• Javier PerezMami’s Bombs

    Mami’s Bombs




    Mami’s makin’ BOMBS today

    In her camouflaged laboratory

    Mixin together  one 

    EXPLOSIVE concoction!

    A mad scientist reaching for the most dangerous of elements:

    Salt, spices, herbs, pepper

    Into an unstable compound ready to 

         BLOW  this world past Andromeda 
    Cataclysmic eruptions captured in her tortilla—-landmines
    planting this flour on the naive fields of your dinner plate
    Go ahead:

                Bite into the booby trap!

    As in detonates in your core

    Can you taste 

                 her memories explode

                            into a thousand butterflies      unable 

         to migrate home in the nets of your ribs
    Can you taste the leftover explosives she has (secretly) stored away in her dreamtime
    leftover  from a civil war that left craters in my mothermoon

    As she drops rice like shells from her triggering mother-hands!

    Beans ricocheting like shells!

    Her own shell                          laced 

    with the same shells      that     shell-­‐shocked          El         Salvador        


    Mami’s makin bombs

    Makin grenades out of potatoes
    rockets out of platanos
    her tamale missiles never miss u

    even Ares takes notes from the graceful guerilla tactics of an immigrant woman’s kitchen Recipes like art of war manifestos make up her bomb-ass cookin:

                one cup of some picante resilience
    a pinch of a survivor’s seasoning para sabor
    a pound of Godliness pa’ que salga dulce and a soulful helping of her martyrdom extract

    she is more than a cook

                       than a mother

                     than a refugee

                     than a cleaner

    she is a warrior

    Mami’s               makin              bombs           

    For         she      is         a          soldier           

    Marching down the frontlines of those theatres with composure            

    broom    in hand

    bins  ready to bury  the corpses of enemy—trash             

    vacuums like tanks to retake the territory   

    Trenches dug under     her      eyes   

                                                                                        for          the       long     battles            

    Oh           mami,
    they        truly    fear     your    kamikaze        labor              

      your     scorch             earth               tactics             with a mop!

    I never litter, mami,
    for, in the janitors I meet today I see ur shadow:


    like experienced veterans

    gracias mami…

    for the fight in you passed down through ur fingerroots        when u held me as a bebe

    In your kitchen, at your work, in your memories                                                     I learned             the poetry of true power

    your sweat still flows out of your pours and fills my pen with sacred ink

    Your unrivalled architecture that could stretch with the same elegance as the universe’s expansion

    your atlas-like strength to carry another world for 9 months

    I watched you in combat, pickin up pennies and nickels through those theatres                like abandoned ammunition to pay for my reduced-lunch every day

    Mami,     I           must    ask:    

    Was        I           a          bright              enough           flower             to         make               this         new     battlefield       more               like     

                                                                a             garden            for       you?   

    I              know               I           left       u          battlescars    

    Pero       te         lo         juro     Mami!

    I am                    

    your biggest bomb yet.           

            I will          





  • Khanyiso MabodlaUMBULELO





    ngumkhosi entliziyweni

    Kodwa ndiwenze

    mafutshane ephepheni


    Uliqhawekazi nzawakazi


                 Mfazi ndikuhlonele


    ebusaneni uyokutsho






    wandanga ngomnweba



    kwimpango zengono

    ndangcamla ndamcuma



    zincwina ngam ugcuma



    yezibongo ndiku khephulela

    kwimbambo zencuma


                 Yanga ngemihla

    yokugqibela ndinga kubona






                              Neqhayiya ngo


    wakho ukhanyiso

        Mama yanga ndingasisi

    khanyiso.             Mama

    ndiswele imilomo eliwaka.


  • Koleka PutumaDear Allen




    I saw the best minds of my generation

    Tearing pages out of Paradise Lost

    To wipe their asses when they ran out of kak papier.

    Rolling spliffs from the book of revelations.

    Sticky taping colonial statues with black bags.

    In the name of Azania

    They flushed their faeces down oppressive altars

    They sort to the altar the curriculum

    And how they were not mirrored in it

    How they were written out of it

    And how it was all together irrelevant

    Selective, and flawed.

    I heard the best minds of my generation

    Firing answers in 30 seconds in 20 seconds

    Because pop culture was easier bubble-gum to chew on than reality

    Because general knowledge was compulsory

    Because reading was a dietary necessity for survival

    And they survived alright.

