poetryafter is not a luxury audre lorde
2013 | 03 print quarterly number three www.poetrypotion.com
ISSN 2304-8107 editor & publisher duduzile zamantungwa mabaso email@example.com graphic design & layout Black Letter Media (Pty) Ltd All images by Black Letter Media, accept where indicated. photo essay by Sindisiwe Buthelezi of AzaniaZulu Photography www.azaniazulu.com Queries www.poetrypotion.com firstname.lastname@example.org PO Box 94004 Yeoville, 2143 Johannesburg, South Africa Published by Black Letter Media (Pty) Ltd Tel: +27 11 966 8061 Fax: 086 606 1565 www.blackletterm.com Poetry Potion is a trademark of Black Letter Media (Pty) Ltd ÂŠ Black Letter Media & www.poetrypotion.com. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrievable system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, photocopying or otherwise without prior written permission of the copyright owners, the poets and Black Letter Media (Pty) Ltd. All poets retain the rights to their own. Any copying or sharing of this work for financial gain is infringement of copyright.
then, poetry is not a luxury.
It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.
~ audre lorde
CONTENTS EDITORIAL 6 POET MUSES Ingrid Jonker Isabella Motadinyane
9 10 11
POET PROFILE Tereska Muishond
POETRY 25 Fasaha Mshairi 26 Sale Souls Mandy Mitchell 28 Yes, I have missed you Tonight you call unexpectedly Ayabulela Tutuse 32 She is Courage Heartbeat A Table Of Fighters
Monique Barnard My Weaknesses Saurell Boyers Accident Were It Mine Fortress Morula wa Kutukgolo Diamonds Rough African Brother Beautiful Woman POETRY SEEN Secrets with the Moon Work Woman photo essay
49 50 54
CONTRIBUTORS 62 SUBMISSION GUIDELINES 68
Did Audre know when she was writing Poetry is Not a Luxury that she’d be speaking to, about and through women like Tereska Muishond, Ayabulela Tutuse, Morula wa Kutukgolo, Mandy Mitchell, Monique Barnard, Saurell Boyers... Women for whom poetry has been away to write themselves into the light. A way to keep from leaping off the high building, or cutting the line through their wrists or drowning in the drudgery of life. Poetry has kept many women together, helped them find their lost souls, mend broken seams and collect the scattered pieces of their many selves. Did Audre know that she’d be writing us inside out? I guess she knew herself. And that’s why many of us can read it, see ourselves and be inspired. Because she wasn’t writing outside in, or bearing down the would-be-reader claiming to be all knowing. And by writing her authentic self, she reached into us. That is what great writing does. It illuminates one to oneself. Let’s you discover your own truth without making any promises. Audre says “this is poetry as illumination for it is through this poetry that we give name to those ideas which are - until the poem - nameless and formless, about to be birthed but already felt.” Poetry has allowed many poets to write themselves into clarity. Write their way into understanding. Even if other find poetry difficult to understand, at least, writers have found a way to understand themselves. The women featured in this edition have done exactly that. Found their way in and out of poetry. They write from inside out. They don’t hold back, I don’t believe they even know how to hold back. But if they do it’s only because they are still seeking, learning, growing in understanding the self and the other. Learning even that the other is an aspect of the self. These poets move you and I out of our comforts and
into the mirror facing our shattered selves, peeling back our facades to reveal that buried spirit. Through their poetry we learn to see better, hear clearly and then set off on our own journey’s of seeking. And none of this is ever as simple as picking up a pen or sitting in front of a typewriter or computer to string some words. This kind of poetry isn’t just about painting pretty pictures when a lot of ugly exists. It’s bare, unburdened, frightening with all its bleeding that sometimes it doesn’t seem like the poet could possibly live light through this. Even the poets themselves might think they will lose it. This is why this poetry isn’t a luxury. “It is a vital necessity of our existence,” Audre writes. This edition, features selected poetry from our online edition, written by women. It is the “Poetry Potion way” of saluting women writers whose work inspires us. In South Africa, August is Woman’s Month and September is Heritage month. I hope that by looking at these poems and poets through the Audre Lorde lens, we can celebrate these women as well as ourselves. Woman, I celebrate you. Woman, Pick your pride off of the ground Dust the dirt off of your pride Lift up your chin Put your pride back inside you Don’t you worry ‘bout a thang Throw your dirty, raggy, heavy bag away Wash the dust off of your feet Go on, you’ll make it right... peace, zamantungwa editor & publisher
â€œ...as a dream births concept, as feeling births idea, as knowledge births (precedes) understanding.â€? ~audre lorde
poet (1933 - 1965)
Described as a â€œsensitive child with a keen self-awareness and gifted beyond her yearsâ€œ, Ingrid Jonker started writing at a very young age. Na die Somer (After the Summer) is believed to be her first compilation of her poems when she was thirteen years old. Ingrid was a member of the antiestablishment group of writers and poets, Die Sestiger. Her work made publishers nervous, apartheid government unhappy and even earned her the scorn of her father. She wrote poems that showed her humaneness, her compassion for all human beings regardless of colour. She never held back in expressing her opposition to apartheid laws. One of her best known poems is The child (who was shot dead by soldiers at Nyanga). Her work has been widely translated from Afrikaans to English, German, French and even Zulu. She was only 31 years old when she drowned herself
Isabella Motadinyane poet (1963 - 2003)
“isabella motadinyane was a born genius she went as far as grade 5 at school... highly spiritual person chosen by her ancestors to serve them as a sangoma to be... if you argue or disagree without any valid reasonable point... uyadoya you fail dismal she would put you to shame and prove you wrong on the spot...” Ike Muila’s tribute in Bella the collected poems of Isabella Motadinyane, published posthumously by Botsotso Publishing. This Soweto-born, South African poet was a member of Botsotso Jesters along with Allan Kolski Horwitz, Ike Muila, Siphiwe ka Ngwenya and Anna Varney. Her poem ‘One Leg In’, inspired the naming of Botsotso Jesters. Isabella was a unique voice in South African poetry. Writing with a mix of languages - tsotsitaal, Sotho and English - her poetry is vibrant and inspiring. As a performer she had a great energy and spirit. The musicality of her work, her strong singing voice has made sure that she has left an enduring legacy.
