on being human
2013 | 01 print quarterly www.poetrypotion.com
ISSN 2304-8107 editor & publisher duduzile zamantungwa mabaso graphic design & layout Black Letter Media (Pty) Ltd All images by Black Letter Media, accept where indicated. Photography of Vangi Gantsho on page 14 is by Azania Zulu Photography, AzaniaZulu.com Queries www.poetrypotion.com email@example.com PO Box 94004 Yeoville, 2143 Johannesburg, South Africa Published by Black Letter Media (Pty) Ltd Tel: +27 84 386 2613 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.
zamantungwa - Poetry is Existentialism
The Glass Mind by Sihle Ntuli
20 Jared A. Carnie 21 Mercy Dhliwayo 22 Thabang Waba Moabi 23 Saaleha Idrees Bamjee 25 Indi 27 Tonye Willie-Pepple 28 Lucas “Pilgrim” Serei 30 Thabo Jijana 33 Chad Brevis 33 Matshepo Thafeng 35 Anathi Nish Tiyo 37 Ebele Mogo 38 Vanessa Smeets 39 Sihle Ntuli 40 Hajo Isa 41 Kgomotso J Kgopa
q&a - up&coming
Poems published online
The Suitable Girl - a review
62 contributors 64 Submissions Guidelines
Poetry & Existentialism
e are very complex. Humans are complex beings. We have an immense capacity for greatness. And at times because we can get so caught up in the race to acquire, to showboat and be the one on top, we seem to have an even greater capacity for darkness. And living, living is a constant battle to untangle this complexity without complicating or frustrating it. I sometimes feel that poetry and life, living, are such closely related processes that one could say the poetry is existential. I started writing poems as a way to understand myself and the world. When struggling with some dark emotions, the only way to keep my head from exploding has been to write it down, to write a poem. For some reason rhyme, meter, rhythm, word play helps me have a better sense of my humanity and helps me deal with the humanity around me. George Bernard Shaw said: “Only on paper has humanity yet achieved glory, beauty, truth, knowledge, virtue, and abiding love.” I’ve attempted to find answers by writing and reading other poems. It is in poems that I’ve found the beauty, truth and knowledge that Shaw speaks about. Poems and poets have taught me to see the beauty of humanity and in poems, I imagine a world more virtuous and glorious. So, asking for poems written to the On Being Human theme, I hoped for beauty, knowledge, love, virtue, for an understand and celebration of the human being just being. All this and more drives the reason why I write, why I love poetry. Poetry has always helped me deal through my numerous existential crises. If I had nothing, at least I had poetry. My first poem, Walk on (Have Plenty), (a pretty awful poem) dealt with a crisis 6
over whether to give my lunch to a homeless man I encountered on my way to school. It was confessional in spirit. It sent me into a crisis because I kept wondering why he was there, how he’d come to be there and how even my lunch would not really be much help. It dealt with my feelings at the moment of that encounter and it left me open to a different way of being. Poetry requires one to look inward with as much intensity as you look outward. Poetry has the power to remind us how to be human again. Through poetry we can explore what makes us human, we can give meaning to life and get us to live it meaningfully and passionately. When I put out a call for this edition and came up with the theme, On Being Human, I didn’t realise that I was entering existentialist territory. I was inspired by South Africa’s Human Right’s Day, 21 March also known as Sharpeville Day - a day in 1960 when apartheid cops shot, in the back, and killed 69 of about 6000 Black people who had marched to the police station to hand themselves over for not carrying their pass books. This had been part of the protest against pass law organised by the Pan African Congress (PAC). When the PAC was tried for defying apartheid law, one of its leaders, Potlako Leballo said this: “We believe in one race only - the human race to which we belong. The history of the human race is a long history of struggle against all restrictions, physical, mental and spiritual. We would have betrayed the human race if we had not done our share.” They fought to be human and that fight continues to be fought everyday. I salute these heroes who died tragically on that fateful day. The poems, I’ve received for On Being Human, examine and comment on the human condition in an interesting way. While questioning, describing, critiquing the human condition, the poets also attempted to give meaning to life. Every time we take pen to paper, distil our thoughts in rhyme scheme, metre, apply metaphor and imagery, we search for humanity. So with this edition, we poets are attempting to do our share to not betray the human race. We are saying we’re here. To be cheesy - we write poems, therefore we are... If existentialism precedes essence then poetry is existentialism and I dedicate this edition to all those who have fought for and continue to fight for our humanity. 7
The Glass Mind Sihle Ntuli
Rushed head in head rush, Rash mind spreads thought through scratching heads? Spread it some more “Sick mind”, Think Spread on bread, Food for thought, Making Sense? Cents less It’s free It Makes No cents but why should it? These words spill out the mind and slip out the tongue I talk before I think, The words spill out the mind and slip out the tongue, Never talking much, So many stressed syllables I stress syllables less Thus the breath will be saved without the priest Head rush through a rash head spreads, Scratching heads rationalizes a thought? The state of mind In thought? State Your Mind In thought! Welcome to the State of mind, Please present your passport, This status isn’t fine it’s a fine Pay with a roll of the tongue and hope your mind lands on the right word’s , The words slip of the mind and are spilt by the tongue The words slip my mind and split, what was I going to say? Scratched mind, a rushed head Mind secrets reveal verbal stars in between The cursed tongue of an ill mind Leaves a spoken head and spinning thoughts Brain in motion like the wheel Till it falls off 8
Sihle Ntuli Poetry Potion: What inspires you to write? Sihle Ntuli: I became fascinated by legacies in general I was in awe of the idea that a name can be immortalised. I chose writing as a medium because it was most true to me I do not perform and seldom read my pieces probably due to my introversion. When I do write it usually comes to me or I write a phrase that I will either end with or begin with then I take it from there. I write mostly about life and what I like and what I don’t like. I am inspired by short films especially the French one’s just because they have clever twists and clever ways of telling stories I try and do the same. PP: You tend to experiment a lot of with voice and form, why do you do that? SH: Experimenting is the basis of a large portion of my writing I crash and burn as often as I create the decent pieces. I think it helps that I am not a trained writer nobody taught me to do what I do I even misspell words that sound the same on purpose. I’m still learning to reduce others errors and I am always working on my style of poetry but to me experimenting is key. 9
