Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Apology letter to the both of us

Enlarge poem

My back is always breaking, darling.
It groans and creaks like old trees in the wind
Rumbles like silk over twine
And bends like steel in a slow mo car crash.
There are days when I can only hear my spine.

I know I am too young to feel this way, darling.
Too young to carry around a box of old lovers
In knuckles turned white from the scars
And the effort.
Too young to know what it means
To open my mouth and my wounds at the same time.
There are days when my fingernails are lead.

I feel so tired that I may never sleep again
Because resting makes it worse.
And I am always tired, darling.
Each footprint deeper than the last.
There are days when my steps could crack the earth.

I can feel your breath
in the way your shoulder moulds itself to my chest.
There’s a wet spot drying on my arm
in the shape of your lips
And your hair is tangled in mine.
There are days when I know what drowning is
And there are days when I am pulled from the water.

Stuart Thembisile Lewis

Featured Poem:

Bones

Enlarge poem

Someone told me yesterday to get over it:
Apartheid ended in 1994.
That it had taken us 21 years to erase 4 centuries of violence.
How about that?
Isn’t that wonderful?

See I don’t know what country that man lives in,
But my country is built on bones
And we build towers for their tombstones
And pretend we never buried them.

We like to pretend that our history is not one of violence
That we got the whole truth and were reconciled
Like black lives matter here
That the hangover was mild
That our soil didn’t drink black blood like water
That most of it isn’t still owned by a quarter of us
And like we are all free.

We got kissed by freedom
And that was enough
To make us think we are drowning in it.
To make us think
Sharpeville never happened.
Blood River was a myth.
Magoo’s disappeared overnight.
Isandlwana is just a word white people can’t say right.
We didn’t think that they just might happen again.

See, my country was built on a grave.
And we dug them deep for the gold
And left behind the diggers
Always at the bottom of a hole
Because aren’t they already coal?
To keep this country burning
To keep the wheels turning
To keep that freedom bus rolling
Where the price of admission
Is to burn black bodies alive
For profit.

See my country is built on death and pain
Black graves for a foundation
Black bones for brick
Black blood for mortar
And black hands to build it.
Don’t tell me all it took was a little summer rain
To make you forget.

stuart_badilisha

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

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Biography

Stuart Thembisile Lewis is a journalist and filmmaker who moonlights as a poet. He was born in 1993, less than a year before South Africa’s first democratic election, and carries a massive chip on his shoulder for consistently being lumped together with the so-called ‘Born Frees’. He spends most of his time stuffing around on the internet

Stuart Thembisile Lewis

stuart_badilisha
stuart_badilisha

Biography

Stuart Thembisile Lewis is a journalist and filmmaker who moonlights as a poet. He was born in 1993, less than a year before South Africa’s first democratic election, and carries a massive chip on his shoulder for consistently being lumped together with the so-called ‘Born Frees’. He spends most of his time stuffing around on the internet

Apology letter to the both of us

Enlarge poem

My back is always breaking, darling.
It groans and creaks like old trees in the wind
Rumbles like silk over twine
And bends like steel in a slow mo car crash.
There are days when I can only hear my spine.

I know I am too young to feel this way, darling.
Too young to carry around a box of old lovers
In knuckles turned white from the scars
And the effort.
Too young to know what it means
To open my mouth and my wounds at the same time.
There are days when my fingernails are lead.

I feel so tired that I may never sleep again
Because resting makes it worse.
And I am always tired, darling.
Each footprint deeper than the last.
There are days when my steps could crack the earth.

I can feel your breath
in the way your shoulder moulds itself to my chest.
There’s a wet spot drying on my arm
in the shape of your lips
And your hair is tangled in mine.
There are days when I know what drowning is
And there are days when I am pulled from the water.

Featured Poem:

Bones

Enlarge poem

Someone told me yesterday to get over it:
Apartheid ended in 1994.
That it had taken us 21 years to erase 4 centuries of violence.
How about that?
Isn’t that wonderful?

See I don’t know what country that man lives in,
But my country is built on bones
And we build towers for their tombstones
And pretend we never buried them.

We like to pretend that our history is not one of violence
That we got the whole truth and were reconciled
Like black lives matter here
That the hangover was mild
That our soil didn’t drink black blood like water
That most of it isn’t still owned by a quarter of us
And like we are all free.

We got kissed by freedom
And that was enough
To make us think we are drowning in it.
To make us think
Sharpeville never happened.
Blood River was a myth.
Magoo’s disappeared overnight.
Isandlwana is just a word white people can’t say right.
We didn’t think that they just might happen again.

See, my country was built on a grave.
And we dug them deep for the gold
And left behind the diggers
Always at the bottom of a hole
Because aren’t they already coal?
To keep this country burning
To keep the wheels turning
To keep that freedom bus rolling
Where the price of admission
Is to burn black bodies alive
For profit.

See my country is built on death and pain
Black graves for a foundation
Black bones for brick
Black blood for mortar
And black hands to build it.
Don’t tell me all it took was a little summer rain
To make you forget.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

Apology letter to the both of us

Enlarge poem

My back is always breaking, darling.
It groans and creaks like old trees in the wind
Rumbles like silk over twine
And bends like steel in a slow mo car crash.
There are days when I can only hear my spine.

I know I am too young to feel this way, darling.
Too young to carry around a box of old lovers
In knuckles turned white from the scars
And the effort.
Too young to know what it means
To open my mouth and my wounds at the same time.
There are days when my fingernails are lead.

I feel so tired that I may never sleep again
Because resting makes it worse.
And I am always tired, darling.
Each footprint deeper than the last.
There are days when my steps could crack the earth.

I can feel your breath
in the way your shoulder moulds itself to my chest.
There’s a wet spot drying on my arm
in the shape of your lips
And your hair is tangled in mine.
There are days when I know what drowning is
And there are days when I am pulled from the water.

Comments

Your email address will not be published.