POEM: Slip Top

BY KHANYA MTSHALI

I saw a woman drop a briefcase holding her life together
She hissed at the contents on the floor
Wished they would pick themselves up
And return to where they belonged.
The floor broke itself open,
swallowed the briefcase whole.
The woman collapsed
so the floor could caress her body.
She turned on her belly
Clicked her back
Banged her head
And waited for the floor to disappear.

POEM: The neighbours for insensible tendencies

BY COLIN JAMES

Usually they’re never home
so our communication is theoretical.
We can’t rehearse the formal fake wave
hands scratching or adjusting,
then a sky scanning look
anticipating some vast migration
not so empathetic as pragmatic,
like the grass is as green as our needs.
The shuffling buzz of preoccupation
is a hindrance to these.
My machine’s achievements are legendary.
where my clothes are drying on the roof.

POEM: Still life with Frenchman, dog and grandmother

BY RAHUL D’SILVA

Charles Aznavour is crooning about loss
and existence and loneliness and wine,
and other Gallic national concerns

and Tommy is sunning his golden fur
on checkerboard flagstones, turning over
methodically, every half hour

and my grandmother is staring at the
murky world in front of her milky eyes
saying (to no one in particular):

Before we were married, my husband used
to walk five miles, just to have tea with me.
I was once the village beauty, see.

POEM: Me, African

BY FRANCIS KAYAMBA

My body is smooth and my skin shines like a sculpture made from ebony wood
He made me in his divine picture
He placed me in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya…
I am black, beautiful, rare and expensive
He placed me in the heart of central basin of the Congo
I’m stiff and magic
He placed me in the Kalahari and Sahara Deserts
I am a wonder and unapologetic
He placed me at the feet of Mount Kilimanjaro
I’m catchy to the eyes of tourists
He hides me in the Horn of Africa
makes me walk from the gulf of Guinea to the Cape of Good Hope
Me, African