#LIBERATEDPEN: Liberating Voices Journal.

CURATORIAL SIGH mbizo-chirasha – It has been a great experience reading through the August edition Submissions. Daughters of the earth taming political gods through literary consciousness , exorcising patriarchal vagaries with the barrel of the pen. As you graze through this wild jungle of literatures, you stumble up lion’s dens, beehives, doves and wasp nests .It calls for mental stamina and emotional brevity. Sometimes your eager filled eardrums are tickled by assonance and proverbs. The heart is soothed or broken by vibe of infotainment and verses of edutainment abound. WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS publishes the Second Edition of the Liberating Voices Journal titled #LIBERATEDPEN. This journal is an exhibition of voices of defiance, voices of freedom and voices of resilience .These voices continue to empower the voiceless .WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS is a unique platform for pen slingers and daughters of this earth to speak reason , to voice their concerns and give meaning to life . This edition is a sacred mix of marrow shattering stories, mind blowing poetry and heart rending memoirs from as far as Argentina, Netherlands into United States of America, and Romania through India into Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Our #Liberated Pen Guest Editor our African Poetic Lioness Nancy Ndeke and our featured Poet is Ugandan Human Rights Activist ,Poet and Writer Awadifo Olga Kili . Mbizo Chirasha remains our Chief Editor and Curator. Our Next Journal will be in October and is titled Daughters of the Earth with a special focus on Menstrual Health, Peace and Environmental Conservation. All submissions to be sent to Curator at womawordpress@gmail.com.


GUEST Editor’s Vibe – TIME OF THE PEN.

nnancy ndeke3
Of time and what it tells, only the soul knows its timelessness. For man and the science of the cycles of the moon with differing empires and marked calendars, clocks tick, as we rush around carrying anxiety in torn bags, with a false rhythm that bangs the hearts music to a discordant score. Of pens and their penetrative force, time informs it differently. From its dripping nib, it charges change into focused motion beating redundancy to a pulp, but when bought, by falsehoods of demagogues and conspiracy spinners, it’s the devils spawn hard sold to muddy the living waters.
Time marks progression and keeps at it without sorrow or joy. It’s emotive and takes the child and aged in its ancient arms without as much as a murmur. So what does the time of the pen then come to tell, which must be new though thematically old?
The pen is the mouth that spills words intended to tell. Be it in poesy or prose the telling must come in purity of purpose and duty. It must communicate and the resultant tale must find a mark in the hearts of men. To do so, art must draw its lines of imagery and staggering metaphors so the telling takes on an indelible mark.
And the wedding of the Jeli takes place. The birth of the griot is witnessed. The path clears centuries of fog infested tales of down-sided-ness where truth was clean shaved and dulled with chocolate lies of pale tongues till the liar believed his own lies start to melt under the scrutiny of the stretching pen and the honeyed rebuke of the naked truth. It is creativity entering the womb one more time to read the passage of living in a land long condemned by thugs who won’t leave. It is the entertainment with infotainment on arenas in our continent where power outage is a guarantee. So the pen rises like a jutting stone stubbornly refusing to weather centuries of battering weather. The pen must sharpen its tit with intellect if it has to score a bull in conception of its future protégé. It must earn respect from its style and presentation with beauty to over throw the vulgar even if it has to borrow from the devil the art of flinging mad. Different times in the stretch of timelessness demand different approach. Change being the constant in the battle to reclaim what we were before we mutated, truth can only be flung on the theater of the world with precision and clarity.
So the pen must not succumb to diplomacy of Nations and let on that slavery and slave trade were anything but a cruel and despotic match of one race harming another for economic gain. It will not shy from pointing out racial bigotry is not a factor up to now. It should particularly call to attention the politics of warring and the greed of Nations who fuel conflicts to arm opposing sides purely for economic gains. Neither shall it recoil from announcing the truth of diseases being scientifically manufactured to kill those deemed less than human by a few. The pen cannot stop scribbling before discussing robberies and looting of peoples cultural artifacts and natural resources by sponsored; thuggism.’
Yes. This is time of the pen.And while the pen is at it, don’t get swallowed by the same monster who sucked the integrity of those who came before you with ill got offers. Greed has been for the longest why men have fallen. They say very man has a price. Pen man, let your pay be justly earned.
Nancy Ndeke (#Liberated Pen Second Edition Guest Editor )

 

 

 

BEE
Boozzzz sang the belittling bee
Singing songs of stings
Biting the beatable beings
Imposing impossible calm
With pains excruciating
Like pains of mother
In childbirth.
Oh my belittling bee
A sweet savour are you
Giving me a sweet sensational pain
But with honeycomb in mouth
Your stings are forever forgivable

Woe wailing wailers!
Windging wearily
Walking without work…
Woe weary wailers!!
Weeping without wipers
Wishing wistfully
Wavering waywardly
Wallowing within weaknesses
Whispering wicked words
Woe weak – kneed wailers
Washing white with woad won’t work

Woe wraitlike wranglers
Wrackful citizens
Work with zeal

munyal for womawords
MUNYAL MARKUS MANUNYI  hails from Nigeria. Author of Tightrope – a fictional novel on crime, two other unpolished novels ready for publication as well as a collection of poems which shall soon be published. She is the presenter and founder of a TV show in Nigeria called You & Literature Today. She is also the co-founder and president of African Union of Writers. Bagging both national and international awards are part of her literary achievements aside getting some of her works published in international anthologies in India and other part of the world.

 

 

SHEEPS THAT HUNT

Not all danger comes with signs like thunder before rain but some come like a fragrance from a garden with fresh roses and such was Mia’s fate. On a fateful Friday afternoon, Mia rushed out of the school premise heading home but met Mr. Xulu her religious studies teacher along the way. He asked if she could go and sweep for him which she usually did then got paid for it. She got the keys from him and started heading to his house, she got there trying to do the chores as quickly as she could but Mr. Xulu arrived early that afternoon.
“Mia, have a drink then get back to your chores,” he said. “Alright sir,” she replied. She took her drink then suddenly started feeling dizzy and the next thing she saw was her teacher sleeping on the other side of the bed and she on the other while naked with blood stains on some bed sheets. She knew her worst feared nightmare had come to life so she started sobbing silently in anguish and fear. When he woke up and found her crying with sarcasm he said, “You can report this to your parents or the police but be sure to go without bathing for evidence’s sake. You should also remember that the world will look down on you and blame you for coming alone to a bachelor’s home. The saddest part is that when they get to know about this, you will be ashamed and no man will ever marry you so I suggest you calm down, have a bath and go get some rest at your mother’s house. With tears in her eyes she got up and did as instructed.
A few days later, Mr. Xulu went to her and told her how they will continue that act in secrecy or he will lie to everyone and so she agreed. He was as cunning as a fox, a predator in prey’s clothing. When Mia got pregnant and refused to abort he gave her a poisoned drink which caused terrible reactions, in fear he took her to the hospital stating that he had found her dumped on the street. When her parents arrived the doctor disclosed how she had terminated a pregnancy which led to severe bleeding hence removal of her womb. When she was asked who was responsible, she pointed Mr. Xulu who adamantly refused and shed crocodile tears. Her parents didn’t believe her either for he was generous, about to be chosen as the vice principle at her school and the youngest pastor in their church.
She was chased from home and disowned, she tried to plead but to no avail. That night Mia hanged herself to a tree and left a note, “When the clouds covering the lies shall fade, I hope you remember my words to be true. Beware of the Lion in sheep’s clothing, its next prey is another of your calves. Your beloved sheep is a hunter.”

GEORGETTE MBALE -AMBASSADOR ,ZAMBIA
GEORGETTE KENDRA MBALE is a young lady with a passion for writing poetry. I am the eldest daughter, raised by a single mother and grandmother. Being raised in an environment where literature is not much appreciated, poetry has been like a fire that has been shut up in my bones. I am still learning as an artist and my passion for writing keeps on growing as I let my pen waltz on the paper whispering my thoughts into words. I have always loved reading poetry but I only summed up the courage to start writing recently. Life’s circumstances and passion propel me to write. I love to write about love because I feel everyone out there is looking for some sort of love and I believe with love great things can be achieved. All unity and real friendships start with the little love we show to others.

