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More Great African Poetry with Tendai Rinos Mwanaka

Excuse Plays to God

by Wanjohi wa Makokha


Let us, play, that game, again….                                                                                           

Where we call all names of God.                                                                                

One trillion times, twins, habibi

Expecting that He exists again…


Let us play it even in our graves                                                                                       

Two shadows of our Time of Life                                                                                    

Beneath the Twilight as we stare                                                                               

Upwards searching Heaven-gate


Lets play the God game, you and I

Stretched here in ruins of Religion                                                                                

Buried under debris of democracy                                                                           

Dreaming the deaflessness of God!


Is it when owls sing elegy to the sun                                                                                   

Of broken homes, broken hearts, of                                                                                

Embers as stone-cold as the hearths                                                                                 

That we should replay our twinitude?


The Extraordinary Love poem

by Kariuki wa Nyamu of Nairobi, Kenya


Love, today I pen you a poem

albeit a plain one

a poem that wouldn’t employ images

for our love is altogether unimaginable.

A poem free of hyperbole                                                                                                                

for our love doesn’t deserve any extravagant exaggeration.

A poem devoid of metaphors and similes

for our love has got no comparison.


Love, I pen you

a poem without personification                                                                                       

for our love will never be inanimate.

A poem empty of oxymoron and paradox                                                                      for our love is not at all self-contradictory.

A poem lacking symbols

for never will our love signify something else.                                                                  

A poem with not as many rhetorical questions, since

where’s that time to invest in questions that induce no reply?                                       

Yes, I’ll just pen you a device-less poem

for ‘tis utterly immaterial to conceal our love  

behind any one poetic device!                                                                                                                  

Love, today I just want to let you know

that you’re the life of my love                                                                                                                    

You who opaque one and all

the irresistibly charming belle

and sole conqueror of my pride of heart!                                                                                     


So Love, kindly appreciate this extraordinary love poem                                         

for ours is totally out-of-the-ordinary love                                                                       

since not even the authority of these poetic words

that I soooo much economize

can effectively express our immense affection                                                                  

that’ll forever remain remarkably unusual!           



Dreaming of Soccer
by Christine Coates of Cape Town, South Africa

I grew up on the edge of District Six, all we had was a ball;

newspapers taped round and round.
The Malay boys had a leather ball; their dad's drapers and tailors,
and matches in the street, teaming ourselves, until the muezzin called
them to prayers and our mothers yelling to come for supper.
Dreaming of soccer, how I dribbled the ball,
how I passed it to Desmond Green and he back to me,
how I shot it into the back of the net.
Darling Street, late afternoon, a short cut,
bergies slept there under the milkwoods, they ate boys
like the Sabbath chicken, spitting out the bones, Mom said.
Hansel bones.
The sun low between Lion's Head and Devil’s Peak,
a blink of an eye, a bogey winking, a candle.
Then I saw the glass, the rounded ends of bottles.
But I was nimble, I was quick like Desmond Green;
Hubbly Bubbly, Pepsi, Coca-Cola,
a window for empties, a tickey a bottle, a sixpence for whiskey,
a miracle I told Desmond,
from under the milkwoods, money for our own ball.
The Malay boys, as good as them, a proper team,
like the story in shul, manna in the desert, pansella.

Shifren's Sports Shop smells of leather and rubber,
delivery bikes with fat black tyres, Raleigh racers,
rows of balls, oval rugby balls,

netballs, tennis balls, ping-pong balls and a brown leather ball,
a round leather ball.
Mr Shifren counted the coins, 'I'm not Father Christmas you know',
but he took it from the high shelf.
The Malays goaded, 'Trying for Moroka Swallows?'
We settled on Sundays – they couldn't play Fridays,
our Saturdays Sabbath.

Years later, lean years, the stock market-crashed years.
I walked the city begging for work;
it was a Friday, the start of sunset,
and I was to bring a shabbas chicken for the table, but my hands were empty.
At Rietvlei I parked near milkwoods and ran the motor, the gas fumes –
perhaps if I died.
The shades under the afternoon trees lengthened,
then – a glint, a wink of an eye. Their magnified lenses.
The days of street soccer rollicking back to save me.
I drove to Milnerton Main Road, to Solly's on the corner,
and I could buy a chicken, a large roaster,
and a bar of chocolate.
In the street I met Desmond – it had been thirty years.
He came home for supper, for chicken and challah,
and, as I was carving the meat, and he was drinking whiskey,
he offered me a new job.


 by Mbizo Chirasha


Tongues of their guns kissed the bottoms of our country walls

sand of corruption sedimented our banking malls

bishops munching rainbow chicken bones,

singing political verses

violence is a black disease

racism is a white disease

xenophobia is epidemic

blood spilling is endemic

dissidents studying theology

eunuchs graduating criminology

Afghanistan, earthquake of religions

pakistan, volcano of political legions


corruption natural lotion applied in armpits heavy weights

extortion vaseline shining on thighs on high offices

i am not revenging freedom of expression

i am bubbling with freedom of expression

i am constitution of word identity

i am poetry butter and bread

i see children blinded by propaganda peri peri

i see blinded nations

they ate the last supper joburg

their departure never came ,

even when the rainbow sun rose

i am in the drama of the state

my temper of dignity rise and sink

my children drank the apartheid poison

i am diagnosing them with freedom passion

Love’s Art and Love-craft

by Kariuki wa Nyamu


Lord, in my present state of love’s quagmire

I beseech you to gently energize my soul

and grant my mind the potency to

shake off thoughts that this love-craft

that took off     just          the  other day                                                               

(with  my gorgeous  and  adorable  lady of love)

is doomed to            ɔ              r                 ɒ                   š                ɥ

                      due to the looming fog of distrust!


Oh sweet Lord, hasten to fund me with enough gallons of wisdom

in order to unravel this obscurity, so that                                                              

    I may either

    parachute to


                   or better still                                                                                                                 

cajole my co-pilot                                                                                                                            

       into taking

an emergency                      ………………………………landing…………………………………………………

(in order to secure lives of all members on board)                                                             

for ‘tis unwise of us to                                                                                                                    

       p               l              ɒ                   n                      ə

             ɔ              r                  ɒ                      š                    ɥ                        

                a             n                   d

s                       t                       r                       a                      w                                         

s                       e                      e                      d                      s                                                      

of our love

all over this

land of rocks!


But Lord of grace, why don’t you make in us                                                                                            

a never-to-perish love-craft                                                          

before this


           distance and                                                                                                                                     


scatters  our    affection     into      a                    

d    e    s    e    r    t              o    f   

n    o    t    h    i    n    g    n    e    s    s?      

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