To Your Inner Slavery You try really hard not to show it I will not relent to evade my notions, Nor my ideas, hence the color of my skin Spoke before I could raise my head To your foot, beneath the very grounds I lay scythed by your scorn I will not relent in shame My mother, I wore as pride Ride me into the dangers of your color Your ignorance and frivolous abuse Your amusement related to mine Rooted from two different aspects I worry not where you are from Your stench has no beginning I worry only what you would do next To know, to finally see my color My mind in this brown skin bag Has gears twisted in complex turns I deserve to be here as well, it will show And below me you will fall soon Your hate of me will beg to exist, since I am not your equal no I am change. Then My mother tells of stories When then was a world Where war had a volume It resonated through everyone who spoke. The rain came plenty To wash away the sins that lay (she believed) With the bodies that died last night With the battle of the previous light, Then was time rarely uttered Then in this god given country was a place without air When the African men joined the terrorists of its peace When they shot at whatever had color like sin(she recalled) Every time the sun set it gave hope When the sun rose, rejoice for the body you still had Untouched, unscathed by the evil of war Then came the missionaries carrying word, Praises of a different God from theirs (the God of rain and lands) How He died in a cave to save everyone That their eyes (missionaries) have seen such travesty and will She tells stories of a different world it seemed Where then, a village raised a child Respect for one's elders is respect for the whole nation Men fought for another child as if their own Then had poverty and hunger for eons A struggle for food unknown today Then was heavy and light like peace Which came and left as it pleased If she had a choice (she would say) Then was worth reliving again Not for the troubles but to escape today Now is a world too far-fetched for words Now, respect for anyone had a driven reason Personal gain is a new war for the Africans Take them back to a time Let them see how hard it took to come this far Let them know the bloodshed under their very feet Take them back to then A time for no men it seemed. So they worry less about fiendish things She would still go back to then (she would say) And I would follow her there if it came. Legend of the sun Beyond all thought lay a memory of a tale Told at night in a voice, like a squeak of symptom Legend of the story of the boy from the sun Who appeared alone in form of the worst That will disgust most but one of them all The story was true he said, told twice in a year Each season of pain and youthful pride Few seasons when people are blessed and gay The tale has ridden with a message so dull Less words were used but more meaning they held They await the one with a limpid head The one that stumbled upon this penning The boy from the sun came with a warning He must fall on this piece and not recall The one with a hand of gold will hear The one with a heap of a heart will find him Take him to place that is seen by eye that lacks all others Pronounce his arrival in symbols unheard of Someone will deliver the message so vital To the healer of wars and more unheard of With his tongue many will listen to his story The message has come from far indeed To the believers of faith and change it will ring Tunes will come to tell in tones Many will dance unknowingly praising One day he will remember when the time has come Those true and honest will understand it, until then… The legend will continue when it’s time to go Like most stories told at night…. It will be forgotten as well With a message so dull. Why try? For I believe in worse beginnings I’m stronger than those who don’t I understand sacrifice to better I stand still so they don’t I swallow fear and steer clear Of all things worse my way For they shouldn’t endure this Barrier my back against danger Failure absorbed shoulder the blame Go out again, I have nothing to lose Put them first and let them not see They deserve better than giving up I do so myself for I have no painful idea For it seems like a lost cause anyways I believe in better endings for them I try so they don’t. Hypocrite Painter Resentment lures the mind to its wilderness of broad colors words couldn’t rhyme to depict the choice colors in his mind Fingers firm on the brush dipped in the shade of luminance and expression Ready to show the thin hungry strangers he saw Poverty driven theft and greed in high places Harsh swipes on the canvas an escape without truly leaving The country riddled with anger at all angles but fear holds back He dances around in shapes that told stories of death by hands rather not spoken An array of hues, enticing at its originality. Anger on the rush, veins pulsating at the absurdity of it all Emotions are the center of his world, but a dystopian one at large. Hoping to portray only what he sees but not what he feels What he assumes is safe but not the truth Afraid to hurt those who hurt others Hypocrite nonetheless this painter remains Refusing to give how himself thought and felt. Refusing to show anger that burst at the seams and threads holding him together. Hoping to tell the difficulty of kind without truly saying He was ready for freedom of reflection and transparency But the canvas looked nothing of how he felt and willed A stretching veld with flowers of happiness, desire and longing. Lodged with peace and serenity for those he detests to content A picture perfect Utopian world he wishes for the rest but his enemies. His true emotions remained with him once again. Oh, phantom child Mother always hears Before she listens to you So she heard your words before you spoke a hint, She hasn’t seen the world before you could come for null She wont do this to you at all Your phantom soul, dare nudge Her heart, she yearns to have you In her rustic arms , to cradle to rock And sing to you for how long? The time will tick the ears of yours Curious about the world outside Death awaits, laid down traps of awe Oh, phantom child of hers. This mother always sees Before she looks The trouble that groomed to corrupt her Will corrupt you only plumule of naivety She wishes no ill upon you, not a sliver of pain Her happiness lays deep in your happiness She will never think of you again Even just a phantom child in thought wrung her womb dry with guilt Not in this world will she plant it, no So forgive her for keeping you there There where sin is a story told at bed Sin here is a bed she sleeps when tired Oh thought phantom child of hers She will never have you. Perhaps another time. In another world. I’m your woman I’m your woman, and I should stay I should stay that way and not pry I should have to learn not to pop Can my anger it's your nature to lie It's not your fault when you have to go When you leave for your second wife I’m your woman I should understand Since I should be grateful your here My body should know when you’re angry I should not be prone to fantasy emotion When I am your woman, I should not want I should be open to all suggestion you don Since the fabric I layer myself in is yours I’m your woman and I should know this I should know this and not hiss, fizz nor diss You are allowed privacy all the time unlike I What happens to me should make you happy I’m privy to friends nor gossip, it taints my mind Never go out and about, be innocent in the world we live Since I’m your woman, I should only think about you Make tea, coffee, suit you up and down, lace you in and out When I’m your woman, you won’t know when. There’s no such woman Ethereal sleep The heart thrums, a tune strummed in turns, imagining a wild swirl of memories, lulling and numbing the body to fall, the skin hums in response to the deep spell, the brain skips merrily into the hoarse and untamed world, soaking up all the un-natural nature the soul sings, eyes closing in a taboo-like bliss, almost inherited similar to an iniquity, go down the rabbit hole let the head fall and embrace it all. An ethereal sleep, undisturbed. It doesn’t last.
Selma Haitembu is a biochemistry graduate. She is obsessed with literature (mostly Sidney Sheldon and Agatha Christie) and currently teaches high school. She enjoys old books since they smell like an era all archeologists assume they know. Previous publications in Fleas on the Dog. Also, in Decolonial Passage.
I’m especially moved by “Then”, though each piece is powerful.
Its a very nice poetry. You’re a book writer. Congrats for the smart and hard work.
Thank you sir