 

“RENUNCIA”

Renuncio al compromiso
de mujer perfecta,
del disimulo transitorio
del juntar mis partes
tejiendo historias sin sentido.
Me escondo en el domingo por la tarde
de mi alma,
en el último sorbito de tus labios,
que relampaguean mi memoria.
Disfruto de la pena innecesaria
de estar tan vulnerable
a los recuerdos;
del pantalón deshilachado
y las medias rotas,
de la pila de platos sin lavar,
en la cocina,
y el déjàvu de alguna vez
haber sido amada.
Me acurruco en la nostalgia
de mis horas.
Miro la vida,
detrás de la ventana,
sin aires pretenciosos
de dominar mi rumbo.
Me permito descubrirme aferrada,
al costado derecho de mi angustia
y al filo de mis lágrimas,
saberme viva.”

karikrenn2
KARI KRENN, 48 years old, Argentine writer, poet, author of “Inmarcesible” (novel for which I was invited to participate in FILH 2019, Cuba). Teacher of initial and middle levels of the Province of Córdoba. Co-founder of “Urpilitay” (containment foundation for orphan children). Cultural promoter and activist for women and people with disabilities. Ambassador of ALMA (Alzheimer) and ACDAC (deaf people). Convinced that poetry is the “weapon of massive construction” of a world that is possible for all.

(, 48 años, escritora argentina, poeta, autora de “Inmarcesible” (novela por la cual fui invitada a participar de FILH 2019, Cuba). Docente de niveles inicial y medio de la Provincia de Córdoba. Cofundadora de “Urpilitay”(fundación de contención para niños huérfanos). Promotora cultural y activista en pos de las mujeres y personas con discapacidad. Embajadora de ALMA (Alzheimer) y de ACDAC (personas sordas). Convencida de que la poesía, es el “arma de construcción masiva” de un mundo posible para todos).

 

 

A POEM FOR MY SISTER
When the railroads swept wind and dust
My sister
From the faraway country of snow and single rooms of struggle
You ask me to write.

You say – write, write for me sister
Write for me something that will hold my hand
The sun ahead is heat and the potatoes wait to peel.

You say write for me like Maya Angelou and I laugh,
I say you read Maya Angelou to read Maya Angelou;

I write like me. But she says-like her sister, like her.

And after the dead night when I wake in the morning,
I know what you say, I see your eyes and I know their light.

They tell me of the rooms we have lived, the men we have loved, the bodies we have carried inside our bodies
And I know suddenly what you tell me.

Inside us we carry the bamboo winds of yellow light
We have walked the roads they said we cannot walk
It was not love that made us love
It was need. It was all the world that told us we were women not fit to look into their eyes, women who could not think or stand up in the middle of room with men, speaking about how to bury dead uncles.
They said only men could talk. Only men had voices.

We had small lives. Some called our breaths, school girl revolutions.
They called our mothers, sluts. They said our mothers destroyed us by telling us to love ourselves, by telling us of the sky, the rivers and the brown earth.
When we wanted to see the sky, they said we juggled our breasts to show the men.

The men were around, everywhere. We had to hide ourselves in downcast eyes, and dresses that covered our brown arms and legs like water.
When we smiled to see an eye lifted to look at us, we were crushed, crushed, crushed.

What was left of us was a battered heart torn at the edges,that did not know how to be happy anymore.
When glasses were left on the table or father needed a glass of water they sat on cushioned chairs and let out a hand
They read newspapers, walked on the roads and laughed aloud
In the open verandah.

And we, my sister, we walked the nights in waters they did not see, under our arms were daggers of steel.

There is no poem I write to you
I cannot write

I only see you, walking in the snow,
Alone, erect, a dot of red;
I only see me- walking this heat,
Alone, erect,a dot of red.

(This poem is dedicated to Zaara, the fighter woman who gives me hope)

ARATHY
ARATHY ASOK resides in Kerala, India. She is a bilingual writer and has recently brought out her book of poems Lady Jesus and other poems( Authors Press, Delhi, 2018). Her poems have appeared in national and international journals, in print and online (in Samyukta, Poetry Chain,anti heroin chic, Poets in Nigeria, Blue Nib magazine, Door is Ajar and Culture Cult). They are included in an Anthology called Native Petals and Iliyali(forthcoming). Her stories have been published in Rupture, Credo Espire and have been translated to her mother tongue and published in Indian Express Malayalam Online.

TO MY UNBORN CHILD*

I am glad you are mine
I am also afraid I am yours
A mix of bitter sweet are my emotions
They engulf me as I think of you
Many are my hopes
Outside this your present abode
Many are the realities
You are bound to meet face to face

I know you are getting ready
Anxious of what lies out here
I too await your arrival
When I shall hold you in my arms
Giving thanks to the One
Who wove you together in the depths of my womb

I must school you of this world
That will soon be your dwelling place
Of the love that awaits you
From the one chosen for you by the Maker
The one who will show you the meaning of true love
The one person your heart will yearn for always

But, where love is hate also fights to belong
To cause havoc and discord
To take away the joy and peace and such treasures
It will come, not in form of a dragon with spikey horns
But with a smile, a laughter, a kiss, an embrace

Beware
Be tactful
Be wise
Even as you seek much counsel from your Maker
Lest you stumble and fall
As is their core calling for your life

Inspite of the corrupt minds
The harsh conditions
The times of lack in times of abundance
The times of pain and bleeding;
Your heart must understand
How it too must feel for others

Also remember you will find friends
Who will become your family
They will be all you need
And listen when you seek counsel
Our Maker will send his angels in our own flesh
To guide you through this journey of life
And help you keep strong
When the journey proves too long

Listen to your heart and care more
Love more, have mercy more
Reach out more, give more
Speak the truth clearly, be faithful, be all you can be
Learn more, try more
Because in others will you learn
To become great and useful

I wish to live with you
Every step of the way
But man’s punishment awaits us all
It could be now
It could be after
But in all I wish you know
Of what is to come after
Because it will surely come
And so being prepared you must

As I impart this truth
From my heart to yours
From my soul to yours
May these words find a dwelling
A fertile soil
That it bears much fruit
That you also may pass on
To your unborn child

lingiwe patience gumbo

LINGIWE PATIENCE  GUMBO is a Gospel artist , Poet and Songwriter, who has an 8 track album to her name (2017) titled Worthy of all my Praise. She expresses her music in different genres with a soulful texture to her voice. The album is packed with jazz, house, reggae and some soulful worship. Her music is available on http://www.oyosmusic.co.zw. Besides music she also writes poems and motivational literature, which are inspired by life experiences, her faith in God and love.

 

GRANDFATHER

Times pins have pierced his limbs
Rivers of wrinkle flow on his face
Bond and twist his centre
Observe his beauty in a heavy great coat
The grandfather that I have never seen but I know
Have never seen but viewed

The person that I heard about as fantacy
He was so brave and concurred the world war
Moved the forest and dug boreholes
Mastered the farming strategies
Loved and promoted my grandma s happiness
No one have ever given a full version of him
But his works are still alive

Some one said I look like him
One once said I length like him
And she wondered how I can length one I don’t know
The creator knows his making
I still carry his name
Probably my kids will continue his legacy

All he wanted was good living
He dress and fed may parents
He left enough to feed them for a life time
I still dream about him to date
Imaged his gate in the heavy Greatcoat
I wish a had a moment with him
Just to read his mind
And adopt his thought
May time grant me my Grandfathering Season?

poetic blood 34
PUSETSO LAME aka Poetic Blood, Co-founder and active Director of Dare to Fly Movement. A movement aiming at bringing artists/poets together on social grounds. The other aim is to develop poetry at grassroots level until they are able to be competent enough to be enrolled to Poetic Omnibus. An all-time active participant in the Botswana Presidential competitions and always emerging in the top five best poets in all the time since 2014 to date! Does English and Kalahari spoken word?

 

 

NEVER AGAIN THE WIFE OF THE WIFE OF THE WIFE
Never again that ice cold
spot
which some wear in their eyes
even in the heart
chill of the chill
indifference of the indifference
never having to read again
or listen at words
from whom always writes
about what he once had or owned
in the past or in a distant future
perhaps might belong to him.
Never having to be the nameless woman again
of the woman
of the woman he once loved
and left him
before he was writing a steady poetry line
or that went to a white line further on.
Never that look again
not meant for me but for the woman
of the woman of the woman
he wanted in all those hotel rooms
where you can come together or being
dismissed. Doors can be opened and closed
only a view remains from a window.
Never to be forced again to be the woman
who respects herself or being again the woman
of the woman of the woman who is now knocking
at his door, sits down
on a beautiful couch and finds everything okay.
Nooit meer de vrouw van de vrouw van de vrouw
Nooit meer die ijskoude
plek
die sommigen in hun ogen dragen
zelfs in het hart
kilte van de kilte
onverschilligheid van de onverschilligheid
nooit meer de woorden
hoeven te lezen of aan te horen
van wie altijd maar schrijft
over wat hij eens had of bezat
in het verleden of in een verre toekomst
hem misschien toebehoort.
Nooit meer de naamloze vrouw te hoeven zijn
van de vrouw
van de vrouw die hij eens liefhad
en hem verliet
alvorens hij een dichtregel had geschreven
of iets wat liep naar een witte regel verderop.
Nooit meer die blik
niet voor mij bedoeld maar voor de vrouw
van de vrouw van de vrouw
die hij had gewild in al die hotelkamers
waar je tot elkaar kunt komen
of juist verwijderd. De deur kan open en dicht
en blijft slechts uitzicht over vanuit een raam.
Nooit meer gedwongen de vrouw te zijn
die zichzelf respecteert of opnieuw de vrouw
van de vrouw van de vrouw die nu aanklopt
aan zijn deur, op een mooie
en dure bank gaat zitten en alles best vindt.