In terms of voice and form I do not over think writing I just write with the story in mind that I want to tell and how I’ll tell it. I place a lot of emphasis on imagery and word play. I also do have a lot of figurative language in my work especially in a piece like “Love this lie” I personified sound and made it bite as an example. When I read it now I would have to say it is the most experimental and figurative piece I have ever done. I think the biggest problem with fellow writers particularly poets of today is the inability to experiment and have a bit of fun at the expense of language. I write the way I do because I know it is written form poetry and rather than spoken word poetry it has to have something more that makes it stand out so I have to try things in order to find that decent poem PP: Do you care whether or not your words mean something to anyone, or is the writing a self serving exercise? SH: Writing for me in way is a self serving exercise I tend to write a lot about myself though not always directly and if anyone finds that they really feel or the find the same or similar experiences in their life through what I am saying then I would be happy with that. In the end though I care as much as the reader cares the work was written to be read. PP: Who is your favourite writer and for what reason are they your favourite writer? SH: I’m particularly fond of Gil Scott Heron. The reason for me liking him is that he had inventiveness along with his brave approach to his pieces. I try my hardest not to mimic anybody but his style is a particular influence to me to such an extent that when I suffer from a block first thing I do is I consult YouTube and watch a video of Gil Scott Heron. PP: In “Soul Searching” you write about everybody wanting to be somebody, what inspired that poem? SH: “The gospel of the state of mind/The calmness of the blues/Where did the soul go?” These three lines are the first I had written down off the top of my head. The poem was written in frustration about the way things are, the soullessness of the older generation of poets and DJs so I 10
ask “where did the soul go?” I feel the saturation of the DJ’s points to the loss of the sole reason of why one would do it and I thought it should be for the love (I assume). In that sense having no love in my opinion is a characteristic of one has no soul. That said, I thought I’d point out the ulterior motives of why some DJs do it. In my eyes, the immediate reason was for the women and sex. Going back to the soullessness of the older generation of poets I wanted to show that they (In my eyes) showed little love to the newer generation. They are, in my terms “soulless”. what of the loving aspiring writers? I wrote the piece for all those unrequited souls who are losing their souls to the craft of writing - at this point I was. The struggle continues and I’m still trying to get recognised “Nowadays everybody wants to be somebody/Other than their body” The fear of no recognition and acknowledgment in my view is why solitary confinement is viewed as a form of punishment no soul to speak to and touch and listen to. On the other hand the mind in itself can be a form of solitary confinement hence introversion. One would lose their mind if they became invisible. In other words, humans need each other more than they’ll ever know. Interestingly, I hadn’t heard any new soul music releases at the time so I decided to use some wordplay about searching for soul for the time. PP: Through poetry we seek to understand ourselves, how does your studies colour your writing, your understanding of humans being? SH: It would certainly be dull without it. In psychology we were taught about the workings of the mind and given theories as to why human beings behave and function the way they do so I have a bit of an upper hand in terms of being a little more familiar with theorist’s opinions on why humans do what they do. My familiarity though doesn’t make me an authority so I try not to deeply implement my studies though some things do pop up at various points. My poetry is a form of reflection. I could say it’s holding up a mirror in some pieces but I also write a lot of figurative things to emphasise what’s wrong with the literal world. Human beings are complex in their difficulty and in the stories that they house within themselves. 11
PP: Are you working on publishing a collection any time soon? SH: I am. I certainly want to publish though finding a publisher is something that is quite tough in this day and age. At times I get frustrated and want to publish immediately then I think about self publishing and then other days I notice that everybody wants to be published just as much as I do and this makes me work more on my craft a little bit more. Self publishing for me is less prestigious and takes quite a lot out of you in terms of marketing, distribution etc so I’ve decided earlier this year to wait it out and keep submitting to journals. In terms of the actual collection I’ve titled it “Sparrows & Stranger” PP: Complete this: “Writing is...” SH: Writing is the link to the third eye that blinks at the comma and pauses at the full stop. A full stop is merely an eclipse hiding an ellipsis that points to the endlessness of possibilities.
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seeing the poetic landscape, through vangi-tinted glasses
Vangile Gantsho has been steadily making her way into the poetry scene since the mid 2000s. Starting out in poetry circles at varsity, she has worked her way in quietly and steadily. As a performer, her style is at ease yet it penetrates the heart. She does this all without any pomp and performance. I think this is why people have come to love her. zamantungwa had the chance to chat with her online about her journey in poetry. Zamantungwa: I find that many writers start to tell stories quite early 14
on in their lives, either by making up stories for their friends, or just always scribbling something down on paper. When did you start to toy with words and what do you think inspired that? Vangile Gantsho: When I was a little girl. We moved around a lot so books, kind of, became my only constant friends. I didn’t have to say goodbye and I could take them with. From there on, I started to make up my own stories. Then my dad suggested I write them down And I did. My writing hasn’t always been good, but it’s always been true. If that makes sense. It’s always been a release. You can lie your way through life but the pen doesn’t lie. Somehow when you put it on paper, it has to be true. (Probably why I still prefer writing with a pen and on paper first before typing) Sorry... I’m a blabber mouth Za: No worries - that’s why you write and perform, isn’t it? VG: True Za: Talk a bit more though about that “pen and paper” preference. What does it do for your writing process and your thought process? VG: When you type, you’re thinking but also have to find the keys and are more conscious of punctuation and grammar. But when you write, it’s straight from the mind to the page. The pen and the hand work together in a way that is “messenger”, without interference. If that makes sense... Prof Kgosietsile once made us do a writing exercise where we had to write whatever came to us. We weren’t allowed to stop or think. Just write. And he said that was the truth. When you type, you think. And when you think, you edit Za: Once you start editing you don’t finish. lol! I know about that VG: Dude! lol Za: “when you put it on paper, it has to be true!” I find that thread through a lot of your writing - I checked out your blog. Your writing is quite intimate and personal. How do you balance not revealing too much or all of yourself on the public stage? Do you ever think this is TMI? VG: hahahahahaha!!!!!! I don’t. 15