â€œthe quality of light by which we scrutinize our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live and upon the changes which we hope to bring about through those livesâ€? ~audre lorde
writer, actress, dancer, poet talks to zamantungwa about her journey as a creative spirit and her latest work Te Veel Vir â€˜n Coloured girl
In a sea of poets who are slamming hard to carve out a space for themselves in the Hall of Fame, Tereska Muishond stands out for being a woman of no pretensions. Her honest, gentle vibrant voice makes her stand out not only as a passionate, honest writer but as an inspiration. Tereska is an actress, a writer, a poet and a dancer who I first noticed mid 2000s when she was performing with her sister, Laverne. Going as !Bushwomen, the two sisters had an edge that nobody had at the time. Their work was sincere, beautiful and soulful. Over the years, they have evolved in different directions and we have seen Tereska go from strength to strength. Since then, Tereska has worked as a scriptwriter on one of South Africa’s top daily dramas, gone back to studying and her writing has grown in many directions. In 2011, Poetry Potion participated in the National Book Week with a slam poetry event called SLAMpotion. Tereska, along with Mak Manaka and Kabelo Mofokeng, gave a talk to school students about writing and performing poetry. Tereska had a great rapport with the young learners and I realised then that she could also be a teacher if she wanted to . And I guess, in a sense, she is a teacher, an educator who gets to create work that not only inspires and moves us but also gets us thinking differently about ourselves and the society around us. Recently, Tereska debuted her play Te Veel Vir ‘n Coloured Girl at the VryFees in Bloemfontein. With this interview, we dig a little more into who Tereska is and what has shaped her work. Poetry Potion: When I first met you, heard of you, you were performing with your sister Laverne, as !Bushwomen. When and how did you and your sister decide to perform together? Tereska Muishond: Forming !Bushwomen was not a conscious decision. Laverne got me into spoken word. I was a closet poet at the time. She was the only person who had read some of my poetry. When she moved to Jo’burg to stay with me she joined a hip-hop band which did a lot of gigs where there was Spoken Word. It was still very underground then… Besides seeing performance poetry on TV in American productions, I didn’t know it existed as an art form in South Africa.
18 I still remember her coming home one night, excitedly telling me “hey why don’t you come and recite your poetry in front of people?” I was reluctant and then she entered me into a spoken word competition at Horror Café in Newtown. Petrified of revealing myself I used !Bushwomen as a stage name. Surprisingly I made it to the finals and the prize was an appearance on Yfm. I was so nervous to recite on radio that I forced Laverne to come with me and sing a little tune in the background. I was like “you got me into this so…” After that we attended more sessions and each time I made her go on stage with me. People assumed we were an item and they liked what we were doing and that’s how !Bushwomen was born. One day while we were on stage we both just started dancing cos we have been doing modern dancing since we were young. It wasn’t planned. It just happened naturally. We liked it and people liked it and that’s how we became known. Combining poetry with song and dance was new at the time. PP: Tell me about the !Bushwomen idea? Why the name !Bushwomen when some might think that’s a derogatory word? TM: I was dating an African-American man at the time who would chide me for walking barefoot in the house, sitting on the floor and eating with my hand. He regarded this as being uncouth so he would tease me by calling me a bushwoman. At first this was funny but later it dawned on me that this was how people in general regard the bushmen (The Khoi and San people) – as barbaric, stupid, ugly, insignificant. This prompted me to do some research on the bushmen and their way of living and I loved what I read. I discovered that they were not these barbarians I was taught to believe. I learnt that these people – my people – were wise, humble and very spiritual and I felt proud being their descendant. At the time I was also going through an identity crisis and the term “Coloured” didn’t make sense to me - it didn’t have substance because it couldn’t tell me what I was about. Many people from other races thought we as Coloured people do not have culture and this hurt a lot, so I decided to call myself bushwoman, to show that I come from somewhere. Also, Laverne and I were tired of everybody else telling us
who and what we were. Then we were ‘Coloured’, then we were ‘brown people’, then we were ‘so-called coloured’. It was confusing so we decided to label ourselves. Yes, many Coloured people at the time did not like us calling ourselves that because they felt it was derogatory. Normally, if you asked a Coloured person about his or her ancestry, they would only tell you about the European side. The Khoisan and Nguni ancestry was omitted. With Apartheid as our legacy, who could blame them? Anyway, a lot has changed since then. I think !Bushwomen also managed to change a lot of people’s perception regarding our heritage. PP: What has it been like working on your own and then with your other younger sister? TM: I have exceptionally beautiful and talented sisters. I always tell them that the reason why I perform with them is not because they are family, but because they are talented. Laverne and I had a chemistry between us that worked well on stage but later we had creative differences and so decided to go our separate ways. I’m happy to say that she is pursuing her music career. As an individual artist I have more artistic freedom and I can do things at my own pace, in my own time, my own way. My younger sister, Tyla (19), is not really into the arts but I expose her to it because nothing saddens me more than unused talent. She is currently acting alongside me in my play and I love seeing how she has grown as a person and an artist (of course she is not aware). I think performing together is a great way for us to spend time together as sisters, but they might disagree because according to them I am quite domineering… lol. I am now grooming my 12 year old son Tino who is a beatboxer and occasionally I share the stage with him. PP: In other interviews, you’ve spoken about how poetry helped you through a tough time in your life. Can you speak about this – going through tough times and having poetry there for you?