hannie4
HANNIE ROUWELER (Goor, 13 June 1951) has been living in Leusden since the end of 2012. Her sources of inspiration are nature, love, loss, childhood memories and travel. In 1988 she debuted with Raindrops on the water. Since then more than 40 poetry volumes have been published, including poetry books in translation (Polish, Romanian, Spanish, French, Norwegian, English). Poems are translated in about twenty languages. She attended five years evening classes in painting and art history, art academy (Belgium). She published a few stories (short thrillers); is a compiler of various anthologies and poetry collections. She is a member of the Flemish Association of Poets and Writers (VVL)

 

 

AT THE NINTH PLANET

I remained with my arms outstretched
to the darkness hidden in hazy mysteries,
which abducted the tearful glimmering of starts
and hope
covered the distant shadow
in a deep sinking.

eyes get lost
in the pale beams
of the continuous shinning
during the robust journey
to the confused orbit
remained somewhere in the middle…

Clouds like a pillow of pain, where I lean my head
they melt to the memories of one lone instant
of thirsty lips
untouched kiss
feelings spread in unknown fragrances
discharged to the image fixed to the sky.

Somewhere …, somewhere …, I can find you
behind a forgotten corner
or lone bench,
the returned whitening
of the morning light
and the evening smile
dissolved in a lone flux
one color,
one shinning
reflection essence
in the ninth planet,
tracks of the time
spelled to the space, where only we are living!

juljinapoet
JULJANA MEHMETI was born in the city of Durres, in Albania. Since she was a child she became fond of literature and writing, especially poetry, a genre that in the following years will turn into a real life motive, a way to better express her ideas, her thoughts, her visions and metaphysics, her point of view according to her consciousness but also improving the awareness of the same suggestion that surrounds the human world. She  has so far written and published three poetry collections .(Translated by Arben Hoti)

 

 

THE WONDERMENT OF RELIGION
As numerous as legion
Engulfing every region,
Winning like a battalion
Earning more than a million.
Overwhelmed by your wave
Gathered all for conclave,
Made all your own slave
Inside a sacred cave.
Fascinating like charm
Done and doing harm,
Set ablaze our farm
Yet we are not warm.
You poisoned our food
Did little or no good,
Decayed the neighbourhood
And spoilt our mood.
You bought us a rose
And made us to lose,
You cleaned up our nose
And gave us a war prose.
You pulled us from God
Whipped us with a rod,
Broke in pieces our cord
And scattered our pod.
We need no Dictionary
To understand ‘Missionary’
We need to be ordinary
For God to do extraordinary.
You made us crazy
Forced us to be lazy,
Pretending to be busy
Yet staggering and dizzy.
Religion, dwell on sense
Stop all the violence,
Undress the pretence
And restore our confidence.
Think of our children
A palace; better than den,
Let them write with pen
Never kill them like a hen.
Religion, we want unity
We thirst for purity,
We hate all of enmity
Religion, practice integrity

NGOZI
NGOZI OLIVIA OSUOHA is a Nigerian poet/writer/¬thinker, a graduate of Estate Management with experience in Banking and Broadcasting. She has published over one hundred and fifty poems in over thirteen countries and featured in over twenty international anthologies. She has published three poetry books and coauthored one, they are THE TRANSFORMATION TRAIN, LETTER TO MY UNBORN, SENSATION and TROPICAL ESCAPE respectively. She writes hymns, psalms and has numerous words on the marble. All her books are record breakers.

 

 

WOMAN! REINVENT THYSELF”

I refuse to play the victim
Just because I was born with a rose
For like my brother
I’m endowed with a brain and a mind

I refuse to be violated by dirt
For my father’s debts
Or my mother’s vain whims
Or to keep my brother in school

I refuse to play the victim
For like my male counterpart
I’ll use my brain and not my diadem
To pass my class and move ahead
My bubbly boobs in my bra shall stay
So speak to my face where there’s a mouth

I refuse to be lulled by taunting favours
A display of false fragility
Or weakness to supposed male superiority
Just because it is said so

My sister would stop playing the victim
To see there’s servitude in being kept
If you are happy being called after a cat
Remember,they too do not just have furs
They sure have claws too
To have a rose, a fluffy wreath of leaves
Makes you not a cat

Stop making excuses
Chose a better option for a better lot
Source courage from others
Who chose to make it right

conteh

SAMUELLA JULIA CONTEH hails from Sierra Leone., she is a Human Rights Activist, writer, poet and dramatist. She is currently working with the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone Writers Forum and PEN-SL. She has received many awards/certificates from poetry participation in many international platforms. Many of her works have featured in several national and international anthologies. Samuella Julia Conteh is one of the founding members and matron of African Union of Writers.

KUMINA NA NNE

back on the hill of orange tents
the plastic bottle melts in the middle of the burning logs.
alexis lends me her plaid pajama pants
so i don’t have to wear a skirt made of a rain
jacket tied to my waist.
our pants are soaked from the kilasiya waterfall,
so we drape them on her crutch,try drying them rotisserie style
but they remain damp & reek of charred containers.
nelson passes a plate around there is fish & ugali,
since ugali goes perfectly with a story
about how kilimanjaro came to be.
according to the chagga tribe,
he two peaks are brothers,
mawenzi & kibo.
everything started with smoking pipes,
& mawenzi’s pipe needing more fire.
smoke dances towards the picnic table,
so we leave the pavilion, & we tilt our heads up.
it looks like new york city
except the high rises are melting into the charcoal sky
, just like the empty oil container that’s being licked by embers.
our cameras can’t capture the beauty & neither do my words.

ARIELLE1
ARIELLE .K SHAKOUR is a 4th year student studying English Literature, with a minor in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. She has self-published a book of poetry, called Exposed Bones & Broken Poems. She has a poem published in UBC Slam Poetry’s Third Annual Chapbook, The Year We Became. In addition, her work can be found on The Garden Statuary and on The Foundationalist Journal. She has one dog. Her favorite food is banana pancakes and she lives in Vancouver, Canada.

 

 

