Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

New love & At the end of it

Enlarge poem

NEW LOVE
How does it still happen
like this, where is there space for it
in what’s left? How, heart,
did you make it? Stubborn one, red sweet,
my gorgeous little weed, and aren’t you tired,
I thought you were tired. We don’t even have
the songs for it. How did it happen
this way, even with the harshness,
and the sore legs and throat, even when
you were wrung out like old sheets,
worn rough, how
did you find some tenderness in your palms,
some refuge in the hollow of your knees,
heart of bright yellow, and the wrist bone somehow
stayed intact. How did you do it,
tell me, tell me, the sun
is washing me clean,the day unfolds
the linen in my arms,
even the vines know it, even the gravel,
such light, such light we gasp young in,
and every street of this town
leads to one door.
Tell me how. Tell
this whole world.

AT THE END OF IT
Whatever they say,
however tight
the copper trap
shines,
I am here.
I am honey-gold,
up like a marigold, as ruthless with my life
cutting through this air, the sunlight.
Red-lipped, dandelion girl,
little girl harpy,
dybbuked schoolgirl
and fishwife. I lived.
Every morning I rose up in thick blood
and sang my songs,
lived out my small
vulgar rages and pouts. Here in the picture,
licking a heart-shaped lollipop
red as my heart, and as big.
Still with a taste
for life’s red sugar,
no matter how death
called me his girl.
I dived down and drowned and brought pearls
back in my thick hair, I sell them
and eat and drink deep. I sleep
like a rabbit, I sleep deep
and quick-hearted,
give my breath to the dusk
and the grass, small rent.
Bread in my palm, swivel of skirt,
my dusty ankle, I love you all.
I say it now, to the girl in the picture
with her small tongue, her daisy eyes,
her hard wishes.
I say now, girl,
I am glad of your living.
Whatever hotel room,
whatever music.
Whatever they say,
whatever they did
in the dim rooms, the storerooms,
the history books,
however they paid me.
However the trapline
taught me its language,
and my hipbone and doe’s ankle
still tremble, here I am,
red-mouthed, sea-tongued,
soft-handed, wild.
I am the Lolita
who lived.

Mishka Hoosen

Featured Poem:

Stoep of the soup kitchen, Karoo morning

Enlarge poem

It comes, so – with no announcements.
The revolution is in peeling potatoes
and singing. So it comes –
with the kitten and the mop,
the bread and the singing – so.
On the road with the children from school
with the thorn trees and goats.
Even in the bruise and the butter knife.
The boys raising dust – the children
sold for bread. So.
Even in the bottle and the tin.
The revolution will be in peeling the potatoes.
In the heart bent from wire.
So, with no announcements –
climbing the valley with the sun,
it comes – you greet the old woman,
you greet the child – you say to the house of sisters
look after each other, and they chime yes.
So, it comes, the people make life
with starch in the cracks of the hand, with wire,
with clapping, with gardens of garlic and quince.
So it comes, with no announcements.
The revolution and the heart of bent wire and flowers.
The sun climbs the ridge, and you sing.

Mishka Hoosen

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

Comments

  1. This is typically Mishka – seeing from and to the heart of things. A lovely poem.

    Harry Owen

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Mishka Hoosen was born in Johannesburg and completed an MA in Creative Writing at Rhodes University. She is currently completing an MA in Anthropology, with particular focus on gender, sexuality, violence, and embodiment theory. She has a love of Cohiba cigars, airplane rides, Ancient Greek, and soda floats. Her book of nonfiction, Hollow the Bones, is forthcoming from Deep South Books in August 2015.

Mishka Hoosen

Mishka Hoosen
Mishka Hoosen

Biography

Mishka Hoosen was born in Johannesburg and completed an MA in Creative Writing at Rhodes University. She is currently completing an MA in Anthropology, with particular focus on gender, sexuality, violence, and embodiment theory. She has a love of Cohiba cigars, airplane rides, Ancient Greek, and soda floats. Her book of nonfiction, Hollow the Bones, is forthcoming from Deep South Books in August 2015.

New love & At the end of it

Enlarge poem

NEW LOVE
How does it still happen
like this, where is there space for it
in what’s left? How, heart,
did you make it? Stubborn one, red sweet,
my gorgeous little weed, and aren’t you tired,
I thought you were tired. We don’t even have
the songs for it. How did it happen
this way, even with the harshness,
and the sore legs and throat, even when
you were wrung out like old sheets,
worn rough, how
did you find some tenderness in your palms,
some refuge in the hollow of your knees,
heart of bright yellow, and the wrist bone somehow
stayed intact. How did you do it,
tell me, tell me, the sun
is washing me clean,the day unfolds
the linen in my arms,
even the vines know it, even the gravel,
such light, such light we gasp young in,
and every street of this town
leads to one door.
Tell me how. Tell
this whole world.