20 The arts in general saved my life! I grew up in a troubled home where there was domestic violence. I discovered dance at the age of 8 and that helped me to deal with my frustration and anger. Books helped me to escape my pain and exposed me to a brighter world. But still there were more feelings I didn’t know how to deal with. I was in a deep and dark place when I discovered Maya Angelou’s poetry. I still remember memorising ‘The Caged Bird’ and ‘I Rise’. These poems made me feel less isolated and gave me something to hold on to. When I was hospitalised for severe depression, I couldn’t read anymore because I couldn’t focus on the words on the page. I panicked because books were my closest friends and my source of comfort. I needed another outlet. That’s when I put pen to paper and the result was poetry. It was cathartic to express myself in this manner. Reading and writing poetry helped me make sense of the world, myself and my experiences. PP: Your poetry is delicate, sensual, gentle, loving, nurturing… writing from a woman’s space, as a mother, a sister – was this delicate, sensual, gentle etc. voice a conscious choice or is that just who you are? TM: It didn’t start out like this. At first my writing was morose and angry but it changed as I changed and grew. I’m quite surprised by this gentle voice. It’s taken me a while to get accustomed to my voice and I’m only now starting to like it. But there’s a stronger and more witty voice coming forth and I can’t wait to see it on the page. PP: When you sit down to write, do you always know what to write about? Talk a bit about your writing process and how you’ve had to (if you have had to) adapt it to different genres (scriptwriting, developing a theatre piece, etc.)? TM: I have different processes for different genres. Poetry is very organic – I feel something in my spirit or see something I haven’t seen before so I grab a pen and write it down. Then I put it away and look at it after a few days or sometimes months and then I edit. Scriptwriting is different in that I am told what to write about. I read my breakdown and allow the characters to come
to me and speak to me. Then I go to the page and write what I see, hear and feel. Theatre is a beautiful medium because I already know what I want to say. The trick is to find a way in which to show it, so I spend a lot of time working out the characters and the structure of a play. PP: You did an amazing interview with Myesha on Poetry In The Air. You performed For Coloured Girls about girls who don’t wear panties – what inspired this poem? You sound happy when you perform this poem, is this a happy poem? TM: The poem came to me while I was preparing for a live music show called Tereska & The Coloured Girls. I needed a poem to sum up the essence of a “Coloured” girl. I was the original inspiration for the poem because I am all those girls the poem talks about. It was also inspired by girlfriends I grew up with and all the “Coloured” girls I knew, young and old. The poem revealed to me that we were all girls of colour, no matter what race, age or background, because all girls are colourful. I realised that I and many “Coloured” women/girls were afraid of calling ourselves Coloured because it is not always politically correct. This poem liberated me to not only once again label myself but also to put every woman of every colour, background and nature in my rainbow. It reinforces that we are more similar than we are different. So yes, it is a happy poem and it is fun to perform because it unifies us as women.
