MIDNIGHT MONOLOGUES (thought tracks on bad politics, quarantine, exile and isolation) *
I smell the heavy scent of the night, pitch black night
It is sunset on the foothills of my country,
I smell the heavy scent of the pitch-black night,
pitch black night coils into this tired land feigning its darkness
birthing revolutionary ghosts and ideological imbeciles
Pitch black night pregnant with emotion and wrong ambition,
Inside the pitch-black night heartbroken shadows are harvesting funerals,
In this pitch-black night
I drink tears for tea,
munching grief chapped lips for bread,
dry bread to fill up my four-decade aged spiritual torment
I smell the scent of a dying moon, the death of the moonshine
Midnight crawls- in with a groan of poverty,
I scrounge to catch the traces of freedom leftovers through broken windows of life.
I am walking journeys in my mind to touch the glimpse of the feeble moon
I weep at the death of moonlight,
And now gutter rats and stray cockroaches feast from hidden treasures
Dancing out the night -fiesta, feasting alongside corrupt and corrupted shadows,
silent anthills are weeping too, their death bleached bones are weeping too
Mother is no more, she went away with the moonlight, they buried her with a dirge
Kana mabvuvuzwa moti ayi namata
Kana mabvunzwa moti ainamata
Mumureverere, mumureverere ,mumureverere
The last spell of dust still clung her thick eyelids,
her spirit winked to Gods to announce her journey to the land of her New Canaan.
And we remained in the New Normal.
I shall come to embrace Mama, the same way I came here , my spirit mother shall wink for her spiritual mates to welcome me the fruit of her womb back into the veil of heavens, spirit-land .
We shall meet again, time is coming
And her spiritual mates shall chant a song, a song of griots, a song of unsung heroes,
a pungwe chant, a song they sang in the struggle for another struggle,
a song that perched black cockerels on the zenith of thrones,
a song that set the sun, a song that rose the sun
a song that killed the moon,
a song that is a paradox
a song that opened doors and shut them,
a song that polished rejects onto ladders of power,
a song of freedom, a song of aborted freedom,
a revolutionary song
a recycled song that recycled ideological demagogues,
we are born by the song and we die by that song.
Mama, I never sang the last hymn for you,
I never saw the last wink or the last giggle,
the fall of lioness, mother freedom.
Testimony of the struggle, the sceptre of freedom,
My heartbeat with the echo of the yesteryear gun, mind-vibes, the raindrop beat rhythm of struggle pungwe songs
Maruza imi ,maruza imi ,maruza imi
Maruza maruza maruza
Maruza imi, maruza imi
Maruza maruza maruza
Maruza imi, maruza imi , maruza imi
The last spell of dust is still clinging on your thick eyelids. Hear , hear my epitaph verse ‘sleep comfortably in the warm palms of the Lord’
And I sing again the last verse of that struggle pungwe song
Maruza imi ,maruza imi ,maruza imi
Maruza imi, maruza imi
Maruza imi, maruza imi , maruza imi
Your favorite struggle pungwe song *
I smell the crashing of the revolutionary light
Soothsayers talk in sacred tongues that the light in the moon went with last revolutionary legend,
Tyrannical legend died clutching the clay of country in his hard- clenched right-hand fist. He chanted another chant,
another clenched fist slogan.
In this pitch-black night,
obituaries wetted pseudo revolutionary columns and frail patriotic tabloids,
paradoxical revolutionary legend died with his Marxist -Leninist hardened forehead creased with the graffiti of a stolen country, a country strangled to death, a country that is now a walking ghost.
A country lost in the cemetery of political vendetta and propaganda vulgar
Learned tyrannical revolutionary legend, munched the all -protein -all vitamin chlorophyll filled bean-leaf Oxford English dictionary, Imbibed the red-grape beverages of Latina encyclopedia, sanctified by Vatican City Catholic moguls. The dead tyrannical, revolutionary legendary stalwart shaped by concocted ideological recipe and intellectual concoction of Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist socialist gin, Victorian- Elizabethan verbiage, peasant-guerrilla-bush struggle for freedom scholarship, pan African-Nkrumaist socialist extremism-
A balanced diet.
A concocted Ideological recipe.
An Intellectual concoction
The revolutionary legendary stalwart is lying in salient stone
And that lashing tongue with its lips chapped by vitriol is sealed in silent marble
And that Leninist- Stalinist- Marxist- Nkuruma-ist charisma is silent in the silence of the stone
And that extremism carved propaganda-ist clenched fist slogan holds the red clay of earth in silence in the silence of the stone
Tonight, this midnight, Ideological charlatans sing praise and protest, the legend went with the country, the tyrant went the country’s sorrow-soaked epitaphs, grief laden obituaries, tear filled eulogies and our gold in his fistful slogan.
