two poems by Moses Mitileni

zamantungwa | March 24th, 2015 | current issue, poetry | No Comments

Poem One

The Red Ants

The red ants are not red…
They are blacks hired
To mow down their own
Out of sinkholes
Onto pavements

The red ants are not ants…
They are human beings reduced
To machines that bulldoze
Those whose plight they share
For a meal

Poem Two

a nation becoming (extract)

every other bleeding memory shall be deferred to a commission
whose chair is to be an amusing emeritus bishop
to dull the sting of grueling confessions
we shall call it truth and reconciliation
following a chorus of rigged testimonies and half-truths and streaming tears
we buried atrocity in pardons and dragged reparations
and those lost in the jungles of exile were never fetched

did you tell her mother and father and the gods
that their daughter has died in faraway lands
with none her own but tormenting fractures of freedom longing

future bosberaads, curious trees,
departing gunshops, boipatong
someone asked of the freedom charter,
and its place on the walls of the union buildings
they were warned of the omnipotence and might of the markets
and how those that owned the wealth that fed me and you
would skip the border to protect their interests
so quietly a resolution was mumbled
bury the freedom charter on a tomb
locate it in a small tower in the middle of kliptown
a glamorous state funeral would be organized
poet president thabo mbeki would render the oration
and the square is to be duly dedicated
to that silent old sage walter sisulu

did you ask of her mother and father and the gods
that they please welcome this their daughter
give her a place to rest in this her plundered home
for she is a spear, fallen in combat

Poet Bio

Moses Mtileni is the author of two anthologies of poetry, U ya va Rungula and When the Moon Goes to Rest. His poems have appeared in Poetry Potion, Timbila, and The Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Anthology Vol. IV. He hails from Nkuri-Tomu village in Limpopo, and writes predominantly in Xitsonga. (SA)

Dear-South-Africa-websitethis poem appears in our print quarterly number eight, Dear South Africa.

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