Presidential Griot, a poem by Mbizo Chirasha and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

Courtesy of Kevin Nice, Unsplash

“Human rights don’t trickle down.” Heather Marsh, Binding Chaos: Mass collaboration on a global scale



Sometimes memories smell like a dictator’s fart
We once jived to our own shadows under the silver moon and our shadows
danced along with us, we rhymed to the nightmares of hyenas and
hallucinations of black owls. Our desires sailed along with gowns of
fog back and forth at village dawns. Wood smoke smelt like fresh baked
bread. Time bewitched us, we ate William Shakespeare and John Donne.
We drank lemon jugs of Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou.
Soyinka’s lyrical whisky wrecked our tender nerves.
We bedded politics with boyish demeanor and dreamt of the black
cockerels and black Hitler’s
Sometimes time is stubborn like a sitting tyrant
Last night, commissars chanted a slogan and you baked a dictator’s
poetry sanguage. Zealots sang Castro and Stalin and you brewed a
socialist crank, the president is a stinking capitalist. I never said
he is Satanist. Back to village nights, hyenas are laughing still,
black owls gossiping, silver moon dancing still over rain beaten paths
of our country dawns.
Sometimes time stinks like a dictator’s fart
Your lyrical satire sneaked imbeciles through back doors. Your praise
sonnets recycled suicidal devils and polished revolutionary rejects
Back then, smells of fresh dung and scent of fresh udder milk were our
morning brew and under the twilight the moon once disappeared into the
earthly womb, Judas, the sun then took over and every dictator is an
Iscariot.
I never said we are now vagabonds
Sometimes time smells like a dying autocrat
Mwedzi wagara ndira uyo tigo tigo ndira – the moon was once sour milk
silver white and fresh from the Gods’ mouth and sat on its
presidential throne on the zenith of bald headed hills and later with
time the moon was ripe to go mwedzi waora ndira tigo tigo ndira
Sometimes wind gusts whistled their tenor through elephant grass
pastures, we sang along the obedient flora Chamupupuri icho…oo
chamupupuri chaenda chamupupuri chadzoka
Chamupupuri icho…oo!
Our poverty marinated , yellow maize teeth grinned to sudden glows of
lightening, the earth gyrated under the grip of thunder, then Gods
wept and we drank teardrops with a song mvura ngainaye tidye makavu ,
mvura ngainaye tidye makavu .. Pumpkins bred like rabbits, veldts
strutted in Christmas gowns. Wild bees and green bombers sang protest
and praise. I never said we are children of drought relief.
Sometimes time grows old like a sitting tyrant,
Tonight the echo of your praise poetry irk the anopheles stranded in
tired city gutters to swig the bitter blood of ghetto dwellers, gutter
citizens eking hard survival from hard earth of a hard country , their
rough hands marked with scars of the August Armageddon , their sandy
hearts are rigged ballot boxes stuffed with corruption ,they waited
and sang for so long .
Chamupupuri icho…oo chamupupuri chaenda
chamupupuri icho…oo chamupupuri chadzoka
Chamupupuri icho..oo

© 2020, Mbizo Chirasha

Thanks to Zimbabwean poet in exile, Mbizo Chirasha, for hosting this week’s prompt.  Just a reminder to readers: Mbizo is still in search of safe harbor and we continue to seek a host in Germany or other viable state. If you can help or have leads, please email me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

Mbizo invites us to write a poem or poems that are anti-corruption in government.

  • please submit your poem/s by pasting them into the comments section and not by sharing a link
  • please submit poems only, no photos, illustrations, essays, stories, or other prose

PLEASE NOTE:

Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published.

IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These are partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.  

Deadline:  Monday, February 24 by 8 pm Pacific Time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, check The Time Zone Converter.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you.

