
My coarse hands and ignorant fingers discovering you

The truth in my honesty has been whole
At times you freeze my breathing and allow me just enough oxygen for thought

My hands happened upon the small of your back
I unclipped your bra as though it were unlocking your ribcage

We made love
We made love, like shifting sanddunes
My goosebumps fucking your pores
Our tongues trading taste buds
Our temples trading worshipers
Our thoughts trading gods
Our bodies trading inertia

I woke up with your water sitting in the gutters of my fingerprints
You rained on me
You weren’t even the perfect person
My imagination could never have engendered such a person
This ex child soldier
Who doesn’t even wear socks

Lately I’ve been learning to write simultaneously ambidextrously
And that is to say with both hands at the same time on exceeding lines to
Gently
Break through the exoskeleton your heart has developed like osmosis
And
Like Meiosis
Gently break your heart in two

Lately I see raindrops on roses
And whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles with warm woollen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with string
But these are not my favourite things

I can make the rain fall in iambic pentameter
I can make aliens stop and listen to my prose
I can make Ages miss their curfews
But you
Lately I can’t even get a second glance from

So let me write simultaneously ambidextrously
And that is to say at the same time on exceeding lines to
Gently
Break through the exoskeleton your heart has developed like osmosis
And
Like Meiosis
Gently break your heart in two

So you might
Love
Me
Two

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (2)
  • Pride (3)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (2)
  • Inspiration (6)
  • Reflection (1)
  • Captivation (2)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (1)
  • Sorrow (1)
  • Vigour (2)
  • Hope (2)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

Comments

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Kneo was born and raised in Johannesburg, with a mother who built a home for him and his siblings out of nothing. His mother raised him with considerable effort and some comfort but he had to find his own feet, and as such he is studying law at the University of Cape Town. His poetry emerged from his love of love, philosophy and history, as well as his experience of being a part of the liminal class of the ‘born frees’.

Kneo Mokgopa

Biography

Kneo was born and raised in Johannesburg, with a mother who built a home for him and his siblings out of nothing. His mother raised him with considerable effort and some comfort but he had to find his own feet, and as such he is studying law at the University of Cape Town. His poetry emerged from his love of love, philosophy and history, as well as his experience of being a part of the liminal class of the ‘born frees’.

Afriquè du Süd

Enlarge poem

I heard what they did to you

How they fought over you and called you names you couldn’t spell or pronounce.

They pulled your hair and ate the fruits of your loins

They shot you in the face, put you father in dark holes underground, called your mother Mavis, tore up your labia and then, for the briefest moment, promised you the most beautiful of things and in that moment, the whole world stopped and loved you for a change.

You held your breath while your rapists were hailed as your heroes.

Nothing grows in the dust of your 20year old womb anymore.

The flowers of the moment have died prematurely.

Even the bone of your fingers have ebbed.

Where once the flint of your teeth could spark a revolution, now even your humming barely soothes your starving children.

And still, they act as though you never ever had a name

like you and them are neighbours and friends.

In 2013, Nelson Mandela passed away.

The man, the mythical being, the husband, the legend of literature.

Nelson Mandela slipped from the clutches of humanity and became

A saint.

During his lifetime he was immortal, against all his might he became a messiah.

Mandela was our jazz, our opium, you were strange if you didn’t take some when it was offered.

Mandela made, voting, our religion.

Important questions are always unanswered.

Even the saint attached to Nelson Mandela couldn’t answer them:

What is Black?

Who raped my family?

When will reparations be paid?

Where do we go from here?

It is 2014 now and everybody seems to know exactly what you need, of course, everybody, but the born frees.

Featured Poem:

Ex Child Soldier

Enlarge poem

When I first saw your body, I thought everything you had ever told me about you was lie.
I thought your chicken pox scars were bullet wounds
I thought
You were an ex child soldier who had fought for their lives into my arms
You became precious for it
My blood diamond

I counted the number of times they shot you baby, you survived 27 shards of life
You carry bullets as baggage

You ran

You ran
And smashed otherly into my embrace and were loved, instantly and ignorantly
I became drunk off your spit
Your breath became my Talmud
Your eyes my new testament
I obeyed your sighs and gasps
My coarse hands and ignorant fingers discovering you

The truth in my honesty has been whole
At times you freeze my breathing and allow me just enough oxygen for thought

My hands happened upon the small of your back
I unclipped your bra as though it were unlocking your ribcage

We made love
We made love, like shifting sanddunes
My goosebumps fucking your pores
Our tongues trading taste buds
Our temples trading worshipers
Our thoughts trading gods
Our bodies trading inertia

I woke up with your water sitting in the gutters of my fingerprints
You rained on me
You weren’t even the perfect person
My imagination could never have engendered such a person
This ex child soldier
Who doesn’t even wear socks

Lately I’ve been learning to write simultaneously ambidextrously
And that is to say with both hands at the same time on exceeding lines to
Gently
Break through the exoskeleton your heart has developed like osmosis
And
Like Meiosis
Gently break your heart in two

Lately I see raindrops on roses
And whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles with warm woollen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with string
But these are not my favourite things

I can make the rain fall in iambic pentameter
I can make aliens stop and listen to my prose
I can make Ages miss their curfews
But you
Lately I can’t even get a second glance from

So let me write simultaneously ambidextrously
And that is to say at the same time on exceeding lines to
Gently
Break through the exoskeleton your heart has developed like osmosis
And
Like Meiosis
Gently break your heart in two

So you might
Love
Me
Two

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (2)
  • Pride (3)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (2)
  • Inspiration (6)
  • Reflection (1)
  • Captivation (2)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (1)
  • Sorrow (1)
  • Vigour (2)
  • Hope (2)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

Afriquè du Süd

Enlarge poem

I heard what they did to you

How they fought over you and called you names you couldn’t spell or pronounce.

They pulled your hair and ate the fruits of your loins

They shot you in the face, put you father in dark holes underground, called your mother Mavis, tore up your labia and then, for the briefest moment, promised you the most beautiful of things and in that moment, the whole world stopped and loved you for a change.

You held your breath while your rapists were hailed as your heroes.

Nothing grows in the dust of your 20year old womb anymore.

The flowers of the moment have died prematurely.

Even the bone of your fingers have ebbed.

Where once the flint of your teeth could spark a revolution, now even your humming barely soothes your starving children.

And still, they act as though you never ever had a name

like you and them are neighbours and friends.

In 2013, Nelson Mandela passed away.

The man, the mythical being, the husband, the legend of literature.

Nelson Mandela slipped from the clutches of humanity and became

A saint.

During his lifetime he was immortal, against all his might he became a messiah.

Mandela was our jazz, our opium, you were strange if you didn’t take some when it was offered.

Mandela made, voting, our religion.

Important questions are always unanswered.

Even the saint attached to Nelson Mandela couldn’t answer them:

What is Black?

Who raped my family?

When will reparations be paid?

Where do we go from here?

It is 2014 now and everybody seems to know exactly what you need, of course, everybody, but the born frees.

Comments

Your email address will not be published.