The Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign

July 20, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

UN photo

 

By

Mbizo Chirasha

 

 

Drumbeat- “Raising Mukondi” Phase2 (Brave voices Poetry Journals – The Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign is this time of the year in partnership with Campio Burns Group- “From Ashes of the Fire”.  We are in solidarity with the burn survivors – Solidarity with Victims of Xenophobia, domestic and political violence, we are in solidarity with victims and survivors of burns and domestic violence, we are in solidarity with the victors who managed to pull through defying the aftermath, scars, pain and trauma.

 

We say write it, say it, talk about it, tell a story. We say poetry heals and words are a form of therapy. Let Poets from across the globe write on this cause alongside victims of burns, violence, xenophobia and maltreatment of refugees. Let’s tell our story through poetry, testimonials and flash fiction.

 

The Intervention is offered space at the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign Facebook platform (100 thousand poets for peace-Zimbabwe on Facebook). Campio Burns Group –“From Ashes of the Fire” is founded by Beulah Faith Kay, an advocate for peace, life skills coach, Poet and a literary arts activist. She works along with other great people around the world. The organisation is doing great through integrating burn survivors into communities by telling their story. We are proud to say that poetry is a refreshing form of therapy that serves heals scars, wounds and burns from inner to the outer.

 

We continue to invite our poets, new voices, regular voices, victims and now victors to send poetryrelating to the above mentioned cause and themes to Mbizo Chirasha. Thank you Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Pakistan, Cameroon, India, Zimbabwe, United States of America, Liberia  and Zimbabwe for taking part – Mbizo Chirasha

 

 

 

 

POISON IVY

 

 

Jealousy is like the spikes

of poisonous artichokes

that tears the spleen.

Powdered chalk

that chokes

and caulks

the throat.

Never a frock

In the Church of Antioch.

A yoke

Heavy as a rock.

A lodestone

that magnetizes envy

like iron.

Itchy like spikes

that leave the heart swollen.

The super villain

Poison ivy

Shrubby to the soul.

A vixen

Termagant dragon

Made in hell.

 

 

(By Richmore Tera – a Zimbabwean poet, short story writer and freelance journalist. He is the author of the poetry monograph, “Here Leaves Silently Fall” which was published by Arts Initiates in 2009. In November 2017, Tera was appointed as the Zimbabwean Ambassador of the Museum of Words by the Cesar Egido Serrano Foundation, a non-governmental organisation based in Madrid, Spain, for advocating for unity and peace through his works)

 

 

 

 

VOICES FROM THE ASHES

 

 

I

 

Note that I was murdered to have risen transformed

Note that my flesh and blood was readily made dust

Note that my bones and skeletons got incriminated

Note that my impetuous voice echoes from the ashes

Note how I was silenced… to have risen transformed

Note how I struggled: from the liberation coercion

Note how I triumphed over the sceptre and bayonets

Note how I gamed over the war sceneries impeccably

 

II

 

Note that I was flawless, efficient, resilient, competent

Note that my energies were sapped during the event

Note that my knee crawled from valley to valley deep

Note that my aim was for the betterment of the kins

Note how I was enslaved before and fought swiftly

Note how I become a guerrilla in motherland, savage

Note how I ruptured apart the foes and the schemes

Note how I became violent and vigilant in my domain

 

III

 

Note that I was a victor before I got engraved deeply

Note that my wrath did grew with the evolution peak

Note that my beloved comrade back stabbed his own

Note that my bones has risen the ashes mould vessels

And let my long gone blood reflow from the pool of

That Impetuous distant rivers, and rekindle the lost

Blazing flames of the Chimurenga wars… Magamba

Josiah Tongogara the barracks named after decades

 

IV

 

Denote when I rise from the ashes I votes mercilessly

Denote when my passions gather I will spit of venom

Denote when my strengths grew I will fight back fists

Denote when my courage reverberates I will burst out

Denote when I become potent, I will reign over again

Denote when I am with the mighty I will aside favours

Denote when I reign the Augustus house it will report

Denote when I speak order will reign, reconstructions

 

V

 