22 PP: This poem invokes and reminds one of Ntozake Shange’s “this is for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf”. Was it inspired by Shange’s seminal work? I do love how different from that it actually is. Talk to me about this line “we all belong to the same rainbow”… what emotions, inspirations, thoughts got you to this point of the poem? TM: Shange’s work has inspired not only this poem but also my play Te Veel vir ‘n Coloured Girl in that it is also a choreopoem. For this particular poem I would like to think that I only borrowed ‘coloured girls’ and the idea of the rainbow from her work. The term Coloured is different in the USA from what it means in SA so Shange and I use it in different contexts. The poem plays on the words colour, Coloured, colourful which relates to a rainbow. This in turn relates to South Africa which we like to call the rainbow nation. I find that we as South Africans are still very much tribalistic so we like to categorise people, focussing on (mostly negative) stereotypes for each ethnic group. I’m tired of having to explain who and what I am and what being Coloured means and defending myself against negative stereotypes. The line “we all belong to the same rainbow” means that we all belong to the human race and that should be enough so we should stop judging and just accept each other. It also shows that our diversity is a beautiful thing and that each human being possesses all the colours of the rainbow. So, in essence, we are one. The word “belong” is very important to me because for a long time I was searching for a place to belong to, a ‘racial group’ where I can fit in. This line showed me that I can belong to the rainbow because the rainbow is as colourful as I am and it will neither judge nor discard me. The rainbow symbolises hope and dreams and magic and beauty. This line gives me peace. PP: This year, you worked on your first theatrical poetry production, Te Veel vir ‘n Coloured Girl. What is this production about? TM: Te Veel is actually my second play. The first was “Who Am I?” which showcased at Arts Alive in 2009. Te Veel is born
out of my frustration as a Coloured woman living in modern day South Africa. I feel marginalized and I’m still angry about how Apartheid placed us in the middle of black and white and on top of that I’m dealing with my own issues as a woman and mother. It’s too much for a Coloured girl! So, through poetry, song and dance, the play shows four young women who are dealing with all these issues. It touches on themes ranging from identity, abuse, romance, sisterhood and self-discovery. My heart’s desire is that every ‘girl’ in South Africa should see it, especially the Coloured girls who are very near and dear to my heart because we are still very confused. PP: Why did you search for performers in your hometown and choose to launch it there first? I decided to launch the play in Bloemfontein for various reasons: 1) Most of the poems and monologues in the play are inspired by the people of Heidedal, the Coloured township in Bloem where I grew up, so I wanted to pay homage to my community. 2) I wanted the work to have an authentic feel so it was important to have my characters speak in the dialect I speak and love and which is so unique. 3) There are very little opportunities for local artists and since I’m planning on touring nationally and internationally with the play I thought it would be a great opportunity for Bloem artists to gain experience and exposure. 4) I want to show the rest of the country that Bloem artists are just as talented as the rest of SA. 5) Lastly, I wanted to expose the community to the beautiful art of poetry and get them to love it as much as I do. PP: What have been your expectations for the production and did they match what has happened since? TM: Honestly, I was overwhelmed by the response I received. My homeboy, director Angelo Mockie, did an outstanding job of bringing my work to life and the performing artists portrayed the characters beautifully. My only desire
was that if a Coloured girl/woman came and watched the play, that she should walk out of the theatre with a sense of pride. Not only could the women/girls relate and felt proud of themselves, but so did everyone – boys, uncles, grandfathers & people of all races loved it. The show has been nominated for Best Debut Production at the Vryfees. PP: Having gone through this experience, are you inspired to create more pieces like this? What are you working on next? TM: Yes, theatre is an invaluable medium. It draws people in and is a nice vehicle in which to use poetry. I already have another play on my heart, also about women. But right now I’m working on a documentary about identity. I’ll also be launching a blog soon. It will be called… yes…you guessed it…Too Much For A Coloured Girl!
PP: What inspires you? I’m thinking about the piece you wrote about your son, “Goodbye”. Often poetry is personal, I know for me it certainly is even if I share it with the world. How much of your personal life inspires poetry? TM: My poetry is very personal and most of my inspiration comes from my family and life in general. I like to think that I got my writing style from my mom because she has this unique way of expressing herself. Most of my work is so personal that I don’t want to publicise it but that is what makes it relevant and effective. I pity my mom and siblings because I expose a lot of things about them that they would prefer to keep private. I appreciate them for allowing me my freedom of speech. PP: Also tell me about writing from within. Sometimes, I find writing a poem would help me figure out what’s going on inside but other times, whatever is going on inside refuses to come out or it’s not yet ready. Have you experienced a poem that has taken forever to write? How long has it taken you to write some poems? TM: For me mostly the writing is quick but the germinating period is long. The poem “Goodbye” which you’ve just mentioned was a poem that was hiding in my spirit for a long time before I even realised what was going on. For months, I felt sad but I didn’t know the cause of my sadness. Then came this poem and I realised I was mourning my son growing out of childhood and becoming an independent person. It only took a few minutes to write the poem but only when it was on paper I understood and allowed myself to cry. PP: I know I’d love to read a book of your poems… What do you have in store for us in future? TM: I’m editing my manuscript at the moment. I already have a prospective publisher so the book should be out next year. I want to explore as many facets of writing as possible so the future includes essays, short stories, children stories, more plays, doccies, drama series, a movie and maybe a novel.
â€œ...there is a dark place within, where hidden and growing our true spirit rises...â€? ~ audre lorde
Sale Souls Last seen, Scene caused in the city centre. Cents dance on the concrete , Singing to their throwing for his drawing, My reciting. Cents I said!!! For a soul poured out onto canvases and sculptures. I sleep missing every night, Never complete And the only way to fill the void is give a piece of me everyday. To mirrors that only throw my image back at my face And crowds that throw cents, These people cant find the human in their souls, I took no offence for my soul was not for sale anyway...