You are welcome – encouraged – to share your poems in a language other than English but please accompany it with a translation into English.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Thank you and Apologies, News and Updates; the sacred teachers, a poem

“It’s easier to die than to move … at least for the Other Side you don’t need trunks.” Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose



Thanks for your patience.  My apologies for not coming through with the February 5 Wednesday Writing Prompt. Challenging times. I am preparing the prompt for this coming Wednesday now, to insure that it is done.

Courtesy of Erda Estrmera, Unsplash

I’ve successfully moved out of the old tiny studio and into – though not settled (still unpacking!) – a lovely one-bedroom apartment adapted for handicapped access and aging in place and with plenty of room for all my medical equipment. It was a rough move that I could never have accomplished without the help and support of the CitySon Philosopher, my friends, and the management, office, and maintenance teams here at the Casa. I’ve had days without WiFi and days of physical pain, fatigue and oxygen hunger that have prohibited anything but getting through the minutes and hours.  I appear to be on the mend now though and my WiFi is working. I’m not sure I’ll be fully productive yet, but I’ll get some things done. Thanks for hanging in with me and for the many emails and Facebook messages expressing concern and wishing well. I haven’t been able to keep up with Facebook and email either, but I’ll get to both as I can.

Much appreciation to The BeZine Contributing Editor Michael Dickel (Meta/ Phor(e) / Play). Michael kept things going at the Zine while I have been offline and out-of-action. If you’ve been following, you know we’ve dedicated February to posts on illness and disability. Thanks also to Kella Hanna-Wayne, Zine team member, founder of the social justice site YOPP!, and partner in this month-long effort, and to all the contributors who helped to keep this event going with their essays and poetry.

The Zine is still open for submissions for February blog posts on illness and disability and for submissions to the next edition, the March 15 issue of The BeZine, themed Waging Peace. Submissions for Waging Peace close on March 10. Email bardogroup@gmail.com



Mbizo Chirasha

Our efforts on behalf of Mbizo Chirasha, Zimbabwean poet in exile, continue and hope for safe harbor thrives.  If you know anyone who would be able to host Mbizo in Germany or elsewhere, please connect with me by email thepoetbyday@gmail.com



out of the threads of your sacred languages
out of the spare sculpture of your homely wisdom
we formed clubs and built ironclad dictates
we spawned conspiracies of hate –
now we are goose barnacles clinging to the rotting flotsam of old boats,
we are weighted with the dust of fear and the mold of suspicion

though we bluster and grandstand our way through time,
the original purity of your intentions is still rooted in Eternity,
your guileless simplicity is stronger than the dogs of war,
it is the calm light at the center of our frenzied dark
it is the grace of rain after a drought,
the rivers of compassion that flow as tears

sometimes we hear your spirits whispering
in the mindful pleasure of our morning tea
in the rhythmic stirring of a pot of oatmeal
or in a fresh dawning after a tide has turned
and the wind of rectitude has cleared the air

© 2017, Jamie Dedes


Jamie DedesAbout /Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium Ko-fi

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Two Poems by Mbizo Chirasha. . . and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

Sandstone rock formations typical of Mapungubwe National Park courtesy of Laura SA under CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

The Kingdom of Mapungubwe (or Maphungubgwe) (c.1075–1220) was a medieval state in Southern Africa, the first stage in a development that would culminate in the creation of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe in the 13th century.



This week’s prompt is graciously hosted by Zimbabwean poet, Mbizo Chirasha. 

MAPUNGUBWE

Land of baobab, land of eagles
Mapungubwe,sagging with ambition of nujoma, madikizela and sobukwe
Land of crocodiles and spiritual eagles- Mapungubwe
Rivers groaning with sweet tongues and sacred laughters
Mapungubwe – dream of stones
Bones and spirits quietly sleeping under the burden of peaceful rocks
Your songs , mapungubwe rhythm to bones of dead heroes and sleeping heroines
Mapungubwe ,crying tears of laughter, struggle and freedom ,
Mapungubwe!

