present-continuous.

he looks to the stars. sparse yet concentrated. how he feels sometimes about life, about himself. the sun is too tired to show. the moon is too late to its shift. the stars bellow in silent chorus. beautiful. enchanting. he sits. bare chested and barefooted. as if getting to know the cold biting wind. as if reacquainting with a long lost lover who left nothing but question. as if he finally gets to get his answers. the cold wind passes by with a soft swoosh. each swoosh colder than the one before. he takes a long drag at his cigarette. closes his spectacled eyes and everything is blind. the voices in his head quieten afraid of the dark. afraid a breath would affirm they are indeed lost, unwanted and unneeded. his body goes warm. he coughs. takes another drag at his cigarette. the filter soft and warm against his lips. a combination that dabs helpfully at his yearn, at his insecurities. he opens his eyes. he watches the red and orange glow like demons being swallowed by a flame–like his demons being swallowed by a flame. he lets out the cloud of smoke into the air and watches as it dissolves into nothing. why don’t most things work like that? he wonders. he closes his eyes to focus. the voices in his head take a seat into the corner–they too suffer against their own existence. they too are him. it bothers him, the last thought, it bothers him. he opens his eyes and there she stands, naked under the blanket wrapped around her body. shoulders bare. one hand holding on to the knot of the blanket on her chest. he had thought she was still asleep. it’s morning. it’s still night. time is too drunk to tell at these hours. he wants to take a drag at his cigarette but she’s watching. it shouldn’t mean anything, right? he internally questions. but it does. either way he takes a drag at his cigarette. before the smoke can graffiti his lungs she starts to walk towards him. he’s forced to let out the smoke. he watches her darkened by the security light behind her. each step across the front yard surreal. she tends to be like that, surreal. he thinks. she stands before him. she outstretches her hand.

“let’s go sleep.”

he takes her hand. he throws away the half smoked cigarette. he stands and watches as she walks in front of him. he enjoys this, not having to be in control all the time. watching the world outside him unfold happily in a way that assists him. and no matter how selfish it seems maybe the world owes him that for half the shit it gives him. and she is not like a cigarette. soft and warm she may be. she may do something quite similar to his lungs. punching them with her actions causing him to lose his breath, sometimes. lightning his head with her laughter. she is more than a cigarette. much more than a tot of whiskey. she doesn’t wane from his system. he doesn’t buy her. and when he reaches out in the night, sometimes, he doesn’t need to leave bed to find her. his voices are enthralled by her too. they relish the moment she leaves to pester him with jokes and sometimes, most times, with torturing torment that ‘it doesn’t last, you know that right.’ when they get back into bed he doesn’t cuddle to her. it’s all he wants to do.

i need you to love me tenderly

i need you to touch me gently

cause it’s cold out there

and it’s tough enough

so baby love me tenderly.

he looks to the stars. sparse yet concentrated. how he feels sometimes about life, about himself. the sun is too tired to show. the moon too late to its shift. the stars bellow in silent chorus. beautiful. enchanting. he sits. bare chested and barefooted. as if getting to know the cold biting wind, as if reacquainting with a long lost lover who left nothing but questions. as if he finally gets to get his answers. the cold wind passes by with a soft swoosh. each swoosh colder than the one before. he takes a long drag at his cigarette. closes his spectacled eyes and everything is blind. the voices in his head a loud terribly singing chorus. his body goes warm. he coughs. he takes another drag at his cigarette. the filter soft and warm against his lips. a combination that dabs helpfully at his yearn, at his insecurities, at his pain. he opens his eyes. he watches the red and orange glow like demons swallowed by a flame, like his demons swallowed by a flame. he lets out the smoke into the air and watches as it dissolves into nothing. why wont it work like this? he wonders. he closes his eyes to focus. when he opens them he can see the security light. and she’s nowhere in sight. he wants to take a drag at his cigarette. it feels like she’s watching. it shouldn’t mean anything, right? he internally questions. but it does. either way he takes a drag at his cigarette. the smoke graffiti-es his lungs. he’s forced to let out the smoke. he imagines her taking each step across the front yard towards him. it’s all surreal. she tends to be like that, surreal. he thinks. and she’s nothing like a cigarette. soft and warm she may be. she may do something quite similar to his lungs. punching them with her actions causing him to lose his breath, sometimes. lightning his head with her laughter. she is more than a cigarette. much more than a tot of whiskey. she doesn’t wane from his system. he doesn’t buy her. and when he reaches out in the night, sometimes, he doesn’t need to leave bed to find her. she’s nothing like a cigarette or a tot of whiskey. but at least when the latter are not there they can be bought. his voices are enthralled by her too. they have been relishing this moment. they pester him. tonight, it’s not with jokes but with torturing torment that

“you knew it doesn’t last.”

