W.A.R OF WORDS by Mbongeni Khumalo

Mbongeni Khumalo | February 21st, 2024 | poetry | No Comments

Poet Bio

(Writers & Rioters)

I
Pamela… Nichols
You pummel me with words
And yell at me
Telling me not to ever call you again
And yet
Shed tears over a Valentine’s card
Never sent
Perfumed in your own sweet scent

Lindiwe Mabuza said it
Your skin colour is your own Jew
Falling like a rain of tea/rs
In the morning dew
Chewed sour to tasteless out of fashion
In the sticky bluegum
That you chew

Love is no longer a matter of choice
But a cadre deployment
In the phallocentric state
Of a phallocratic society
Cocks queueing at my wife’s doorstep
Which hen is more revolutionary
Than which chic/k?

Everywhere
The same hackneyed racist taunts
“He’s taking advantage of her
Because she’s mentally ill”
As if love across the colour line is sickness
“Oh, she looks younger
In photos
But she’s a little older than him”
-She must be the one taking advantage of him-

Ignore the ignorant who still ask
“If he’s a true revolutionary
Why is he making love to Jewish settlers?”

II
Hot-air echoes:
“He is a cripple
An enemy of the people!”

Selective indignation an ignition
To a monopoly on hatred
The vicious circle of self-righteousness
Each committing an atrocity
Turning a blind eye to the other’s pain

Whose dispensary will ration out sense
In this asylum of insanity

An eye for a lie
Tooth for a truth
Nibbling the musty papers of justice
Amid all this
Is poetry a Voice of Conscience
Or a sleeping tablet
On which is engraved our rulers’ commandments

World headlines
SHE WAS ABDUCTED ON A MOTORBIKE
GANG-RAPED ACROSS THE BORDER
AND SHOT IN HER GENITALS
The disillusionment of a socialist kibbutz
And yet again
Slashed off breasts and teat-bits
Strewn across a music festival

Anna Akhmatova and Rosa Luxemburg
The lonesome voices of resistance
Where professional protesters opt for silence
It was like this
Under the Stalinist terror
From the Jerusalem Wailing Wall
To the Moscovite Wall of Grief
Families that are bereaved
Lay roses and carnations
Where in the past victims sang praises
To the pepper-traitors of their own carnage

Marina & Yulia
Two widows united in sadness
Over a cup of Novichok

Father Michael Lapsley said it
Well enough
The Soviets are our comrades
So are Ukrainians

Poet Bio

Mbongeni Khumalo: Author of the poetry collection Apocrypha.

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