Denote how the muddled economy will reboot again

Denote how the incubators of corruption will vanish

Denote how the lost zealous and confidence bestow

Denote how the ills and evils will be driven to extinct

Denote how the brothers will cheer from the drums

Denote how the sisters will break a leg to Jerusalem

Denote how the fathers will fail conscience off brew

Denote how the mothers will pail the yield in joyous

 

 

(By Wilson Waison Tinotenda. A poet and flash fiction writer. The editor of Deem.lit.org and its founding father. A human rights activist, an ardent follower of the Zimbabwe We want campaign)

 

 

 

 

THE SYNTACTICS OF A REGIME

 

 

Babylon is a system

depriving citizens of their basic rights

to cast them in a dungeon

just to create a piece of shit called politics

synthetic of rhetoric’s

And semantics

Namely propaganda and slogans

polished morphemes fashioned to mean smiles on screw faces

Babylon is a paradox

of learned cuckoos

Who voice void promises

only to rape intellectual capacity of the suffering mass

a people vulnerable to both internal

And external power struggles

struggles of power hungry cowards

who onslaught a nation to satisfy their greedy

Babylon is a cyanogen of paramount paragons

who reacts to propel frustrations

starvation

and deaths of innocent soul

Dangerous rebels in suits

Experts in homicide

Suicide

and Economicides

Babylon is here

Babylon is there

Babylon is everywhere

Babylon is continuous

Babylon is contagious

Babylon is them rigging votes in a peaceful election

Babylon is when you vote but for no avail.

 

 

(By Sydney Haile Saize I – a word guerrilla, a fighter for justice and a Poet in Residence for the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign. Haile is also a journalist, social change activist and a writer)

 

 

 

 

THE BLAZE

 

 

I have met many with facades

speaking sweetly to my face,

but once my back is turned

The betrayal ensues

their true thoughts proclaimed.

They are needing to undermine

my confidence

my credibility

trying to cut me down

in a feeble attempt

to bolster their self doubts

and raise their confidence.

Intentionally, obstacles are placed in my path,

out of spite and with malice

so that I might stumble, fall

and be hurt.

Waiting, hoping, praying

for my failure.

Cut down by thoughtless, uncaring words

Wounded by vengeful, heartless actions

Injured by prejudiced, insensitive minds

I falter

but do not fall.

Wounded,

I bleed.

Though their words can hurt deeply

their actions singe my pride

and inflame my sense of injustice

I feel each stinging barb

yet I survive.

I heal.

In the process

discover my strength

my courage

my power.

With the knowledge

theirs is merely a charade

drenched in hypocrisy

awaiting discovery.

These thoughts and deeds are rooted

in ignorance and fear

but most of all

in jealousy.

Like the mighty phoenix,

Once again I rise from the flames

set to destroy me

and take flight.

I am

Stronger

Glorious

Powerful

Victorious.

 

 

(By Elke Lange – International Artist and Creative Exchange Expert based  in Spain)

 

 

 

 

ROOTS

 

 

Who are we? Is the quest in nous?

That rings each mos. as I think

Of roots and the traditional trail

Till a muffled loud voice echoed

Impetus child

“We are Africans”

The true reflection of Ubuntu…

The Bantu from the western margin

San of Kalahari, Koi koi of Kuvhuki

Whom travelled on bare feet and

Endured the dry, thorny paths…

With the sun overhead, red hot and

Its rays amplified resulted in the toil

The toil of the quest, the quest of

Self-discovery in the Saharan region

An arid, blister to hast endured.

 

And the quest still melds in nous

Who are we? My intimate’s pike

Traditional ethos I question awry

And a muffled loud voice echoed

Impetus child

“We are Africans”

At a verge of impedance for we

Have lost the traditional trailer

Ethics strained, Morality sent to

The guillotine, customs now ills,

It is indeed the scratch of the triadic

Generation, we hast wandered away from

The roots, sexuality and taboos our toys

Dignity impedes as we stride one leap

Forward and twice the step backwards

In defilement of Ubuntu, culture diluted

By these delusions of grandeur, lost in

This so called globalisation

 

 

(By Wilson Waison Tinotenda. A poet and flash fiction writer. The editor of Deem.lit.org and its founding father. A human rights activist, an ardent follower of the Zimbabwe We want campaign)

 

 

 

 

HOW I YEARN FOR DEATH

 

 

Am caged, caged from conception,

Some cages are tender and do not grieve the heart,

Others so cruel that they are hope differing.