My family and friends constantly tell me I share too much. And I probably do. But I can’t help it. I try to keep some things to myself but I also understand that a lot of things I’ve been through have been for building purposes. And the Universe doesn’t just build you for building sake. It builds you for purpose And when the Universe blesses you with a gift, you cannot choose when to listen and when not to. So these experiences are not unique to me. But I have been blessed with the ability to speak them. At times to heal others, at times to teach but mostly, for me to survive. Za: Just going back to writing process, in relation to what you’ve just said. How do you approach your writing? Are all your poems just inspired, do they fall on the page perfectly or do you find you have to work at it? VG: Both. There are times when writing is easy. Inspiration flows and the page is full. Then there are times when writing is a battle. And there is fighting (usually a resistance of the truth or the self) and tears and it takes a long time. And then there is the “have to write” kind of writing. Where inspiration has nothing to do with it. You have to pull out 1200 words and you have to do it by 12pm. Za: So while writing is a creative pursuit it’s also a profession for you? VG: Yeah. That requires discipline Za: Talk to me about the various platforms you’ve founded like Revolutionary Words and No Camp Chairs Poetry Picnic (NCCPP). Why did you start organising? VG: Revolutionary Words (RW) came from the Jamm Sessions at Tuks, and have now become the Writers’ Forum. RW was the showcase and kind of the next step. Both platforms were the only way I knew how to deal with my desire for a creative space and the similarities with both the Jamm Sessions and NCCPP is that they were both low maintenance and open to everyone. All we needed was a piece of grass and we could jamm. Once each space was started, I realised that everyone wants to be heard. I wasn’t the only one who wanted to share and people take these spaces seriously. Now, NCCPP is home. It’s bigger than me, which I love. It’s a movement of artists. We’ve reclaimed the Union Buildings (as artists and that’s hilarious and powerful to me) and I don’t even feel like sharing half the time but I get to listen. And talk. And 16
for those of us who are revisiting this religion thing, this is church for us. Poetry is healing. And home. And spiritual Za: Apart from being heard, these platforms build community. Personally, how has this community affected you and inspired your writing, if at all? VG: I don’t know if I can say it’s affected my writing per say, but it definitely is community. And has made me feel like I have an artistic home. If anything, it helps me to reflect. I worry that there are too many people who want to speak and very few want to listen. I worry that our egos get ahead of the word sometimes. And I’ve been able to identify these things in myself through these platforms
So if anything, I’ve learned to listen. I’m conscious about reading and learning. I check myself more and I leave my ego at home. Or at least I try to. Za: Between writing for the page and the stage which do you prefer? VG: Well... I recently learnt that if it doesn’t work on the page, it will never work on the stage So I enjoy writing, before anything else. It’s the root. But I LOVE being on stage. Especially breaking in a new poem. And learning to listen to how it wants to be told and being able to do it in my sleep and letting it go. Za: Many poets battle with the courage to take get on stage, especially that 17
first time. How did you know you were ready to get on stage and that what you had to share was good? Were you cautious or daring about it? VG: I’ve always kind of been a performer so it wasn’t so much the stage that terrified me, more than feeling naked. I’d read my poetry on stage before and it was nerve-wrecking. But my then boyfriend convinced me to leave my book behind and just perform the poem. So I did at the Moonbox theatre. Lebo [Mashile] was in the audience. And I bombed and wanted to die. But the audience was receptive and they cheered me on so I made it through my poem and Lebo told me she loved the poem. Which made me feel better. And the next time: I rehearsed harder. The nerves are always there. But a poem (if you listen) will tell you where and when it should be shared. I’ve spent the past few years learning to listen. And sometimes the ego and the poem sound the same, mind you, so there have been moments where I’ve shared a poem and just bombed and known that I was trying to show off. Za: Talk to me about how politics (and I’m using that word broadly) play into your poetry and also what you get involved in. VG: Politics, Poetry, People, Places. My 4 Ps. I used to want to be a lawyer. Then I wanted to be president. Then I wanted to be a diplomat. I grew up in a highly politically involved family. I was raised in political times. You can’t separate me from politics. It’s a part of me. So my poetry speaks from the various realities that move me, and much of my work has political undertones. Za: Yes, it does without shouting it. In fact, that what i enjoy about your work. None of it screams - it speaks quietly and clearly VG: lol. I always though I screamed quite a bit. Thank you though. I have a friend who likes calling me Rosa Parks. Lol. I’m that person who will scream at politicians through the tv screen, and in their faces, if they let me close enough. Or grab a child from a screaming mother and start shouting at the mother. I’ve learned to be more tactful, though. I’m an emotional creature. (Eve Ensler) And that’s a fact. So 18
I’ve become a reluctant activist purely because I can’t stand on the sidelines and watch. Za: Do you ever experience the dreaded writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it? VG: Haahahaha!!! Who doesn’t? Prof Kgosietsile says that you need to write through it. Writing is discipline. Inspiration is welcomed but to not write because you don’t have it is lazy. So I’m constantly trying to not be lazy. And you know what? It’s not even about writing something profound and ground-breaking sometimes. Write about your day. That’s what I’m trying to do. Make writing a habit. Za: You’re now in a place where you are sharing stages with the poets that you admire and are inspired by. In your opinion, what did it take for you to get here? VG: EVERYTHING!!!! No joke! Blood sweat and tears. Wanting it more than anything else in the world. Rehearsing when people are asleep. Catching taxis in the wee hours of the morning. Disagreeing with my family, at times being defiant... EVERYTHING! And I’m not even close to where I want to be yet. Za: So where do you want to be? What can we expect in the future from you? VG: Well my book will FINALLY (God-willing) be coming out this year. Other than that... Who knows? I think I’m evolving. So people may see less of my actual performances but I will be more diligent with my blog because I’m still writing a lot. I want to coach more. I also would like to travel more and just learn from great writers. I have so many things I would like to do, both politically and creatively, that all I can say is watch this space!
Vangi blogs at vangisafrica.org and tweets at @Vangi22
Jared A. Carnie The city swallowed him years ago. There was a mute snapping of the jaws shut. He drinks everydayBut at tablesHe doesn’t have a problem. He hardly has a first name. His wife walks into a lot of doors And his son is playing by the rail-track. He’ll donate to charity If his favourite celebrities Are being wacky enough. He loves his team And can not pronounce the manager’s name. He wishes he’d married his high-school girlfriend And reads the sports pages And comments on world affairs. He has a reasonable wage And a job that keeps him busy Sixteen hours a day. He resents his parents for hanging on And knows he’ll never be like them. He has three versions Of the same grey suit And takes it off For two weeks of plastic sunshine Each August.
Human Nature Mercy Dhliwayo
As the sacred air graced our nostrils and filled our lungs with the breath of life, our naked bodies yelled in defiance to the sudden abundance of space as we reluctantly braced a foreign world devoid of the wombâ€™s comfortable warmth. As our bones absorbed the menacing cold, we groped the earthâ€™s belly summoning its heat as we sought refuge in her bosom. And from the comfort of her bosom, We loved and lost, laughed and cried Conceived and died, And we acquired life. Alive and complete, Our eyes opened to absorb the abundant light. We gripped the sight with our third eye and internalised our immediate circumference. With belligerent interest we acquired knowledge and intelligence. We uncovered wonders above and beneath. We conquered the seas and tamed the ocean breeze Curious and keen, we pursued the unknown and unseen. We sought the face of God. Questioned his face and played gods. Forgetting the lessons we learnt on being human We loved and killed; bombed and bled; Cursed the land and planted bombs in her belly Neglecting the refuge and warmth we sought When our naked bodies entered the world .
