The Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign

January 12, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Kate Holt/AusAid photo



Mbizo Chirasha


Journal 22 of the Zimbabwean We Want Poetry Campaign (Brave Voices Poetry Journal) is a special edition of solidarity between Zimbabwe and Ecuador. I call it a Journal of global literary arts exchange and creative/cultural diplomacy. The upholding of solidarity and inter-cultural relations of literary voices for the better of self and their nations.

Poets are voices who always exhibit the creases and dimples of their lands through paradox, metaphor, satire, irony and other. In this journal we thank the Gods of Verses in Ecuador for birthing talented and committed Poets. We thank the Gods of Zimbabwe for raising the griots of the land. Today the two nations meet to share their patriotism, their politics, their tragedies, their passions, their creases, their dimples, the cultural fabric and social discourses through poets and their poetry.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Alan Britt, a revered scholar, poet, writer, compiler and literary arts guru for compiling the poems from 9 renowned poets, scholars and cultural activists of great integrity from Ecuador, while I proffer my profound gratitude to the excellent and brave voices from Zimbabwe, most of whom are the pioneers of the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign.

This journal celebrates with these unwavering Word Slingers and Versifiers who bravely wield their WORDSPEARS for the Zimbabwe We Want. This Poetic Exchange is refreshing, greatly inspiring and mesmerizing. The poems from Ecuador are bilingual (English and Spanish). Thumbs up to Professor Gina E Lopez for translations, thank you for your doubtful tenacity Professor. Viva to you all for the partnership that has gone a long way in helping the fight for transformation and good governance in Zimbabwe.








(For George Nelson Preston)



Hungry, as in haven’t eaten for days,

weeks, belly full of scorpions

from insults hurled like grenades.

The League of Nations reincorporated,

but the new League of Nations has a budget

that doesn’t include my bursting belly;

the new League of Nations has bigger

fish to fry; meanwhile my belly full

of Aunts, Uncles, Cousins,

& distant birth parents doesn’t

qualify me for the neediest continent

on this planet.

Their vision.

Not mine.



(By Alan Britt – published over 3,000 poems nationally and internationally in such places as Agni, Bitter Oleander, Bloomsbury Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Christian Science Monitor, Confrontation, English Journal, Epoch, Flint Hills Review, International Gallerie (India), Kansas Quarterly, Letras (Chile), Magyar Naplo (Hungary), Midwest Quarterly, Minnesota Review, Missouri Review, New Letters, A New Ulster (Ireland), Northwest Review, Osiris, Pedrada Zurda (Ecuador), Poet’s Market, Queen’s Quarterly (Canada), Revista/Review Interamericana (Puerto Rico), Revista Solar (Mexico), Roanoke Review, Steaua (Romania), Sunstone, Tulane Review, Wasafiri (UK), The Writer’s Journal, and Zaira Journal (Philippines). His interview at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem aired on Pacifica Radio, January 2013. He has published 16 books of poetry. He teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University)








If you play your hand in the hope of sensual offers of success, ponder the false imagery of hope

and indulge superficial calls of happiness, then that god owns a part of you.


It is mammon’s mental games that hold you captive as he webs a band of restlessness tightly around your desires and draws you in, one glowing sceptre at a time.


a god that manipulates your nutrition.

your dwelling place,

your habitation.


Chains of bondage dragging you inside the mangy walls of dark and damp dungeons from which you can be saved.


Yet you will never be free

if you appraise a crafty warlord;

bound by your inner rebellion and secret nurturing of what should be burnt and banished.


Stop sharing space with the dead from which you should run;

find no pleasure in popcorn peace

lest you be submerged in a sticky abyss of no return.


As a dog returns to its vomit so is the man who puts his hand to the plough and looks back;


a mere salt encrusted figurine mounted in mid air,

the shrine of a soul who refuses to let the warmonger go.


Such is the nature of mammon’s games –

The fiendish fashion icon.


If you play often enough it will drive a stake through your heart and own your soul; slit your throat and leave you bleeding.


