Black Oranges / Poem by Mbizo Chirasha

Poem by Mbizo Chirasha


Black Oranges

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 drains
and 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
debri smelling like fresh dung 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, kalinga-linga
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
the 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 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
a roar of old trucks
a whine of motor cycles
a rumble of dead engines
America frying its fingers in oil pans of your kitchen
where Europe fry, America roast
Angola, if you cough, America catch a fever
angola quench my parched lungs with a spoon of oil
i see the naked thighs of your desert hills
Barotseland 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 moutainside, 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 fro 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 bullet burrow into your belly like rats into sacks
of Thai rice
you are the broken pot we patch to put on shelf again.
flesh of children roasting in your belly, Darfur.

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