ONE WEEKEND IN MY TOWNSHIP
The clouds of Jo’burg CBD are blanketing us with rain, streets gleaming with mirrors of puddles. Taxis are hooting feverishly. All eyes seem to be glued on me. Everyone seems to be knowing about it, about what I had been doing many yesterdays before… I bite my lower lip. My dress is clinging to my quivering body, my throat choking like strangled apples. “I have been betrayed by Friends of Cyberspace, whatever happened to that home-grown sensibility?”
As I pace towards Noord Street Taxi Rank, I start feeling dizzy. It is 16:00 p.m. on a Friday. The hustlers and office workers are scurrying home. Their hollow faces carrying the weight they do not understand. I make a stop at Moodley’s Fish and Chips. Inside, it is warm and stuffy, damp air clogging my nostrils, and whirling through the fangs of the ceiling fan. “Shoo! It appears they don’t know about me at all here”, I sigh. The snoek and slap chips I have bought glisten in rains of vinegar and salt. I catch a glance of a handsome dreadlocked guy, who looks 28 years old. I faintly smile back as I exit Moodley’s. “Why was he staring at me? Could he also be knowing about it?”
The taxi jiggles to a halt at Nxumalo Street. I stumble out. It is Saturday afternoon. It is tomorrow. Fear didn’t bring me home yesterday, but has dragged me home today. Women are busy as women always are, carrying their extra weight everywhere. An old man smokes and coughs, and then stares at me. I bite my lips as I open my grandmother’s rusty gate next door. My grandfather is sitting outside with a smoking pipe in his mouth, inhaling and exhaling grandmother’s anger, his shoulders carrying his jacket like an old bent hanger. Inside the house, lavender floor-polish wafts with mutton stew aroma. Grandmother digs her leathery hand into a pot of pap, plonks it onto a plate, the pap shakes deliriously. She bashes the stew on top of it. I hold my breath: “She seems to know already”. I realise neither of them have greeted me, their only granddaughter, after weeks of having been away in the City.
I shuffle into the bedroom and bury myself in granny’s bed. Timmy Thomas’ song wails outside. The lace curtain is tingling my cheek as it flirts with the calm breeze, greeting me, shielding me from the world. Life is good but fleeting. I catch headlines of Maboneng Times Online from my phone : “Another Young Woman’s Body Found”. I freeze.
It is Sunday at 7:00 a.m. I wake up to yesterday’s nightmare. Granny, sensing the horror in my veins, starts to pray, her eyes looking weary from too much life. Suddenly Joyce stumbles into us, and into God. Granny grits her teeth, showing Joyce the door. Joyce, her stringy legs glued to the floor, tosses her hair, trying to shake off her state of chaos. She suddenly scurries outside, leaving her fear bouncing against our living-room walls like a trapped demon. I run after her and her sorrow and catch up with her just outside our gate. I hug her bony shoulder, and hold her tight. The chatter of children playing nearby, embraces us. A chubby woman takes a break from her senseless chores, to stare at us, at my love for the girl from the other side of the sewerage. I feel confused, not knowing what is good anymore, because what feels good is bad. On the horizon, men who speak a language that clicks the tongue are returning from the mountain, blankets of manhood adorning their shoulders.
Minutes later, Joyce and I arrive at this neighbourhood shebeen called No Jokes, to buy some beer and a plate of food. The shebeen mama’s feet heave and pound as she prepares fried cabbage and chicken feet for the hungry patrons. The sweat beads on her forehead fall short of dripping on the shredded cabbage. The dogs are lying in the warm shade, warped in the forgotten space. Flies are buzzing nervously in the air. We collect our bounty, and head for the nearby park. Outside the shebeen, car-washers gaze at us, foam of soap slowly dripping from their wiry hands. Time has frozen. By this time the stares are all around us. A crowd encircles us – Bible-clutching men, bra-less women in faded T-shirts, giggling boys who hang out at MJ’s corner-shop – I feel dazed. They all start chanting. It is Struggle Songs, Songs of Freedom. I am confused. In the back lebollo songs bellow, songs of boys returning from the mountain as men, songs of manhood, their notes low and slow. I begin to realize that the men from the mountain have joined the crowd…They are hoisting long knives in the air, blinding our eyes. “Hey wena Diana the Diesel!”, one of the women with drooping boobs screams at me, her eyes flaring , “we have no place for trucks like you and their waiting Letties in our township, sies! Hamba!”. I now begin to recognise her. She is one of the newer members of our LGBTI Facebook closed group. I now realize that she is the traitor I have been wondering about in the past few days, the one who infiltrated our group. She is now dancing to a soup of songs that are framing us like were a peeling picture. My ears are ringing. Joyce and I are not expressing our emotions because there is no corner to keep them safe. We do not talk because one couldn’t talk to shadows. So we freeze. The Methodist Church bells start chiming, catching the mob by surprise. The circle around us opens for a while, in moments of surprise, giving Joyce and I a chance to flee towards the sound of God and stumble inside His house. Outside it begins to rain. Our foreheads are dripping, but it is not from the rain. Just outside the church, our love lies, soggy, surrounded by hatred. A squealing police van suddenly jerks to a halt. The crowd is gone.

(The story was originally published by Kenyan Writers’ Blog ‘Story Zetu’ in 2016.)

DIMAKATSO SEDITE PHOTO
DIMAKATSO SEDITE was born in Mangaung, South Africa. Her poems have been published by Aerodrome, New Coin, The Kalahari Review, Botsotso, Brittle Paper, Miombo Publishing, Poetry Potion, Hello Poetry, Poetry Cafe, Story Zetu, as well as featuring in two anthologies : ‘Poetry from Public to Private Places : Botsotso 18’ and ‘Best New African Poets 2018’. Her Igby Prize Essay is published by The Kalahari Review. She blogs on nala4za.iblog.co.za.¬ Her two flashfiction stories appeared in Story Zetu in 2016. In 2018, she was a finalist in the Poetry in Mc Gregor Poetry Competition and won the 2018 Jozi Book Fair Keorapetse Kgositsile Tribute Competition. She holds an M.A. in Research Psychology from Wits University. Catch her interview in ‘Africa in Dialogue’ with fellow writer, Sinaso Mxakaza.

CHASING
Speaking of rainbows, today’s was magnetic. Of course,
absent the rain shouldn’t it be called a hallucination? We fell
over ourselves trying to get to the end of it. “The gold!” You
cried, “Is utterly unverifiable,” like Don Quixote, except he
chased windmills. I stuttered into numbness wanting to say,
“I’m here!” in spite of the lie in it. Something was not right
about the day, rainbows, or plain-bows, aren’t supposed to set
people on edge, yet this one did. At the closest point, you were
red, a deep-hearted, open-veined geyser. I was orange, not a
spray-tan snafu, but naked, moist, like a skinless peach. Oh,
how the others squealed! Their empty hands holding tight to
leprechauns, delirious, drunk on green and blue charging like
donkeys in an indigo dream. Until we fell, spilling our
serpents, crawling after spare change, choked and empty
things, discarded wrappers, broken bottles, evaporated
quixotic arches of ephemeral glee.
There’s not enough left in us to say “Goodbye”
So, we lay here in the melting sun,
remembering as if we were together,
having left without saying a word.

KELLE
Yellow Chair Review published Kelle Grace Gaddis’s first book, My Myths, in 2017. She’s recently published her second with Cyberwit titled, When I’m Not Myself. Other recently published works appear in Interim, BlazeVOX 15 & 17, Rye Whiskey Review, Chicken Soup For The Soul: Dreams & The Unexplainable, Dispatches Editions Resist Much / Obey Little, Vending Machine Presses Very Fine Writing, The Till, Five Willows Poetry Review, Thirteen Myna Birds Journal, Knot Literary Magazine, Entropy, DoveTales, and the forthcoming Fiction War Magazine Volume 8, 2019 and elsewhere. She was honored to be a Tupelo Press 30/30 Writer in 2018, a 4Culture “Poetry on the Buses” contest winner in 2015 and 2017, and a prize-winning finalist in the National Fiction War Contest in summer of 2018. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington in 2014.

 

 

 

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO COLONIALISM
( A YouTube Video inspired this poem)
“Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter”
Chinua Achebe
i
Under the guise of Christianity,
Rudyard Kipling’s White burden
launched the sails after the Berlin
Conference in 1884 and scrambled
on the Savannah with a rifle and a Bible.
Dusted his imperialist coat and recited
the creed to the Bakungu chiefs.
Indoctrinated me and my kin in a
ritual; christened in the night
of the waning moon.
I was dubbed a convert.
Stripped of my culture and
taught to bow my head in prayer
to a monument of a man whose essence
desecrates my identity as an African.
Shared colonial wine from the goblet
with new converts after dawn’s
jettisoned liturgy.
Pacified; they preached peace and
absolution while the traders exploited
our resources and dehumanized us.
Encouraged Master-servant relationship
with scripture leaking out of a
broken faucet.
Rendered us docile and passive.
Agitated by hell-fire.
Incapable of challenging them
ii
The British flag stood erect on the
land that my ancestors tilled
after the 1900 Buganda agreement.
Our heritage was bartered like goods.
Bound to a fraudulent agreement,
land was divided and garrisons were created.
Heavily taxed, ethnically divided and
propelled by forces of religious schism.
We fought Wa-faransa and Wa-engereza
wars purported by the system we
solemnly blessed.
We became latrines of the colonialists.
We were like carcasses dispersed
around a paradise.
Forced to bend like palm trees.
We chanted psalms of freedom to
appease the diviner of colonialism.
Bereft of an identity.
Second class citizens.
Squatters on our own land.
iii
Mentally chained, we chorus
hymns of independence while
the sun haws and guffaws in jest.
We replay scenes of our history
on raised stages of corruption.
Oppress those branded inferior
by the rigged system.
We bow our heads to the same creed
and pay homage to an image
that branded us inferior to be
repressed.
We ejaculate liberty as the midnight
oil burns.
We wring out our eyes like sponges
demanding attention from a God
we were taught hates our black skin.
Like the colonial masters, we preach
peace and love while we propagate
seeds of hate, and conflict.
Seat our heavily deceptive buttocks
on the verandah of injustice with
our round bellies dictating our thoughts.
Eyes burning like hot coal.
We camouflage like chameleons.
Raise our heads like the spitting cobra.
We sit around the fire of dictatorship
and lick the colonialist’s feet.
Deplete the land we bragged about
in our songs of redemption.
Mock our freedom fighters with
greed still breathing through the
soil that will house our graves.
And then we howl freedom with
the effigies of change burning in
the middle of the city.
We have become so conditioned to
oppression that any feeling of change
feels like a stubborn pimple on the nose.
Brethren, let’s bow our heads and
Pray.