Yes, I have missed you Yes, I have missed you and you are DIRECTLY fixed to the poetry in my heart the words that run off my tongue You are the space in which I breathe the bond that is not lost between continents or man-made borders This cannot be measured by crossed lines or pushed limits (they donâ€™t exist here) this dormancy that shakes itself awake like an old memory as you speak the first word
Tonight you call unexpectedly Tonight you call unexpectedly. As always, catching me off guard. And I hear the cotton wool And the glass in your voice. I listen between the words, Spoken slowly tonight, And hear the softness and brittleness That drips from your soul. I recognize what this is. You have saturated me. Poured, with every thought, Yourself into me. Filling every cell Every muscle Every movement. And when you hang up, Every moment That lies between words Is heavy with unbearable longing
She is Courage There lies the port, As acoustic strings play her favourite jazz melody But yet, she dances to her own pulse For she has found the power, To let go of the familiar To spread her wings, And soar the jealous skies in the contra direction Start an expedition, On the road not taken Blessed is she with strong shoes Her feet stubbornly firm on this journey Saying I will not turn For valour is her gift And she makes a virtue of necessity Humbled by her triumphs celebrated silently And unlike prisoned souls, Chanting renaissances about freedom She knows her musical prodigy, ‘Beat the bushes, leave no stone unturned’ For what we seek we shall find; What we flee from flees from us ‘And I plan to drink life to the lees’ O but she is fortunate Her heart has the same dream as her mind Mind conceive Heart believe Flesh achieve Soul keep the unkempt pure of evil against this dream
For time for other methods of self-preservation have no room She has not two eternities and a half The vessels have long puffed her sails Twilight awaits no more And soon every being shall wonder, Who is she, with a heroic heart?
Heartbeat The heartbeat of Africa is slowly dying The beat that was once heard from all 4 corners of the world Vibrant So loud But today it’s territory is taken over by the bitter screams of evil Izolo I aborted ubuntu cutting the umbilical cord with the same dagger we used to repeatedly stab love, joy and hope in the back By planting a seed of evil in our hearts Letting dark blood run in our veins Blood of hatred Erasing all that uMama and uTata has taught us Loving thy neighbour Forgetting that she was the one that left a warm meal on our cracked doorstep when uGogo couldn’t provide But namhlanje when we hear screams We put on our headphones to try enter another sphere And say to ourselves: ‘Let her deal with her own demons’ But I ask myself,what kind of a woman deserves? What kind of a woman deserves to cry every night? Wondering where she went wrong Because her little angels of yesterday’s hope are today’s nightmare Her little demons, beating and bruising her with words, actions on the regular But we put on our headphones and try enter another sphere
The world is a dangerous place not because of the things that happen but because of the people that watch and let it happen Einstein was right If he only knew that those words would be the explanation of the muting of the heartbeat of Africa The flame is dying No more wood to keep the fire burning The heartbeat is dying and so the bitter screams of evil be the rhythm of tomorrow.
A Table Of Fighters I was sitting around a table with 6 strong women Women that had 6 different stories to tell Stories of hardship Stories that are the cause of their daily heartache Yet they have beautiful faces to hide, veil the pain Stories that were to the benefit of others Abantwana babo Those loved ones Those same loved ones that took them for granted Took them for granted when they would hear them cry Hear their snuffles and smalls sobs of help; direction; hope and assurance Those that insisted on not understanding Forcing matters when hardship was a member of the family Those that made them face the music for the consequences of thy third party Making each day exhausting But yet these women had straight, structured frames To bury the burdens they carry They all had a different story to tell But they all had 1 thing in common They had to make the big sacrifice
My Weaknesses I begged I pleaded I asked for forgiveness, but you, you would not relieve me of my burden. You laughed as I cried for my pain was your pleasure. I was weak, fragile, I asked for help, but nothing, nothing as you stole my life. You thrived on my pain, and found joy out of my sadness. When I cried out for you, you would laugh, laugh at my weakness. For I, I cannot stop, as I still need you in my life
Accident Your love shone brightly, a lighthouse Marking home when I had none My soul afloat in a sea of regret Your warmth made me forget All I had lost when looking for the shore In me, you uncovered so much more Than all I ever dreamed or imagined Out of your fire a radiant being
Were It Mine Were it mine to count your days Preset all the ways Your life could twist and turn This event, I would delete or burn As your breathing slowly dies down The scavenger crowd lingers on, curiously Grotesquely, your life ceases abruptly In my mind echo your last words A tremulous, fearful, “Help me!” Were it mine, to decide your fate I’d drown their hate with love
Fortress As I child I would not sleep Till I was able to complete The painstaking nightly task Building a fortress around my bed Teddy bears and dolls stand guard Against monsters and trolls Now Iâ€™m grown but cannot let go Of this propensity for building walls Secure , invisible , impenetrable Around my heart and soul To protect from the all too real pain Of heartbreaks and disappointment At times I long to let down the barricade But fear and past experiences prevail So I patch my fortress walls to safely hide Yet all the while longing, trying For something , anything That can only be reached by breaking them
Diamonds Rough like diamonds rough, dusty and dull; lying useless in a deep and dull place lord make us useful. discover us, pick us up use us for your own glory. cut our hearts into your desired shape, re-create us, make us what you want us to be: neck-pieces, bracelets, rings, anything. remove all unnecessary habits & manners dust us up, polish us, make us shine. LORD not so we can become selfish and proud but LORD so we can make someone beautiful & smile.
