Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Dreams

Enlarge poem

Dreams are evil
I prefer nightmares
they show you what goes on in here
reflects what goes on out there

Dreams lie
they lead you down a path
where white chocolate flows undammed
and mulberries fall unshaken from the trees

Nothing is less faithful
Less real
Or more untrue than a dream

Ask yourself does your every waking moment have to be this hard
I for one am tired of spending sleepless nights
chasing hesitant tomorrows biding my time
just to spend it mending broken things
that have no wish to be fixed

I will not spin and spin inside this skin
I will not mourn a future I never had
I refuse to bleed myself
for an almost reality rooted in the distant echoes
of a once upon a voice
chanting I know I can, I know I can
because I know I can
be the girl I am right now
live the life I have right now
maybe even choose to be the dream I am in right now

Maybe then it won’t be so hard
just to breathe right now

TJ Dema

Featured Poem:

Neon Poem

Enlarge poem

after Amiri Baraka’s Black Art
Poems are bullshit
unless they teach.
Poems serve no purpose
unless they reach
the audience they are written for,
the ears they are meant for.

You could write the perfect love poem,
tell us how you teased her
till she let you touch her,
but if she cannot remember you,
then, sir, your poetry didn’t do what it was supposed
to.

I’ve heard war poems
that hid behind fancy syllables and metaphors,
quietly comfortable with the thought of coming to blows
over why they should fight for anything at all.
Once, I wrote a hope poem,
one of those there is a future–type poems,
but it never spoke
till what few wishes we had left broke.

I’ve even seen live poems
that wait till the audience is gone
then begin humming softly as a song,
murdering any sense of rhythm they might have had at all.
I’m thinking of an it’s too late poem.
I’ll build it up till it sounds like metal bats against tin cans,
Loud and outrageous, still too little too late.

We want fast poems
that can outrace us, outface us,
maybe even take us to where we’ve never been,
quick as sin.

A look at me poem
that screams out to the world,
“Open up your eyes and see,
you can’t even speak your mind,
yet you still believe that you and you
and we are free
from something or someone.”

Anyone, give me a neon poem:
a black, red, white, yellow, purple, pink, even lime poem
that will teach all other wannabe poems
how to grow up and become real type poems,
because poems are bullshit
unless they teach;
they serve absolutely no purpose
unless they reach
someone.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (4)
  • Pride (3)
  • Optimism (3)
  • Anger (5)
  • Delight (3)
  • Inspiration (14)
  • Reflection (7)
  • Captivation (3)
  • Peace (4)
  • Amusement (1)
  • Sorrow (2)
  • Vigour (3)
  • Hope (4)
  • Sadness (1)
  • Fear (1)
  • Jubilation (1)

Comments

  1. I am so thrilled to find this archive and this is the first poet I’ve looked at and the first poem I read, ‘Dreams’, is absolutely marvelous. Thank you TJ Dema – and thank you Badilisha

    Bink Olney

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

TJ Dema is a Botswana based poet who runs SAUTI, an events, arts and performance management organization. She was the Chairperson of The Writers Association of Botswana from 2010 to 2012 and a founding member (alumni) of Botswana’s acclaimed Exoduslivepoetry! collective, who coordinated Botswana’s sole annual poetry festival between 2004 and 2009.

A 2005/06 participant in the British Council’s Crossing Borders project, she has since participated in a number of their initiatives including the 2007/08 Power in the Voice(PIV) initiative as mentor to the PIV national champions.

In 2010 she was guest writer for the University of Warwick’s International Gateway for Gifted Youth program. In 2008 she was in India for the Delhi International Festival of the Arts, and in 2010 she was a main stage act at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), Shakespeare and co’s Festivalandco in France as well as the World Wide Words festival in Denmark. In 2011 she was part of the Poetry Africa tour, a 5 city Southern African initiative of the University of Kwazulu Natal’s Center for Creative Arts. She is part of a bi-continental, multi country eclectic ensemble called Sonic Slam Chorus who debuted their poetry infused soundscapes at HIFA 2011 and returned in 2012. Recently she participated in a series of events linked to the London Cultural Olympiad.

Between August and November 2012 I was based out of Iowa City as one of the International Writing Program writers-in-residence.

TJ Dema

Biography

TJ Dema is a Botswana based poet who runs SAUTI, an events, arts and performance management organization. She was the Chairperson of The Writers Association of Botswana from 2010 to 2012 and a founding member (alumni) of Botswana’s acclaimed Exoduslivepoetry! collective, who coordinated Botswana’s sole annual poetry festival between 2004 and 2009.

