Ashes to AshesThe edges of this hole crumblebeneath my grasping fingers,the earth soft and dry as July dust,shifting like chaff in the wind.So close did I come to the surfacethat the sun kissed my face, andI wept to see itas I clawed.But its gone nowwith the grasses to whichI clung like the rungs ofof a crooked ladder.Ripped loose as I slipped,their roots stain myfisted hands astogether wefall backto the bottom.
TearsHis seductressdissolved intotears with herfifth margarita,wanting not anew manbutto forget theold one.
I'm HereWhen I was a girl, mymother would hidein the bathroom.She would close andlock the door, turn onthe faucets full blast,and weep.I was a child.I didn't understandnot making the mortgageor repenting promisesof forever to a manwho couldn't lovethe way she neededto be loved.I knew none of this.I only knew thatmy mother wascrying.She tried to hide it,to protect us fromher sorrow, but herwails sounded abovethe rushing tap water.And I tried to shieldher, too, in my childish way.I kept her sad secretwhen perhaps I shouldhave told her, told herthat she wasn't alone,for as she wept, perched onthe lip of the bathtub,I stood outside in the hall,my ear to the cool, smoothsurface of the painted door,listening to her pain,wishing it would stopand I wept with her.She never knew themany times I stood there,but she was never alone.
Falling Out of LineWhen I was a child,my mother used to liein the floor and color with me.With a mountain of Crayolasbetween us and a pile of coloring books,we made our own worlds.She taught me how importantit was to stay within the lines,to lay down hues with my crayonsvery neatly within black-traced spaces.The colors were never to bleed togetherbut to remain solidly in their individual compartments,the strokes all light, even, and in the same direction.Only thus were good pictures made,and she and I we both made very good pictures.I didnt realize at the timethat she was showing me her life,the strict regimentation required forher to stay in her very small world.Nor did I know that she was teaching methe same fatal flaw that would cost her so much that to be happy, we had to earn each smileby staying in the boxes drawn for us.Finally, she broke free, erasingevery line that ever held her.Even the ones that tied her to me.That, she forgot to teach.
Fighting UpstreamThe past lay out behind me like a tired gray ribbon,a sluggish river of inadequacies, insufficiencies, insecurities.The time has come to find new streams to swim,a time of goodbyes that lead to the sea.
Aches and PainsCould I unzip myselfand remove whatever hurts,I fear there would belittle of me left.
PetrificationIf skin were like rocks,hers would run smoothwith tears,but as her cheeks softenwith weeping, its her heartthat turns tostone.
EpiphanyI understand thatmy knowing my placeand staying in itare vital to yourwell-being.Im afraid, however,that your well-beingis no longermy top priority.
a special kind of waitingat the airport, she seemspreternaturally calm,pent up, her emotionstightly wrapped likea swaddled babybut she cant sit stillshe walks to a highstool at a phone table,drags it out, sitsawkwardly, her legstoo short for comfortspeaks into hercell phone, closes it,gets up, puts thechair back, paces,speaks into hercell againwalks some moreIm waiting, too,scanning thecrowd closely formy young one, butsomehow notlike herthe depth of seriousness,the almost grim edgeto her watchingas she moves yet againI cant figure it outthe plane Im waiting foris slightly delayed, so Ican pay closer attentionas she stands at the ropedoff entry way, speakingquietly into her cellonce morejust follow the crowd,and it will bring you straightto meshe closes her phoneone last time and waits,her calmness meltinglike snow in thespring when ataut-faced youthwith closely cut hairappears at the blindturn and makesa bee line for herI wat
SilenceMove thy lips, no sound escapes,Silence marred by icy wind,Take this heart, and slowly break,Away all happiness within.