    Themselves. Above all else. 

    I noticed the best minds of my generation raise their eyebrows in confusion

    When asked about the importance of Shakespeare

    They drew spears in jest.

    Sort to reclaim bourgeois galleries as a space to display lost and defamed lineage

     At festivals they raised their middle finger at parliament in front of crowds

    Who cheered and applauded in solidarity

    The pages of African Lit were the bibles they swore by.

    They waved its covers and bibliographies as weapons in the daytime,

     Carved their own in the night time

    And in the meantime, they were redeeming the meaning of freedom

    They wrote poems for a living and called it art

    Made art and called it a living

    They wore their kink as a birth right not a fashion statement 

    They instructed whites who paraded in dashikis and dreadlocks

    To piss on their own ancestors’ graves

    They baked their peach dolls in ovens until they reflected

    The truth

    The gaze of blonde hair and blue eyes turned toward periphery

    Their names were said in full.

    Their names were practiced by foreign tongues

    And only spoken to summon the audacity for further interaction

    They had a complex about abbreviated names

    And abbreviated heritage

    They experienced massacres

    They danced intoxicated on St James beach, on Long Street, in Constantia

    Or wherever it made sense for them to exist

    They romanticised about making Theatre  

    That reflected who they thought they were

    They fantasised about bombing the colonial stench that is Company gardens

    They loved,

    God, they loved.

    But no one would know that.

    They don’t write such narratives about them

    They best minds of my generation were filed in one dimensional profiles

    They are profiled more often than they are seen.

    I heard the best minds of my generation

    Compose heaven from their mothertongues

    Raised by single mothers and still deemed themselves complete

    They were complete

    In all their simplicity, and imperfections.

    They were radical

    They were nerds and potential

    They died on 21st Birthdays

    Lived as if they were invincible

    They were treated as though they were invisible

    But they were here

    Burping Hashtags that were altering history as we had been fed it

    How we starved from the white man’s version

    Dear Allen

    I am starting to see myself

    I am starting to see myself






  • Lwanda SindaphiApartheid Rags


    Apartheid Rags

    Lambs will have to sacrifice the wool

    Shear it for us

    African sons and daughters who embody their spirits with rags

    Rags that are filled with dust

    They are like bushes cut down by hurricanes

    Logs, leaves, stems and roots lying everywhere

    Wounded wounds are howling with silent voices

    But the ears of this country are sealed

    We clothe wounds with dishonest smiles concealing the origins of pain

    We feel ashamed to commune our Negroid faces to the world

    Because there are people who look at us as filthy beggars

    I lock my spirit in solitude

    And soliloquize riddles over indigenous rhythms

    Birthing new seasons

    Knitting a new fabric

    New clothes to cover rags worn by this black nation

    Cardiac rags

    Hearts that had been brutally butchered by apartheid abattoirs

    We are the children whose hearts are covered with apartheid rags But we become disillusioned by mediocrity Can’t we buy a new fabric?

    New clothes

    Or build a bulwark to protect hearts have been bulldozed

    When the moon crawled

    When we threw stones

    Escaping tombstones

    Located in the hands of racist cruel cops.

    Now Azania has been depraved

    When you butchered Black, Indian and Colored slaves

    Who got charmed by seductive graves

    I see these rags worn by homeless people

    Then I close my eyes and reflect

    I am acquainted with rags

    I once saw these rags in my mother’s womb

    They anticipated my birth, my breath and death

    Today my heart wears rags that are still waiting to be knitted by humane hands of my forefathers land

    We have beautiful sad songs unsung

    Located in the bosom of wounded souls

    Those who lost their loved ones by guns in political crimes and in moonless slums

    Hear these songs recited by poets over esoteric drums

    The laundry of this country is filled with rags that were once worn by our ancestors

    When this African continent was colonized

    Sold by common minds

    In those old times

    We know who tore the fabric

    We conscentise with verbal needles to knit these rags

    We no longer a nation of sub-humans, baboons and barbaric baffoons

    Because even baboons do fall in love with their beauty like Narcissus

    They genuflect on the banks of history

    And bath faces with Robert Sobukhwe , Tsetsi Mashinini,Marcus Garvey and Steve Biko’ blood

