African Poetry

On becoming Africa

Do you know, or can you tell, my journey?

have you become a soothsayer now you look

into computers, see the image of an old map,

and say “I certainly know her”

“She is my neighbor on google,

although, distanced by hills, waterfalls and pitfalls”

Have you walked that mile in my stilettos, borrowed

from the man who used to romance me,

the way an internet fraudster sweet talks?

I bet:

You are just a neighbor with binoculars or aging telescopes,

Pretending to know the unknown, through cracked windows,

as you watch me dare to wash off yesterday’s dirt,

one patch at a time.

I dare.

Lind Grant-Oyeye is an award-winning writer, the recipient of the universal human rights poetry award. She has worked on and published in various literary magazines, anthologies and curated poetry work. The lyrics of her poems have also been set to music.

What Have You Brought Us

She chants from the pavements

She is not a beggar

She is the queen of the black market

Her head is adorned with a white doek

She has more currency than the World Bank

She is more powerful than a graduate

The rate is dictated by her mood

They envy her trade

They envy her dominion

She has no office

The pavements are her office

She is her own pay master

Her pay slip is engraved in her heart

Her skin glows in the city sun

Her bosom is round and warm

where powerful currencies are shoved

In her business there is no room for negotiations

It’s a take or leave it.

Banqobile Virginia Dakamela is a writer who hails from Zimbabwe. A story she wrote was published in an anthology which was studied at high schools and is a set book in a local university. She writes extensively.

Choked Chalk Flying in the Air

Teachers threw all their magic markers

Out of the window and went home

Their starved ears had been patient

Only to become a dance floor for lies

They were the uncarpeted base

In a nightclub of famine and fools

They trooped out, unprepared

And unable to dance to the disco

Of peanuts and pauperization

Fibs were played as an addition

To the dancing of folly and failings

Their restaurant reserved for none

But hunger, helplessness & hardships.

Ndaba Sibanda’s poems have been widely anthologised. He is the author of The Gushungo Way, Sleeping Rivers, Love O’clock, The Dead Must Be Sobbing, Football of Fools, Cutting-edge Cache: Unsympathetic Untruth, Of the Saliva and the Tongue, and Poetry Pharmacy.

with Gabriel Awuah Mainoo

Fulfillment

Fulfillment is the smile

my mother’s corpse wore today.

The moon on this eve of her funeral

has entered that phase

in which it becomes a door,

door into a history class

where a boy has raised his hand

to ask a question about motion.

 

They say cows do not speak,

but this son is no cow.

No! This son is no cow,

this son is that proverbial donkey

whose eyes have been blessed

to behold an angel.

He has been taught another way.

This son knows the world is vain,

he also knows that dirt can be made holy;

so he never mocks his own vagary.

 

He walked into the history class

a man dressed in women's clothes.

His masculinity gentle,

His femininity strong,

His arguments weighty;

and he would say,

‘Who cares if the prophet hangs himself in disbelief?

Fiction will always tell a truth that history can never comprehend.’

Soonest Nathaniel is a Poet and spoken word artist. He is the author of Teaching My Father How To Impregnate Women. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Rattle, Praxis, Raven Chronicles, Saraba Magazine, Loudthotz, Reverbnation, Sentinel Nigeria Magazine, and many more.

Carrying my Father’s Silence

how warm you chew your tongue

into disremembering the taste of a dialect.

grief, the calm to soften your teeth,

& sponge a weak phrase to its neat wall of pink.

 

this is how you kill a mother’s worth:

sludged wrists crushed to calories,

lost from ceaseless count of meals

by how much her darkness shortchanges/ short-changes you.

your lips ramming into each other.

 

you braid your head into a migraine,

& let the style eat you.

 

silence like mohawk,

stands at ease.

getting my attention is one tough chore,

you could break your lips,

& still not get the dry sound to pulse me.

 

all my fun sides staked to claims:

that i feigned my father’s accent,

& sighs are how he make/makes words look like sin.

 

i am sifting into this new world,

skipping my meals,

becoming what i eat when i starve things of my lips.

 

i now lust for days when noise grooms my stature,

tongue amplified with the thirst for a crazy accent—

this dialect that should know me.

Nnadi Samuel is a graduate of English and literature at the University of Benin. He is the author of Reopening of Wounds and Subject Lessons (forthcoming). He reads for U-Rights Magazine.

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