Elders of revolution Thabang Waba Moabi
They lived by the amount of hope they had Life being the only time they had, measured by the rise and fall of the sun Upon the sky the called up light to lead their odyssey Perhaps you saw them at the intersection chasing their dreams Hoping a day will come and bestow them reality Their smiles a shield of their sadness They preferred laughter to tears so not to be shamed To lift their spirit they chanted songs And lived each day by how it comes They prayed hard to worth God In Him they found solace They sowed all they know to feed the young generation Passed it a heirloom to secure their legacy Tales of their coming not embellished of fallacy They abhorred mediocrity instead they preserved their identity
Arabic Lessons in Egypt Saaleha Idrees Bamjee
At a masjid in Madinat Nasr just before Maghrib I find jidatee with her nose in His signs while a metronome of bone on bone keeps time with each fatha each kasra she breathes those knees creak as much as the scuffed plastic of the chair under them she’s not really my grandmother I hear only one word out of her hundred. Ana la atakalam arabiyya the guidebook told me to say. Ana talibah, min junoob iffrikiya was from today’s class lesson. jidatee, who’s not really, fingers the dark cloth of my jacket before pointing to my skin she’s trying to figure it out South African but you are not black? Ummi’s ummi’s ummi min Hindeeyah I stumble I haven’t yet learnt the Arabic word for great-grandmother jidatee brings her finger to her forehead makes a little circle with it in the middle La, la, Muslim I say sounds a bit like a song and we laugh before we pray – Translations: maghrib - the sunset prayer jidatee – Arabic word for ‘my grandmother’ fatha - Arabic grammatical mark kasra - Arabic grammatical mark 23
ana la atakalam arabiyya - I don’t speak Arabic ana talibah, min junoob iffrikiya - I am a student from South Africa ummi - Arabic for ‘my mother’ min Hindeeya - Arabic for ‘from India’ la la- Arabic for ‘no, no’
Chime me thisâ€Ś Indi
And when time comes To bear testimony Of all that was That never should have been Of all that should have been But never was Of all being Of all Being Time will have Outworn its welcome Crusty dawns And powdered sunrises That lay dead Among the lifetimes When time shall speak Of that without a time Of that before a time Of that that shall be After a time When time Shall whisper prophesies of its own Birth Intuiting its own death I will tell you Of times When time Came and went Came and went Rushing And pushing And shoving And clamoring 25
For another time An elsewhere An anywhere-but-here An anything-but-this And time Sweet time Howled to groans of that Which lived In between The breathes of generations Stretched across The reached grasps Of somewhere Of sometime Of some time Roads that end Where streets began I tell you this Time shall come And not all Knowing Not all knowing Time will reveal The timeless The endless conundrum Within which we fall Into And out of In to And out of In too And Out Of ourselves Our selves Our Selves Our Selfâ€Ś 26
Behind the Door Tonye Willie-Pepple
There was a little girl behind that door Watching,Waiting Silent and afraid. There was a little boy behind that door, Watching, waiting Dumb at the sight There was a little girl behind that door, Wondering if She’d seen a beast There was a little boy behind that door, Surprised at you Kissing your maid There, is your little girl, on Jackson street, Raving mad, for all she’s seen And your little Boy too on Marlone street Tearing down The name you’ve built Here you are behind that door Hunted sore In greying days.
A Way of Being Lucas Serei “Pilgrim”
Every morning I wake up The Sun is my Omen, I remember Icarus to keep testing my limits But a visionary’s tongue is too sharp for anybody who’s just anybody to listen. Theory is the knife edges of my speeches leave incisions to a layman’s ear Even winds bleed songs From a whirlwind of emotions I pawned…to trees They dance to a tornado of me, Thick as thieves with knife as leaves they cut open my stifled conversations filled with muffled screams, it hurts when I speak. My tongue bleeds Poems that lead to impressions of a lost Blood River Behind my sternum my lungs, are an orchestra ridiculed Don’t mind my off-tune breathing, these sighs are a chorus The whispers cloaked in my speech bubbles are enormous, Thirsty dreams vacant my desert mind to sleep on river-beds My thoughts parched & arid, they bathe in buried silhouettes between the faint and brief naps my mind takes when I blink My spirit is a house built from airy bricks The body is the host, the mind a restless tenant And through meditation I find what shelters my stillness This Enigma…the pilgrimage from self to Nirvana is studied by breathe, precise It never ends, like the marriage between colour and light The insides of my eyelids, an indigo blemished window… when eyes are closed, My thoughts are a cluster of tourists seeking From pillar to post To find the source of my innermost jitters that rose From intangible scars, lessons that haunt me like Ghosts With smiles bright enough to cast shadows And clouds my judgment during light conversations that expose my fragile side… I’m brittle at times 28
These pages are caskets where I burry my resentments My poems are tombstones; I recite memories of me… My existence is wired different I use metaphors to study my skeleton from palm prints to tongue-prints Ribs like thick guitar strings So my gestures could sing music into being My heart is a farm; I plough my senses and harvest these feelings... To end a war between the flesh and the spirit Like that of Israel and Palestine My body is a battlefield,call me Jerusalem I’m seamed with scars Ambivalent, I’ve collected lessons invested in my memory bank to buy day In and day out decisions When all ends, I go back to my heart, a farm, plough my senses and harvest…I tend to feel These metaphors of me to solidify my way of being.
The Thing About Beetroot and Manto Thabo Jijana
Car lights flash past the windows and soon I expect him to walk through the door, saying hello. He is tired and reeks of engine fumes, the sleeves of his corduroy shirt rolled up to the elbow and his hands caked with oil. Whatever’s in the plastic bag he’s clutching, Sisi will bring to us. She’s the oldest child in the household, and as we all sit around the TV, she’ll divide the Simbas and raisins or honey popcorn so that all three of us boys have equal share, and she will keep the biggest portion for herself. When are you taking us to town, soon I will say. You’ve been promising. And if I close my eyes, I can see him through the archway, looking up from his plate of chicken liver and rice at the kitchen table. He’ll tell me to go wash the van clean first, then we can talk. I can hear the clink of the table spoon hitting that porcelain plate—a noisy eater, Mama used to say—as I pull the door behind me and stare in the direction of our zinc-sheet
garage. But I know tonight is not the night Papa comes home. Not since the village men dug another hole near the kraal where now are two mounds of red soil, each with a white cross with the black paint washed away, and nothing as clean as a name.