FB_IMG_1548964517211
CAROLYNE AFROETRY MA is a Ugandan Spoken word poet, and writer.Her work revolves around society and women stories. She is also a mentor to young poets. In 2017 she was shortlisted for the Haiku Africa Competition. She competed in the East Africa Poetic Hour competition early this year. Her poetry has been published in poetry magazines like African writers space. She has featured as a guest performing poet at poetry monthly events like Ladu Poetry slam. She is a counselor who creates awareness about mental illness using poetry. She recently had her first themed poetry show about love.She writes to inspire and educate.

 

 

WHERE IS MAN AND HIS HOPE

How amiable is the hope of man?
A man birthed by a woman
Wanders with trouble and anguish
His breath from the belly of deceit, is corrupt
Even the days are few, then extinct.

A hope lies for a tree
If it being cut down, it sprout again
Though the root and stock may wax old
Yet with the scent of water, it will bud
Bringing up boughs like a plant.

A man comes out like a flower and dies
He flee also as a shadow and vanishes
A man live, die and waste away.
But yea, he gives up a ghost
And where could he be?

What is man,
As he like water fail from the ocean
And who will see his hope?
They shall go down to the bars of the pit
For man lies down, and rise not,

Till the heavens are no more
With his hope, rest together in the dust
Now as I ask gently,
If a man die, shall he live again?

O no! Read diligently my verse
Like a shadow he flee as a ghost
But he continues not..

rhodanigerisa
RHODA OYIZA ADINOYI from Kogi state, Nigeria. Youngest Poet in the August Edition .Oyiza is the author of a popular poem “LETTER TO MY ANCESTORS” and many more poems.
“I’m devoted in illuminating the hearts of my septs through my verse.”

 

 

DESOLATE TREES

Before you scatter my body
Ask your bullets to
Annihilate my thoughts too.
Because
The blood of the dead does not die.
Thousand words bloom from it.
Desolate trees sprout there.
It is is your cowardice that
Kills at will in darkness.
The number of bullets in your guns
Will soon run out.
Thoughts not silenced are
Like deadly battle marches.
Hence
I shower you with
Just a load of contempt.

Ambily (2)
AMBILY OMANAKUTTAN is a protest Poet, Writer and Activist from Kerala, India. She is writing continually articles in newspapers and magazines. Her poetry is published in so many magazines, weekly and daily platforms. Omanakuttan is an advocate of gender rights, human rights and environmental conservation .She uses her poetry and essays to speak out and to amplify vulnerable communities. She is a literary revolutionary armed with her pen and poetry to free her people.

 

 

PRICE OF PAIN
The drum beats echoed across the dusty plains, competing against the lowing of tired cattle as they were hurriedly herded into the make shift kraals for the night. Sunset had barely settled into the distance hills before the legs of the dying sun added the color of bellowing wood smoke onto the scene. The smell of roast camel meat told a gay story. Woman’s coy laughter seductively called the night close. Smaller children told their excitement by enacting observed adult games. An evening of cerebration of an elevation. What an evening!
Older men were squatting on the dusty patch under the only acacia tree within the compound. Their scanty hair dyed red with henna resembled crested cranes in the dimming light of day. Chewing khat and spitting the dark green remains out with forceful sputter, rendered them a club of gate keepers at the show within.
At the center of the circle of tattered make shift hovels with plastic roofing sheets flapping in the charging night wind, were women in faded bui buis and shawls chattering in shrill voices as they made traditional bread on the open fire.
From a long distance away, a hyena laughed. Elders cocked their heads to the direction of the laughter. Closer by, an owl hooted. The chattering women stopped momentarily to first look at one another before transferring their sad looks to the elders. There was horror on the women’s faces and one uttered a thinly veiled scream. This is because the animal kingdom could be easily imitated by sinister marauders of the night. The cow was a prized animal on these plains.
“What’s the meaning of this?” the youngest of the women asked no one in particular.
In answer, she got a whooping smack at her swollen bottom by the oldest woman present, promptly ending all efforts at more questioning.
“You don’t question what must come” the elderly woman hissed.
A tension settled on the compound. A restlessness arose fired like a ball of fire on dry grass by the piercing cry of a child, soon joined by another. The hyenas laughter came loud and sinister and nearer. The owl hooted closer. The tempo of whimpering children went up an octave higher. The elders stood up. The young men quickly came to where the elders stood with clenched jaws and furrowed faces.
The great patriarch cleared his usually rough throat and bellowed in a tongue dripping with authority. For such an emaciated figure the tremble of his voice was quite impressive. He sounded like deep volcanic rumble.
“ You know what must be done!” is all he said before the youths drew their heavy guns and spread out round the compound.
Young men are not known to waste time putting a favorite toy to use. Here, on these plains in the semi desert of the proud nomad country more than anywhere else. The early night came alive with a cacophony of heavy bursts of machine gun fire. All other noises were swallowed by of boom of doom. In three minutes, ears were ringing as blood pleasure rose to stroke levels. The elders, both men and women knew their drill. The cooking fires disappeared. The cattle kraal was alive as the old men blended with and into them. Silence. If death was to come, the clan believed, let a man die with his favorite animal. Cow.
“Mariamaaaa! Mariamaaaa!” came a haunted scream from one of the dilapidated hovels.
A sight beyond what the elders could never remember awaited all in the dark room.
The bride. The child bride only aged thirteen had used the cover of the confusion to stick a knife into her heart and now lay still and warm in her mother’s mat. Shock and disbelief engulfed the small homestead. The intensity of the loss, the shame of the protesting child and the obvious loss of dowry for the minor was clearly registered on the bowed heads of every mature member of the group. This was her night passage to adulthood and honor of marriage. This was her cerebrated honor for catching the eye of the richest elder of the clan. This was her night of exit from a child to a woman.
No words could express the outrage of the old man whose daughter was to fetch him a handsome herd or her brothers who stood to benefit from the sale.
The night ended. The story never ended, for law enforcement comes even if a day late. By then, the story had changed and Mariam’s sad demise was attributed to a cattle rustler attack.
The truth though, is that a monster culture had eaten its own. A future cut down at the beginning by
NANCY NDEKE (the Guest Editor August Edition).

 

 

 

SEX

it has to do with my gender,
feelings-sensual
overly sexual oriented-mind boggling
to an unreasonable extent-extreme

Sex-
loved and abused by many
misunderstood, disrespected by any
addicted to by some

Hi
i am sick
i am afflicted
i am addicted

Running inside my veins like a sickness
an addiction that brings senses to stillness
with no pragmatic approach this is a predicament
i am stuck as it has no response to any refinement

it’s only love making in marriage
to who ain’t married it’s adultery
between relatives it’s incest
to me its just an exercise

it loses its worth
when aimlessly done
outside marriage- fornication
it is supposed to be holy communion.

in my case it is different
the addiction is not by decision
nor by preference
I can’t explain

it sometimes starts with shy stares
no serious sounds
only laughs over jokes that were barely there
then sin takes charge as mother would say

confessions of an addict:
you drove me from source to estuaries
to sea level where mortuaries operate day
and night because one might die from such delight.

I loved how I was your little project
the dots on my body you’d connect
like I were a small map
leading to hell.

chisakula2
VANESSA CHISAKULA , Page poet and spoken word artist. With a poetic journey that officially sprung in 2018, Vanessa is fearless and ready to fight to see her dreams of being heard come true, in her mission to use poetry as an activism tool. Vanessa has done invitational performances for Action Aid , Center for Trade Policy & Development Zambia and Hivo’s Southern Africa. She has also scintillated audiences at the Annual Anti-Drug Day 2018. Van-Van has appeared at the monthly Poet Spring at Alliance Françoise and is also a bona fide performing member at Word Smash Poetry, where she is co-founder and also curator.
WHEN WE GET TO PARIS

Now when I look at you, my son, I know that earth’s tomb will come for you, like it will come for all of us. Take me into the light. It has a quality that knows the power of words.

Events, relationships, fragments, all will diminish from my memory. All will be erased. Becoming a blank slate once again. I think of the crucified Jesus, meeting the man who would become Julian’s stepfather, Deon Tobias who was a youth pastor at Ebenezer Holiness Church. Meeting him through my sister Edith’s boyfriend. I was lucky. A lot of people told me that I was lucky. Now I would have a father for my son, because it is always important for a young child, a boy, to have a father figure in his life from a young age. The memories I had with Julian’s real father became smaller and smaller and smaller. High school and the first year of university was erased, and my life became divine with a baby and Pastor Deon Tobias in my life. My life became a blank slate once again until I met the next man in my life who would light a fire in my heart.