    Seeking for Black Conciousness

    They let the blood to dribble

    Wet their hairy bodies

    They rise with the new dawn and fly

    With broken wings in the cosmos with eyes transfixed to the soil

    Sons of the soil

    Enlightening the land of their forefathers

    My blackness is no longer a carpet to stone

    But a golden stepping stone

    I am in need of a black pigmentation

    So I exhume Kwame Nkrumah’s body

    Skin his face

    Situate it under my sole

    It becomes my Black Stepping Stone

    And throw my eyes beyond the rags of colonialism




    And Apartheid

    These eyes dilate to see a new black fabric

  • Mbongeni NomkonwanaApology



    Sometimes i close my eyes, reminiscing on the time when the path between her bosoms once new once knew the soft touch of his hard laboring hands

    When he once wrote vows on the contours of her palms,

    Assuring her that their future was in her hands

    When his smile once tickled his daughter’s heart,

    Compelling her to smile back

    But every time these beautiful memories are replaced by horrific images

    Of scared hands and vows written upside down

    Bleeding women and weeping children

    Bleeding women and weeping children

    Every time, my eyes refuse to stay closed and when i open them i find the Indian and the Atlantic sailing emotions brought to their shores by these afflicting and unsettling images

    The I’m sorries wrapped in expensive gifts and roses won’t make up for the shit we put women through

    If you are my friend and who hits his women then we through

    The things we do make me want to take every anthology written, rip their pages apart to wipe the bleeding and the weeping

    Redress the wounds and bruises

    Then write a big apology


    An apology for those little girls who will forever fear a man’s lap because it lost its innocence a long time ago

    For baby tshepang and all the infants who were raped because a myth had gone viral that they carried an antidote in the little bodies,

    For that teenage girl in lusikisiki who went to the river singing future songs but faded with the sunset, she never returned home.

    Four men abducted her and she is now a young wife who sings shuttered dreams

    For those women who strings have been broken, their panties sang i can no longer hold on but tomorrow I will be the evidence they need,

    The blind and mute witness who saw it all

    For that woman whose lips have become unknown to kisses of her husband, she kisses the wall more than she kisses him

    A kick between her bosoms, damaging the path between them,

    Creating a gravel road travelled by every abused woman

    For her who seeks a soul mate to mate for the future his clan but will never find him

    Her heart shielded his words, oblivious to their sincerity; she was protecting herself from just another lusting spear

    For those broken hearts like pieces of glass lying on lonely road, waiting to cut any men that crosses their path

    For that woman who died for loving another woman

    For that girl who is stuck in a brothel with practicing onanism on her

    For that boy who skipped fatherhood lessons and was raised a single mother

    This is an apology for his girlfriend who was left holding a baby with clenched fists as if saying i will not be crucified for my Grandfather’s actions


    This is an apology for all the pain and suffering

    The bruises and broken ribs

    Swollen eyes and cut lips

    And for those hips no longer swayed freely

    The I’m sorries wrapped in expensive gifts and roses won’t make up for the shit we put women through

    If you are my friend who hits women then we through

    The things we do screw our dignity as men in society you fool

    This may not sound profound

    But this is for you whose ears these words have never been found

    This is my Apology to Women


  • Javier PerezForts


    As a child I used to 
                                                      c   r   a   w   l
                                                                                                                         under the dinner table
    re-erect it as my fortress:                     transforming the table cloths into magic forcefields;
    the legs, marble pillars standing indestructible;                     
    while adults roamed around like giants unable to enter!
                                        in all my childhood fantasies,              
                                                                                             this fort would keep me safe


    twenty years later I fall in love We often talk of having a family I can’t wait to get my future child a dining table big enough to play fort in Perhaps big enough for me to play too Be a father and a kid again


    On November 24th, 2014, a St. Louis County grand jury decides to not indict Officer Wilson for the murder of Mike Brown…