And zealots and charlatans, poets and griots sing still, they sing praise and protest for a guerrilla graduated into patriotic super star, later an autocratic medalist but still he lived and died in paradox, revolutionary paradox
Griots and zealots sing protest and praise still and still they sing to the pitch-black night, to the death of the death of a legend, to the stolen country
the legend stole treasures of the land and the conscience of my now vulgar tutored and vitriol schooled poverty hardened generation.
My generation polarized by political polio.
My generation lost the light of the moon
My generation lost the beautiful blink of the sun
Legendary tyrant died clutching the golden red clay of the country in his slogan hardened clenched fist
Raenda rakanyarara,raenda rakaguta
Jongwe rakukurudza,raenda jongwe
Raenda jongwe raenda richidemba
Jongwe raenda nezuva,raenda nomwedzi muchena
Obituaries inscribed in rain- beaten century- aged potholed highways
epitaph was a black cockerel carved onto the edges of torn bank note,
eulogy was a by a Vatican supplication and a Latin poem
gesters and griots danced out the night with presidential parody
He died inside the pitch-black night,
the funeral ritual was conducted inside the pitch-black night.
In this pitch black night, zealots and senators congregate like wild hens
Senators cackling vendetta and zealots singing political vulgar , gobbling fresh bread from the rich wheat of our sweat, gulping matured grape-wine of our toil.
Tonight, our tears wash the corruption clad parliament tarmacs
As our ever -pouring sweat rinse their extortion laden court rooms
teargas graffiti decorates the broken statehouse lampposts
Hieroglyphics of poverty match the campaign print on the torn presidential election bandana
I see the president grazing the steak of our ballot-cast for dinner,
I snoop on torn newspaper headlines for lunch
I stuff my rumbling stomach with gossip and grapevine for peace
I see the double -chinned parliamentarians greedly drinking our juicy sweat of our hardly won freedom for breakfast.
I see famished citizens gasping for dignity, dignity imbibed by the un-couthed mouth of the gun,
Father died with a torn election campaign Tshirt drapped on his wood and tin made coffin and his cold feet was covered by the three doeks emblazoned cheap propaganda, he raised his fist for a solid slogan and chanted a revolutionary hymn before sliding into a death trance.
Father died a socialist , an ideologist , a revolutionary
Towards the dawn of his sunset, he jabbed the wind, jiving for the freedom cockerel,
he chewed propaganda mustard biscuits with gusto ,
he drank the ideological whisky with verve.
Political vibe chopped his mother tongue and spoke in political tongues of green combat propaganda
Father died waving a fistful slogan.
Father sang a song alongside the slogan chant
A song of the last liberation
A song that was carved on his DNA like a radio antenna
He died before the setting of the moon
and left a song and a slogan chant,
a song of the last liberation
He died before the claws of dawn caressed our rondavels,
In this pitch-black night, I hear the wind whistling the tune of that song
, song of my father
He loved my mother, president black cockerel and the song
Brother went to war and never came back,
I peep through the broken window of life that one day we see brother walking back to his village rondavel,
the pain of loss is decaying my respect to the parliament until my brother returns.
Freedom was gobbled by the November goblins,
revolutionary eggs gulped by greedy young cockerels with their disrespectful alarms announcing dawn at night.
Charlatans reaping cash and belching corruption stink into our sand paper, poverty taunted suffering souls.
Beloved generation, beloved bitter-sodden generation
Our sun set long years before black cockerel died, before November knives hacked the revered black cockerel from the zenith of the throne, Yes, another dawn was announced inside the pitch-black night, before owls announce their anthems, before dog’s howl to the last star, before hyenas laugh the last giggle
The Power of Poetry and the rise of Underground Voices
I am writing a letter to dissidents farting hatred in Congo
Congo, My Nagasaki pimping the state for hot bread and cheap slogans.
Darfur, My Hiroshima, fermenting coup d’états in breweries of war
Dissidents plucking off the petals of the revolution. Drinking the
passion fruit of freedom
I want to silence the gun. I will not silence the sun.
Poetry is currently rated as one of the most influential media of literary arts and resistance activism and the voice for human rights advocacy. From the time of our birthing to these days of maturation, we are all shaped, serenaded and entertained by sweet ancient lullabies, drum beat throbs and early morning birdsongs. Song and dance are verse in motion, poetry remains a vehicle of freedom of expression and catalytic medium of creative consciousness. It is a super creative genre that cannot easily relegated to the peripheral pleats of human intellectuality but must be respected in our quest for freedom in all our struggles for human liberation. We are swayed everyday by rough political winds. Poetry injects the penicillin of sanity into the corrupted blood of rat-brained devils and iron steel-hearted dictatorial tyrants. At least they might repent after sipping a bitter sweet beverage of satire and hard to swallow brew of metaphor. Thus, the power of poetry, it is not a silent language. It is the official lingo of literary activism. The language that can be spoken in gutter, underground, ghetto, street pavements, village pathways and polished corridors of power in high offices. And with advent of digital literacy and internet revolution, it is not easy to gag poets and their voices.