I never dreamed that there would be unthinkable repetitions in my life. Christopher. Julian. Deon Tobias. All I wanted was for Deon to love both of us. For the three of us to become a family. Now I read. Listen to soft classical music to keep me sane in the evenings with no man around in my life. For a woman to lose two men in the span of five years. Was there something that was so wrong with me, I often thought to myself, but I knew how to handle this. After all I was a therapist. So clued up about issues that affect the family. I saw this in my own practice. When it came to relationships it was as if I was returning to childhood. Living in that house with four hardworking women and one brilliant and intense man who wanted all his daughters to be married, living in spacious houses, two cars in the driveway. Married with children before they were thirty.

I had to go through images of death and funeral. I had to go through those chapters of crazy, of losing my mind, perhaps even at one point my sanity, baring my soul, feeling disconnected from the world and the reality that I knew of. And people that I knew, close friends, estranged family would even begin to tell me that I look different but in a good way. I was changed. The accident changed me, the pregnancy, and Julian’s birth, meeting Deon, the man who was to change my life, and going to church in my twenties for the first time. God was never really there or important to my parents. After a bad breakup Edith began to drink. Vodka and orange juice in her fridge. She’d pour it into one of those sports water bottles, walking around in gym clothes and a t-shirt that said, “I rule the world”. It was an open secret in the family. Her going to rehab would have killed dad.

So we pretended that Edith was not a drunk, and that there was nothing wrong with Janice after all, or her marriage. And then when it came me, half-widowed, divorced before thirty. To me Christian morality was bittersweet. I never believed in waiting for marriage to have sex. Happiness was spray-painted on my soul when I was pregnant, when I felt Julian kick. I wanted to know the sex of the baby. So did the love of my life. So young. So tragic. Everybody said about the car accident. I was fighting but until Julian was born I didn’t know what I was fighting for. Survival? Instinct? To know the supernatural? A high to overwhelm the lows of grief that I felt sometimes. It’s a big thing to him, my son Julian. The ocean-sea. In a split second Julian’s father was gone in a head-on collision. Nothing could bring him back. Life was fragile. And Deon was never coming back.

I could have been bitter, could have lived with regret, could have, would have, should have, but I had Julian in my life. Deon moved on with his life. I heard he got married again. To someone much younger than me. As long as I am giving to Julian I am also receiving. His unconditional love, the light in his eyes, and I am done with pain. The youth pastor who fell out of my love with me and God. I’ve put away the wedding veil, the wedding dress. Put the darkness somewhere out of the way. In the attic of my mind. In a box that has no windows. Julian wants a dog. Everyone his age wants a dog. If this will make him happy, then I’ll do it but it feels as if I am giving into something I don’t really understand. Love. A father’s love. A stepfather’s love. There are pictures of us together. Me and Julian’s father. Happy times. It takes me back into the light. To high school.

Sometimes I just want stay there for as long as possible in the light. Feeling the lovely sensation of being comfortable in my own skin, the future potential of Julian, and the fragments of the green light flashing from hiking in the Drakensburg in my bones. The country that I am giving my son is a hopeful one. There’s hope in darkness. There’s light in darkness. When I was pregnant it was as if there were other seeds planted inside of me as well. The seed of family and wanting marriage. A time to dance to fire. I never wanted Julian to feel the way I did when I was a child. Insecure. Feeling unsafe, and vulnerable. Having an inferiority complex in high school, and a superiority complex when I reached university. Leaving university when I was pregnant.

I’m a therapist now helping gifted children find their own voice. We each have our own love language. In my work I find a lot of children like Julian. Children who walk in rejection.

“I see them years from now as friends. My parents. Mum and dad. I find them finally gathering the family together. They’re so used to this choreography.”
“I liked your mother when I first met her. I really thought she was lovely.”
“She never liked you”
“It’s what I did, I think. Me being a youth pastor and all of that. It’s because I believed, and she was an atheist. Well, I think she always had these high expectations of you to marry well. A doctor or a lawyer.”
“I think I finally believed what faith really meant when I started to talk to you on campus. You’re smart in your own way. A youth pastor.”
“But it doesn’t count.”
“It counts with the most important spiritual being in the world. Jesus. You’re successful.”

“But not as successful as a doctor or a lawyer.”
“My mother was just jealous of you.”
“Oh, really?”
“You sound incredulous. She never expected me to marry. I was the clever one in the family. The one who would go on to university, get a degree. Teach. It was my sisters who would marry well. Get to honeymoon in Paris.”
“Is Edith, the one with the drinking problem, still working as a counsellor at that high school in your hometown?”
“She’ll never leave. She has her moments. She’s a good girl.”
“Good girl gone badly when she drinks. And Janice, still unhappily married?”
“It’s not her fault she can’t have children. They’ve been trying for years. They’re looking into adoption now.”

“Your family wasn’t exactly warm and kind to me when I first met them. Edith was a cold fish. Janice ignored me when I said, “Hello, how are you? Your mother never asked me to stay for dinner. You father was distant.”
“In those days they were still getting over the fact that I was pregnant and unmarried. A child out of wedlock was frowned upon in the community that I grew up in.”
“Whatever happened to that boy?”
“He died in a car accident. It made the local newspaper. Deon?”
“Yes?”
“Why did you love me enough to marry me and Julian?”
“God made me do it, and I love him for that.”

Somehow you learn to forgive. Instinct teaches you that, or your parents. All day I’ve dreamed of you. Now you’re asleep. I watch him sleep. His mouth open. His even breathing. One day he’ll play sports, but we don’t know for which team yet. He’ll either play rugby, cricket, and soccer. Be good at it or not. I’ve never completely recovered from the particles of sorrow of loving you. Now that you’ve left me to raise your stepson on my own. A single mother in her late twenties. I think of the two of you, the loves of my life. Where you are now, who you’re with. Christopher what is heaven like? What is that paradise like? Who is sharing your bed Deon, your dreams, and goals and desires? My house knew joy once. Once. When I was lover to both of you. In your arms. You’re dead to me Deon, but not to another woman. I’m stronger. It seemed to happen overnight.

Parts of me fed on the popularity of taking vitamins and watching documentaries on the human body into the early hours of the morning. You were a beautiful part of my life once. Once. I realize now that Christopher’s charm was like a machine-gun. It left no prisoners behind in its wake. We’re at the beach again. It’s your sea now Julian. It’s an endless weaving, beautiful and graceful thing. The beach is windswept. My eyes are dry. I don’t cry anymore. There’s not a lot of people on the beach today. I don’t fall asleep with the child in my bed anymore. We listen to Lionel Richie and Diana Ross records all day long on a Saturday, eating caramel popcorn and vanilla ice cream. Sundays we go to the beach. That is our thing. I don’t know how far gone the child is. How messed up Julian is, how damaged he is. His stepfather (Deon) left us when he was just a baby. Innocent.

Julian looks like me. Same sandy-brown hair. Same brown eyes. Same ears. Same nose. Same everything. This is survival. This is life. Language shifts. Water shifts. Julian’s tiger’s-soul shifts. Paradise shifts from beginning, middle, to end, to the birth and death of eternity. Mind and soul, shifts to mind and body. Now all my tenderness must make up for the fact that there’s no father in the house. Yes, there’s a part of me that realizes that there’s truth in saying that I don’t care to have a man in my life anymore. That wound haunts. It’s a quiet day and I’m in a contemplative mode cooking spaghetti as I listen to Bach in the kitchen, woken up early by the prayers from the mosque down the road. It’s a haunted Eastern Cape on a day filled with rain and cold. I have life again.

“You’re perfect just the way you are.” Deon smiled at me. That day Julian was with my mother and we made love the whole day. Forgetting about the boy child, work, and our responsibilities. For breakfast we ate leftovers from the night before. Cabbage and sausage which tasted wonderful and delicious even though it was cold, but already there was a fracture in Deon’s smile. I could sense his frustration with Julian, even with me. He didn’t pick up Julian when he came home. And then out of the blue one day he just said, “I think I made a mistake, a big mistake marrying you.”
And I was like, “Why would you say something like that. It’s nearly been three years. I thought you were happy here, happy with us. Happy with the three of us. Is it your father, Anthony?”

“No, it’s nothing like that. Don’t think that just because my folks didn’t come to the wedding. I’m sorry. I just don’t think that I love you or Julian anymore. I don’t know anymore, Anna. It just doesn’t feel right to me anymore. I’m sorry.” And that night Deon packed his bags and left. We’re at the beach. It’s the summertime. His small back is turning brown. The small boy is full of life. Was I like that when I was his age? He’s graceful in the water. Playing in the sand. I watch him with pride. Shield my eyes from the sun. My fingers reaching tentatively for the olives that I’ve packed with the potato salad, and hardboiled eggs, and an assortment of sandwiches. Winter’s cold was singing but it was always summer in Sedgefield. The sun was coming out again. Sharp and brilliant. I don’t think that the nights should be filled with lovers anymore. I buy red wine again.

