It’s Your Loss

The pen is no man’s fool

Or so I have found

It does not grovel when you threaten to leave

It lets you go

Does not miss you

Does not call you and hang up when you pick up

 

The pen can survive without you

And maybe you can survive without it

But you had better not hint at being over the pen

Unless you’re sure you can live – regret free – without it.

 

I hope I can remember this every so often.

Still My Baby

Little one

Can you not grow so quickly?

So that you may continue to fit

In the crook of my arms

Where you are most safe

 

Your first word said

I watched; proud

But as I remember

Despair courses through me

Because I know this world

For the chameleon it can be

 

Your first steps taken

Just as you will step into high school

Emotions in a knot

My arms held out

Should you become a target for bullies

Have some teacher put you down

Get your innocent heart broken

By a teenage boy

Who knows nothing of how to handle your affection

 

 

You can now ride a bike

I fear that I have

Taught you something sinister

As you may ride a different one

Sometime in the future

When I become overprotective

And you say –

I’m 17! You can’t keep bossing me around

I shudder to think

You will pedal hastily away from me

Leaving me guilty

Of being too hard on you

Or giving you the means

To run from me

 

My greatest fear

One so wrong and selfish

Is of you

Becoming a strong woman

One who does not need me

 

Little one

Why can’t you stay little forever?

 

This African Tale

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The tale
Of an African
Not to be cast aside

The emotion in the narrative
A tiny window
Into an ocean soul

A tale
Of wooly hair
Hidden, tortured to conform

A tale
Of child and a lantern
Enlightenment not impeded by darkness

A tale
Of million acres of land
Elephants stomp over the grassy expanse

A tale
Of colour
Not about colour

A tale
Of man, his odds
Everything in-between

A tale
Of ancestors and grudges
Bushes overgrown on the path of promise

A tale
Of strange beliefs
Fuelled by folklore

A tale
Of an artist’s masterpiece
Hidden in plain sight; yet unseen

A tale
Of chains and padlocks
Then men who dared dream

The tale
Of an African
Man and his fear of differences;
Greed;
Lies;
Deceit

This tale took a turn
Long, long ago

This tale has endured
Still shakes off murky waters

This African tale
Remains unfinished

11.05.2015

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Dave Coba. Sony Photography Awards

They asked why we are no more

How could I let you go?

Said we were peas in a pod

 

How do I explain

That I cannot be loved

That at first our love was beauty

But like always I got tired of that beauty

And drained it

With insane jealousy

Infidelity

Lies and deceit

 

How do I explain

That me

With my mocha skin

Curvaceous body

And the face of an angel

Am not worthy of you

Or anyone

Hence, I abuse love

 

How do I explain

That I am damaged

Cannot be fixed

Or nurtured

And can only self-heal

 

So I say you cheated

I say I left you

Because you hurt me

My usual excuse

 

They always ask

I fear that they do know the answer

But refuse to believe

 

I’ll stick to my story

Because my truth isn’t pretty enough

We Are

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I grew up in a pool house
Far away from here

My mother
The maid of the main house
Kept our home spotless
My room always ‘cleaned up’
Me, always furious
Because I liked my junk

Why do we always have to clean?
Why can’t I put posters up?
My teenage self
Mouth full of questions

My friends would ask
Why is your brother dark?
I lied
Said I did not know

How do I explain that my mother was jilted twice?
First by a black man
Her first act of rebellion
Against her snobby white parents
The result, Jamal
We all call him Jay

The Father-Daughter dance
Jay went with me
People whispered
Snickered as we danced past
With head held high, he paid no attention

His father’s gift to him
I suppose
Our mother is no brave woman

Make no mistake
She has her virtues
Her hard-work
Her unconditional love
Her efforts to give us the best

She’s proud now
Of what Jay and I have become
The best gifts she gave
Constant reminder that we are not our fathers
That we could muddle through tough times
That we are who we choose to be
And we are.