AT THE END OF IT
Whatever they say,
however tight
the copper trap
shines,
I am here.
I am honey-gold,
up like a marigold, as ruthless with my life
cutting through this air, the sunlight.
Red-lipped, dandelion girl,
little girl harpy,
dybbuked schoolgirl
and fishwife. I lived.
Every morning I rose up in thick blood
and sang my songs,
lived out my small
vulgar rages and pouts. Here in the picture,
licking a heart-shaped lollipop
red as my heart, and as big.
Still with a taste
for life’s red sugar,
no matter how death
called me his girl.
I dived down and drowned and brought pearls
back in my thick hair, I sell them
and eat and drink deep. I sleep
like a rabbit, I sleep deep
and quick-hearted,
give my breath to the dusk
and the grass, small rent.
Bread in my palm, swivel of skirt,
my dusty ankle, I love you all.
I say it now, to the girl in the picture
with her small tongue, her daisy eyes,
her hard wishes.
I say now, girl,
I am glad of your living.
Whatever hotel room,
whatever music.
Whatever they say,
whatever they did
in the dim rooms, the storerooms,
the history books,
however they paid me.
However the trapline
taught me its language,
and my hipbone and doe’s ankle
still tremble, here I am,
red-mouthed, sea-tongued,
soft-handed, wild.
I am the Lolita
who lived.

Featured Poem:

Stoep of the soup kitchen, Karoo morning

Enlarge poem

It comes, so – with no announcements.
The revolution is in peeling potatoes
and singing. So it comes –
with the kitten and the mop,
the bread and the singing – so.
On the road with the children from school
with the thorn trees and goats.
Even in the bruise and the butter knife.
The boys raising dust – the children
sold for bread. So.
Even in the bottle and the tin.
The revolution will be in peeling the potatoes.
In the heart bent from wire.
So, with no announcements –
climbing the valley with the sun,
it comes – you greet the old woman,
you greet the child – you say to the house of sisters
look after each other, and they chime yes.
So, it comes, the people make life
with starch in the cracks of the hand, with wire,
with clapping, with gardens of garlic and quince.
So it comes, with no announcements.
The revolution and the heart of bent wire and flowers.
The sun climbs the ridge, and you sing.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

New love & At the end of it

Enlarge poem

NEW LOVE
How does it still happen
like this, where is there space for it
in what’s left? How, heart,
did you make it? Stubborn one, red sweet,
my gorgeous little weed, and aren’t you tired,
I thought you were tired. We don’t even have
the songs for it. How did it happen
this way, even with the harshness,
and the sore legs and throat, even when
you were wrung out like old sheets,
worn rough, how
did you find some tenderness in your palms,
some refuge in the hollow of your knees,
heart of bright yellow, and the wrist bone somehow
stayed intact. How did you do it,
tell me, tell me, the sun
is washing me clean,the day unfolds
the linen in my arms,
even the vines know it, even the gravel,
such light, such light we gasp young in,
and every street of this town
leads to one door.
Tell me how. Tell
this whole world.

AT THE END OF IT
Whatever they say,
however tight
the copper trap
shines,
I am here.
I am honey-gold,
up like a marigold, as ruthless with my life
cutting through this air, the sunlight.
Red-lipped, dandelion girl,
little girl harpy,
dybbuked schoolgirl
and fishwife. I lived.
Every morning I rose up in thick blood
and sang my songs,
lived out my small
vulgar rages and pouts. Here in the picture,
licking a heart-shaped lollipop
red as my heart, and as big.
Still with a taste
for life’s red sugar,
no matter how death
called me his girl.
I dived down and drowned and brought pearls
back in my thick hair, I sell them
and eat and drink deep. I sleep
like a rabbit, I sleep deep
and quick-hearted,
give my breath to the dusk
and the grass, small rent.
Bread in my palm, swivel of skirt,
my dusty ankle, I love you all.
I say it now, to the girl in the picture
with her small tongue, her daisy eyes,
her hard wishes.
I say now, girl,
I am glad of your living.
Whatever hotel room,
whatever music.
Whatever they say,
whatever they did
in the dim rooms, the storerooms,
the history books,
however they paid me.
However the trapline
taught me its language,
and my hipbone and doe’s ankle
still tremble, here I am,
red-mouthed, sea-tongued,
soft-handed, wild.
I am the Lolita
who lived.

Comments

  1. This is typically Mishka – seeing from and to the heart of things. A lovely poem.

    Harry Owen

Your email address will not be published.