A 2005/06 participant in the British Council’s Crossing Borders project, she has since participated in a number of their initiatives including the 2007/08 Power in the Voice(PIV) initiative as mentor to the PIV national champions.

In 2010 she was guest writer for the University of Warwick’s International Gateway for Gifted Youth program. In 2008 she was in India for the Delhi International Festival of the Arts, and in 2010 she was a main stage act at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), Shakespeare and co’s Festivalandco in France as well as the World Wide Words festival in Denmark. In 2011 she was part of the Poetry Africa tour, a 5 city Southern African initiative of the University of Kwazulu Natal’s Center for Creative Arts. She is part of a bi-continental, multi country eclectic ensemble called Sonic Slam Chorus who debuted their poetry infused soundscapes at HIFA 2011 and returned in 2012. Recently she participated in a series of events linked to the London Cultural Olympiad.

Between August and November 2012 I was based out of Iowa City as one of the International Writing Program writers-in-residence.

Dreams

Enlarge poem

Dreams are evil
I prefer nightmares
they show you what goes on in here
reflects what goes on out there

Dreams lie
they lead you down a path
where white chocolate flows undammed
and mulberries fall unshaken from the trees

Nothing is less faithful
Less real
Or more untrue than a dream

Ask yourself does your every waking moment have to be this hard
I for one am tired of spending sleepless nights
chasing hesitant tomorrows biding my time
just to spend it mending broken things
that have no wish to be fixed

I will not spin and spin inside this skin
I will not mourn a future I never had
I refuse to bleed myself
for an almost reality rooted in the distant echoes
of a once upon a voice
chanting I know I can, I know I can
because I know I can
be the girl I am right now
live the life I have right now
maybe even choose to be the dream I am in right now

Maybe then it won’t be so hard
just to breathe right now

Featured Poem:

Neon Poem

Enlarge poem

after Amiri Baraka’s Black Art
Poems are bullshit
unless they teach.
Poems serve no purpose
unless they reach
the audience they are written for,
the ears they are meant for.

You could write the perfect love poem,
tell us how you teased her
till she let you touch her,
but if she cannot remember you,
then, sir, your poetry didn’t do what it was supposed
to.

I’ve heard war poems
that hid behind fancy syllables and metaphors,
quietly comfortable with the thought of coming to blows
over why they should fight for anything at all.
Once, I wrote a hope poem,
one of those there is a future–type poems,
but it never spoke
till what few wishes we had left broke.

I’ve even seen live poems
that wait till the audience is gone
then begin humming softly as a song,
murdering any sense of rhythm they might have had at all.
I’m thinking of an it’s too late poem.
I’ll build it up till it sounds like metal bats against tin cans,
Loud and outrageous, still too little too late.

We want fast poems
that can outrace us, outface us,
maybe even take us to where we’ve never been,
quick as sin.

A look at me poem
that screams out to the world,
“Open up your eyes and see,
you can’t even speak your mind,
yet you still believe that you and you
and we are free
from something or someone.”

Anyone, give me a neon poem:
a black, red, white, yellow, purple, pink, even lime poem
that will teach all other wannabe poems
how to grow up and become real type poems,
because poems are bullshit
unless they teach;
they serve absolutely no purpose
unless they reach
someone.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (4)
  • Pride (3)
  • Optimism (3)
  • Anger (5)
  • Delight (3)
  • Inspiration (14)
  • Reflection (7)
  • Captivation (3)
  • Peace (4)
  • Amusement (1)
  • Sorrow (2)
  • Vigour (3)
  • Hope (4)
  • Sadness (1)
  • Fear (1)
  • Jubilation (1)

Dreams

Enlarge poem

Dreams are evil
I prefer nightmares
they show you what goes on in here
reflects what goes on out there

Dreams lie
they lead you down a path
where white chocolate flows undammed
and mulberries fall unshaken from the trees

Nothing is less faithful
Less real
Or more untrue than a dream

Ask yourself does your every waking moment have to be this hard
I for one am tired of spending sleepless nights
chasing hesitant tomorrows biding my time
just to spend it mending broken things
that have no wish to be fixed

I will not spin and spin inside this skin
I will not mourn a future I never had
I refuse to bleed myself
for an almost reality rooted in the distant echoes
of a once upon a voice
chanting I know I can, I know I can
because I know I can
be the girl I am right now
live the life I have right now
maybe even choose to be the dream I am in right now

Maybe then it won’t be so hard
just to breathe right now

Comments

  1. I am so thrilled to find this archive and this is the first poet I’ve looked at and the first poem I read, ‘Dreams’, is absolutely marvelous. Thank you TJ Dema – and thank you Badilisha

    Bink Olney

Your email address will not be published.