To Remember is Prayer by Vuyokazi Ngemntu

Vuyokazi Ngemntu | November 16th, 2020 | poetry | No Comments


Tell your god he owes us heaven
for the fire he doused in our lungs,
and the brimstone we called a country
the rivers our blood cried him
our skin cured with gun powder
‘amen’ pulled the trigger
a white man (substitute singular with plural) to be precise

To forget is healing
so give white jesus a TRC hearing
let him give graphic accounts of the times his silence strangled our supplications
let him spill the gore on your memory’s unstained carpet

you deserve the truth even if it buckles your knees
your back has long broken from standing
chest out diaphragm collapsing
lungs wheezing rainbow smoke screens
suffocating your struggle songs with pacified saviours
27 years in the making
negotiated settlements matter more than the remnants of daughter’s wombs ravaged and sons legacies neutered by sanctioned pardons

on this island of bones
this freeze frame warzone of muffled recriminations
dancing the yes baas shuffle
lest we disturb sleeping dogs and their fangs
snap the puppet strings and our rage awakens
to cause a royal ruckus
scaring away investors

let us pray say amen ten hail marries:
mother of Biko mother of Mashinini
mother of Madikizela
mother of Maxeke
mother of Petersen
mother of Sobukwe
mother of Ngoyi
mother of Maqoma
mother of Nontetha
mother of Vilakazi
to remember is prayer.

Poet Bio


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