Disengage from the possessed materialist;

from the “Fuhrer” who promises bread but gives a stone.

Disregard leaders who steal your meal.


Stop the games,

protect the back of your brother;

Join him in the firing line –

be the media spine,

and together you must cry,


“This is my living space,

my country,

My home –


This is,


“My Struggle”.



(By Beulah Kleinveldt/Jambiya – Jambiya is an emotive writer and storyteller who weaves the tragedy and victory of the human experience into a tapestry of memorable imagery and metaphor. She speaks with honesty on the socio-spiritual challenges of our time. Jambiya’s works are trail to a feast for those accustomed to the jaded perfunctory cleverness of modern wordsmith)








I’m scared…

I’m afraid to grow old,

to discover that I’m an old man:

a being

without any curiosity,

with all the useless and impossible opportunities,

with all the things already known and invented,

without challenges or defiance’s…

no eagerness to conquer death

resigned to be forgotten and lost in the vulgar anonymity…

I’m afraid to remain as a ghost,

a ghost who wanders,

who is banging his head against the walls,

without understanding the meaning of life,

a dark, embittered and morose skeleton dragging chains,

a ghost chained to his obsessions of sadness and bitterness,

grudges dead and missing…

To reach the old age seems more tragic than death,

I feel that being old is the antechamber of hell

if it is not yet hell itself…

I don’t want to be old…

I want to die with the illusion to discover everything,

to taste everything as the first day…


(Translated by Gina E. López)



(By Fermin H. Sandoval – The Director of Studies at the Seminario Mayor Nuestra Señora at the Diocese of Ibarra Otavalo Institute of Anthropology and the University of Otavalo. He studied the morality of theology (Teologia Morale) at Facolta Teologica dell’Italia Settentrionale. He lives in Otavalo, Ecuador)








Do I detect some irony here

When they call you honourable

When you are bereft of honour

When dishonour is your hallmark

That word mangled beyond recognition

The foul stench of dishonour everywhere

There in your fast imported cars

When the roads are pock marked

Like the victims of small pox

When you own multiple farms

While the landless are still the homeless

When they till the now tired, arid land

Where is the honour honourable sir, madam

When all you clamour for are diplomatic passports

To hide behind diplomatic immunity grabbing and stealing

To hide in diplomatic bags the stolen diamonds

While the people of Chiadzwa wallow in poverty

When billions of dollars vanish like dew in the morning

Tell me honourable where is your honour

When this dissenting voice you brutally crush

With plastic bullets, water cannons, chocking tear smoke

When the baton does its dance of death on my soul

And when all you do is wantonly destroy flora and fauna

Do I detect some irony here honourable sir, madam



(By Jabulani Mzinyathi– a Zimbabwean to the marrow. A firm believer in the peter tosh philosophy that there will be no peace if there is no justice. Jabulani is a pan African and a world citizen)








And beyond your eyes




Your eyes, like your hands,

as your mouth,

restoration work in



(Translated by Gina E. López)



(By Victoria Tobar Fierro (Ambato, 1943). She has published poems And suddenly (1983), victories and defeats (1991), Word accomplice (1995), The victory, rose and vice versa -Antología- (1997) and References since (2001), Poetry dishevelled (2006). In 2014 she published her memoir “La Toya”. The municipality of the city gives the award “Juan Leon Mera” by her first book in 1983. She has been selected in several anthologies of Ecuadorian and Latin American poetry; Cultural activist, media columnist and literary critic. She is one of the most important figures of contemporary poetry of Ecuador)








In streets brother attacks brother in rage

Devoid of anyone sage, sister against her

Own blood only because of bread… Riots

The domain turns be sombre each second

Suffering from political ulcers so inflicting

Its flames bursting with the zealous minds

To ease, tension bred betwixt the comrade

And cease the days terror at once, tonight

If not peace to yield, and this violence burst

Storms in streets, brought ablaze the Citadel

Yorke stained blood of the comrade whipped

In his decency by the brutal touches, YOUTH

The animal instinct propelled by those with

Seats if not the Augustus house then be the

Grand Citadel at verge of impedance, Shame

Brought to play by circumstances and LEAGE



(By Tynoe Wilson – An impetuous mastermind so zealous to out the muddling and crippling societal affair through stanza)








