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The RDP Poems: Page 5 of 52

Body: 

Black Mamba Rising

 

I

Walked

past Clairwood
and the back road
by the railway track
where the Local met
to change the world
and count who was alive
 
the building:
dirty-white as
dilapidated as it should have always been
the clothing sweatshop on the second floor
still, uncleaned windows from 1966
and the bare staircase
where we had to negotiate a wheelchair- three flights and a
twisted back
and a goat-
to cut its throat for protection
and eat it with the guys
the goat: still owns a stain
in the emptied hall
with its leaking lavatories
 
from the fire-alarm exit
the eye sees the only change:
a dozen women and their stalls by the
railway entrance:
one tomato, two orange and a piece of cloth
II
 
What happened to Qabula?
 
It is hard to get news, about Quabula.
 
The walk to the taxi rank, past Clairwood
to Mobeni might help:
 
asking his nephew, does not help.
 
He stares at you, and you can see the gun
on the inside of his leather-like, almost grey-jacket
surrounded by the guys who bleed the line from
Pondoland to the factory-gates
who serve the line, from the dagga plantations to Bambayi
taxi warriors who char the backs of Hiace scabs.
Tell umlungu he says, that I know nothing.
 
I drop the right names- his father's from Port Shepstone
his uncle's who died of the virus in Umzumbe
his friends' who fought the zombie-keepers at Kokstad.
 
Sitas, he says, I used to know you
through your words
but we do not know you, now
Qabula is my father now, since my father died
and he has the say of our inheritance
he is finished with your nonsense.
I lie about a film and money and
possibilities!
 
8
9
Description: 
Portions of this work appeared in New Coin, New Nation and in the case of their musical setting "Times of Deliverance"|"RapCrapDidSo" in the sleeve-notes of "Durban Noiseworks" by Jurgen Brauninger and "Cantata" by Dan Wyman. "Bombing Iraq" has allusions to two tunes by Louis Armstrong and Gilbert and Sullivan.