African Poetry

Iconography

pursuing peace

in his topography

 

on the wall

a painting of a dove

 

and an image of a lamb

in a landscape of depth

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.

Eulogy for Willem Huyzers

Suspicious of the world, mistrusting intentions,

Yet clear perceptions, razorsharp intelligence.

Having read way too much Freud and all of Nietzsche,

He saw through your weakness and pretensions.

 

Hurt child lashing out, tried to

Seduce my girlfriend, drove off,

abandoning me in Hatfield.

 

And in Durban after drinking,

thought it cool to smash in

a window —

and then Brenda and Jan had to

take him to Emergency to

stitch the blood back into him.

 

Looking out on the brooding ocean

with that bandaged arm, Willem said

he felt like a ship without anchor,

adrift . . .

 

. . . like Holden Caulfield —

saw everybody else as phoney.

 

Driving back to Pretoria, Jan

taunted Lara, pushing pushing pushing

until, in the backseat, Willem exploded:

Hou nou op met hierdie kak!

Intense snot spooling down

the tip of that Roman nose.

 

New Year’s Eve in Rose Street, he’d dived

into an algae-green pool in his black jeans,

Hit his head in the dark, blood running

down his face, said

“You’re the only person I’ve ever loved.”

 

The last time I saw him,

I’d just flown in from China,

he was cancer riddled, sleeping

on a sofa in his mother’s old age home.

Happy to greet me at the gate, but he stank,

my God, had to open a window,

struggle not to gag.

 

Showed slides of Shanghai,

sat at the pond, watched the birds,

ate McDonalds, shared an ice cream.

His mother gave us each a cupcake

she’d bought for Mandela day.

 

Shot a clip of his shadow on my phone.

Anton Krueger is an amateurist from South Africa. He improvises with different forms — images, sounds, ideas, performances & words. He’s been trying to construct an unwieldy site storing creative outputs. It’s far from finished, but it may never be: https://amateurist.weebly.com.

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Kilimanjaro

Swissair flies south from the pristine Alps,

rinsed clean in the gleaming detergent snow of Europe,

powerful and pure, content in their aristocratic lineage,

when suddenly,

thrust in the flight path,

hurled like a barrage of shields and spears

across the smoky veldt of Africa,

when suddenly,

burst from the brown powder of Tanzania’s flat earth,

flung up in accusation, in terror, in anguish,

you, volcano, Kilimanjaro.

Flaky snow peels off

your stark crags like fine ash

spilt across naked shoulders.

No feathers from Germany, French silks, Italian leathers

hide your unashamed dark muscles.

Even steamy clouds

rise off your sides,

hesitant, afraid.

The little aircraft

crosses low above your sky-staring peak,

as scattering boulders reveal

the cauldron of your Cyclops crater,

dead or dormant,

burnt out or simply sleeping, brooding, waiting

to explode.

Stuart Stromin is a South African-born writer and filmmaker, living in Los Angeles. He was educated at Rhodes University, South Africa, the Alliance Française de Paris, and UCLA, California. His work has appeared in Jalada Africa, Sheila-na-gig online, Dissident Voice, Rigorous, etc.

Affirmation

every morning, i enter my praying corner

like kaabah, like maqam Ibrahim; call names

and chant litanies; weigh my fear in my palms;

confirm God is closer to me than my jugular

vein. every morning, i wear my cloth briefly,

almost unworn: as if retrieved from the bowel

of a forgotten wardrobe. every morning,

i look at the pattern of all the roadside leaves

for roadmap to forlorn, say if you take me

there, i'll make for you a garden of birds

and blossoms & butterflies & bees.

every morning, i remind myself it's not a

coincidence that dove rhymes with love:

for love is white & prone to stain.

every morning after a long night,

when i wake into a water I do not know

when it rained; i walk slowly into life

like a leopard watching the steps of a gazelle;

as if survival is war and life is a battlefield,

i enter the street striking things & ducking things.

Taofeek Ayeyemi (fondly called Aswagaawy) is a Nigerian lawyer and writer whose works have appeared in Lucent Dreaming, Ethel-zine, The Pangolin Review, hedgerow, the QuillS, ARTmosterrific, Modern Haiku, Frogpond, and elsewhere. He has won honorable mention in poetry and haiku contests.

Conga Dance

The conga speaks and the rhythms intoxicate,

 Our heads bounce, buttocks pop and legs flitter,

Stout smiles breeze out from liquored mouths, noses meditate,

  Health flies in and high blood absconds with bitter.

 

Rag the world and flag it zealous,

 Life in the ghetto is like no other,

Nothing ever stops us from moving further,

 Colours of costumes, rainbows get jealous.

 

Drums get their stomachs hit,

 African elders feel the beat,

Clowns dish out their wit,

 Masquerades sail and children join the fleet.

 

City people stand afar appearing rich,

 While the visitors flinch, fearing a witch.

Uche Chidozie Okorie is a Nigerian rapper, poet, playwright, and music producer. He studied English language in Caritas University, Enugu, Nigeria.

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