Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

A Letter for Mother

Enlarge poem

Dear Mother.
I made love to a woman in my bed last night.
You and father were in the living room.
Him, having a drink again.
You, awkward kneeling, silently praying that we were doing something much holier, much more sacred that planting our tongues and our fingers in each other’s temples.
I know you can see it.
My face is looking less like yours with every breast I lay with.
My hands, shaky with a little more dirt that yours, they know the insides of beautiful souls and I’ve met woman who like to leave their dreams in my palms.
My mouth of which I refuse to ever kiss you with.
I don’t want to make you a sinner like me Mother, have you taste the woman I’ve known in more ways than one.
Dear Mother.
Don’t you ever notice the distance between us when we speak?
Our eyes barely know each other.
Our bodies became strangers without our hearts even realizing it.
I’m afraid you might catch her on my breath, maybe pieces of her will be living underneath my tongue and if I speak too quickly, I might spit her out.
I’m afraid you might feel her on my skin when you hold me, even after she’s left because some women have a thing of leaving themselves behind, forgetting to take themselves with when they leave.
Mother.
I’m happy now.
I smile.
I love.
I forgive you.
There will come a time when it will be the four of us.
Just like in this poem, we will be in the same room.
Praying for love, together.

Naledi Raba

Featured Poem:

To whom it may concern

Enlarge poem

My first love is a woman and if you were wondering, I am one too.
I know you would probably never understand
But there’s something so real to me about waking up
To the sound of a heartbeat under breasts than any other chest.
There’s something so special
About knowing that she loves me more than any man has ever tried to
And I find so much pleasure in the certainty that she knows exactly what I need.
Forgive me but I think I may struggle with this poem
Because I can already feel eyes judging me
And girls wondering if I was checking them out when I was just greeting them
But I’m going to carry on.

I probably should have mentioned this a while ago
But I don’t think telling you I’m in love with a woman would have been an appropriate response when you asked me to pass the salt,
I don’t think any explanation or justification could make this any easier because today since I choose to not have dick in me,
I am reclassified less of a woman and because I kiss girls,
I become a target for men with overwhelming insecurities
And right now this poem will be used against me as my admission of guilt to those waiting to crucify my soul because of my sexuality, so you tell me, at which point did I put myself on the cross?
Was it when I held her hand for the first time in public
And found eternity between our palms
Or was it when we came for the first time at the same time
Under sheets we knew were probably judging us along with the curtains that we were using to hide our sins.
Was it the first time she had her tongue in me
And right there I knew she spoke only the truth because I came,
I came to realize that it was love and it still is
And it will always be true.

And the truth is with this poem,
I write for every person who has ever lost their life because of who they chose to be.
I speak for the women who were robbed their vaginas crowns by men who felt the need to terrorize the treasure between their legs,
To find pleasure in their pain,
Power in their screams
And pride after their victory dances over their puddles of tears.
I also write for those who kill,
They say “Forgive them father, for they do not know what they doing”
But I’m sorry God please forgive me but I say “Fuck it, they know exactly what they doing.”
They killing innocent people because once again their uncircumcised egos have been bruised
And “ezizitabane are threats to society”,
They are raping other human beings
Because they “different and abnormal and disgusting”,
They discriminating against their own flesh and blood
Because apparently God never wanted us to live like this.
But if you have never met God,
Then how would you know what the right way to live is?
So let me ask you something…
What if the wheels were turned and being heterosexual was a crime
And you could be punished for holding a man’s hand as a girl
And if breaking your virginity with the opposite sex was illegal,
What then?
Would things still be the same?

I think we lost the gist of our struggle a long time ago,
I don’t understand how loving someone became a felony,
I don’t ever think I will able to fathom how being happy became an offense to people you don’t even know.
So,
To whom it may concern,
My first love is a woman and if you still wondering, I am one too.
Yours sincerely,
Me.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (37)
  • Pride (76)
  • Optimism (22)
  • Anger (23)
  • Delight (9)
  • Inspiration (24)
  • Reflection (16)
  • Captivation (9)
  • Peace (20)
  • Amusement (10)
  • Sorrow (10)
  • Vigour (5)
  • Hope (16)
  • Sadness (21)
  • Fear (18)
  • Jubilation (12)

Comments

  1. id like an audio for the poem as well there’s something in your voice that touches our souls

    lima

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Naledi Raba is a 21 year old poet from Nyanga, a township in Cape Town, South Africa.

She first performed in New York in 2008 and has since been performing in various places in Cape Town. Naledi won the Slam Poetry Competition at University of Cape Town in 2012 and in 2013 she won the national DFL Lover + Another Poetry Challenge in 2013.

Naledi Raba

Biography

Naledi Raba is a 21 year old poet from Nyanga, a township in Cape Town, South Africa.

She first performed in New York in 2008 and has since been performing in various places in Cape Town. Naledi won the Slam Poetry Competition at University of Cape Town in 2012 and in 2013 she won the national DFL Lover + Another Poetry Challenge in 2013.

