Last night the propaganda minister dribbled a fake peace dance Mother and other mothers ululated to that adulterated signature jive. We all sang to the psalms of the land, pain is carved unto our bones like a plague of the stolen throne We drank our tears, our hearts drowning in rock-armpits of streams gushing with bloody conspiracy,
And that faked peace-dance is the fall of another political soul, the death of another protester Another dissident and another revolutionary combatant We chanted the iron-knuckle slogan, shame wetting the beautiful rags of torn presidential regalia Hung unto our hatred-soaked flesh-frames We ate morsels of drought relief, guts aching from pangs of hypocrisy, we lost our daughters in charcoals of forced sexual gigs, we sipped from jugs of sorrow as sons are defiant stray dogs roasted for elections dinner Decades ago, we rattled colonial dynasties with the gusto of new land/new freedom/new hope/new dawn And we ate political sausages every morning and we supplicate to long dead combatants for another freedom, we rocked the revolutionary jive at the dawn of new black cockerel shrill, freedom songs combed the land once roughened by bullet and washed by blood And again, today we lick the wounds of corruption and munch the omelet of poverty We are another country born out of revolutionary struggle, as we walk on carpets of bones and breathe the wind that remain the spirits of medium kindreds long gone, Nandi/Nehanda/Nerfetiti/Nzinga/Murenga/Mutapa/Changamire/ We are not another country, we are not the bottoms of another country We cousins of soshangane, makosetive, gaza, lewanika, dinizulu, Zwangendaba and Dingiswayo and grandchildren of Azania and sons/daughters of Tanzania Tonight we are dancing another jive, a riyal dribble, a majestic dance, Misizulu KaZwelithini, the heir apparent of the Zwelithini ka Bhekizulu becomes another King, descendants of Chaka Zulu, great great great grandchildren of Senzangakhona kaJamaa Another country, another nation, royal nation in Azania land, the rainbow nation and the rainbow is written on every rock Back in Jozi, the City of gold Tito is writing a blockbuster of a political recipe, Juju walks unto the morning dew of truth Doves, owls and honeybirds are singing in proverbs, the paradox of the rainbow-land Throwing the economic rags unto the faces of saboteurs and spitting verbal phlegm unto the rigid apparitions of apartheid, Mkonto Wesizwe is the spear of nation, Steve Biko rising, Jo-Slovo resurrecting Cyril dances to Mbaqanga and praying in Kalanga tongues, Msholozi walks free and sings Zulu poetry to the Amaqawe Marikana bones are burning in the sun, long dead and long forgotten, Xenophobia scars are still the ghetto signature of another country, This is another country, every beverage is laced with xenophobia lingo Beyond the mighty river, the crocodiles are still chewing big fish and gnashing bones of small breams Their bellies are fattened by election beef and propaganda chicken curry, last night their sweet beverage was the voters roll and their after-dinner light meal is the radical nationalist-communist manifesto, they sing hymns of Castro, Stalin, Mao and Lenin Rains are falling, sun is also burning, the land is boiling and stewing under the grind of hunger We are another country of another country
The night is a discord of feverish yearnings from loud vendors, incessant gun claps, and disorderly tenor of car horns. The air is taunted with baritones of groaning old engines coughing their way out of the wincing city. The streets are writhing under the heavy grip of teargas and alcohol laced urine of vagabonds. Tonight, the city is a naked harlot. Its dance is the thud of state police’s steely boots in mad run and chase arrests of drug peddlers, sex vendors and forex dealing rascals. Drunk scumbags are wetting street pavements with filthy and snort. Somewhere closer to an old and dingy police post, a trail of blood led my eyes into the moonlit dingy street. Stray dogs are tearing apart fresh meat from a dumped baby. Maybe the new mother is night crawling in those disease sodden corridor brothels or a trainee recruit of crank brewing in gutter taverns. While the unknown father might be some notorious criminal on police wanted list. Maybe a potbellied fat cat talkative about gender equity and child rights bills in parliamentary sessions. Paradox! The growls of fighting dogs resonate with rushed groans of masturbating suspects in sordid police cells. I am watching the night from the roof of an old city brothel.