 

My first cage was my mother’s womb,

Warm and tender, though very cosy I yearned for escape.

Caged in a home that was full fiery fights,

Schools that had cruel yet enlightening tutors.

 

Then I was spit in a world, a world so demeaning

A world so cruel and I had to fed for myself.

I chose an easy quick way to earn cash.

As a domestic worker, wait, a slave. In the gulf

The first one year felt safe.

It almost felt like I had hope that holds in deadly of storms.

Like I was almost on my journey to freedom.

 

Oh! Daughter of the soil my cage was now grave, no grace no hope,

My hopes dead as night,

My chains growing heavy,

Injected with hormones to feed their ugly children,

Emaciated at the lack of a daily bread,

Chained in a dark hole , with no strength to fight.

My only hope the sound of slashes and stride each day I get.

To take me home, at last to free.

In death I am free for good.

 

 

(By Nungari – Nungari Kabutu is a student in Kenyatta university taking English and Literature, she is involved in writing and reading poetry with a group of other young writers from campus, she enjoys reading poems by Maya Angelou (her favourite being Phenomenon woman ) and Okot P, Bitek. She also enjoys photography and swimming)

 

 

 

 

RHYTHM OF DISTRESS

 

 

It’s a furnace of distress

Boiling at the highest point

Melanin burnt off epidermis

Yet we are loft by many

Close mates now keep clear

Even family is not near

Just as a plant dries or withers

So do the hopes varnish in vain

Blaring the aspirations of gain

Determination burnt to ashes

Dedication damaged by heat waves

Elimination the rhythm of distress

A soul neglected by most folks

A life declared by many as moribund

A song sang with a rhythm of distress

Skin color covered by red patches

Superficial skin layers roasted to first degree

Swelling pain, redness and blistering dermis

First to firth degree burns giving birth to discrimination

Heat, cold, friction, the agents of the rhythm of distress

Radiation, hate, jealous, elements of the rhythm of distress

 

 

(By Milimo Chinimbwa – Scholar, educator, radio personality and Poet from Zambia)

 

 

 

 

GHETTO BULLETINS

 

 

The news leaflets I digested

on child molestation

And human trafficking

Have vomited this fuss

a fiery ghetto bulletin

of tender fruits yield before time

Stillbirth of bitter before ripe, ready and sweet

Tampered plants before they pollinate and bloom

The future becomes bleak

Heartless bastards are ill-spending

insinuating the dollar value

on smuggling human bodies

as commodities for sale

kidnapping them without a family’s farewell

Streets are turned into danger zones

Gangsters perambulating to lodge our bosoms in fear

Oh dear

The streets are bloody

Tearful victims unpaid

and underpaid underage vicinage

This spiracle should be consummated

To suffocate these criminals

into incarceration

 

 

(By Sydney Haile Saize I – a word guerrilla, a fighter for justice and a Poet in Residence for the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign. Haile is also a journalist, social change activist and a writer)

 

 

 

 

OPPRESSIVE SOCIETY

 

 

Go to their schools with Friere checklist –

Find out the level of oppression

Although extendable spherically

En-circumference all offices

Many a home – and much more,

Authoritarian respect for authority

No matter repressive – the conduct

Conform and you are hypocritical –

In streak find out with this check list

Which better by heart memorise

To place them or yourself

In equation this though is so rampant

Of ethos part in body politic

Or social mores and global polity

The big cop and tin-pot general

Defaced bureaucrat worthless politician.

 

 

(By Sadiqullah Khan – The Brave Voices Poetry Journal Solidarity Voice from Pakistan, Dr Sadiqullah Khan is a gifted poet of immense insights and creativity. Writing on a range of subjects his themes are social, spiritual and politically aware. Looking the domains of day to day living, delving deep into the sufferings and joys he seems to be the voice of dispossessed and the vast majority of poor he passionately identifies, yet his art touches the high mark of existential writing, unique in style and composition, he appears to lead his own genre. He belongs to Wana, South Waziristan in Pakistan)

 

 

 

 

CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM

 

 

No! no!! no!!!, not at all.