Cape of No-Hope Chad Brevis
Two hours ‘till the silence of midnight falls. And our sun hasn’t set. Come outside and smell the desolate red dusk of blazing eternity. The endless humidity of clammy liquid air filling the vessel known only as sky. And when, from beneath the burning heat of the twilights waxing gibbous your face wanes for want of communion, you find only the grating, Grazing roar of the earth’s orbit For a lullaby; its Not obnoxious enough to split the ear drum of the fortunate and not soothing enough to relieve the hearts of the omnipresent nobody’s. So we bask in the red stained moonlight of a crimson twilight. We burn in the heat of innumerable stars. We shade our face from the blistering midnight, until Eskom turns off the street lights and we are human once more. Wrapped in the blanket of our desolation beneath the unyielding gaze of fortunate passers in their Civic. Until tomorrow’s soliloquy of sympathy conveys our misfortunes and illuminates our nothingness once more. 32
No food. No bread. Family to feed. Please help.
benjamin knows matshepo thafeng
Benjamin’s ark sails swiftly Boasting nine lives Between Jezebel’s trap He runs trance While the ark rave demons And the sky’s secret hymns Escapes her salty armpits Downhill it rolls Kicking and shouting Searching for the mysterious door Slamming and cursing The day it was hidden And forcing him into riddles Jezebel worship her bait Breaking Benjamin down Scratching and biting recklessly Her intoxicating seas Reveals a rebirth untamed and Unashamed His sinful lust Swallows withdrawal symptoms Crawling to the throne Unselfishly licking his scars Swearing not to steal The marks of the mask Benjamin’s ark reverse slowly Rejecting Jezebels mood swings Shaping the windows of his soul For he knowingly knows There is no knocking door
Wishes of the Wary Anathi Nish Tiyo
There is something unsettling about how the sun sleeps in the arms of 6pm. And the moon as if scared to disobey quietly stands keeping stars company in their nocturnal shifts and I sometimes think... What if people had the decency to follow nature in its systematic existence and never felt it necessary to switch against intent? How breath, had to be spilt into our carcasses smelling fresh of innocence. Life given upon the undeserving but still precious and embellished with hearts that never gave rainbow-ribboned storms a chance to unwrap their floods of hate. I wish... that redemption went past the chime of 1pm on a sunday, where women wear their skirts beneath their knees to hide the sins beneath their waists where strangers gave their offerings. Where wasted youth often stems from pastors who plant more than just seeds of blessings upon children left uprooted from their innocence. And since we are not willing to speak... I wish our minds had speakers so that we could all say what we think because the mouth deceives and the heart is the only one laughing at the jokes we trick ourselves to believe. We all know the truth... and to find it we donâ€™t even need to dig deep it is all on the surface. We are no icebergs, and the only thing melting here is our integrity. Somebody asked me what truth is... and I said extinct because it seems it died with gentleman over the years, now all we have are players and swag. Boys who brag about the women they have and not the importance of class. But maybe they understand that even suits 35
donâ€™t suit the unsuitable. Somebody asked me what truth is and I said extinct because life is shorter than you think and it can all be gone in a blink. And still we let lies rule our spirits. I wish life was as simple as watching a child receive a bag of clay and knowing that it would make his day. All he wants to do is play. And donâ€™t worry about the mess because adolescent minds comprehend what we often forget... that you have to get your hands a little dirty before you prevail! I wish that our wishes were not cast upon shooting stars because they have already played their part and we are the only ones that still go against the script of life. And as the moon keeps the stars from loneliness tomorrow... the sun will come out just as nature asked it to, granting you a second chance to steer along the path meant for u. Though it may be hard to get through the obstacles it gives to you know that just like suns and stars we are sons and daughter with a purpose too. Your destiny awaits you.
You should have kept a place for me Ebele Mogo
You should have kept a place for me Beyond that sunset when you kept finding ways to slyly say you wished our meeting to be the first of many Beyond my smiles in your new camera Excited you were, to make memories you never intended to share So when we said goodbye I stayed doubts that it would be a last for September would surely bring you back to me The first few days it was hope, of a call an email perhaps? When days turned to weeks it was those sweet dreams almost as good as real And when the passing of time settled the dawn of summer into its day, then dusk When I folded dresses away I was forced to admit I had been conned into another clichĂŠ The shore is frozen now It doesnâ€™t reflect the sunset as well as it once did to set the scene for a first kiss.
The Plague Vanessa Smeets
It’s stolen from you over time, Taking hold of your senses and mind… You’re breathless to its pleas; Stop denying what it sees. Your soul’s given in to infestation, Your heart’s lost its destination. You’ll forget where you are, where you’ve been, It’s too late; your body’s too keen. You can’t be healed; there’s no cure: Forgotten… you’re… Gone with the dreams that can’t come true, Gone with the memories you never knew. The Plague has come, A dream to some… Growing and dying before its eyes, Addicted… it’ll hypnotize. Don’t deny what you feel, You’re infested with lust
Unable to heal.
Sihle Ntuli In between creases on foreheads where living has folded thoughts into blankets and sheets so we can later get into that in dreams .When we lie down to pillow-talk, that’s when walks behind pink matters. The brains that revolve like motion picture in technocolour notions of desire unfulfilled. Grey lives opon eyes all seeing eyes ... the sun lost colour when it died now aggressive night will club till black blood protrudes and the moon blows cold wind on wounds (like they don’t matter)and your heart weighing tons opon tons. Living life like it’s golden is expensive it costs a lot to be virtuous and true in the midst of the inauthentic. The radio dictates life by hits and down the people go dancing on the floor and bleeding lies and frothing out “game”. Hysteria the more the merrier the masses touched by 808’s and the incomprehensible lyric. High heels for wounded height and weaves for the loose mind just to hold that shit together. Ulterior motives is a rear end and a grind that is not about hard work. The hustle is the drinks bought for women to leave and never come back .White lips and they are dying of thirst and broke, bless their souls and save them from their kindness and in future block their eyes from the posterior. Sitting on the sides silently living life like its silver though the lining is blocked by roofs so I’ll consider it bronze. In my daze and under my umbrella’s it was just my luck that the air was filled with cigarette smoke and it begun to rain alcohol on my favorite Nike shoes.
On being human Hajo Isa
These loud bright voices, call out to me With words of white, From outside my walls To a place of no where My eyes spin in the light of each day Living, breathing moments away Wondering through day dreams, And the widening continents of life Buried beneath the fabric On being human As a living vein, Of earth and light I servant of feeling A child of mixed worlds.
The third man Kgomotso J Kgopa
This bed that witnesses my short lived joys of life – come sunrise Is the same bed that sees my pains and shames of life – come sunset For joy cometh in the morning But as the sun touches down for rest, discontent overshadows me Life’s heavy labour, I cannot carry anymore Heavy laden, let me be put to sleep! It is as though – only a few are chosen To suffer for the sins of the city and of the forefathers of the land While the rest continues with lives of recklessness Totally disconnected from their morals and their God To them, Jesus is myth or a name of a soccer team at far lands Totally untrained and playing in the devil’s turf! No soul seems to comprehend mine, Shallow praise they grant me – while it is my blood they seek Two, at a distance see me Their loud laughs of pretence try to hide their hearts’ intent What fails to cross over their minds is why their teeth are still intact Him whose name has no meaning to them Is the one who mentions them by their names in prayer The third man...