Editor’s Note: nujoma is Sam Nujoma, a Namibian revolutionary, anti-apartheid activist and politician; Madikizela is Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, a South-African anti-apardied activest, politician, and the second wife of Nelson Mandela; Sobukwe is Robert Sobukwe, South African political dissident, teacher, founder of the Pan Africanist Congress. 

© 2020, Mbizo Chirasha

SUNSET ACCOUSTICS

Sing Bamako, sing of spiders blighting freedom tomatoes
Sing of our pimped heritage
Somalia, the dramatic irony of Africa
Ethiopia, bring back the oil of our anthems and the clay of our identity
Ivory coast , your hands are hardened by hard years of madness
Cockroaches are walking over sleeping Zambezi
Gugulethu ,tired of scathy tongues and maruajuana
Egypt bulletins drenched by Arab spring urine
Abuja, how long are you going to walk in shadows?

© 2020, Mbizo Chirasha

Mbizo Chirasha

MBIZO CHIRASHA (Mbizo, The Black Poet) is one of the newest members of The BeZine core team. He is a poet from Zimbabwe who is on the run. We have been coordinating in the search for safe harbor. In part I am doing this today to remind everyone that while we’ve made progress with funding, we still need to find a host for Mbizo, preferably Germany, but England or U.S. would work too.  Open to suggestion.  Connect with me if you are able to help, have leads, or have questions. You can read more about Mbizo and his story: Zimbabwean Poet in Exile: Award-Winning Poet Mbizo Chirasha, A Life on the Run, Interview.

Kwame Nkrumah, Ghanaian politician and revolutionary coined the term “neocolonialism” in 1957.

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

Mbizo’s prompt for us this week is “Neocolonialism” or the use in place of direct imperialism of capitalism, globalization, and cultural imperialism for the suppression of human rights by First World actors in Third World arenas, Africa, Asia, Latin America.  Or, short story: power and profits over people. What is the fallout? Poverty. Hunger. Violence. Failed states. Terrorism. Have we all lost our souls?  These are my thoughts as I ponder what I might write in response to Mbizo’s prompt.

Share you own poem or poems and …

  • please submit your poem/s by pasting them into the comments section and not by sharing a link
  • please submit poems only, no photos, illustrations, essays, stories, or other prose

PLEASE NOTE:

Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published.

IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These are partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.  

Deadline:  Monday, January by 27 pm Pacific Time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, check The Time Zone Converter.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you.

You are welcome – encouraged – to share your poems in a language other than English but please accompany it with a translation into English.


Jamie DedesAbout /Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium Ko-fi

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

“African Lament” . . . by Mbizo Chirasha, Zimbabwean poet on the run

Vodun altar in Abomey, Benin courtesy of  Dominik Schwarz under CC BY-SA 3.0

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” Nelson Mandela



In yesterday’s essay by Mbizo, we learned what life is like for him and for artist-activists who are exiled for so passionately loving their countries and humankind that they are left vulnerable for standing against abuses of power. Through Mbizo’s essay today, we learn exactly what are those abuses and what is the fallout from them.

Thanks to those of you who donated to the fundraiser for Mbizo sponsored by the International Human Rights Arts Festival. It was a successful. Mbizo was able to buy food and a second-hand computer on which to continue his work when he has access to electricity.  A few have provided letters of support to the organizations that fund writers-at-risk moving to safe harbor. We now have the attention and support of a couple of those organizations. Progress! We still seek a host for Mbizo in Germany or someplace in Northern Europe preferably, though England or U.S. would work as well. If you can help, please email me at bardogroup@gmail.com. Thank you! / J.D.