    My legs shake like the ground is sending Morse code up my soles:                                     do not plant your seeds in soils
                                                                                                                  where they quench thirsts with the juice of strange fruits My head drops as sandbag tears fall and gravity confirms who’s allowed to fly
    My eyes flood                with                        the Atlantic
    My heart breaks,          cocoon-like: as a moth emerges, I just wanna warn it: 
                                                                    don’t approach the artificial light
                                                                    don’t   move!                                      
                                                                                            no                    sudden                          movements!
    these lights – harnessed in police sirens and gun barrels – will send you spiraling
    I must protect you, my future child…
    So I start to write a poem         
    but this loose-leaf never felt less bulletproof…
    oh, how I want to cradle you in impenetrable gates
    how I want you to focus on the daisies that grow on top of graves
    how I will armor you in nakedness
    because your body is
                a Mayan pyramid built using the Sun and Moon as measuring tools your body is
                an African temple with long lineages of ancestral sages & warriors standing guard as long
    As America wears its newest brand of cologne…ialisms
                            you will recognize the stench
                            you will learn:          
                                                     a “revolution” is defined as the 365 days it takes the earth to rotate the sun
                                                    indeed, every 365 days you stay alive and rotate with it will be revolutionary
    so while every kid loves chocolate and sugar
    my child, you will love the history of cacao and sugarcane
    you will love, you will love, you will
                                                                    fall in love with yourself for all the cocoa y caña that made you
                                                                                                                                                                                   the sweetest soldier
    Some  say that knowledge is not enough        of a shield;
    but it is shatterproof, and
            a militarized police is ultimately a symptom of a cancerous imagination…   
    Have you ever noticed:
    when a person sleeps, their eyes move 
    back                                                     and                                                          forth
    back                                                     and                                                          forth
    as if                 they’re reading something (or)
                                          writing something
    That’s how you know that “dreaming” is an act of poetry
    In this darkest of hours, may we dare
                                                                      to dream 
                                                                                      our best poem for our children to manifest into
    May our imaginations no longer be disarmed
    May our MCs lay tracks like underground railroads
    May every rib bend as bows and arrows         
             every word trafficked like clandestine art-illery
             every fist in the air like antennas to detonate ’til every dungeon shakes into rubble
    For all the wrongs already committed to you                                     may we
    for your right  
    to be “protected and  served”….. ice cream, poetry, and laughter
    as the only forts you will ever need        


    On November 24th, 2014, the night Mike Brown was declared disposable, I fell speechless but it’s not speech that you, my child, needs from us, rather it’s poetry, the kind that can barricade Black and Brown bodies from this legacy of   c-h-a-i-n 

  • Anele KoseUbuni Bam, Isni Sam, Ndim


    Ubosabela ndiyabulisa nam ndingumntu sundicekisa

    Iyafana leyam nale yakho akhomahluko sukuziqhatha okho nguquko

    Elam iphawu lisithele isini samsivelile ubutabane bam bubhaqiwe

    Kudala ndibufihlile nemizwa yam indilindile nentloni zindibambile nobudoda

    Bam bundiqumile

    Ubuni ban, isini sam, ndim

    Andiziphiki kakade lento ayifiki ubuth’ iqalwa sithi zutyilibhayibhile ujonge

    Abasefilipi ubuye nge gomoro nesodom kwi genesisi

    Ugxekwa nguwe akozondinceda nobuni bam awunobumela ubandilala nabani

    Ayikufuni ndiyakucela bhekela suyingena

    Ukugxekw nguwe ukuzondinceda icebo kuziveza ndiphume’gusheni

    Indod’endifunayo ndizoyilind’ezingubeni

    Ndizobe ndinqgengqe emqamelweni nesibane ndisilayitile ekameli ndilindel;u

    Kungenakwayo ekamereni.

    Kaloku ubni bam nesini sam ndim

    Nakuye londinaye sibanye sibanye ngemizwa uthando lwethu bayalifanisa

    Kodwa ubudoda bethu babenz’intoyokuhlekisa

    Wofika amanye amdoda esinyelisa esithi iztabane ayaziqalekisa ngongathi

    Indalo kathixo angayeyisa.

    Ubanithi yimikhuba nani yohlukanani nobango ben ten kula mgriza

    No sugar daddy niyasibhidisa.

    Uthando lwendoda kwenye lufana nolwakho kowakho sudlisela ngoyihlaba

    Enxebeni nam ndiyi faka esikrobeni

    Nolota wabalek;ulalanendoda egomoro wasinda edangatyeni kanti

    Uzakulala nentombi zakhe eainqgaqeni.