The Suitable Girl by Michelle Mcgrane review by Goodenough Mashego
I would like to argue that where you are when you read a certain book affects your appraisal of that work going forward. I adore Michelle McGrane as a person and love the poetry she produces. Okay; itâ€™s difficult to separate the two. I have been her fan from when I used to read her work in New Coin, Green Dragon and other quality anthologies such as Timbila. And when I finally got a copy of her collection Hybrid in Cape Town I read the beauty in hours and had an opinion of it. I actually had an opinion before the plane landed at OR Tambo. There must be something nice I wrote about it when it was new and I believe I still stand by that. Now Michelle disappeared from my radar for some time until I bumped into her again at the Melville Poetry Festival late last year. Not only was she still bubbly but she had a new collection, The Suitable Girl to compensate for all those years of absence. I love Michelleâ€™s work and so I started reading the 50-pages book on my way home; while lounged in a bus. I should confess that since I have been reading her work for some time between 42
then and now she has grown and matured a lot. Her work reflects the reality that comes with age; a reality far divorced from the luxury brought about by hallucinations and fantasies. The 38-years old poet’s latest work is themed and each theme has enough nectar to last one a lifetime. I loved the Lunar Postcards themed poems which takes the reader to space and back in a satirical manner that pokes fun at that outer space. Michelle writes, “we season freeze-dried macaroni/ with liquid salt and pepper/ water is distilled, recycled/ from our breath and sweat./ after a week of granola bars,/ nuts and bitter orange juice,/ the commander’s arm/ begins to look tasty” - Space Gourmet. Hahahahaha! I found that pretty funny. It’s a hallucination allowed only when you know it can’t happen. Otherwise all the alien stories might start sounding creepier. Michelle’s work also shows a lifetime of consuming work from poets far and wide. Between the lines it’s easy to find references to beliefs held gospel in other cultures which you might find a little awkward. Such as dedications to people you might have heard of but failed to formulate an opinion about. On the person Bertha Mason Speaks, she writes, “now that you’ve heard Jane’s side of the story, what I wish to tell you is this; that I floated on a celestial conflagration of saffron frangipani only to plummet, petrified, into a voodoo tomb; that within these stone walls time became obsolete; no market days, no festivals, no seasonal ebb and flow; that mocking echoes dogged this stifling boudoir and rattled within my bones”. In this collection Michelle takes on different personalities, often conflicting and in disharmony. It however is her style of lucid poetry and sensual delivery that lays the groundwork for this work of art. It is almost like a fresh paint on a tired canvas; or adding the 13th disciple at the Last Supper painting. The Suitable Girl is classic Michelle, flowing, lucid and engaging. Get the copy at your nearest bookstore or get Pindrop Press, the publishers to send you one. When we look back at South African poetry fifty years from now, The Suitable Girl will be one of those we try to understand. So, get it today!
first published on http://kasiekulture.blogspot.com 9 January 2013. published here with permission 43
Mapule burst into the Poetry Potion view at the first 2013 Word N Sound event this year. This powerful energetic, young poet is a passioned performer. She is the first 2013 Queen of the Mic in the Word N Sound Open Mic League. Poetry Potion just had to find about what she’s all about. Poetry Potion: When did you start writing poetry and why? Mapule Mohulatsi: By age 14 I started writing, I started transforming my words into poetry at the age of 16. Because I’m opinionated and since we can’t say most things we feel in society, why not write them down? PP: When did you start sharing your poetry and how did you know you were ready to share? MM: I studied drama at high school, at some point we had to perform poetry pieces, I simply got tired of reciting other peoples poems and decided that I wanted to share my poetry. I knew I was ready to share when I got over the notion of “what are people going to think”. PP: What inspires your poems, what do you write about? MM: Experience inspires my poetry, experience to me is the highest form of education, not only my experience but the experiences of those around me. I write about many things. I write about what I experience and the things I learn on a daily. PanAfricanism, social constructs, and socialisation mostly. PP: Which do you prefer – writing for performance or for the page? MM: Writing for the page, there is more space for expression and imagery. But performance also has its advantages.
PP: Do you ever experience a writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with
MM: Yes I do. I expand my experiences, read more and don’t write if I don’t feel like it. There’s no due date that requires that you should have written this amount of poetry at this time, so I never really write when I have nothing to write about. Unless it’s 45
an essay for school, then ya. PP: What are you working on now? MM: Learning and sharing as much poetry as I can.
Mapule tweets @4fatfrogs
“Rooster Coop” Wars designed to correct Children too lean and short for their age, with over-sized heads from vivid eyes shine like the guilty conscience of the government Religion, the war between many about who has got the better imaginary friend The Egg Man, well we choose to call him the Egg Man because he is placed warmly in his cocoon, whilst we are spewed, spattered and obliterated by the winds of life the bulge of his pants; the invite The willingness of his zipper to let loose; the confirmation by then though we are galvanized by the emptiness of our lives Masochism Bestiality The insane sodomy of our hearts. Life is just a Rooster Coop Because the rich enjoy falling into empty pits (holes without homes called whores) yet the Paupers euphoria is always short lived. And if incest is never to be relished then why is it that i am aroused by a brother who mothers my sisterhoods father, which can only be the opulent thoughts of virgin hood. Life is just a Rooster Coop. If Palestinians can remain homeless, yet children’s virginity’s are given homes to some unknown masculinity, wouldn’t you agree? Governments pretend to be pundits Electricity poles remain defunct Malnutrition is eaten the preacher man sanctifies himself because the religion he so preaches contradicts itself, he spits, Earth warmer than the devils tit, Her man hits 47
but that’s only because her vagina refuses to speak back. Life is just a Rooster Coop. Christians capitalize whilst Atheists criticize Tell me, whose wise? but don’t you lactate the words that I dictate, the government will make sure they eradicate Cos this is their Rooster Coop. And you’re just part of their chicken soup.
elebrating Years of Poetry Potion
In 2012, poetrypotion.com celebrated five years of being online with this, our first print edition. The edition features poems celebrating five years of mixing it up as well as interviews with Napo Masheane, Andrew Manyika and Proverb. The edition is available at R50 from www.bookloversmarket. net and The Book Lounge in Cape Town.