Often, happens we are what we don’t want

Happens that when we don´t reach what we want

We sow in the garden, trees outside of the soul

To simply say we have them

To say that the important thing was to sow

Often, happens that we paint the house of green

At not finding turquoise in the nearest hardware store

Happens that, at wanting everything so fast, it gets lost

And we earn what it seemed to be.

It also happens that the sum of silences

It´s the sum of the unrealized desires

And we stop writing

Outside of the failures for finding what it´s being searched

We precipitate ourselves in the negation of the word

We anticipate at the time of receiving

We become cowards


(Translated by Gina E. López)



(By Ruth Patricia Rodríguez – a novel and poetry writer. Winner of national contests of children’s and youth stories. Representative of Ecuador in the World Assembly of Youth Artists for Peace, in the Republic of Bulgaria. In 2005 he received the Pablo Palacio award, to literary merit, granted by the Provincial Council of Loja. His works include: more than a dream (1978, tale), from the blue mud (1988, poetic prose and story). The balcony of colors (1990, tale), servant tongue (1993, poetry). At the edge of Clepsidra (1995, novel).Deseabulos (1998, tale anthology of the “Imaginar” Cultural Network). Impudica (2007, poetry). Writing is Formidable (2008, text of study for essay). Crystal Prostitutes (2010, novel). The certainty of omens (2011, collective book of short stories). The sea in me (2012, poetry). Formidable essays (2014, study for essay writing) to the left of the poem (poetry, 2014). Teacher at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito)








Cleanse the blood that stained Chimoio

Heal the bleeding wounds of those bruised in Chitungwiza

Respect their affiliation

Is it still Rhodesia that you forward with the land act

Draft the tears of homeless Manzou residents



Savages’ expansion



Industrializing our piece of earth

What’s that worth?

Citizens turned to destitutes

Morden day fruit-gatherers

And cave-dwellers

Our vote displaced us

Only mountains are shielding our salvage

How long shall people bleed?

Citizens weep

Cry blood Zimbabwe its revolution time

The hour is at hand

Dictatorial sun must set

Justice and freedom day dawn

Tired of wet cheeks

Dry cry the world can’t see

Soldier up no more turn cheek

This time let us not bow down.



(By Sydney Saize – A freedom fighter spearheaded piercing the heart of misrule maladmistration, corruption and injustice. Socio-political commentator only narrates the political ills and suffers the consequences)








Thought is an obstinate

compass that pushes

towards eternity.

One´s voice aches for the pleasure of giving fragrance to the word

Irreverent man passes with his word

from time immemorial

his anguish transpires within the mysteries that this

imagination breathes into him

he comes back upon his damp remains

upon the blood that still throbs

in his aching


He lifts his throat drunken with rage

and ruptures

all of his senses rear up

an old syllable writhes

like a fish upon

the crest of a wave of obsidian

The inescapable journey moves through the


with a hunger for knowledge

The pensive tone of the creator

the utterance expires and another sprouts and


An ancient jazz

comes to life between the pages of a book

the memory awaits quietly its tribute

to death

among metallic sighs

The banished eyes poke around the

accursed semantic


Where is the illumination of the word

where is the revolution of this age

that cannot

passively accept things

Where is the cataclysm of memory

that ought to

stir us.

The word arises, it shows its teeth

with fury

it revolts

and spews poetry with its angels

and demons

on its back.