    Ngomphi obhetele kubamna ndilala nendoda emathandweni andenzi mikhuba


    Bayandinyola, bayandisola bathi ndiyisisi xandidlula batsho nge ntsini, kanti

    Abayazi uthixo yena akanasini, bayasicalula njengegushea ezibhokweni

    Bayasohlula kodwa akusenani lebyenz and gayz bayazixuluba.

    Benzisiqgezu ngo Casta semenya bayasimenya kumasiko nethethe

    Bayasikhetha nasepalamente bayasihleba.

    Bathi akhomntu ukumila kunje indoda ayibinjena nebhinqa alibinjena izikhundla

    Azifunywana ngabantu abanjena.

    Namapolisa awanaxesha lelethu igazi athi size talasi amadoda aqgweth’ibhatyi.

    Kanti ubuni bam nesini sam ndim

    Lendiyiyo zange ndiyicele noba ndandinemali ngendingazange ndiyithenge

    Kubayona ifunumntu azayimele namadoda atsho akudelele..

    Isini sam asinsthintshi ubangu anele ozintozakhe’makazenzele nesini sakhe

    Asimele, asilwele asithethelele ade asiphumelele

    Lento kum injenge thumba emqaleni kaloku bayasinyelisa ekuhlaleni nentatheli

    Aziyeki kubhala emaphepheni zithetha ngobuni bethu esidlangalaleni.

    Yakufika besijonga ezimpahleni, beshumayela ngathi ezicaweni, behleba ngathi nasetywaleni

    Kaloku lento ayikhanyeleki, ayifihle, ayichitheki,ayiqhekeki, ayipheli uthando

    Lwesini esinye malungacinazeleki nendlela zethu mazingavaleki.

    Uthuthu lunye madoda nanimabhinqa uba naqinqgwa mna ndabunjwa.

    Ndim ngabuni ndingenagama ngaphandle kwesithuko namazwi onyeliso

    Uthando lwabanqgamane ngesini,yakufika behethu lwimi besithi ayifunwa lento

    Emazulwini kodwa bayayivumela ebalungwini, nakumabonakude

    Bayayibukela kodwa xa isenziwam ndim bayayicaphukela kanti asizozifihla

    Ebumnyameni nathi singabantu sizaku hambe elukhanyweni

    Kuba ubuni bam nesini sam ndim.

  • Koleka PutumaIn Process

    In Process


    I think about

    The song they played at the graveyard,

    Half clear. Half dis-tor-ted by the wind and w…ailing.

    I think about

    How she did not cry,

    How she was held up by her eldest daughter and an elder of the church,

    Who would later cook and dish for people

    Whose names were known and forgotten at introduction,

    Later serve a drunk homeless claiming she’d taken her ARVs.

    I think about

    The detail in the way her hand scraped the sand off the shovel

    Dried eyed and determined.

    I did not know if the wet blob on her skirt was piss or sweat.

    But I remember thinking,

    If that was me

    Two steps away from my beloved’s eternal home

    My skin would be drenched from the neckline to the seams 

    All bodily fluids poisonous, reeking of wound and rage,

    And it would not be voluntary or pretty.

    I observed her composure

    Wondered how it was that she was not a yoyo of hysteria,

    A wild animal tossing itself in the dirt-stirring those who lay beneath it.

    (I wondered about a lot of things that day)

    My cousin said the man in the coffin did not look like you


    I did not go.


    I have always thought viewings strange and impersonal.

    I stayed in my seat biting my bottom lip out of habit


     For comfort.

    I did not want to see the dead version of you,

    I preferred the changing memory.

    I think about

    My trip from Grahamstown to your bedside,

    The mourning after

    Your paralysed hand stretched out, with my assistance, to pray for me.

    I think of you in the quiet and deserted 1am

    The only hour the world can stomach the grieving

    When all the Gods are watching and mortals are sleeping

    I think of you

    When I am eating a cheese and ham sandwich 

    When nobody expects it,

    I mourn you then

    In the mundane moments I have control over.






  • Mbongeni NomkonwanaVoid

    For every journey there is a destination and mine was the Eastern Cape,

    I started my tour a wounded single man who was oozing hurt, anger and betrayal

    I picked myself up bandaged my wounds and wore a smile like the Rainbow Nation.