African Brother Flowing like poetry You move me, with untold stories Of your past and present You are poetry Feeding slowly my soul with words Poetic words my heart skips a beat to, Skips an African beat to, whenever you pass by. My words so simple like nursery rhymes Are to simply say, African brother I adore you.
Beautiful Woman Beautiful woman! Borrow me your hair, Long and smooth, So I can also look beautiful. With heels let me attain your height, And perhaps like you stand out. Stand still, Let me carefully study you, So I can master the way you talk, And act the way you act. The way you look is a symbol of right isn’t it? The way I look a symbol of wrong. Beautiful woman! But isn’t your creator my creator? Weren’t we both moulded from the same dust, Which we will one day return to? Weren’t we both moulded by the same hands of the master, Which knows not any wrong? Beautiful woman! Why then should I look down upon myself, And feel ashamed about how I look? Because surely it hurts my creator, To see me constantly trying to change myself to look like you. Because surely it hurts my creator, To see me constantly trying to create myself, While my creation was completed in the womb, Beautiful woman!
â€œbut women have survived. as poets. there are no new pains. we have felt them all already...â€? ~ audre lorde
review by zamantungwa ◊◊◊◊ Writing is a solitary act that produces something that must be shared. While the act of writing may and often does, serve a personal purpose that act of sharing is about inspiring the collective. Ultimately, creativity is a communal experience. It is for collective good. This communal experience is important - for the greater good. This August, six creative women came together to engage in a poetic conversation about sex. These women, Vangi Gantsho, Thandokuhle Mngqibisa, Myesha Jenkins, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers and Sarah Godsell often create on their own. But this time they joined forces to create something amazing. Of the five poets, Sarah Godsell is the only whose work was new to me however I knew to expect a powerful collaboration having seen and read the work of the other poets. I had the pleasure of watching their collaboration titled Secret with the Moon, named after a line in one of Vangi’s poems. It was directed by Megan Godsell and staged at Wits
Theatre as part of the Drama For Life: Sex Actually festival. This year, Drama For Life, was themed “Speaking actively and transparently about sex, relationships, masculinities and gender-based violence this national festival focuses on dynamic dialogue as a primary precursor for community engagement.” An this collaboration fit perfectly with that theme.
Walking into the theatre, we found the poets sitting around, drinking, tea or coffee, knitting and chatting… At first, we didn’t realise that the show had started but slowly as we hear what they are talking about, sex. Some of us start to think “maybe the show has started” as they start to talk about “the first time”. Vangi looks up at someone in the audience and asks them about their first time. Amidst the unsure and nervous giggles in the audience, a cautious answer is given. Myesha says about her first time not being nice, someone else reveals there was a lot of blood… by the time a young guy in the audience tells us about his romantic first time (candles and snows and a fire!) the laughter is genuine. And just like that the poets have disarmed us, done what many don’t know how to do to get an audience to participate, talk about sex in an open and honest way - without feeling the spotlight.
54 The poets then started to recite pieces that were conversational, confessional and told stories if over shade of women an or girl you can think of. From the girl who first falls for a boy to the soft, curious touches between two lovers. To longing for fantastical love, searching for the happily ever after... “...dreaming of an artist to sweep her into his arms / she wrote and prayed and eventually he did appear / her handsome prince with lyrics toxically sincere...” ~Vangi Gantsho From loving in all body shapes and sizes and ages... sugardaddies and young cubs. To putting on a tough demeanour to protect your heart. From the lessons young girls are taught by older women. “I have knelt at mother’s knee /imbibing certainty like milk /and now the milky way has gone sour because of universal...” ~Phillippa de Villiers Gently the poets led us from the laughter to spaces darker and less happy and giddy. The realities of love gone wrong of sex unhappy... “...this woman knows that the truth has gone to hell in a handbag/ matching lipstick/ matching dustbin / matching silence / lips painted shut” ~Phillippa de Villiers “I will never sleep again / the memory of my kind tossed in the veld“ ~ Myesha Jenkins “...this love turned hate turned death is a bone old tale / but we must unpick if we can ever love safely” ~Sarah Godsell In a production well put together it is difficult to say so and so stood our so and so not so much… and I’m glad I don’t have to do that with this production. These poets are outstanding writers and great on stage too. The composition of five strong voices meant that we had five kinds of love, five kinds of laughter and even five kinds of anger… the journey form the giddy, nervous laughter about our first times, to the contented sighs of that a real love to the soft sighs over the heartbreak to the burning anger over violations… these are all the shades of sex actually. I think the best part about this show was their decision
to start with conversation, light comfortable conversation about topics that aren’t easy to talk about. Then the stories, wrapped in poetry, led us deeper into the taboo subject of sex with all its beautiful ugly accessories. The poetry selected told the story of many young girls, and women. The selection worked very well, especially how it was put together. Interestingly, there was not false hope set up at the end with flowery words of “you will triumph”. Instead the journey started in lightness and laughter and ended up in a dark space. At first it felt like they stopped too soon. In the wrong place. But in hindsight, isn’t that where many people end up. It was a great experience. I hope that this collective can take their poems to other stages. Only one change I think may be good for the conversation - as the show starts with conversation, I think it should also end with conversation. Other than that, I recommend that readers, look for the poetry collections published by these poets. And also start that uncomfortable conversation about sex with friends and family...