online bonus poetry
Human vs Raven Mpho Malepa
This morning on my way to work I came across a familiar picture that I had not taken into serious account up until this day. I saw how poverty De-humanizes one and brings them to a point where the only difference between them and Ravens is that they can win any fight for food if they were to face each other. I saw mothers and children waiting at a dump side for food, Ravens were lurking at a distance trying to survive too. I saw hunger and strife in those defeated spirits and I saw how human dignity was of little significance for them. I saw lost dreams, which were once alive possibilities, and I saw mothers and fathers passing down a legacy of failure to young innocent souls. I looked at myself facing what I could have easily become but somehow my path turned out differently. I started to question myself and the choices I make, I thought how many times have I bought things I don’t really need just because I can? How many times do I ask God for things without stopping to thank him for what I already have? This morning I came face to face with a reality other people live on a daily basis and this has become a norm to them. The scales on my eyes fell off as I became familiar with victims of circumstances. I realized that it is not that I’m clever or smart but its just grace, which put me in a position where I don’t have to fight with ravens for anything. I took a minute to say thank you to God for I could have been one of those people lining up to get garbage, which they saw as a meal for their families. I said thank you with a heavy heart though as I realized how many times I’ve walked into a restaurant to buy food that I would not even finish, once again just because “I could”. That picture disturbed me as I saw people who had made their 50
lives graves, not out of their own accord but because they found themselves having to be rivals with ravens. Food had become a very serious commodity to them and they treasured it as if it was gold. I began to understand thankfulness and being grateful for what we have Today, human and Raven had become one and neither of them cared about some of us on pedestals. The food I would easily chuck away is what they would consider a decent meal for the week. The meat I consider off because of some smell is what would help them have something in their stomachs in order to take their ARVâ€™s. I saw human fighting raven for food and each marking their territory with sounds of survival. I stopped and I asked myself how long, will my people fight for what should be a human right to life. How long will my people fight with ravens for food???
Charl Landsberg Make all the most of this, my friend For all you know will pass Your kith, your kin and even you Will sink beneath the grass Your hopes, your dreams, are meaningless When death knocks at your door And all you’ve made will fade to dust And scatter on the floor So make this world your opus, friend And shape things for the best And bring your matters to a close When you’re put down to rest Make sure that when you’re dead and gone You’ve done all you could do For those that did not have the chance That you’ve stumbled onto
On Being Human Glodina
From that first moment when two cells collide, When body, soul and spirit find their way to each other, When from more than a homeostatic collection of DNA, organs and systems we spring forth, When Humanity peers through it’s foggy, fragile veil of mortality … We start our journey of Being Human, As with any plant or animal – the seed lies protected – the young reliant, Totally dependent they find protection , find protection – most times, With time being human means to know that in our seat of emotion called the tempestuous and fickle soul, Basic needs once satisfied are displaced by an equally gnawing need, Seeking acceptance, warmth of touch to feed the soul, So begins self-awareness, perceptions of who you are – identities ingrained So the baggage of paradigms defined by past experience become unearthed - sometimes even find a name, Values and eye-wide hopes peer through the cracks, As we learn to live through plenty and cope when we lack So more than survival we revel in life – the good and the bad Unlike nature who march to a beating drum – we human beings indifferent to time are more guided by expressive creativity, Evoking joy and gratification in whatever we aspire to do, Being Human means to question, interpret and find expression in seeing and perceiving with eyes all our own, Though different for each of us – it echoes good and evil and mirrors the beauty and the ugly… entwined in our souls But Being Human is equally about the spirit – that strives to be something better and higher than ourselves 53
A sense of Interconnectedness – universal awareness – holding oneself accountable to be more humane – A higher state of freedom to attain And in death as our bodies twice removed from soul and spirit, It will be the remembrance by others that makes us truly human – Animals forget , rocks erode to less than what came before -But the lives that we touched are richer by the love we had shown, Our fragile capacity to live and bring joy can be matched by our capability to inflict pain and destroy… But being human boils down to the choices we make The choice to love or to hate - the choice to forgive and inspire the same in others The choice to live each day in its fullness Or drum out a drug infested haze of an existence
MOSQUITO AND MAN Ugwu Stanislaus Nnachetam
Oh no! Why do men hate me so much? From incarnation even as I try to make my legs and hands and buttocks as small as anything! So they can’t say am competing with their colossal legs and hands and their protruding buttocks! They say; we knew it! Right from the first sight, he was bent on evil with the ulterior motive that, whenever he perches on the sweet succulent, fresh, flesh - of ours, it won’t be noticed. Because he believes men are fools after all, big brains are not found in big bodies. Men are evil. As I try to befriend, the more they inflict pains on me. Ok! I feel rejected and dejected by men, I considered it and thought it wise to detach myself from men by living in nearby bushes and rejected dumped waste and refuse. They say; ah! Mosquito, you always make use of that little sense of yours. It is all pretence; you love men so much that you can’t live without them! Ok, if you say you want detachment, why must it be near men’s homes, or their dumped refuse and liquid waste? Why not very far at the desert so men won’t complain again. You love men! It is even clear as you lay your eggs where you feel you hate. Men are ignorant. Ungrateful idiots! Their brains are stuffed with manure. Ok! If I hate men, why should I use the talent God gave me to make them comfortable? I use the best musical instrument; harp, flute with my wonderful composing way of singing, just to make them happy yet they detest me. Ok! How many men are musicians? How many even use the talent God gave them? Since God made me a musician from incarnation I will continue to use the talent, no matter how men feel. Mosquito, Jackson of the age. You sing and even dance for men’s comfort! But the question is, if you love men as such, Why must the benevolent be a sort of boring? Why must it be at odd hours 55
in the night made for resting? Even as we say stop! You still continue your singing. We don’t need it please! Your singing is a discomfort for men. Ok! What of the affection I show to prove my love? I kiss your flesh and blood, just like any other man does by kissing the tongue and saliva of a female partner for love! Do you appreciate it at all? All I get from you are rancor and malice. Our judgment will be in heaven certainly. The problem with you (mosquito) is that you don’t accept fault, very controversial and a very big threat to man. That is what you are! Accept your nature. You say you show affection, ok! Have heard of a man who kisses and inflicts pain on the partner? Perhaps by eating up the tongue or ejecting poisonous liquid in the partner’s mouth? But when you kiss, you disfigure our flesh and inject malaria into our bodies. Is that what you call love? We don’t want such affection, just know that; once you come around, we are at alert and always ready to strike! Let the worst happen in your so called heaven.
At It Again Ndaba Sibanda
Travels with the largest delegation Ever to leave these shores Globe-trotting is his passion Yet itching are the taxpayersâ€™ sores!