A Letter for Mother

Enlarge poem

Dear Mother.
I made love to a woman in my bed last night.
You and father were in the living room.
Him, having a drink again.
You, awkward kneeling, silently praying that we were doing something much holier, much more sacred that planting our tongues and our fingers in each other’s temples.
I know you can see it.
My face is looking less like yours with every breast I lay with.
My hands, shaky with a little more dirt that yours, they know the insides of beautiful souls and I’ve met woman who like to leave their dreams in my palms.
My mouth of which I refuse to ever kiss you with.
I don’t want to make you a sinner like me Mother, have you taste the woman I’ve known in more ways than one.
Dear Mother.
Don’t you ever notice the distance between us when we speak?
Our eyes barely know each other.
Our bodies became strangers without our hearts even realizing it.
I’m afraid you might catch her on my breath, maybe pieces of her will be living underneath my tongue and if I speak too quickly, I might spit her out.
I’m afraid you might feel her on my skin when you hold me, even after she’s left because some women have a thing of leaving themselves behind, forgetting to take themselves with when they leave.
Mother.
I’m happy now.
I smile.
I love.
I forgive you.
There will come a time when it will be the four of us.
Just like in this poem, we will be in the same room.
Praying for love, together.

Featured Poem:

To whom it may concern

Enlarge poem

My first love is a woman and if you were wondering, I am one too.
I know you would probably never understand
But there’s something so real to me about waking up
To the sound of a heartbeat under breasts than any other chest.
There’s something so special
About knowing that she loves me more than any man has ever tried to
And I find so much pleasure in the certainty that she knows exactly what I need.
Forgive me but I think I may struggle with this poem
Because I can already feel eyes judging me
And girls wondering if I was checking them out when I was just greeting them
But I’m going to carry on.

I probably should have mentioned this a while ago
But I don’t think telling you I’m in love with a woman would have been an appropriate response when you asked me to pass the salt,
I don’t think any explanation or justification could make this any easier because today since I choose to not have dick in me,
I am reclassified less of a woman and because I kiss girls,
I become a target for men with overwhelming insecurities
And right now this poem will be used against me as my admission of guilt to those waiting to crucify my soul because of my sexuality, so you tell me, at which point did I put myself on the cross?
Was it when I held her hand for the first time in public
And found eternity between our palms
Or was it when we came for the first time at the same time
Under sheets we knew were probably judging us along with the curtains that we were using to hide our sins.
Was it the first time she had her tongue in me
And right there I knew she spoke only the truth because I came,
I came to realize that it was love and it still is
And it will always be true.

And the truth is with this poem,
I write for every person who has ever lost their life because of who they chose to be.
I speak for the women who were robbed their vaginas crowns by men who felt the need to terrorize the treasure between their legs,
To find pleasure in their pain,
Power in their screams
And pride after their victory dances over their puddles of tears.
I also write for those who kill,
They say “Forgive them father, for they do not know what they doing”
But I’m sorry God please forgive me but I say “Fuck it, they know exactly what they doing.”
They killing innocent people because once again their uncircumcised egos have been bruised
And “ezizitabane are threats to society”,
They are raping other human beings
Because they “different and abnormal and disgusting”,
They discriminating against their own flesh and blood
Because apparently God never wanted us to live like this.
But if you have never met God,
Then how would you know what the right way to live is?
So let me ask you something…
What if the wheels were turned and being heterosexual was a crime
And you could be punished for holding a man’s hand as a girl
And if breaking your virginity with the opposite sex was illegal,
What then?
Would things still be the same?

I think we lost the gist of our struggle a long time ago,
I don’t understand how loving someone became a felony,
I don’t ever think I will able to fathom how being happy became an offense to people you don’t even know.
So,
To whom it may concern,
My first love is a woman and if you still wondering, I am one too.
Yours sincerely,
Me.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (37)
  • Pride (76)
  • Optimism (22)
  • Anger (23)
  • Delight (9)
  • Inspiration (24)
  • Reflection (16)
  • Captivation (9)
  • Peace (20)
  • Amusement (10)
  • Sorrow (10)
  • Vigour (5)
  • Hope (16)
  • Sadness (21)
  • Fear (18)
  • Jubilation (12)

A Letter for Mother

Enlarge poem

Dear Mother.
I made love to a woman in my bed last night.
You and father were in the living room.
Him, having a drink again.
You, awkward kneeling, silently praying that we were doing something much holier, much more sacred that planting our tongues and our fingers in each other’s temples.
I know you can see it.
My face is looking less like yours with every breast I lay with.
My hands, shaky with a little more dirt that yours, they know the insides of beautiful souls and I’ve met woman who like to leave their dreams in my palms.
My mouth of which I refuse to ever kiss you with.
I don’t want to make you a sinner like me Mother, have you taste the woman I’ve known in more ways than one.
Dear Mother.
Don’t you ever notice the distance between us when we speak?
Our eyes barely know each other.
Our bodies became strangers without our hearts even realizing it.
I’m afraid you might catch her on my breath, maybe pieces of her will be living underneath my tongue and if I speak too quickly, I might spit her out.
I’m afraid you might feel her on my skin when you hold me, even after she’s left because some women have a thing of leaving themselves behind, forgetting to take themselves with when they leave.
Mother.
I’m happy now.
I smile.
I love.
I forgive you.
There will come a time when it will be the four of us.
Just like in this poem, we will be in the same room.
Praying for love, together.

Comments

  1. id like an audio for the poem as well there’s something in your voice that touches our souls

    lima

Your email address will not be published.