ThiefThe man with the umbrella smileand bright crooked eyesstrips down the daylightlike a hunter skinning first killHe lurches under a darkling moontucking kite string under his coatwhere the wind gathers tears and leavesand scatters you in bits and pieces.He has cold hands without glovesand loves to touch you secretlywhen he thinks the moon is not watchingand your lips are stitched shutby a mother's weary hands.His sighs are solitary shadesgrowing in a damp knotunder the stretch of your dresswhere he baits your breathand forces you to hold ituntil you turn blue.He offers you pieces of starsand pretty things to wearplaces promises on your tonguethat hang like cloaks in dark closetsand presses you to keep secretsarched between your thighstucked up inside your belly.He unpins night from the skyand rolls it up under your bedtucking it in safe and securein the corners he hides from your familydisguising the abominationthat calls itself sanctuary.
your poetry is horriblei am irrepressible teenage angst.here is my bitchy poem.whine.moan.woe is me.(insert typo here)i can usedrastic S P A C I N Gto make my point(insert computer shorthand here)my girlfriend just dumped me.whine.perhaps i canwrite at length abouts u i c i d e(insert trite phrase about loneliness)because i am ohsotouchysob.so, to all youheartbrokenstrugglingadolescents out thereshutthefuckupyour poetry is horrible.pain does not always equal great art.now, go write something worth while.
memory jarlike liquidpouredin a glass,thoughts ofyou fillmy mind,claiming eachcrevice likewater slidingaround ice cubesuntil everyspace isyours
ChilledLove is like a refrigerator.When its new, were socareful to keep it neat,clean, and freshlydeodorized.Soon, we dont minda few spots, a sloppyspill, a word cuttingas a broken jar.And if were not careful,well eventually find a crisperfull of rotting strawberriesand soft applesreminding us thatits time to throw itall out and startagain.
Just Passing ThroughWhen I passed away last year, there was a terrible fuss.One family contingent insisted on traditional burial while the other wanted cremation.Cremation finally won out (as its clean and simple and was my wish).Then the fighting began anew over where what was left of me should reside.One wanted to keep me on his mantel where he could continue to keep an eye on me.Another wanted to throw me in the wide blue lake to keep my grandpa company.Days of battling tore at my heartstrings until my beautiful, sweet childrensnuck out my ashes and cast me to the wind (they knew Id like it).Parts of me flew away, picked up by the jet stream, world traveling still,but the bulk of me plopped on the ground at the poor childrens feet.They hadnt the heart to move me, so Iv
one breathin the span ofone breath,you can doany numberof thingssmilescowlsightouch my handburn your fingerspull the triggersmell the rosestake that onedrink too manywatch ababy shiftin his sleepsay somethingthat can neverbe unsaidwish on a starwish you wereanywhere but herelove mewant meleave meyou haveone breath leftwhat willyou dowith it?
Save MeMy mother, vainglorious,sang her own beauty andoffended the gods (thoughher boasts rang true enough);it fell to me to ransomher pride.Given up by parents,lover, nation,I lay abandonedin chains to themighty leviathan,my innocence consideredjust recompense formaternal trespass.On the cusp of death,I find myself in a herossure hands, my life reclaimed.But my freedom is lost, myvirginity now paymentof another kind.I am honoredon canvas, in marbleand bronze, alwaysat the height ofmy distress,my youth.None paint my formafter the sevenchildren I boremy rescuer.I am eternally beautiful,my marbled skinwhite and smooth,but the windsof the sea blowcold, and Iam still a prisoner,a captiveof this stoneforever.
FinityThe night whispers to meof other lives,the ones I didnt live.Winds scented withpaths I didnt walkremind me thatmy dreams havegone onwithout me.
