November 3, 2020

“Black Oranges,” Poetry by Mbizo Chirasha

“Black Oranges,” Poetry by Mbizo Chirasha


Xenophobia my son 

I hear a murmur in the streets 

A babble of adjoining markets 

Your conscience itching with guiltiness like 

Genital leprosy 

Your wide eyes are cups where tears never fall 

When they fall the storm wash down bullet drainsand garbage cities 


Come nomzano with your whisper to drown, 

Blood scent stinking the rainbow altar. 

Darfur, petals of blood spreading, 

Perfume of death choking slum nostrils 

Slums laden with acrid smell of mud and 

Debris smelling like fresh dungs heaps 

Fear scrawling like lizards on Darfur skin 

Kibera. I see you scratching your mind like ragged linen 

Smelling the breath of slums and diesel fumes 

The smoke puffing out through ghetto ruins is the fire dousing the emblem of the state 


Belly of Zambezi ache with crocodile and fish 

Villages piled like heaps of potatoes against the flank of eastern hills 

Farmlands dripping golden dripping dew 

Sunshine choking with vulgar mornings 

Dawns yawning with vendetta filled redemption songs 

Drums of freedom sounding fainter and fainter, blowing away in the wind 


When streets rub their sleep out of their eyes 

Villagers scratch painful living from the 

Infertile patches of sand on this earth whose lungs heave with copper and veins bleeding gold 

Ghetto buttocks sit over poverty. Kalingalinga 

Corruption eating breakfast with ministers. Kabulonga, with shrill cries of children breaking against city walls 


Shire river tonight your voice rustled dry, like the scratching of old silk 

Politicians grow everywhere like weeds 

Land of Ngwazi. Yesterday crocodiles breakfasted on flesh 

Owls and birds sang with designated protocol 

Ngwazi your cough drowned laughters and prayers 

Your breath silenced rivers and jungles 


Mozambique, belief and gift of my poetry 

Sweat wine poured to absent, long forgotten gods and goddesses 

Soft kiss spent on golden virgins before they aged into toothless grannies 

The rhythm of samora 

Heartbeat of chimurenga 

Drumbeat of Chissano 

Today your once bright mornings blight in corruption. A social anorexia 


Abuja guns eat you more than disease 

I loved you before you absorbed poverty as sponge soaking out water. Before rats chewed your roof 

Before you conceived men with borrowed names and totems 

Ghost of Abacha guzzling drums of blood and gallons of oil 

Wiwa chasing shadows of babangida past delta of treasures 


Buganda cruelty is a natural weapon of a dictator 

Poor lives buried under rubbles of autocracy 

Pregnant mothers with eyes gouged out by bullets, pushing their guts 

back into their bellies 

Luanda you are a roar of old trucks 

A whine of motorcycles. A rumble of dead engines 


America frying its fingers in oil pans of your kitchen 

Where Europe fry, America roast 

Angola. When you cough, America catches a fever 

Angola! Quench my parched lungs with a spoon of oil 


I see the naked thighs of your desert hills 

Barotseland of Setswana 

A servant positioned with trust 

American green bloomed your desert shrubs 

Your loyalty is sold to she who offers the next meal. Barotseland of seretse 



Your lips burnt brown with exposure of rough diet 

You are muffled voice, cursed and drowned into deep silence 

The smell of aged incense and stale coffee 

A tune piped by the shepherd on mountainside, only to be half heard by and quickly forgotten by villagers 



The anthill of black seed 

Coast blessed with gold 

Once a young girl full of sap and strength 

Once perfumed with richness and sacredness 

You shared your salt and sweat from freedom 

Today you a like a woman who sleep with a pillow between her legs anticipating a miracle of man 


Coast of ivory 

I see faces tight as skin of drum in moonlight 

Ivory Coast. Once the smoke and smell of human excitement 

Tonight bullets burrow into your belly like rats into sacks of Thai rice 

You are the broken pot we patch to put on shelf again. 


Black Oranges

MBIZO CHIRASHA is the 2020 Poet in Residence at The Fictional Café, 2019 Sotambe Festival Live Literature Hub and Poetry Café Curator, 2019 African Fellow for the International Human Rights Art Festival, Essays Contributor to Monk Art and Soul Magazine in United Kingdom, Arts Features Writer at the International Cultural Weekly, Featured Writer Poet Activist at The Poet A Day, Core Team Member and African Contributor to Bezine of Arts and Humanities in USA, The Originator of the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign. Curator of MiomboPublishing Blog Journal, Founder and Chief Editor of WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS, Founder and Curator of the Brave Voices Poetry Journal, Co-Editor of Street Voices Poetry triluangal collection( English, African Languages and Germany) initiated by Andreas Weiland in Germany, Poetry Contributor to in Belgium, African Contributor to DemerPress International Poetry Book Series in Netherlands, African Contributor to the World Poetry Almanac Poetry Series in Mongolia, 2003 Young Literary Arts Delegate to the Goteborg International Book Fair Sweden (SIDA AFRICAN PAVILION), 2009 Poet in Residence of the International Conference of African Culture and Development (ICACD) in Ghana, 2009 Fellow to the inaugural UNESCO- Africa Photo- Novel Publishers and Writers Training in Tanzania, 2015 Artist in Residence of the Shunguna Mutitima International Film and Arts Festival in Livingstone, Zambia, a globally certified literary arts influencer, Writer in Residence and Recipient of the EU-Horn of Africa Defend Defenders Protection Fund Grant as well as Recipient of the Pen Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant. He is an Arts for Peace and Human Rights Catalyst, the Literary Arts Projects Curator, Poet, Writer, publicist and is published in more than 200 places in print and online. His latest 2019 collection of experimental poetry A LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT was released by Mwanaka Media and Publishing and is both in print, on Amazon. and at is featured at African Books Collective.  

Fictional Cafe
1 comment
  • Jack says:

    I’m so proud to have Mbizo as Fictional Cafe’s Poet in Residence. His poetry has such power in both words and the mental images it evokes. I find it difficult to understand how we can allow human beings to live like this. As Mbizo is fond of saying, “A luta continua!”

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