OF AFRICA AND ITS AFRICANNESS
-political press,websites,magazines
-African Union Press
-United Nations Human Rights Press
– Sky News, CNN , BBC Radio Magazine
-Open Society Foundation
-Africa Report
-Africa Confidential
-Africa Writes
-American Press
– British Press
Oxford University Press

Harvard political press

Standard Zimbabwe

Essay Contest about Africa

International Essay Contest African Politics

EU-Delegation Press

SADC
-International Human Rights News/sites
-Freedom of expression websites
– A TRUE ACTIVIST
-AFRICAN ACTIVISM Journals

When chickens sprout claws and chase the eagle up the misty mountain, the corner has turned the road and normal is redefined. Shouted whispers armed with lethal prayers are  unleashed at the naked torso of a man, whose crime is spotting the looters of the lone old lady’s granary, leaving her myriad orphaned grandchildren with emptiness for dinner. Her acidic inner tears cough curses behind cupped hands as she coaxes the dying brood to rest in peace. What is stolen, is then sent to the market for the moneyed to fill their carts and celebrate the independence of a nation.

An itchiness wraps the land with a grandiose malady of anxiety and paranoia for the eyes of state hoots everywhere assessing the hearts of the masses for disloyalty. The music of the land has turned to a one liner in praise of a uniformed gravestone dressed in military fatigues. Even empty farts of the quarreling bowels must be timed to resonate with the loving tribute of the figure looming over the dry dreams of ruler ship. What a time of it the
dwellers of this land have. Daily they’re served with weighty slogans in praise of structures bent by the wind of gluttony. They watch in resignation as every rural youth runs across the border searching for sense and direction to a full stomach.

Africa, the land of mystery and the bucket list of many a Foreigner is a case of rot trading insults with vulgarity. You have been set up by outside drama kings of commercial shenanigans and now you are setting yourselves up. The irony is not lost on your coarse manner in which you treat your fellow kin. Your hand is rough and your manner immoral. Your heart is darker than your night sky’s on a moonless night. You are drunk on the ideas imported from lands that know not to respect the Creator. Blaming the past is a past time and preoccupation akin to prescription intake of medication. The only news welcome to your elephant ears specially tuned to hear dissenting voices is a deal where you earn more than the economy of older nations. Largesse is your middle name and spares nothing and no one when it comes to grander.

Africa, your name is a shocking pronunciation in decent society. You rape your own without shame and invest where others provide security. You cripple every effort of social growth fearing your exposure by opened senses. You imprison the voices of truth and murder protesters. You sponsor battles and wars against unarmed masses. You bring your people to their knees through ignorance and denial. Your only class is repeated mantras of the rising star of “your Nation” even as the world looks on in horror.

Africa, when shall you awake to the fact that the truth has no price and that greed is a short holiday before time catches it with the proverbial fire, purges it and shames it, sending a story for history to chronicle? Africa, the land of giant mines, rich forests and magnificent wildlife, what other blessing do  you need when you mismanage the very resources others covet? The very brains you chase across borders for their truth are the very priests that would have presided over the senses of your  sickly mind, healing it enough for you to see the insanity of your ways.

Past the jungle of netting goons, your sons find welcome respite in soils away from their hearth. They brood over lost times and relationships even as they toil to stay alive. They survive. They thrive. And make names for themselves thousands of miles away from where their umbilical cord weeps with yearnings for the footsteps of lost sons.

As you spit nonstop at the news of their success, having shorn your followers of any and all sense of truth making them fear to tell anything close to reality, you continue your marauding verbosity that makes for sad entertainment at news hours in your own media which – if you cared to check – airs to emptiness in the homes of those you assume are your faithful’s.

A dictator is a sick and wounded skunk whose stench is only accommodated by fellow skunks and vultures who thrive on the dead and dying. He loves his own stories and jokes and misses the well camouflaged yawns and embarrassed looks of those in
attendance. Then, there is the opposition politics. Lol!

Another lot of voices with eyes on what’s wrong but with no plan on how to make the wrong right. If they have, the chance is crippled by marred protests as they try their hand at contesting the tick on the tit at statehouse.

Theatre of the absurd is the daily show in most of our beloved states. Pockets lined with promissory notes at deals to be sealed upon succeeding in a coup or bought and botched elections, confusion is the ration to the nation each tribe pitted against the other in the quest of looting and not governance.