Downtown under the old bridge, between the bottoms of the frail city. Delinquent boys, serial drunks, life rejects and diehard ex-convicts are sharing a joint under the hesitant wink of the shivering moon. A battalion. They are easing their bones after a day’s hunt of food in rubbish jungles. Today their dinner is a dozen of expired tins of beef and a crate of burnt bread crumbs. A lucrative dinner. They laugh their poverty away between puffs of marijuana and gulps of alleyway brewed crank. Next to their anopheles infested hovel is a narrow stream shitting dysentery and vomiting typhoid. The stream is choked to stagnancy by used condoms, old wigs, decaying bodies and human faeces. Behind them is an old railway station and a dilapidated cemetery, usually a haven of wayward cheap sex predators and their raunchy prey. Every night, the bridge slide into a din of food battles, masturbation groans, mosquito whistles, catfights and lung wrenching influenza. Sexual groans by morons and drunk harlots add flavour to the daily festival.
The red tin roofed railway station is Satan’s pigsty, where the devil reward wayward young lives with the deadly virus, he then releases them into the city to spray infections like pesticide. Unknowingly and knowingly many dice like sprayed green fleas in trances of midnight excitement. Mortuaries are harvesting virus-caused deaths every day of God. Sometimes the old bridge battalion spent nights digging up the dead to take away the coffins for resale.
When the battalion is asleep you can hear footsteps of tired snores and drunken dreams floating along with rot of corrupted wind. Delinquent boys hallucinate under the grip of evil spirits. Ex-convicts are haunted by souls of people they killed. You hear them pleading for forgiveness in the depth their nightmares. Cheap harlots supplicate to god to release them from devil’s grip. The terminally ill and oldest ones die many times under the attack paediatric and asthma seizures. They are resilient, they rose with the sun like everybody else. The battalion is mix of small crime and big crime ex-convicts, drug addicts and just wanderers. They are now a tired lot, exhausted by their past and present. The old bridge is their only home. A permanent home in summer, winter or rains season. Young sinners prowl the bridge in feverish hunt of food delicacies and good sex, despite the pariah conditions. The bridge is an export and import station of tuberculosis, dysentery and syphilis. Everyone’s penis is rotting from decade long syphilis wounds.
Adjacent to the bridge, just across the railway station life goes on under the veil of frail city lights. Goat bearded maestros, street intellectuals and sloganeering imbeciles’ prowl city bars and pimp shebeens. They drown their filthy anger in brown and green bottles. Raunchy dances, raucous laughter’s, political gossip and beer are daily lubricants to their heavily depressed mental boxes. Big fish, well-polished town fellas and important persons come here to spend nights cuddling the bottoms of sex vendors as well as hips of beer mugs. They enjoy their daily toil away from the maddening wives. Every Friday is a happy day, beer is cheap and sex is free. The City night club becomes a hive of pole dancing, break dancing, pimping and gambling. The club entry point is characterized by broken sheaths of used condoms, chopped fingers, blood trails, stubbed cigars, torn wigs and many other laughable paraphernalia. Marriages are made and broken in this den of sins. Here is where, political players deposit the country’s future in pink bras. Mugs of cheap whisky castrate city leaders into useless imbeciles and the deadly virus is planted in many lives like maize seed.
At midnight, the city wears its black gown. A lone gutter owl introduces wizards and their cousin sisters into the playground. Illegal vendors invade the streets like ruthless migrant grasshoppers. Madhubula. They pawn everything from stereos to wedding rings to sugar and crank.
From where I am seated right now, I see the city prostituting our lives and taking bribes. Corrupt shadows crawling from one street to the other, hustling for dirty dollars. Alley way sex escapades, blind couples making kids under the quilt of pavement shadows. Heartless doctors peddling hospital drugs. Minister’s wives fornicating with bodyguards and garden tenders. Stray dogs feasting from used and broken condoms. Village mothers bussed in to sing for an absent president.