photo essay by Sindisiwe Buthelezi of AzaniaZulu Photography
Wheelbarrow Woman... in KwaNdebele Mpumalanga June 2013
Suitcase Woman... in KwaBulawayo - Zimbabwe July 2012 for the Voices in Color project
Cooking Women... in KwaNdebele - Mpumalanga June 2013
Walking Home... in KwaNdebele - Mpumalanga June 2013
CONTRIBUTORS FASAHA MSHAIRI is the stage name of Hazel Tobo who born in Tembisa 1993 and grew up in Polokwane. She started writing at the age of 11 and it has grown into the passion. She plays the recorder and harmonica and also does photography as a hobby. She has a published book, audio and DVD, under the theme “HAVE WE PUT OUT THE FIRE”, together compiled with SHINDIG AWE. She has performed at a number of events around Polokwane, nanely “Kgorong Poetry and Sound”, “Woman’s Conference” , Fire on the mountain annual festival in Limpopo and “The Next Generation Poetry” shows in Melville, Gauteng. MANDY MITCHELL lives on a thornveld farm in KwazuluNatal with her husband and two young daughters. She completed her BA (English Lit and Pol Sci) at the University of Natal, PMB, and has had poetry published in New Coin, Botsotso, Carapace and African Writing. MONIQUE BARNARD was in Grade 12 when she first submitted her poems for online publication on Poetry Potion. Her favourite poets are D.H Lawrence and Emily Bronte. SAURELL BOYERS is a writer compelled to write MORULA WA KUTUKGOLO was born Motlatsi Mary Thosago, she writes what the spirit likes. The spirit not of fear but of power, love and self control - to God be the glory. SINDISIWE BUTHELEZI is a designer and a self-taught photographer based in Pretoria, South Africa. Her company is AzaniaZulu Creations - www.azaniazulu.com
the best of Poetry Potion Poetry Potion was founded so that we could bring great poetry to all kinds of readers. We recognise that times are changing and while some technology is growing fast and more people are accessing new technology, some things arenâ€™t moving as fast. The costs for accessing laptops and the internet and buying books are still a bit of a challenge. So to make sure that more people can find our poems we have joined two interesting programmes. 1. Our poetry is now available on a new Mxit reader app called Bookly. Now Mxit users can read free ebooks and buy ebooks using the Mxit currency, Moolah. So all the poetry that you have been able to read online and in print will now be available on your cellphone, on Mxit... if you are a Mxit user. All you have to do is add Bookly as a contact and then to search for Poetry Potion. 2. Poetry Potion is also joining the awesome, Worldreader project. Our poetry will be available on this Africa-wide project that aims to make literature available to more and more young people who wouldnâ€™t ordinarily be able to find poetry and novels and fiction. Our books will be available through their mobile app. So on their cellphones, young readers will be able to search for books from their own countries and worldwide. Worldreader also runs a programme that makes ebooks available to schools and organisations through the kindle. We are very proud to be able to contribute to these two programme. Not only will our poets reach more eager poetry lovers throughout the continent but young poetry lovers will know when they see names they recognise from their own countries, that they too can become published poets.
elebrating Years of Poetry Potion
In 2012, poetrypotion.com celebrated five years of being online with our first print edition. This edition features poems celebrating five years of mixing it up as well as interviews with Napo Masheane, Andrew Manyika and Proverb.
Print Quarterly number one
This is the first print edition of Poetry Potion. It features some great poetry as well as a profile of poet, Vangi Gantsho and Q&As with up and coming poets Sihle Ntuli and Mapule Mohulatsi.
The second print edition was inspired by Fanon’s “every generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it.” The edition features a poet profile with Mphutlane wa Bofelo, a review of the Lesego Rampolokeng week hosted by Afrikan Freedom Station, poetry by Carla Chait, Sithembile Matyobeni, Sihle Ntuli, Ndaba Sibanda, Roche Koster, Khanyo Mjamba, Tariq Toffa, Thabang waba Moabi, Raymond Mupatapanja, Chad Brevis, Nana Agyemang Ofosu and HotnyHaze.