Walt Geldenhuys You measure your heart in drops of ocean Ink stain the pages; a wrinkled waste of words But you try and write a story to cover your sense A post-persuasion, of autumns, springs and summers that existed Briefly as a stain, in a vast, never-ending ocean
A Time Phoenix J
Take my hand and tell me what I want to hear I think to myself as I feel your heart drift further away from mine Drown out your words with images of things I always hoped youâ€™d say These thoughts were never to be spoken, and yet here we sit Saying out loud all the things that keep cutting to the core of who I want to be For you, for always, and even for me. We paint pretty pictures of all we hoped we could be Before time got a hold of us, and there was nothing left to be said Except for a bitter end to what we started so hopefully And weâ€™ll sit under this tree and contemplate the beginning and the end The turning leaves will fall all about us and we will thank the sky for the seasons.
poetry genres Like all other creative disciplines, poetry has difference genres. Some times genre that can easily be confused with form. The differences aren’t always that easy to define or separate but if you thing of form in this way - form has to do with structure while subject matter is a specific trait of genre. For instance, a sonnet is a form and it can be about any subject from love to death while, an elegy is a genre because it is specifically a mournful kind of poem, a lament. The other challenge in understanding genre is because sometimes definitions will overlap. So this little article will offer some definitions to get you started in understand poetry genres. We classify genre by looking at subject matter, style and various literary characteristics that may have to do with structure as well as rhyme scheme and rhythm. Main genres include - Epic poetry, Elegy, Lyric poetry, Narrative poetry, Dramatic poetry, Fable, Satirical poetry. In this article, we look at three genres - Epic, Elegy and Lyric. Epics and Narrative poems are similar in that they have a plot and tell a story. The difference is that an Epic is a longer version that usually has a hero who we follow on a great journey spanning various nations in pursuit of a great goal. When one thinks of Epics, the Greek Classics come to mind with offerings such as the Iliad, Odyssey (both by Homer), Beowulf (was made into a spectacular animated film a few years ago), and Derek Walcott’s Emeros (published in 1990). Epics are a sub-genre of Narrative poems. Other narrative poems include Ballads, Idylls and Lays. Here’s an example from Beowulf which is now available in it’s entirety online: Hrothgar answered, helm of the Scyldings: “I remember this man as the merest of striplings. His father long dead now was Ecgtheow titled, Him Hrethel the Geatman granted at home his One only daughter; his battle-brave son 60
Is come but now, sought a trustworthy friend. Seafaring sailors asserted it then, Who valuable gift-gems of the Geatmen1 carried As peace-offering thither, that he thirty men’s grapple Has in his hand, the hero-in-battle. An Elegy is a melancholic kind of poem - “mournful, melancholic or plaintive poem, especially a funeral song or a lament for the dead” (Wikipedia). An elegy does three things, it laments then praises and ends with consolation. This example is from A Valediction: Forbidden Mourning by John Donne. As virtuous men pass mildly away, And whisper to their souls, to go, Whilst some of their sad friends do say, ‘The breath goes now,’ and some say, ‘No:’ So let us melt, and make no noise, No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move; ‘Twere profanation of our joys To tell the laity our love. Lyrical poems are personal in nature. Unlike the epic, they look inward and sometimes are set to music. In contemporary times, lyric poetry is closely related to confessional poetry. Poets to consider in this regard include Sylvia Plath and Allan Ginsberg. Here’s an example from Emily Dickinson’s I Felt a Funeral in my Brain: I felt a Funeral, in my Brain, And Mourners to and fro Kept treading - treading - till it seemed That Sense was breaking through And when they all were seated, A Service, like a Drum -Kept beating - beating - till I thought My Mind was going numb Since this is only a glimpse at how genres work, we will continue to look at these other genres in depths on poetrypotion. com with the aim to inspire greater poetry. 61
Jared A. Carnie is a writer in his twenties who recently made a break for the freedom of the Outer Hebrides. Thabang Moabi is a literature fan who listens to any kind of good music. Indi is a Being seeking to express her creativity in thought, speech and action. Wanting to express what unites us all. Giving word to universal experiences. Tonye Willie-Pepple an Ijaw from Bonny Island in Nigeria, studied Engineering at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, He has written poems,plays and short stories, some of which have been published in Literary Magazines in Nigeria,Botswana and the United States,He lives in PortHarcourt,Nigeria,with his family. Thabo Jijana is a writer based in Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Chad Brevis is a Masters student of English Literature at The University of the Western Cape with training in Ethical theory and Linguistics. I am currently working on a Full dissertation on taboo topics in literature. A particular focus is spent on the banning of literature and arts. During my undergraduate and Honours years I worked as a tutor for the Department of Religion and theology. I currently tutor in the Department of English. I also work as a staff writer for the Cape Town based cultural hip hop magazine IAM Magazine. Matshepo Thafeng is a BA communication science graduate,lover of life and all things beautiful. Her first love for poetry started 7 years ago at Horror cafe, she started writing in high school and is a former Market Theatre Lab student. Ebele Mogo is based in Calgary, Canada. She likes to write, love to learn and spend her time trying out her crazy ideas :) She laughs a lot and asks too many questions. @ebyral Vanessa Smeets is a South African freelance journalist and photographer, who has worked for Perdeby (Tuks paper), Die Matie (Stellies’ paper), Campus Times (national), A Look Away Magazine (arts&culture) and Pretoria News. In love with life and adventure! Poetry captures my mind, while setting my soul aflight. Sihle Ntuli, born 1990 originally from Durban currently residing in Grahamstown. He holds in Bachelor of Arts in Psychology & Classics from Rhodes University and has been featured in Quickfox Publishing “The Grounds Ear Anthology” Aerial Publishing 2010 publication amongst others. @solosihle 62
Saaleha Idrees Bamjee is an editorial consultant and photographer based in Johannesburg. She is learning how to read and write through Rhodes Universityâ€™s MA Creative Writing programme. She blogs at www.saaleha.com Mpho Malepa is a fool who is trying to be a better man. Charl Landsberg is a South African poet, musician and activist. He is deeply inspired by the plight for human rights, especially with regards to the LGBT community and abused children. His work often incorporates the promotion of humanism, reason, and education, alongside a harsh criticism of bigotry such as racism, classism, homophobia, and sexism. Landsbergâ€™s work often advocates access for all people to things such as education, health care, and social welfare. Glodinaâ€™s background in science and technology is a far cry from the normal scholastically trained poets and painters. However, she dappled in writing since childhood and fell in love with artistic expression. She is now an avid painter and poet - having just won a local competition for 16 days of Activism Against Gender Violence . She now resides in the Eastern Cape but grew up on the Cape Flats. Past experiences are deep rooted in her poems and paintings as well as for the search for beauty even in the ugly... as this poem can attest to. Walt Geldenhuys is 26 years old and has only recently started writing poetry. He works as a lecturer in Web, but his passion lies with food, wine, humour and sadness - and all the things that express them. Re-interpreting the world is a heavy weight to bare, therefore he has decided to only be a part-time poet. Phoenix J is 23 year old international relations graduate. Dabbles a little in creative spaces, including this one.
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she is a Mangbetu woman, photographed in 19131 by Herbert Lang
Published on Mar 23, 2013
Poetry Potion publishes its first print quarterly themed - On Being Human. On Being Human is about what links me to you, us to them and ind...