Tell Me

What do you tell a mother who finds her child dead in a pool of blood?
That you’re sorry for her loss?
Or will the words fail you
As you find yourself holding her
Will her tears haunt you because that blood was shed by your hands?
Or will you be indifferent as you search for the next child?
The next mother to hold
Because her pain is the only joy life affords you

Do you remember the first one?
About a year after your own loss
When therapy seemed to have started working
Or so everyone else thought
Do they suspect that you found a relief?
Much more different from simply sharing your angst
In taking from others
The same love that you lost

Will you ever stop?
Maybe commit suicide
Permanently end the throbbing pain
That even those small sickening moments of elation can’t seem to stop
Or will you have your grandchildren over for summer sometime
The off springs of the lost love of your life
And contemplate doing to them as you’ve done those other young ones
When the evil finally consumes you

Tell me
How do you feel?
Before, during and after
Do you worry about being caught?
Are you always careful?
When you look in the mirror
Is it a monster you see?
Is it the monster I see in you that you see?

A day with the rain

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Found on lifespotting.tumblr.com

Don’t be sad when it pours
Let the rhythm of the falling water keep you company
With its changing tempo
And the irregular chorus of thunder

Sing to the beat of the rain
You may even dance in it
With childlike abandon
And forget the bad and the ugly

Afterwards, sit away from the rain
But have clear view of it
Sip a brew of your choice
As you do nothing else but sit

Spend a large chunk of time in bed
Pull your blanket up to your chin
Let the chill in the air put you to sleep
Relax. Have a day with the rain

Our Love Is War

I am exhausted
From the yelling matches
How you seem to think you’re winning
Even when you don’t make any sense
Like right now.
I’m especially mad
That you expect me to give it all up for you

You know what saddens me?
I did try
I stopped being picky
Went with the flow
Didn’t think of all the differences
Letting you convince me that it doesn’t matter
It seems you lied

We’ve thrown glasses
Aimed at each other
Made up passionately
Swept it under the rug
Tried arguing in dangerously calm tones
But it appears we’re a lost cause
Since we keep coming full circle

The time wasted
That can never be regained
I had just about checked The One off my list
Because we are damned good together
I complete you.
As our differences drown us, I wonder
Why is our love not enough?

I Have To Ask

How is it that our flaws can be accepted?

When we have yet to make peace with them

Staring in the full length mirror

Just underwear on

Going from bottom to top

Mentally fixing

Counting what could be fixed too

Ten, eleven,….

Self-hate rising to the occasion

‘I never want to see a box of pizza again’

 

How did I get here?

Three years out of school now

Interviews by the dozen

‘We’ll get back to you’

Disgraceful loans from the parents

While living rent-free

Oh the glory days

Bought all the rounds

Girls clung fiercely

Some even agreed to share

 

How do children grow so quickly?

Weren’t we just wondering when she would walk?

Then she said her first word

‘Pa-pa’

I had hoped it would be my name

As if that mattered

So many cakes and fabric swatches to choose from

I watch as she makes decisions with him

Grown woman

My baby still

 

How could you do this to me?

I gave everything

You said you wanted luxury

So I built an empire

Made you queen of our home

Our cold home

Then I asked for children

‘Will you stop bringing it up?’

Wish I had

‘The cleaners’ is exactly right

 

How many good surprises will I get?

I grew up not expecting

Always hoping

Working tirelessly to get out

‘You will end up just like me’

Moved far away from that toxic place

I have all I ever dreamed of

A successful career

Used to think it was too much to ask

How times have changed.

The Dark Side

Delectable, let us play a game

We’ll hide our hearts

So our sleeves are light

Then easier becomes the undressing

Because, in truth, I just want the pleasure

I get the rest of it from my Mrs

I do mean that as a compliment


She crawls into bed late at night

Having spent so long getting ready

Does she not know spontaneity is half the fun?

I turn my back and think of you

So will you play my game?

Oblige me, darling.

Give me something to dream of

When I lay with my baby maker


Just do as I say

You’re half my age?

Can’t you see my body doesn’t care?

This is our magic

She could never get that out of me

Stiff as a board

Oh, you like board games?

I think we’d do best if we talked less


Walk with me on the dark side

Will you?