(Translated by Gina E. López)



(By Simon Guzman Zavala, Guayaquil, Ecuador. Poet, lawyer and university professor. He has given recitals in the cities of Spain, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil and in almost all major cities in Ecuador. Has won national awards, among others: First National Poets Prize novel, House of Ecuadorian Culture, 1966; Only prize in the National Poetry Contest University, teachers 1982; and international, such as the Latin American Poetry Prize Foundation GIVRE Buenos Aires, Argentina 1982; International Award ABRACE, Montevideo, Uruguay, 2007 by his book GRAFIAS. Some publications are: “Dimension of a passerby”, 1973; “Anatomy of a shout” 1974; “Biography Circular” 1976; “Song of hope” 1979; “Songs of Fire” 1983;” Man Manifesto” 1984; “Lascivious” 1981; “Reconstruction of the truth” 1992; “Physiognomies” 1998; “Memorial” 1996; “Poets of the twentieth century” 2002 “Poetic Anthology” 2003; “The forms diluted” (poems of adolescence) 2003; “Traces / Marks” 2006; “Grafias” 2007. Her poetry has been translated into English, French, Hebrew, Portuguese, Italian, German, Romanian and Arabic)








I’m the vigilant eye.

What I behold i yield it to the hand

to pen it in disciplined, brief, pregnant lines

you call poetry.

I’m the bold hand,

mine union with the eye

indeed is a genuine co-operation;

what is delivered unto me

I artistically cajole it to become an ode,



or sonnet for you.

In laden stanzas,

stylized emotions

and conventional turns of phrase,

in bombastic oratory

and in sullen, protesting and swearing diction,

the long tale is told.

Bang open the doors to your ears

my target! My audience!

This message in transit is for you

to hear and digest.

To concede a word to find refuge in your heart,

and to be awake to what significance the word doth hold,

defies no authority.

Matters of heart alone aren’t a crime

until you act in a manner that is illegal.


The once prosperous Zimbabwe

has fallen into decay.

With the economy collapsing,

with free speech, sometimes

stammering or whispering under repression

and every election heavily disputed

and international sanctions yearly imposed,

the future remains this ugly and bleak!

Get up downtrodden children

and oppose all that is undemocratic!

Stand up Zimbabweans

despite violent threats of outer political storms!

Rise up masses

regardless of your political affiliations!

Be wise and never tolerate your trivial differences.

Confront the hell with one redemptive energy.

Allow it to seize what stance it can

and never confine it by the past to black or white,

rich or poor.

The struggle for Zimbabwe is colour and class blind.

May wrath divine lay the State House waste,

where no man’s upright nor a woman chaste,

and hasten the transition at a pace best.



(By Blessing T Masenga – a bold word guerrilla, a fiery poet through his writings tirelessly and boldly seek to strip nude the oppression and the violations of basic human rights)








The corner where a eucalyptus grows today

used to be the cafe of our times.

There we lived nights, and a thousand and one

there appeared Aladdin and his bad genie,

there we were larger than destiny.

In the cafe across the street from this hill

we lived the most flighty moments:

like a phonograph without its trumpet,

much like an explosion of tangerines.

There I fell in love with your dress,

there I ask about love on napkins

from the wisdom of the waiter.

There I was until the dawn became day

until the dead were resurrected,

until Lazarus arose.

There came Goliath with his powers

and there David was born from our longings,

their souls fought and souls were made.

On this side of the city,

where the sun shines less than a minute,

was the cafe of our age,

that fed the hungry,

and gave drink to the thirsty.

There, where now grows a eucalyptus

that wants to make the sidewalk happy.


(Translated by Ana Blum)



(By Xavier Oquendo Troncoso – studied journalism at the Central University of Ecuador. He works with the Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana to organize and participate in readings and presentations throughout Ecuador and South America. Originally from Ambato, Ecuador, he currently lives in Quito, Ecuador)








My voice is clear you can hear it from the mouth of the hoarse,

I got a boner for whoever’s daughter the board calls boss.

Open my drawers and scare the cabinet,

Censorship board like we aren’t having it,

Black bar all the way to my feet,

While boss lady screams shit sheet-

Like she saw a ghost. That’s a black man’s Richard.