Which way for Africa really? Which way for its people who are pawned in their homes and on their streets by the lawlessness masquerading as law keepers? Which way for a people who know not which way the sun will rise tomorrow and whose tune shall be embraced?

Africa, the land of much is married to less that is lessening by the day. With leaderships whose allegiance is to self-first, then the sponsors of the seat which sit the leader, the land breeds continuously with a narrative that reads like a never-ending dirge. Africa, you lament at the bent of your story told by foreign mouths, but check the faces of those you gore on the heads with yet unpaid bullets for telling it as it is. Which angle does their mistreatment, arbitrary arrests, imprisonment without trial and even death under a ghastly cloud of mischief tell? How else can death from lack of medicines and hunger be told except as it it?

Militarizing social interactions where each is afraid of the next and the death of human camaraderie is told by the silent tongues and opaque staring eyes. And they tell much, those who suffer in silence. They tell about those who ride the nights under fire from your goons. They tell much of those who rely on bush treatment for their ills. They tell much those who follow you as you abuse their manhood for a morsel and stale beer leftovers from your high table. They tell much those who see your motorcade snaking around town with top of the range fuel guzzler while TB wracking lungs wheeze at the roadsides to cheer your dead soul on to your next mission of visionless leadership.

Africa, the land of diversity and resilient souls, when shall you learn to be your own men and stand for what is right even if it’s the neighbor playing truant with his kin. You have mirrored the world and come up with prefects capable of predicting treads of upcoming disasters. Why do you wait till the rapist is through the wreckage of life before arriving for talks armed with first aid bandage for the deep gushes of inflicted injuries? Are these fine institutions for window dressing to show the world you live in a modern bungalow or is there more? If there is more, what is it and where has it worked and what are the results for earning mileage and allowances besides the hefty salaries? Perhaps its job creation for the elderly and the relations of their sweethearts to loot from the wider continent under guise of Africanism.

One has to wonder why a distant figure takes human interest in a human who is thrown to the dogs by his own, for that is the fate of Africa with those either insane enough to stand to the truth, or foolish enough to dare it knowing the consequences.

Africa, the land of beautiful drumbeats and of majestic sunrises only rivalled by their sunsets. When shall you ever sit long enough to read the history of what brings you to where you are? Politics has no friendships but a whore serving for a moment for a fee.

Politicking has a price and when it involves you trading with the devil you must know he is worse than Shylock. He shall come calling. This time not for repayment but for your soul and soil. Africa, once upon a time when your eyes only knew the truth, a stranger came calling. He hoodwinked you, stole your wit and your children. Another has come calling. This one has a magic purse and rains on your every wish with a sly eye.

As you smile all the way to a numbered account and palatial homes far away from your beggary populace, remember this. The man you bludgeon for telling the truth is not the enemy, neither is he after you or your raw power. He is the hope of the land you are dispossessing. He is the voice of those you have silenced. And like all who are dead to truth, your day is well on its way. What shall your defense be when the deadness you have blanketed your people with wears off?

© 2020, Mbizo Chirasha

Mbizo Chirasha

MBIZO CHIRASHA is a recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant (2017), Literary Arts Projects Curator, Writer in Residence, Blogs Publisher, Arts for Human Rights/Peace Activism Catalyst, Social Media Publicist and Internationally Anthologized Writer, 2017 African Partner of the International Human Rights Arts Festival Exiled in Africa Program in New York. 2017 Grantee of the EU- Horn of Africa Defend Human Rights Defenders Protection Fund. Resident Curator of 100 Thousand Poets for Peace-Zimbabwe, Originator of Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Movement. He has published a collection of poetry, Good Morning President, and co-created another one Whispering Woes of Gangesand Zembezi with Indian poet Sweta Vikram.


Poetry Rocks the World!

Jamie DedesAbout /Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium Ko-fi

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.



 

FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton