February 22, 2021

“To Your Inner Slavery,” Poetry by Selma Haitembu

“To Your Inner Slavery,” Poetry by Selma Haitembu

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. 

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.

to your inner slavery

#black poets#namibia#poetry#selma haitembu

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