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Abigail George, Aboo Hansa, Africanchild, Afrikavrou, A Alyssa, Anathi Nish Tiyo, Andiswa Onke Maqutu, Angell Aubrey Ngwenya, Ayabulela Tutuse, Ayodeji Morakinyo, A Bandung Poet Mau Mau, Blou Leask, Bongani Ngcobo, B (BeLUMKO), Busisiwe Khanyile, Carla Chait, Carol Ronald Chris Lawrence, Christine Msibi, CJ, Clifton Gachagua, C Danieluv, Darshana Nagar, David Wa Mahlaamela, Diliza Ebele Mogo, Elizabeth Wurz, Elle, Ephraim Zuva, Esosa O Mshairi (HotnyHaze), Fathima Dawood, Felix Erasmus, Feze Hanekom, Glodina Gordon, Gnosis, Grace Nkosi, Guy Ric Icebound, Indigolunarh, Itumeleng, Jaco Jacobs, Jaco Vd W Jolyn Phillips, Juliejacqui, Kabelo Mashishi, Kabelo Mofoke Dinthloane, Khanyo Mjamba, Khomotjo Manthata, Kofi Baa Lucas “Pilgrim” Serei, Lwazi Prolific, M Jay Mutle, M Rantoa, Poefficient, Mandy Mitchell, Mapitsane Maila, Masechaba Oswald Mtshali, Mbuzobuciko, Mduduzi Benedict Gam Modise, Mohamed Sheikh Abdiaziz, Monique Barnard, M Shimo Seletisha, Mpho Khosi, Mpho Malepa, Mr Christyle Thlalefang, Nancy Morkel, Napo Masheane, Natural_Mysti Molefe, Nick Purdon, Noni, Ntanjana Sisipho, Nyakale Pamella Dlungwane, Philile Ntuli, Phillip Taute, Phoenix J, P ‘The Truth’ Molokoane, Raymond Mupatapanja, Reitumets The Common Man, Roché Koster, Roland Ndu Akpe, Ro Bamjee, Samuel Azubuike Duru, Samuel Ndango, Sarah Tshesane, Sihle Ntuli, Similo Gobingca, Simiso Slashfire So Matyobeni, Siyanda Kwaza, Siza Nkosi, Sonny, Soul Child Tariq Toffa, Thabang Waba Moabi, Thabiso Matupa, Tha Muchuri, Tommy Dennis, Toni Stuart, Tonye Willie-Pepple, Monaisa, Uduak Robert, Ugwu Stanislaus Nnachetam, Va Vuyokazi S Yonke, Walt Geldenhuys, Xorpoodleking, Yolan Marbel, Zamantungwa, Zhaunine Petersen, Zwesh Fi Kus
Alexander Kane, Allan Kolski Horwitz, Aloysius Gonzaga, luv, Annique Le Roux, Anthea De Bruyn, Ashraf Booley, Azola Dayile, Babalwa â€œLady Bâ€? Kona, Bakhulule Maluleka, Brendan Hepburn, Bruce Cooper, Bulumko Ka Nyamezele dson, Chad Brevis, Charl Landsberg, Chisanga Kabinga, Clinton De Wee, Cornelius Jones, Dafa, Daniel Bogogolela, L Madikiza, Dina Koumatse, Dineo Ramokgopa, Dinitah, Omo-Usoh, Esther Van Der Vyver, Exavario Dafa, Fasaha ekile Futhwa, Galapagos, Gavintonks, Genna Gardini, Gert chie, Hajo Isa, Hape Mokhele, Hector Kunene, Heletia Smit, Westhuizen, Jared A. Carnie, Jazz Africa, Jerome Cornelius, eng, Keileng Junior, Keletso Thobega, Kella Kills, Kgosietsile ako Pe, Lazola Pambo, Lethlogonolo Mashego, Liya Bona, , M.B. Gama, Madlu Saladi, Mafika Gwala, Maikutlo, Mandi Letsela, Masingita Masiya, Matshepo Thafeng, Mbuyiseni ma, Mercy Dhliwayo, Miriam Dube, Mis2ly, Miss Devine, Moonviolets, Morula Wa Kutukgolo, Moses Mtileni, Moses e, Muriel Moafrika Mokgathi, Mwape Mumba, Mzilikazi, Nabi ic, Ndaba Sibanda, Ndumiso Sikhakhane, Neo Shameyaa Mokgosi, Obakeng, Ononiwu Fortune, Page Ngwenya, Poet Mau Mau, Poeticus, Prince Shapiro, Quaz, Rantoloko se Johnson, Reitumetse Sefolo, Rick Thomas, Righteous ose, Rudene Watt, Sabelo Wa Ka Methula, Saleeha Idrees Lauzon, Saurell Boyers, Sehlohlo Piet Rampai, Sekgokgo okhela, Simphiwe Phukwane, Sinovuyo Nkonki, Sithembile d, Soulful Flyer, Sphe Artee, Stella Ashworth, Sun Sword, abo Jijana, The Black Poet, The Skeleton Coast, Tinashe , Torry Msimango, Tosin Otitoju, Tracy Swain, Tshegofatso anessa Cardui, Vangi Gantsho, Verity Maud, Vic Mahlangu, nda Arroyo-Pizarro, Yoliswa Mogale, Yorric Watterott, Yoshira sh... want your name on this list? SUBMIT YOUR POEMS!
This is the third print quarterly from Poetry Potion. Inspired by Audre Lorde's essay, this edition is themed "Poetry Is Not A Luxury" feat...
Published on Sep 10, 2013
This is the third print quarterly from Poetry Potion. Inspired by Audre Lorde's essay, this edition is themed "Poetry Is Not A Luxury" feat...