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Tropical Scars: Page 5 of 19

Body: 
cover image

For A Friend Afflicted By The State's
Terminal Punishment Of Souls

 

Your life:
a pomegranate
bursting in tall grass
persevere
before the ants...

You come to us numb
dried are your tears
holding a shell of decay
do not
pension yourself off
25
recapture the youth
of your 23 years

You come to us numb
sprouting no smile
a stitch on your tongue
we can see
your knees are stained red
once more you were
wading adrift in unnatural rivers
gather the pieces before
the ants...

Do not stir the pot
of bitterness now
swallow you bitter tablets
the doctor is right
and sleep
please try and sleep
stop that pacing
unnerving
insomniac footsteps
felling the forests of dreams
stop
that moon infested
heavy parade on floorboards
stop that ogre
with a rattle of chains
at your side.

On my knees now:
here is a pip-
your childhood!
skip through the grass
come,
"one tomato
two tomatoes...."
come,
"the amansi bird is here.."
come...
You stare
contempt in you eyes
Did they start
uprooting the nerve-ends
that young?

All of us now
on our knees:
here we bring you
the dreadlocks of rastas
to jive with
the wing of an egret
to fly with
the roar of a million
factory-bludgeoned sisters
to march with
your life of pain translated to praises
adorned by Qabula's* rubbery tongue
to bounce with
here
our treasures are humble
but mined from the heart
you smile
but you sigh
you come to us numb

OK
The stains on your knees
will not be erased
by kneeling
hoist them as flags

keep the stains
and the holes
oppression has branded:
but, add the colour of night
around you first,
your second or was it your third
detention
add the colour of Makhana's* valleys
around you
shot friend's corpse
arrange a caring touch of the brush
a caress
around
your brother's bullet-strewn
body
do not forget your uncle's and other
brother's detention
carry the valleys over their gaol
remember to paint
the sun's colour
around your mother's departure

around your life invaded
by thugs
wanting to clear
you off the maps of Umlazi
leave the red as it stands
it matches your class
keep the stains
but please
kneel
gather those pieces

look after your life:
a pomegranate
bursting in tall grass
persevere
gather the pieces
before the ants...
go back two
from 25
recapture the youth
of your 23 years
You Must.

Description: 
Destined to be an important contribution to progressive writing in S.A. - Frank Meintjies