Two Poems by Mbizo Charasha

PRESIDENTIAL GRIOT

Sometimes memories smell like a dictator’s fart.
We once jived to our own shadows under the silver moon
and our shadows danced along with us, we rhymed to the
nightmares of hyenas and hallucinations of black owls.
Our desires sailed along with gowns of fog back and forth
at village dawns. Wood smoke smelt like fresh baked
bread. Time bewitched us, we ate William Shakespeare and
John Donne. We drank lemon jugs of Langston Hughes and
Maya Angelou. Soyinka’s lyrical whisky wrecked our
tender nerves. We bedded politics with boyish demeanour
and dreamt of the black cockerels and black Hitlers.


Sometimes time is stubborn like a sitting tyrant
Last night, commissars chanted a slogan and you
baked a dictator’s poetry sanguage. Zealots sang
Castro and Stalin and you brewed a socialist crank,
the president is a stinking capitalist. I never said
he is Satanist. Back to village nights, hyenas are
laughing still, black owls gossiping, silver moon
dancing still over rain beaten paths of our country dawns.

Sometimes time stinks like a dictator’s fart.
Your lyrical satire sneaked imbeciles through
back doors. Your praise sonnets recycled suicidal
devils and polished revolutionary rejects. Back then,
smells of fresh dung and scent of fresh udder milk
were our morning brew and under the twilight the
moon once disappeared into the earthly womb, Judas,
the sun then took over and every dictator is an
Iscariot. I never said we are now vagabonds
Sometimes time smells like a dying autocrat.


Mwedzi wagara ndira uyo tigo tigo ndira – the moon
was once sour milk silver white and fresh from the Gods’
mouth and sat on its presidential throne on the
zenith of bald headed hills and later with time
the moon was ripe to go mwedzi waora ndira tigo tigo ndira
Sometimes wind gusts whistled their tenor through
elephant grass pastures, we sang along the obedient flora



Chamupupuri icho…oo
chamupupuri chaenda chamupupuri chadzoka
Chamupupuri icho…oo!

Our poverty marinated, yellow maize teeth grinned to
sudden glows of lightening, the earth gyrated under
the grip of thunder, then Gods wept and we drank
teardrops with a song mvura ngainaye tidye makavu,
mvura ngainaye tidye makavu …

Pumpkins bred like rabbits, veldts strutted in
Christmas gowns. Wild bees and green bombers
sang protest and praise. I never said we are
children of drought relief.


Sometimes time grows old like a sitting tyrant,
Tonight the echo of your praise poetry irk the
anopheles stranded in tired city gutters to swig
the bitter blood of ghetto dwellers, gutter
citizens eking hard survival from hard earth
of a hard country , their rough hands marked
with scars of the August Armageddon, their sandy
hearts are rigged ballot boxes stuffed with corruption,
they waited and sang for so long . . .

Chamupupuri icho…oo chamupupuri chaenda
chamupupuri icho…oo chamupupuri chadzoka
Chamupupuri icho..oo


AZANIA: for an African country loved by God

Azania! I have a song for you

A song of bees feasting the rainbow nectar on the tattered petals of the revolution

Egoli! I have a love song for you

Song of Nomvula, the princes of the rain

Madikizela! I have a love song for you

Song of the abandoned poem.

I have a love song for born frees eating beetroot in Thembisa

Povo smoking ganja in Thokoza

I have a love letter for tweeting imbeciles, whose bellies are burning with emptiness

Zambezi! I have a love song for you

Song of fat cats milking cash cows of the state until udders bleed

I have a love song for you, Azania

Song of your bottoms frying in ovens Xenophobia

Political turncoats watering Marikana fields with blood

Orange River flowing red

Cicadas singing protest songs

Eating funeral sandwiches with apes in Kgalagadi.

Finding no sleep in burning trees

Azania, this jungle burnt off the coal of our dreams.

Azania!


(ii)

Azania, smell and memory of Mandela

Mzansi, long walk of sobukwe

Land of metaphor and ambition

Choking in toxics of xenophobia

Babies lulled to sleep by rants of fake revolution and alliteration of the rainbow nation

Metaphors of madness!

See Hani and slovo-your freedom suns watching sarafina from terraces of life

A Scarred revolution!

In this land that lost its gold and salt.

Azania, you are the rainbow laughing the last giggle

Xenophobia burning rainbow flags to ashes

Xenophobia! Black ants burrowing back into their umbilical soil

Madiba weeping, singing for another summer, another rainbow

Madiba went away with rainbow, clutching the clay that bind the rainbow threads together!

Azania, Mandela was the clay of the revolution and the glow in the sun

Azania, foxes and their puppies are eating from the pot of gold- Egoli.

Hyenas sniffing the sweetness of this earth now blistered by revolutionary ailments

See the heartbeat of Soweto carrying the soil of madiba forever!

Poverty saluting the sun, cockroaches drinking the milk of freedom.

Azania! You reaped freedom not the fruits of freedom, the red sun and the bruised rainbow

Rainbow is sleeping in stone, Mandela!

Rainbow weeping Marikina after swallowing rain and grain.

Marikana! Afro phobia eating the beloved. Beloved shelling, pounding brothers like monkey nuts in mortars of apartheid.

Born frees cracking their shoulders to catch that thin glimpses of freedom.

Mbizo Chirasha:
Founder of Writing Ukraine Prize, Publisher  at Time of the Poet Republic, Curator at WomaWords Literary Press, 2020 Poet in Residence of the Fictional Cafe, UNESCO-RILA Affiliate Artist (Glasgow
University School of Education). 2020 Free-Speech Fellow / Writers in Exile(PEN Germany and Foundation of Free-Speech). 2019 African Felllow for Ihraf.org. African Contributor to Bezine.com (USA). Monk Arts and Soul Magazine( UK). Author of A Letter to the President, Pilgrims of Zame. Co-Authored Whispering Woes of Ganges and Zambezi, Co-Edited Corpses of Unity, Second Name of the Earth is Peace, Street Voices (all African, German and English Anthology), Edited Voices of Africa: A Call for Freedom Anthology, a PanAfrican Ihraf based writivism Project. Mbizo Chirasha works as Festivals Live Literature Producer, Literary Arts Activism Diplomatie, Writivism Projects Curator, Visiting Editor at Large, African Writing Associate, Visiting Writer and Poet in Residence.

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