The blunt-edged swords of my metaphor and razor-sharp flesh slicing irony burrow truth through banking malls scarred by corruption graffiti. It roasts and stews up sandy paper souls of political demigods and unrepentant bloodletting war- lords. It blisters the long extortion roughened – fingers of gluttonous bureaucrats, it scalds ideological imbeciles and revolutionary rejects with hot holy waters of satire and imagery.
Poetry fertilizes the baobab seeds of revolutions in our arduous expedition to freedom. It remains the literary -machete of resistance through and through out. The echoes transcend from violence smitten favelas of Latina Americas to through blood graffiti on walls of Washington to up to the corruption -creased streets of Africa.
Nazism establishments and Napoleonic political set ups have been using poetry art as propaganda crank to influence segregation, intimidation and totalitarianism. The modern underground poets are now conscious of true and false revolutions. We refuse to be manipulated and then discarded into cemeteries of failure over-used like condom sheaths.
Today’s world is haunted by turbulent times of warlords, regionalism, super-power autocracy, political banditry, Islamophobia and xenophobia. Against such global quandary, the poet, the mason of resistance must raise their fist of resilience and proclaim total freedom. Therefore, to remain voices to save vulnerable communities from sinking into dungeons of autocracy and dark pits of casava republics.
For example, a few decades ago, Zimbabwe’s harsh political twists, moral decadence and economic malaise birthed of underground poets and cultivated the rise protest art. The poets raw – crude art and satire projected mass poverty and as citizens groan under the yoke dynasticity tendencies of the Mugabe’s totalitarian regime. Now that Mugabe is gone with his political fist, Are we safe with the current regime with their mantra of the Second Republic. House of Hunger Poetry Slam (founded in 2006) was a direct response to the political- moral crisis perpetuated by the tyrannical, autocratic and corruption drunk Mugabe regime.
The fervent crop of protest poets overthrew the degreed old-guard literists, the old guard regime of poets had lost the salt of expression due to fear and intimidation by the state. Most of them ended up as commissars of the failing but steel gloved Mugabe regime. Many had no choice but to succumb to profound silence for the purposes of their saving their lives, professional careers and daily freedoms.
The brave lot of new generation protest poets are adamant and vocal about and against the police state tendencies and brutality in Zimbabwe. We aim our metaphoric slings at post-liberation oppression, against human rights abuses, police brutality and politically perpetuated violence. Our grand old guard poet’s word-slinged against white-colonialism, slavery, racial segregation and apartheid. And like today, during those brutal years, dissenting voices were vehemently thwarted. Likewise, todays African regimes gag, imprison, plunder the freedoms and lives of resilient voices. Those and other experiences led me to create and curate the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign, it has since generated into Global Poetry of Resistance Movement speaking hard truth to power against moral decadence, against machinations of dictatorships, bad governance, abuse of human rights, gagging of freedom of expression. Protest poetry has remained as the viable medium of literary arts activism in the struggle for tolerance, promotion of dissenting voices and freedom of expression.
When the sun filters its orange into this red earth. I see twin
brothers Renamo and Frelimo laughing out loud to baboons dangling in
I see children sniffing face book and colonial dope.
Darfur, drowning in the din of rattling drums and blood dollars, their
children eating wiki leaks for breakfast and twitter mojo for supper,
oiling the revolutionary engines through song and dance
Burning candles from both ends.
Nodding to the wind of drums and beat of the gun, drunk with wind and sound
Sing to the freedom babies eating twitter berries and faces book figs.
Forgetting their fingers in Google forests. Licking Wounds after
burning in cultural monoxide and moral dioxide
Bastards starved of ideological oxygen- EXCERPT from SambisasCousins.
Mbizo CHIRASHA, the Author of a Letter to the President. co-Authored Whispering Woes of Ganges and Zambezi. Co-Edited Street Voices Poetry Collection (Germany Africa Poetry Anthology). Co- Editor of the Corpses of Unity Anthology. Associate Editor at Diasporia(n) online. Chief Editor at Time of the Poet Republic. Founding Editor at WomaWords Literary Press. Publisher at Brave Voices Poetry journal. Curator at Africa Writers Caravan. UNESCO-RILA Affiliate Artist at University of Glasgow. 2020 Poet in Residence Fictional Café. 2019 African Fellow, IHRAF.ORG. Project Curator and Co-Editor of the Second Name of Earth is Peace (Poetry Voices Against WAR Anthology). Contributing Essayist to Monk Arts and Soul Magazine. Poetry and writtings appear in FemAsia Magazine ,Wrath -Bearing Tree, Inksweat andtears journal , One Ghana One Magazine, Ofi Press, World Poetry Almanac, Demer Press , Atunis Galaxy poetry online , IHRAF Publishes , The Poet a Day , Bezine.Com , Sentinel UK, Oxford School of Poetry Pamphlet , Africa Crayons, PulpitMagazine,Poetry Pacific, Zimbolicious , Best New Poets ,Poetry Bulawayo , Gramnet webjournal, Diogen Plus , Poeisis.si , Festival de Poesia Medellin and elsewhere.