Long John no silver, no vehicle still a walker:

Johnny Walker;

Baptising you in bars beware cirrhosis on your mental liver,

And I deliver, like a cargo aeroplane.

I keep coming back:

When I try to refrain I boomerang.

I aren’t no pilot baby…but my words are fly,

I guess this is a paper aeroplane in transit

To your heart through your brain,

Unfold it, inside is an insane plan to be your one

And make you say “me too!”

You are fly but you can’t look down at the sun,

We burn dictators till they feel like dick-takers,

Scream the names of their wives begging for grace.

Check it:

The word was with God and the word was god,

If God is the word who the nigga that controls the word?

I proved the pen mightier than the sword,

What do you mean you aren’t heard of ‘Mars His Sword’?

Ask the God of war where the fuck is his sword!

Fucking Shakespeare calls me the sod, sometimes a sob,

That’s SOB

Don’t ask me, but let me tell you G,

Jesus came to divide the sheep from the goats,

I killed the GOAT and turned him into a coat.

That’s a real nigga quote,

The illest shit I ever wrote…




(By Philani Amadeus Nyoni – a Zimbabwean born wordsmith. He has written award-winning poetry for the page, the stage and the screen. He has also written articles and short stories for various publications, local and international)








Or the beating heart of death

that cannot find an exit and rips itself in front of me.

How I wish I could tell the difference,

but there are so many pills in my body

that I can’t.

Great-grandfather, if he lived,

would hide the last pinch of morphine in his drawer

–as the secret of a zealous pharmacist—

and the stars above the dome would escape at the sight of my lightness.

But who could have understood this pain of mine,

for life is irrefutable in childhood.

Great-grandmother in her coffin under the bed

came to speak about the darkness’s we share.

Now I don’t know whether committing was a good idea.

The terror I carry makes words tremble.

If I ignore them

they forget me.

So much orphan hood–not again.


(Translated by Gina E. López)



(By Marialuz Albuja Bayas – born in Quito, 1972. Her published poetry works include: Las naranjas y el mar (1997), Llevo de la luna un rayo (1999), Paisaje de sal (2004), La pendiente imposible (2008), published and awarded by the Ministry of Culture of Ecuador, Detrás de la brisa (2013), honorable mention by the Cesar Devila Andrade Award committee and Cristales invisibles (personal anthology, Popayan, Colombia, 2013). Her works have been partially translated into English, Portuguese, Italian, French and Basque, and have been published in anthologies within Ecuador, Latin America and Europe. She has also published the poetry books for children Cuando cierro mis ojos and Cuando duerme el sol, and is co-founder of the Pubishing House Rascacielos)








The pit latrines high

above us -let out a roar.

Thunder, as it was God

dancing the waltz.

We raised our greasy heads

hiding , shame beneath our chins.

Smiling as a flood of chicken bones,

overripe apples raced our way.

Hunger, ticking the soft part

of our guts.

To a wormy laughter.

Bowing heads in servility

We dined our fill of the

regurgitated empire.



(By Nyashadzashe Chikumbu – I’m a young man, whose very ambitious, and strives for complete self expression. Very interested in all words of art strives to see art gaining its former glory. A Poet and Follower of Marxist Principles)









Burning up my tears

upon dusk

aware that you are not returning

because your absence drowns both of us,

with fury I rupture from my skin

the miracle, the kisses and the music.

I let myself die

and my self becomes an abandoned graveyard

where our grim memories

start to disappear.

I let myself die

and I mourn in a corner

the loss of our scent.

Black pirate of my blue body,

I kill you

with the sorrow of angels

overwhelmed by eternity

and the anguish of that god

made of clay

with no more questions to

answer to.

* * *

A woman made of blood

that keeps us alive as her foodstuff,

and a dark entity that

never goes outside,

wander around the wine

and command us

to surrender our lives.