For someone in the pastI sure didn'tthink I was a princessI was just a little girlsearching for herselfyou always kept me awareof my flawscompared me to herand I was very awareI could never be hernot even nearand you told meto act like herlook like herbe like herI told you noand you still wouldn'tlet me goyou wanted to makea copy of herI was a dummyfor your obsession gamesometimes I thoughtyou really talked to menot to someoneyou wanted me to bebut when I heard youcall her nameI knew I had togo awayand leave the gameit took yearsto get over itand yes, I've forgivenbut I still don't thinkI'll ever be enoughI still expect themto call another namelook beyond my eyesand tell me liesand I still hopethat some daysomeonewill know my name
What's a home without a catWhen there's a miaowon the dooryou knowyou've come homewhen there's a purringin your earyou knowyou're lovedby someone dearwhen someone's droppingthings at nightor there's a catfighttry to rememberwhat's a homewithout a catis it a home at all?
RespectWe sit in our blocks of flatsmaking drama in our headssearching for things to complain aboutwatching the time run outwhile nature fights for its existencecruel evidence of this breedman thinks he can rule everythingbut without trees he couldn't breathewe should learn to respect the natureand stop digging our own graveman should learn respect from animalsno other breed destroys this planet like uswe only care for the momentbut our children, will they have their moment?
Sleeping BeautyTo steal a kiss from Sleeping Beauty; Ah, what a delicate art,To brush her lips without her waking, Waking and breaking your heart. I cannot make full contactOn the lips of my princess, my reason to live; My love I know is truer,A thousand times more than her prince has to give.I stole a kiss from Sleeping Beauty, Ill protect her from all harm,But this lowly, lonely servant girl Wants to hold her in her arms.Whenever,If ever,She wakes.
I'll never stop asking whyEvery autumn I remember.Horror never ends.It's been years and moreand sometimes I still dreamthat you're back,alive and well,like nothing ever happened.My best friend.I remember frozen leaveson the streets.I remember the rivercovered in snow,winter came earlythat yearup in the north.Bodies driftingunderwaterwaiting forto be found.Every octoberI still feel it,I still miss you.And I wishyou were here.Through sadness and horrorI realizehow much I grewthat year.A lifetime.All these broken yearsI wouldn't have survivedwithout your silent presencein my heart.And a part of menever grew,I'll always be thatscared young girl,I'll always be too old,too close to deathand a bit sadlike frozen leaves.Every octoberI rememberwhy I hate bridges,I cannot look down.But I can cross them now,and I look at the sky,I know you're there.Watching.
NdinonziMy name is Rufaro. I'm turning nine soon. I like going to school, even though I have to walk a long time to get there, because I can meet my friends. Some of them are from other villages, and I wouldn't see them if I didn't go. I like some of my teachers. Ms Machegutu is very nice. She says I'm a good pupil, and maybe I can go to high school if my grades are good. I don't think I will, Baba doesn't make enough money. He gets drunk very often, Amai says it's because times are hard. I don't understand. Times have always been hard.My name is Tendai. I'm 22. I've been living in the capital for 4 years now. Even though I have my A-levels, it's hard to find work. The people here are smarter than I am, some make fun of my accent. But I work hard. I don't smoke, and I don't drink a lot. I always have some money when I go home for my parents and my aunts. My little sister can go to school, and she is always very happy when I bring her a new dress. Last year, I met some guys that sell Katshasu.
Screaming, BleedingThey scream and they bleedForced on their kneesBeaten and batteredThey continue to pleadThey beg for your mercyThey beg with what mightIs left in their bodiesStill they beg, through the nightScreaming and BleedingThey are forced on the bedOf sticks and of twigsAnd with a grin you spread.You spread their legs wideYou violate the girl-childYou torture their bodiesWithout a thought in your cruel mindSo young are these girlsThe nightmares they yellHell is their life, and yet you ignoreYou yell out, but not with their painBut with pleasure and lust as you cameBlind is your mind, foul is your breathAnd still you pay pimps, with such meager centsThese girls, so youngThey do not have a choiceBend to their mastersOr fall victim to their fury,And their mightThese little girls who onceSmiled and laughedNow curled up in cornersTill for they, do men askAnd to the floor their pushedPleading mercy in their headsLosing their innocence, with each and every bedScreamin
sacrificethey stayedtogether forthe childrenwho grewup afraidto marry