“Look towards the sea, Julian.”
“I am looking at the sea mother. It’s big, and wonderful. I like it here. Why couldn’t Uncle Deon come with us?”
“I already told you. Uncle Deon doesn’t live with us anymore.”
“Is Uncle Deon with Jesus like my real daddy?”
“Something like that. He married a church lady. Look at the boats. They got big years on them.”
“I am looking.”
“Are you bored yet, boy?”
“No. I want to stay here. Can we, mother. I like the boats.”
“Be careful over there. I’m watching you, Julian. Don’t go too far. Don’t go where I can’t see you.”
“I am.”
“Are you listening to me?”
“Yes. I’m hungry. I want to eat something now. Mum, you’re taking too long!”
“Here, eat this.” I say handing him a hardboiled egg, while biting into a toasted cheese sandwich.
“I want chocolate.”
“I didn’t pack that. There’s raisins.”
“OK.”
I want nothing to harm you, Julian. I want nothing to harm you. We’ll get to Paris on our own one day. I don’t need a man for that. Somehow you’ll learn to forgive the people in your life too.

abigail-george-bio[1]
ABIGAIL GEORGE Pushcart Prize nominee Abigail George is a Port Elizabeth-based blogger, essayist, poet and short story writer. Recipient of two grants from the National Arts Council in Johannesburg, one from the Centre for the Book in Cape Town and another from ECPACC in East London, she briefly studied film at the Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg.
DEADLY DILEMMA

Babies nursing other babies
The kindergarten becoming a cooperate place
Future looks so like a doomsday
Dreams just gloomy
Wishes so deary and weary
Parents wiped away into the abyss
HIV pandemic creating pandemonium chaos
A scourge with no remorse
Venomously destroying humankind
Even after decades the stigmatising is at peak
The affected victims living as aliens
Human hate against each other
After all we are all moving dust
Cry I, for all gone without access to treatments
Tribulations triggered by denial for the society is too judgmental Economic meltdown swallowing families without care
Medicinally all is in vain
Dear God ,we are your orphans
The purpose of life is an impossibility hear our torments
The world is in turmoil, hearts freaking for who HIV aids is picking

CHRISPAH munyoro
CHRISPAH MUNYORO is a graduate of Applied Art and Design, Graphics and Website Programming. at Kwekwe Polytechnic College in Zimbabwe . Munyoro is a talented writer, journalist and a dedicated Design Artist. She is natural linguist, fluent in many languages among them English, Shona, Esperanto, Setswana, Swahili, Italiana and Yoruba. She began as a columnist writing feature articles in the Gweru Times in Midlands Province Capital of Zimbabwe. She has worked as a Midlands Chapter Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Association of Freelance Journalists. Munyoro was once a Zimbabwe Representative at Zone IV Regional Youth Games in 2014 Bulawayo in the boxing discipline. The multi-disciplinary artist is registered under AIBA the international body of boxing. The Writer, Artist, Poet, Journalist and athlete has been writing poetry since her tender years and she has participated in various writers, poetry, journalism and sports
THE WISDOM OF ANTS

The hard work of an ant is continuous.
How it suffers
in the sweltering heat of summer
to carry the crumbs and the seeds
to have them
when the hard winter will come.
When snow will freeze everything
the ant will not have to care.
It will have its mind at rest
because it took care of collecting
when it was the time.
If people looked a bit like the ant
in foresight, in prudence, in humility
the mankind would be better,
all the children on the Earth
would have food.
But some people throw in the garbage
a heap of food, stale bread.
Have you ever thought
how many poor children
that could have fed?
Η ΣΟΦΙΑ ΤΩΝ ΜΥΡΜΗΓΚΙΩΝ
Του μυρμηγκιού ο μόχθος συνεχής,
στην κάψα του καλοκαιριού πως υποφέρει,
ψίχουλα και σπυριά να μεταφέρει,
για να ’χει, σαν θα ’ρθει ο χειμώνας ο βαρύς.
Όταν το χιόνι τα πάντα θα παγώσει,
ο μέρμηγκας δεν θα ’χει να νοιαστεί.
Ήσυχος στη φωλιά του θα ξεκουραστεί,
μερίμνησε, όταν έπρεπε, να συγκεντρώσει.
Αν του μοιάζανε οι άνθρωποι λιγάκι,
στην πρόνοια, στη σύνεση, στην ταπεινότητα,
θα ήτανε καλύτερη η ανθρωπότητα,
θα ’χανε όλα τα παιδιά της γης φαγάκι.
Μα κάποιοι από μας πετάμε στα σκουπίδια,
σωρούς φαί, ψωμί που έχει μπαγιατέψει.
Συλλογιστήκαμε πόσους μπορεί να θρέψει,
πόσα φτωχά παιδιά θα είχανε φαγάκι;
ΖΑΧΑΡΟΥΛΑ ΓΑΪΤΑΝΑΚΗ, Ελλάδα

greecephoto2
Dr. ZACHAROULA GAITANAKI (Greece) was born in Athens on November 30th, 1966. Now, she is a small farmer and lives with her family in Arcadia. She writes poems, articles, short stories, essays, novels and review of book. She is also a translator of books of poetry. She is a life member of the “World Academy of Arts and Culture” / “World Congress of Poets” (which awarded her the title of the Honorary Doctor of Literature), of the IWA, the “WPS”, the “Poetas del Mundo” and the “Asociacion Mundial de Escritores. She has published twelve books & 4 e-books.

 

 

IAM AFFIRMATIONS
I am
I am a child of the most high, blessed from the beginning
I am a daughter of royalty, Queen to be precise
I am a sister of the best, a loving family, founded on the value of unity
I am an aunt of princesses and princes, thoroughbreds
I am a mother of perfect creation, life giver, glue for the family
I am an accountant, accountable to God for my time here
I am a citizen of the universe, a sojourner in this journey called life
I am beautiful, fearfully and wonderfully made
I am happy, crafting my own happiness for me, by me
I am content, I live each day like its my first and last
I am a transformer, I use what I have to make the best of life
I am talented, using and sharing my God given gifts, making sure I use them fully for the greater good
I am a writer, I write the pages and chapters of my life so that I can live it full
I am a Poet, a swordsmith because words are the tool of my trade, a splash of ink to blow the mind away
I am a singer, lyrics just fall into place for me singing the song of the life I live
I am a rapper, spitting bars to beats, telling the story of life in different keys, learning from the OGs because yesterday and today must merge to make a better now
I am a dancer, making moves on the dance floor of life, taking steps in a pattern that suits me
I am a model, strutting the stage of life with my A game on
I am powerful, wearing a bullet proof vest against the gunshots of life
I am the best, the best there is because God makes no mistakes
I am me
I am
BEATRICE OTHIENO OHERE is a the Programme Officer of YWCA- Kenya , a thought leader , Writer and Gender Rights Activist .

 

 

 

LIBERATED PEN FEATURED PROFILE

awadifo9
AWADIFO OLGA KILI is an internationally acclaimed Award winning
Author, Poet, human rights activist and a distinguished law student in Uganda
In 2017, Kili joined Uganda Pentecostal University, Fort Portal to pursue Bachelor of Laws is destined to become a prominent lawyerand a Human Rights Activist Par excellence.While as a student, she wrote and published her first book human rights based “Victorious Tales ” .The book blossoms fresh hopes in the hopeless victims of circumstances across the World who’re left in ruins and aredeprived of their natural joy and human rights which are inherent. The golden book was unveiled in October 2018. That sparkled the fire of writing in her and combined her writing talent and her law studies so well.In January 2019, Kili won an international Award for her book and other literary merits, the accolades include (1) – The Ambassador De Literature Award gold category. She was conferred with the Ambassador De Literature Award goldcategory from Motivational Strips which is an international forum where writers from 105 countries meet. (2)She was the youngest writer and the first Ugandan to win the ADL award under the following merits,Asset of Uganda Award ,Writing to heal and bring justice to the World,Researcher to Human Rights concerns. Conferred with an accolade as the “Best female student of the Year 2018-2019″ from her university.Kili received the Foundation in Literary Excellence” from Motivational Strips Academy of Literary Excellence and
Wisdom, hand in hand with the World Nations Writers Union.
In March 2019, Kili was appointed as the Ugandan Diplomatic Corps Head
/Ambassador to Poets of the World global literary community
(Poetasdelmundo. com). She was also anointed from Oakland as
the President of the International Black Writers and Artists, Association Uganda chapter.She’s a Poet, whose poems have crossed borders and are published in
various international journals and anthologies such as the Brave
voices Journal and abroad.She is currently writing her second and third books “Nailed or jailed
” which is a research project to hardship and unfair practices to inmates
jailed, and then “Revelation of Ugandan Educational Journey ” which
carries insights for the girl child.Kili is featured in interviews with national and international media that includes Voice Of Life 100.9FM in Arua, Uganda, She also featured another international media such as “You and Literature Today ” in
Nigeria, Kitobdunyosi Media house and newspaper in Asia respectively.Awadifo Olga Kili was born on 1st March 1998 in Arua Regional Referral Hospital inArua District. She’s a daughter of Mr Atiku Andrew and Mrs Dorothy
Atiku.Kili comes from the Onai Clan, Omvuko village, Katrini Subcounty, Terego County, Arua District in Uganda.