    A thousand kilometers away from home, Gogo’s boy was now alone

    Solitary confined by my thoughts

    I was an old lonely windmill that made a scritching sound calling the villagers to come sit around like they used to back in the day

    My soul was an empty forest that echoed cries of dead animals, harbored dry trees that were once a stage to a choir of birds who sang summer melodies.

    My heart was an abandoned village with scattered bones and skulls and stains of blood as traces of a civil war.

    My mind’s cruelty kept on reminding me of the injuries i sustained when i fell in love

    And so i took a vow of no commitment, that not with my lips will i confess love

    Mthatha, port st johns, lusikisiki, ngcobo, Idutywa, gcuwa, maclear

    From school girls, college girls and working class women i did them all.

    I spoke simple poetic words that compelled them to surrender their souls to a celestial being, an answer to their prayers

    I resembled a soul mate they have been waiting for, yearning for

    My hungry void fed from their hope for love, hope that i was different from others, that one day i will be negotiate lobola with their fathers and drink beer with their brothers.

    Not knowing they were just another contact in my shag book

    They liked my profile pic and i poked them, poked them and poked them

    Objects for fornication and projects of validation.

    Blind to see they were crucified for their kind, Lucifer controlling my mind searching for answers i couldn’t find.

    So every kiss, touch and squeeze articulated the anger i embodied

     Alone at night ghosts of guilt haunted me but with my spell of clear conscience i exorcised them.

    Not with my lips did i confess love

    These relationships were like floating trees so on which grounds could i be held responsible for breaking their hearts, justifying my actions.

    For every journey there is a destination and this time it was Cape Town

    On my way back to Cape Town, visuals of unsafe sex played back, i tried formatting them like an infected hard drive but my access was denied Wright procted

    Could it be that the virus would be detected?

    Did i contract H.I.V?

    Will i be on A.R.V’S?

    Will these women be a static because of me

    As mother city embraced me with her tabled heart, i wanted to trade it with mine for what was yet to come

    A prick on my finger by a beautiful sister, Reality back track this was no time to chat no time to flirt, status check

    Will i be the last chapter in their book of love?

    The forbidden pages in their diaries?

    As i waited in suspense i felt those women waiting with me

    So there I was pacing up and down hoping to not drown in a dam built from my actions and filled by their tears,

    Unconsciously i said my prayers and i was ready to face my fears

    20 minutes later my fate was decided, i was negative but left that place positive

    No let me rephrase that i tested negative and left with a positive attitude

    Lesson learnt i will keep it that way.

  • Mbongeni NomkonwanaHomage

    We are natural Wonders.
    We are natural wonders gifted with abilities that puzzle our fellow human beings.
    We can transport our vision beyond the four corners of this Earth; hence we know that the moon and the stars are not just sources of light,
    That we are energies who reflect themselves in the sky to look at each other at night.
    I want to pay homage to I and those who walk the same path as I.
    Those who infuse their eyes with yours to make you see the world in theirs.
    Who utter naked words because truth haunts them, and truth is an oath that will bring you closer to God than any religion ever will.
    Whose tongues decipher musical notes into lullaby’s of Hope for single mothers and fatherless children.
    Who use nature to curve their words into shapes and images that even language struggles to comprehend.
    Play Cd-Jays and Vynals with a single hand.
    Turn abandoned walls into galleries, strike chords and keys, play strings to heal broken souls
    Those who know that air gives life to melody and that music is a universal language.

    I want to pay homage to I and those who walk the same path as I.
    Those who know that exposure is a Trojan horse that leaves them wondering when is exploitation going to end.
    Whose music still make our playlists but died poor and penniless, Branda Fassie and Mahlathini.
    Those who left their families cursing and hating the path we have chosen forbidding their children to embrace the same journey.
    Blinding their future by having a blurry vision to the present as a side effect of the past.
    Those who are sometimes declared unstable or banned from their countries because of they have to say.
    Artists who exhibit their hearts and minds uncensored, who know that Rain is God overwhelmed by Art.
    Every tear drop carrying a message for his chosen children, strengthening us to never give up
    We are soldiers who do not conform to society norms of a nine to five answering calls, because this our call, our vocation.
    I want to pay homage to I and those who walk the same path as I.