I’ve never been the same again.

Your showers of mock appraisal,

is pulling me deep down.

Sinking me in my ignorance,

leaving nothing strong enough to hold unto.

Letting me fall head down like a meteor,

with great force and extreme speed.

Claiming to be tough and strong,

I only cried in my heart to elude pity.

I knew I am withering in summer: unusual,

my leaves falling down though green.

I feel my main me wearing off,

calling forth the other me I’ve made.

So so full of myself,

playing deaf as knowledge calls,

Right now, I’m hanging loose on air,

swaying in all cardinal directions,

wailing for words that will pull me up again.

Heads aching for advice

Heart willing to be criticized.

Criticize me I plead,

Criticize me I beg of you.

Your words only can draw me up,

draw me up out of my aloofness.

Just few words,

only few constructive criticism will be okay.

 

 

(By Ambassador Amakor (ADA) – a young Nigerian playwright, short story writer, actor and poet, who took into professional writing since 2013 and has since then served as a local poetry consultant. He has all forms of poetry beautifully interwoven to form a unique and formidable style of writing with its main purpose to cause necessary transformation. His writing subject ranges from the ultramicrosopic things on earth to the most significant things around. Having written for tele stages and journals, he was awarded a barge as an outstanding poet. Ambassador Daniel Amakor lives in Abia state, Nigeria)

 

 

 

 

MATHEMATICS

 

 

Rebeca…

of what good is pythagoras?

and of what use is BODMAS?

and who need ALGEBRA?

Needless is Trignometrics…

so why fiddle with mathematics…

 

As for Pythagoras…

I do not like nor support

that the crucifixion together

of the square of

adjacent and opposite makes the square of hypotenuse.

 

And Rebeca…

as for BODMAS…

it brings me pain

to see the Addition sign…

for the cross of Christ

it does remind me.

And the Bracket sign…

reminds me of grandma’s casket.

She was to me a dear…

and to be reminded of her death…

such pain… is the same… of Christ on the cross.

 

For Algebra—

a worthless bra—

oh Rebeca—

I do not like how the equations involved—

although- quadratic equation is a dear.

But I very much dislike how much pages it wastes…

for pages are dearer to me—

and should be sacrificed for poems…

And beautiful lines… like that of Peter Benjamin Peter…

who complains of his barren jaws…

from which he wish the germination of hair and moustache.

 

As for Trigonometric…

the calculating of degrees…

although- cosine and sine rule are true-

And it’s true that sine divided by cosine makes Tan.

 

And Sine is the inverse of Cosec,

Cosine the inverse of Sec…

All these are true.

But I do not believe

that degrees are within a circle…

for this earth is of a different shape to me.

At times, the earth is rod-like,

when life beat me with its rod and hurt me with spikes.

At times it’s of the shape of love,

when, Rebeca, you show me love.

 

Mathematics… Rebeca…

It is like you…

your laws hurt me…

and I love to be free…

but love you still.

 

Rebeca… you are a fiction…

mathematics is fiction…

poetry is diction… my nation.

 

 

(By Ibrahim Clouds – Nigerian poet. He spends 90% of his time in seclusion, meditating, reading spiritual books and writing. He studied science for three years in Wesley college of science Elekuro Ibadan Nigeria. He is currently studying architecture in the polytechnic Ibadan Nigeria. He was born a poet, identified as a poet since he was 4 years of age and started writing 5 years ago)

 

 

 

 

THE JUNECK LIVI STORY

 

“When one’s life melts away”

 

 

We were caught in the middle of a civil war – the mob petrol bombed our shack in Nyanja, a township in Cape Town, South Africa.

 

I was just five years old with no idea of the terror that raged outside my home.

 

The faction fighting and brandishing arms were displays of bitterness that ignited and flared into a towering inferno – I was the innocent victim and those who fought to rid their town of “traitors” were unaware that they had obliterated their aims when their flamed torches clung to my skin. To my home.