 

 

 

 

AN AFRICAN SONG

Africa Mama, sing for me
Cradle of mankind, swallow me
Sacred shrines, pray for me
Mother of warriors, fight for me
Mouth of the river, sanctify me
Rich black soil, mould, create me
Spirit strong, uplift me
Africa mama, embrace me
Womb of the mighty, comfort me
Granary of wisdom, restore me
Fire and brimstone, chasten me
Mouth of the river, ground my feet
Rhythm of kindness, dance with me
Africa Mama, sing for me
Mother of lullabies, sing for me
Mountain of giants, strengthen me
Endless Forest, nourish me
Soul of justice, grind for me
Epitome of resilience, sing for me
Mother of poets, create for me.

OMWA OMBARA - Consul Kenya

OMWA OMBARA is a Political Asylee, an investigative journalist, poet, vocalist, performing and visual artist. She is author of a Memoir, “God’s Child on The Run.” She holds a postgraduate diploma in journalism and mass communication and a BA degree from the University of Nairobi. She is a former Bureau Chief, The Standard Group, Co-founder of Tujipange Africa Media and #Kumechacha Africa Diaspora Saturday Breakfast Show in US. Her passion for standing up to power and corrupt leaders in the media circles is unmatched. Her experience in journalism spans 20 years.
EXPLOSION!
From Angels jump shrapnel,
The wise men of the time gathers them,
Then they hide them at the top of the plopar,
Or on the root of the mountains.
Explosion!
In the womb of the Cosmos
The Earth is born, the human is born
And the book of divine figures
Gather and share the life.
A human becomes a sham
Of qualities and defects,
Feverish starts looking for mystery,
But the roots of the mysteries
Are not of the man,
Are of the heaven
Are of the earth.
Man… Explosion!

CORINA-ROMAnia
CORINA JUNGHIATU is Director of the literature and art platform, World Literary Union.
Director of the Romanian Voice magazine. Vice champion of the EUROPEAN Poetry Championship. Director of the WORLD poets ASSOCIATION. Book editor at Lyrical Graph publishing, Romania

 

 

NANCY NDEKE
Take a moment and this note read
Its the voice of the heart written in the hand of wish
Its speed is the rhythmical chimes of petals on the left part of your being
The dalliance of knowing smiles visiting the vaults of the future in the distance past
Where clay danced with fire to birth a sound and a choice
Tipsy wind music of ballads and horizons close to the eye
Calculus doggedness of instantaneous river flow upon Misty drops of rain to come
The wind is the librarian and archive of what never changes as life evolves
Its the gate keeper without pretensions of shape shifters
Telling it as it is as we breath its truth and our own doubts
Its the guard and sage we hold dear yet fear
For he knows what we know but wish to not be known
Men as we are
Falsehood has long won Oscar’s in our make-believe tainted view of our importance
Afraid of truth we blame the truth sayer
And yet,
No amount of denial will sway the truth from its chosen path
We either join in its nakedness
Or burn in our dressed lies

NANCY NDEKE NEW

GUEST EDITOR -NANCY NDEKE is a Poet of international acclaim. A reputable literary arts consultant and a distinguished Literature Scholar. Her writings and poetry are featured in several collections, anthologies and publications around the globe including the American magazine Wild Fire, Save Africa Anthology. World Federation of Poets in Mexico. Ndeke is a Resident Contributor of the Brave Voices Poetry Journal.African Contributor to the DIFFERENT TRUTHS, a publication that sensitizes the world on the plight of Autism edited by Aridham Roy. SAVE AFRCA ANTHOLOGY edited by Prof. Dave Gretch of Canada and reviewed by Joseph Spence Jr has featured her poetry and a paper on issues afflicting Africa and Africans. Ndeke’s poetry and other literatures in WILD FIRE PUBLICATION in America published by Susan Joyner Stumpf and Susan Brooke Langdon. ARCS MAGAZINE in New York Edited by DR. Anwer Ghani. Her women Arts Presentation was recently published by WOMEN OF ART (WOA) in Cape Coast in Ghana. Soy Poesia, in Peru, Claudette V pg 11 featured her writings with great reception.AZAHAR from Mexico, with the initiative from Josep Juarez has also featured her poetry. She is also featured in WORLD FESTIVAL OF POTRY (WFP) from Mexico under the able editorial team comprising Luz Maria Lopez .INTERNATIONAL AFRICAN WRITERS from Nigeria, under the able hands of Munyal Markus Manunyi .Patricia Amundsen from Australia featured her poetry on this year’s international women’s day at Messenger of Love, Radio Station. Esteemed poetess Jolly Bhattacharjee featured my works on her greatly acclaimed awareness anthology for 2019, India.

 

WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS CHIEF EDITOR

mbizo-chirashaMBIZO CHIRASHA is (ihraf.org) 2019 International Fellow of the International Human Rights Arts Festival New York. Essays contributor for the MONK art and soul Magazinehttp://monk.gallery/category/essays/ in United Kingdom. Co-Editor of the STREET VOICE a German Africa Poetry collection, http://www.street-voice.de/SV7/SVissue7.html in Germany, Co-Editor of Silent Voices, https://www.obooko.com/free-poetry-collections/silent-voices-adedoyin ( a tribute to Chinua Achebe) Contributor Atunis Galatika,https://atunispoetry.com/2018/11/23/mbizo-chirasha-zimbabwe/, Belgium.Contributor to Diogen Plus Magazine in Turkey, http://diogenplus.weebly.com/mbizo-chirasha.html.Editor of the WomaWords Literary Press, https://womawordsliterarypress.home.blog/. Curator of the Brave Voices Poetry Journal, miombopublishing.wordpress.com, Resident Curator of 100 Thousand Poets for Peace-Zimbabwe , 100tpc.org/Zimbabwe and the Originator of Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Movement. Founder of GirlChildCreativity Project (Amplifying girl child voices through literary Arts.)me.facebook.com/mbizochirasha. Featured in the POIESISI Slovenia International literature Press, https://www.poiesis.si/, Slovenia. International poetry site, Better than Starbucks in Untied States -https://anthonywatkins.wixsite.com/btsdec2017. The GAPA Blog in United States, pa.org/2017/11/21/gapa-meets-poem-mbizo-chirasha/.The Nation Press in Kenya ,https://www.nation.co.ke/lifestyle/artculture/BY-THE-BOOK-Mbizo-Chirasha-/1954194-4295122-h3nhojz/index.html. Black StarNews in United States of America , http://www.blackstarnews.com/education/education/the-international-human-rights-art-festival-highlights-poet.The global artist portal, http://www.spla.pro/ficha.persona.mbizo-chirasha.34232.html. The Herald in Zimbabwe, https://www.herald.co.zw/chirasha-poet-par-excellence/. Badilisha Poetry exchange , http://badilishapoetry.com/mbizo-chirasha/.The Standard News Paper in Zimbabwe, \ https://www.thestandard.co.zw/2012/09/30/folktales-inspire-my-works-chirasha/ . The Zimbabwean Pressin Zimbabwe, https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2011/04/harares-poet-of-hope/.African Contributor of Demer Press poetry series since 2018 , Netherlands, http://www.hannierouweler.eu/category/demer-press/.Contributor of the International Gallerie 2019 in India, https://www.gallerie.net/about-us/, African Contributor of the World Poetry Almanac series, https://openlibrary.org/authors/OL816823A/WORLD_POETRY_ALMANAC, Mongolia . 2018Recipient of Global Literary Influencer Certificate of Merit by Directorio Mundial de Escritores through Academia Mundial de Literatura, Historia, Arte y Cultura http://directoriomundial.allimo.org/Mbizo-Chirasha/. Vice President of POETS OF THE WORLD in Africa poetasdelmundo.com. 2017 Recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant.2017 Recipient of the EU-Horn of Africa Defend Human Rights Defenders Protection Fund.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mbizo_Chirasha.

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