(Translated by Gina E. López)



(By Gabriel Cisneros Abedrabbo (Latacunga – Ecuador , 1972) is a writer, journalist, and cultural promoter. At a very early age he moved to Riobamba where he grew as a person, and as a writer in this yet unfinished journey. Mr. Cisneros has published serveral books of poetry: Ceremonias de amor y otros rituales(1996),Ego de piel y Cópula panteísta(2003), El otro Dios que soy Yo y Ombligo al infierno(2004),Mujeres para Morir(2005),Peregrinaje y Raptos(2006),Para Justificar el Aire en los Pulmones(2009),20 Giros en la Pólvora y Otros Textos (2010),Mi Yo Malo 2012, y Pieles (2014). His poems have also appeared in journals home and abroad. GabrielCisneros served as President of the Chimborazo branch of Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana Benjamín Carrión, and he is currently Vice-President of Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana nationwide)








Incited to leap by the glass at the bottom

they keep being spiked stars

… I let myself fall

I use up every word

Every instant of simulated oxygen

… hitting the ground await

alightly instant of universo


(Translated by Gina E. López)



(By Luis Enrique Yaulema (Riobamba, Ecuador, 1968). Self-taught poet, cultural manager, precocious reader and solitary by nature, its texts evoke an existential love, has published three books of poetry with some waiting time intervals gradually mature his poetic voice, his first poetry book “Theorems” comes out in 1996, the second “TRAVERSA” in 2005, published in Ibiza Spain and “THREE” published in 2011 under the auspices of the House of Culture Core Chimborazo. Lover short texts, has participated in several national and international meetings, poetry flies free woman dreams and in a nature as inspiring principle)








Bring me the undergarments of the state and vests of


I see rains of hatred pounding the face of juba

Socialists and mongers breakfasting human delicacies

Political drunkards lolling feeble voters to night mares and empty dreams

New born democrats buried without traces of memory under the hot hard granite of politics

Souls drooping in misery

When will sunlight cast blessings to these cemeteries?

Green lives decomposing in concrete corridors of history

The feet of history dragged in this grief laden earth.



(By Mbizo Chirasha – the Originator/Instigator of the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign( Brave Voices Poetry Journal-Tuck Magazine , Word Guerrillas Protest Poetry Journal – Zimsphere Magazine, Poets Free Zimbabwe blog- MiomboPublishing) Mbizo Chirasha is the participant of International Human Rights Arts Festival , Exiled in Africa Program in New York , United States. The Poet is a member of Global Arts and Political Alliance)








Cultural kaleidoscope.

Blankets dreams and illusions,

from a vagabond train

to the elegant lady of Madison avenue.

Privileged space

within the blue sphere

where you can visit any place, any time.

Linguistic range,

blooms in a colorful spring

peeping out in summer

in the autumn black and white elegance covers you

later completed by a winter coat.

You´re the struggle —

spell that binds us, that anchors the boat,

whose port we are unable to leave.


(Translated by Gina E. López)



(By Gina E. López – a poet, university professor and translator. Is a bachelor of arts in communication and marketing from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Her master´s degree in Latin America literature was conducted at the University of St. John´s, county of queens, NY. She has dedicated her time to the teaching of Spanish as a second language at universities and colleges of this city and in Ecuador, her native country, where she is teaching Latin American literature. She is a founding member of the bilingual magazine “Entre Rascacielos” and belongs to the north-west chapter of the National Society Hispanic honor Sigma Delta Pi at the University of St. John´s. Formed part of the editorial committee of the magazine Hybrid, published by alumni of the Graduate Center belonging to the New York University (NYC). Her poetry has been presented at the Instituto Cervantes (2005) and the Americas Society (2007) both entities in New York; as well as at festival “Poets in New York” (2008), “The Americas Poetry in New York City” (2010) and “Manta city of letters” (2014) among others)






The Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign

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1 Comment

  1. Jambiya January 12, at 09:04

    Love the works. ...the thoughts that pour from the hearts of comrades that hail from diverse perspectives yet speak the same language - fight for the same cause....freedom and justice


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