The balcony smells of unprotected sex. A Viagra peddler is grinding a pole dancer without a condom and she is vomiting because of his ruthless pounding. Her snort perfumes the brothel canteen with a rude smell of cheap whisky and beef bones. Her vomit also smells like an expired locally made pesticide, galatrox. A potbellied anopheles is enjoying Christmas from the pair’s alcohol greased blood. The dancer feverishly winks to the moon and the frail moon winks back. The drama continues.
Towards dawn the city wears a grey robe in the glow of the first twilight. The battalion sit around flames of cardboard boxes made fire. Their limbs are as black as burnt wood in the first rays of dawn. Their eyes are red like hungry hyenas. And they are ready to pounce at anything that can end the war inside their bellies. As the city yawns out the night’s hangover, somewhere over the bridge, white robbed prophets are bluffing in tongues and their pilgrims are singing in praise. A motorcade siren wails loudly and suddenly fades into thin air. Bus engines puffs their stale fart onto the bridge, the battalion coughs in a synchronized chorus. Touts are already in the streets as usual; the city becomes a virgin again. A cuffed evangelist is pleading to a defiant young police woman. A swarm of drunken wanderers are pursuing behind them, chanting vulgar creamed songs. The echo of their nonsense is drowned by another siren of the new president’s motorcade. It’s the 23rd of November 2019. The city throws away the black and grey gowns. It wears a dark green combat and is remote-paused into a presidential minute of silence.
©2022 Mbizo Chirasha
All rights reserved
…is the founder of the Writing Ukraine Prize (2022-23), UNESCO-RILA Affiliate Artist (University of Glasgow, School of Education, Scotland).2020 Poet of Residence at the Fictional Café (International literary culture Writers Space).2019 IHRAF Pan Writivism/African Fellow .2020 free-Speech Fellow at PEN -Germany Writers in Exile Program. Resident Coordinator at All Africa Live Poetry Symposium (100TPC, Africa, Israel, global).Festival Poet at Poesia de Medellin (Columbia), Guest Writer at University of Glasgow Creative Writing Programme (Sept 2020). Guest Speaker at SpokenWordOonline (Paris).2019 live literature hub Producer at Sotambe Film Arts Festival (Kitwe, Zambia). 2015 Jury President at Shungunamutitima Film Festival (Livingstone, Zambia).2009 Poet in Residence at ICACD (Accra, Ghana). 2009 Fellow at UNESCO-Photo Novel Intensive Training (Tanzania).2 011 United States Embassy, Harare Guest Poet at World Poetry Day (Harare, Zimbabwe).2007 Producer/Coordinator of This is Artist Artist in Residence Project (Goethe-Zentrum, Harare) 2006 United Nations Tribute to Kofi Annan Poet. 2003 ZIBF ,100 Best Books Young literary/writing delegate to Goteborg Book Fair (Sweden). Chirasha is the Publisher of the Time of the Poet Republic. Curator of WOMAWORDS Literary Press. Editor in Chief at Brave Voices Poetry Journal. Chief Blogger at Porcupine-Quill blog(wixsite). Founder/Curator at African Writers Caravan. Author of Mbizo Chirasha (African William Blake) blog journal. Mbizo Chirasha was the Creative Director of Girlchild Creativity Project and Urban Colleges Writers Prize. Author of A Letter to the President (Mwanaka Media, Zimbabwe), Pilgrims of Zame( FootPrint, Malawi). Co-Authored Whispering Woes of Ganges and Zambezi (Cyberpress), Curated/Co-Edited Corpses of Unity, Second Name of the Earth is Peace(Anti-war collection,USA) , Co-edited Bilingual Digital Anthololgy Street Voices (Germany), Edited Voices of Africa: A Call for Freedom Anthology( USA) and Disgrace-land (Kindle collection)/