Sunday, January 12, 2014

Poetry from Swaziland part 6 (final poem)

Gugu Mdluli
November 18, 2011 at 1:53pm
Shelling ears of mealies 
Long dried, far from their vast green

Ping-pinging kernel after kernel
Into a red-petaled enamel basin.

Absent fingers churn out
Thought-images of hot weeks in December
spent among trees and grasshoppers.
Sing-song sashays through sibilant grass.

Ticking and tocking memories
Flicking them one after the other
Into one waiting bowl.

Time held in cobs and rows -
A stuttering trance
Of dusty barefoot days
at my grandmother's.

Guava trees wild, yellow-green
Climbed, raided.
The glorious return home with the biggest, juiciest,
yellowest of the fruit.

An isolated patch of cropped, cool grass
from which we watched night fall -
the leisurely sinking of the sun, beyond those dry hills.
Then star-studded blackness.

The long, wistful howling of mongrel dogs
with forgotten names and old eyes

Slow SiSwati stories. A candle
burns until dawn.
A mass of skimny limbs tangled - the owners picked off by sleep
one by one.

Tick, ping, tock, ping
Shelling mealies.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Poetry from Swaziland part 5

Gugu Mdluli
November 18, 2011 at 1:19pm
he sees nothing strange
in the undiluted warmth that -
when in my mind images dance
of his lollipop-delicious mouth -
traverses my vein-rivers red
and visits my sky blue summers.

awed but not unmanned
by my smiling brown stare
that -
in unbottled wonder -
says every day:
i adore you.

he is for me.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Poetry from Swaziland part 4

Tableau: driving past a parlour
Gugu Mdluli
August 2, 2011 at 3:27pm
In a staggering line, they walk
An Asian mob of about 8 men
Tightly knit
Arm-in-arm almost.
A tableau,
apart from the clamouring train of traffic
beyond the wall.
Grave, they walk.
Disarmed by

The little middle-aged woman
Newly barren
Among men.

She, her face a furious red
With the force of her bewildered
Tears. Worldless. She
Grips for life the hands nearest to hers.

The little band soldiers on

A crumbling mother and her 8-man buttress
Stagger to the line of waiting cars.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Poetry from Swaziland part 3

Talk to you (Lil' darlin) Talib Kweli & Bilal
Gugu Mdluli
April 26, 2011 at 2:25pm (typos original)
I want you, 'cause you make my heart skip the beat that it drum to
I want to be the one you run to, when pain confronts you
You're everything, sometimes I get nervous when I'm in front you
You can hear it in my voice when I ask you if you comfortabl

Look how love do, I'd practice the Art of War for you like Sun Tzu
Come through and arouse you every morning like the sun do
If you blackout and collapse I want to help you to come to
Notice I haven't yet gotten to what I want from you

I want you to come to when I come through and make you shine like the sun do
I want you to be the valley for my river to run through
You're everything, send your soul through your lips to my heart
Sweet music will start I want you to be the muse for my art

When people try to rip us apart we got to work to stay together
Go through the seasons of love and never change with the weather
This is my wish list, what I want not what I need there's a difference
These days I'm learning that words got power so I'ma be specific

Can I have a talk with you?
Can I make a dream come true?
Can I be in love with you?
'Cause I would if I could

Yeah sunflower
You must live in the infinite blackness that exists when I close my eyes
I see you when I fall asleep, I see you when I dream

Lil' darlin'
Set your soul on fire

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Poetry from Swaziland part 2

Gugu Mdluli

April 26, 2011 at 2:01pm

You came to me that night

something something the wind something something [i'm tipsy right now but i'll remember]

through the black leaves

of the tree outside my window

In the still moonlit darkness

When forever lives in a sliver of light

Still you come

Enfolded in the summer air