 

But then again, there are no victors in war.

And men give their lives for freedom.

 

The scars were deep and the skin grafting and pain followed me throughout high school.

My ears were as if glued to my head.

 

When the students refused to listen my teacher would make his point , “Don’t you bunch listen –

 

are your ears glued shut like Junco’s”? In those few words I once again heard the hiss of the blue-gum slats that framed our home and dreamily watched as the pomegranate like flames hungrily devoured my young flesh. In those few words I melted into my screams and found solace in the deafening songs of sirens.

 

I was only 5 but the archived trauma grew ferocious with time.

 

My memory of my mother was short-lived and vague. The Beautiful Angolan jazz singer Maria Livi was sharp-witted and humorous but there was no reprise after a contaminated blood transfusion emptied her life. Ironically hers was the only photograph saved among the debris.

 

My father and stepbrothers lived in another province –

I was a reminder of the horrors of life and one he did not want around.

 

My grandmother died that fateful night when the rioters set our town alight;

 

I’ve never confessed how I saw her skin shrivel and peel away as she wrapped her arms around me – her eyes loving me when I was 5 years old and beyond.

 

She would be mortified if she knew that despite her best efforts I no longer look like the boy she loved.

 

Aunty Aya was a good mother to me –

I was blessed to have mothers who showed me the light of love.

 

My marred face and disabled hands became the butt of everyone’s joke and the mockery followed me around –

I was ostracised and beaten by the same ones who fought for my freedom;

who plundered the system for my liberty.

 

Who burnt my home, my guardian and my dreams.

Despite my adversities, my faith sustained me;

my grandmothers sacrifice and dying words helped me to move

past the pain of bullying,

past the stigma of “ugly”.

 

“No matter what Juneck”, she screamed and coughed across and through the falling timber and smoky serpent that sucked at her throat,

“don’t let the cruelty of this world steal the beauty of your dreams”.

 

Her hands circled my face as if to ward off the emblazoned demon.

The god that haunted my every waking moment.

 

Looking into a mirror, burying twisted fingers into waxy fleshy folds;

wishing I had died in the fire.

 

If only the menacious bullies would know the horror of the scourged,

the savagery of skin melting from one’s face –

Like the sheer terror of being licked by a dragons searing tongue.

while a smoke-filled tornado lay your life asunder.

 

I wanted to die each day I knew I would live.

wishing the angry mob had killed me –

but I was just 5 then. 40 years ago.

 

I’ve embraced my own beauty and my soul has been exorcized from purgatory.

 

I will not imitate the society that had dealt so treacherously with me –

I had determined that despair would not hold me ransom –

That I would be free, for I knew where my help came from;

my strength.

My purpose.

 

My grandmothers hope was mine.

 

Beyond the mountains and the hills I lifted my voice and

my prayers were answered.

 

It still is a shakey journey but love carries me home,

to myself,

to God.

 

There is no ugly in me –

My grandmother loved me at 5 and beyond.

 

This world is not my home.

 

One day I too, like my grandmother,

shall be completely whole.

 

“Are your ears glued shut like Juneck’s”?

 

I no longer hear the hiss of the blue-gum slats

but the sound of the abundance of rain

as my grandmother screams above and through the falling timber and smokey serpent that sucks at her throat,

 

“No matter what Juneck,

don’t let the cruelty of this world steal the beauty of your dreams”.

 

I was loved at 5 and beyond.

 

 

(By Beulah Kay aka Jambiya Kai – an emotive writer who weaves the tragedy and victory of the human experience into a tapestry of memorable imagery and metaphor? She speaks with honesty on the spiritual and social challenges of our time. Jambiya’s works are a must read for those accustomed to the jaded perfunctory cleverness of modern wordsmiths)

 

 

 

 

CHIMWE CHANGU

 

 

Vanoti akasviba sechigutsa

Voti akapfupika sehuku yechihindiya

Votizve ane manyada serusvava,

Vakati ganda rake hariwoti mumvura

Ichi chose ichokwadi chizere

 

Ini ndini ndinogara naye

Ndichimuona misi nenguva

Pamunoona kusviba kwake ndinenge ndamukwesha,

Fungaiwo zvandinoona asati atuhwina

Pamunoona ganda rake ndinenge ndarichibidira mafuta,

Fungaiwo zvandinoona asati azora

Ichi zvakare ichokwadi

 

Dai maindibvunzawo ndaikuudzai

Dai maisaita gunun’unu ndaikupindurai

Ndaiti wangu wakadyirwa tsubvu mudumbu

Wakapfupika sechipopi

Ganda igwereweshe!

Ichi ndicho chokwadi

 

Inga munomuringa sebhaisikopo

Asi munongoona zvekunzi chete

Iye dungamunhu hamumuonisu?

Moyo wake muchenachena hamuneyi nawo?

Naiko kufara kwaanoita kwakakunzvengai?

Ake manyada munoawona achimwauka nenyemwerero

Ichi ndicho chokwadi chizere

 

 

(By Tamutswa Muzana Kundidzora – Mudetembi wemandorkwati anozvarwa muZimbabwe)

 

 

 

 

RHYTHMS OF WAR

 

 

I hear the gongs.

Ugo Ugo Ugo.

The rhythm of war.

The panting of warriors.

 

Far on the other side

I hear cries of children

and men, crouched with their wives

underneath tables and chairs.

I see fear, walking their land

and terror flashing in the eyes.

 

Who dare holds faith,

when the tip of a poisoned spear

Squeals out the heart of a brother

and what prayer is left,

when the axe-head digs through the

Skull of a sister?

 

I hate this rhythm

This metal music that feeds on souls.

 

I hate,

the burns,

the ruins of conflict,

the spring of bloodshed,

the field of dead men,

 

I hate,

the aftermath of war.

 

 

(By Anu Soneye– a young Nigerian poet born on November 20, 1999 in Ile-Ife, Osun state, Nigeria. He writes both lyrical and narrative poetry. His interest lies in the painting of reality with the colors of literature. He also delves into writings related to the state of the African society, specifically, his country, Nigeria. He is a writer who sees writing above being a mere act. For him, writing is an unavoidable art, a necessity and a beneficial addiction)

 

 

 

 

WHAT LIES BENEATH

 

 

I wear shades but

I still feel your shadow.

Beneath my hat pulsates a mind

plagued with fear.

You have no clue

of the road I walk

yet you snigger and gawk.

 

These gnarled, charred knobs are the

feeding hands you had bitten.

 

My indigo blouse now shrouds

a dark musty place.

layered cosmetics and fancy brows

hide a ravaged, scarred face.

 

Your stares are like bullets

Your words like knives.

Sometimes I smile

while my nerve slowly dies.

 

You spit your poison because my countenance is strange –

I pretend I am deaf

at your vile and venomous vein

but your words pierce the heart

beneath my indigo shame.

 

And deeper still

pickles a soul torn apart –

The mind beneath the hat;

the face arched by fancy brows;

Beneath all these masks and scars

you will simply find,

a girl who has a dream to live her life free from words

that pierce the heart, beneath

her indigo blouse.

 

 

(By Tracey C Nicholson – Advocate of Peace, Burn Survivors and Human Rights Activist)

 

 

 

 

IF HE SAY IT

 

 

Didn’t I tell

That she yell

After spending all my hard earnings

On alcohol last weekend

She unveiled the sanctuary to the pagan next door

Eating holy bread with heathens

Should I rebuke her ill behaviour

She will yell again

To make me a fool

I don’t drink

I don’t smoke

She thinks

It is her rights

If I should ask

She will report me to the police

The police doesn’t have time to ask me

I will sleep in a cell

The law has to protect the women from abuse of men

But not cool men like me

Men of dignity

Let alone to cry in dismay

Abuse is abuse I say

Male or female let the perpetrator repay

 

 

(By Sydney Haile Saize I – a word guerrilla, a fighter for justice and a Poet in Residence for the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign. Haile is also a journalist, social change activist and a writer)

 

 

 

 

 

The Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign

 

 

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