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the light at the end.

i have never been popular. there are ally ways that not even my family knows about me. then there a boulevards, the type you find in a small city. i can see the flashing lights like those of the paparazzi. i count each, trying to count just how much breath i have left. i take a sip of a breath. there’s a puncture in one of my lungs. my tongue tastes like copper. my teeth are red. i can inaudibly hear them. darkness. and just as i am about to succumb the lights bring me back. one of it comes closer. is this the light at the end of the tunnel they talk about?

im not even a celebrity but i have been casted on this low production street play. there is no script. no directors. 1 too many camera personnel and then there’s me. my monologue has no words. i feel a liquid, warm, soft and slow, sensation gliding down my thigh. the faint trickle reminding me how cold it feels though the wind cannot form not even a knot. the pressure in my bladder subsides. my urine mixes with the blood and the flow reaches out to the audience as if it is asking for help on my behalf. they say you come to life alone and leave alone. every day and every other minute someone is born and someone dies. but it is never before such a great audience. the activities are sacred-like. wrapped in a quilt of sanctity, at least i used to think. as the blood trickles past me and to the audience, i hear the gasps, the wails and the narrations of what happened. blackness. the lights bring me back. it’s visible enough for me to look into the car at what has me trapped. as i do i see his head severed off from his neck. i take another quarter breath. shock registers. but it’s mostly the pain colonizing my body that makes me do so. her, i manage to mention. im not talking of any subject here, no woman im wishing last words to. i had meant to say help. pronouncing a plosive is excruciating, sending little explosions around my body. i try the setswana version, still there’s a plosive. the th sound plays repeatedly around my lips and in my ears. nothing audible enough to compete with the voices of the growing crowd. i look around trying to save myself. the lights increase. this is my end i think.

i feel around for my cellphone. there’s no pain surging my body just determination. there are some things that can trump pain. i feel it in my pocket. i pull at it until by some grace and some strength. the phone is password protected. i have to draw a pattern. i can only draw it three times before it gives me the option to press the pin number. it takes a generation until im able to dial 9. the crowd gasps. something about it steals my breath. blackness. the lights call me back. this time it’s the light on my phone. stay awake, it seems to say. i dial another 9. all of this theatric to the audience that has since then quieted in observation. the lights are still in my face, each no bigger than a pencil eraser. each blasting to the whole world my ordeal, my survival. none helping me. 9. i huff and puff. it feels like ive just hiked up a mountain. each breath deeper. each breath tearing my tiny vessels from the big mass of my lungs. i call the number and my phone dies.

i look around at the mass of people. not at them, not even at the lights but at the phones. i need a phone. i need to cal… blackness. the light, this one bigger than the polka dots aimed at me approaches. it’s faint then catches speed and soon it’s so bright it’s dark.

wame muse gwafila 2018

desert child

desert child. you have lived through probably what is too much of dust storm and mirages. you don’t know what is real anymore. you have been thirsty. you are thirsty. even this well seems like a delirium of sorts. you are thirsty. but it doesn’t mean you dive in head first into this… well, what can i call it? the law of floatation was not discovered by the contemplation of the sinking of things. you’re an eventually person. you don’t curse on sundays. a religion of your own making. and that’s the essence of religion–it runs on the fan belt of eventually. prepare for an afterlife. a messiah is coming. so you look to the edges of the horizons, neck stretched out, eyes wide as if trying to capture every glimpse of a theatrical spectacle from the back seat of yourself. it is all mirages and desert storms. eventually keeps you in one place. even roots move my darling. so you hope. and look at me like a fruit yet to ripen.

i am not even growing in the soil of your possibilities and hopes. im not an eventuality. i am the moment you neglect. i am in raw form. you live off the high of eventually. sitting side by side day dreaming of the day when your breath becomes, to me, like oxygen. mirages and sand storms. not everything is so theatrical. mirages aren’t real, you know that desert child. you have become much too accustomed–and i say accustomed because this is your customization. you have the behavior of ellipsis, commas… of suspension. always on the edge.

my dear desert child, with such a nomadic life you’ve become a hoarder. your feet have been immersed up to the knee with sand… you probably thought fighting stubbornly will always get you what you want. you will learn, hopefully, that the load should be lighter because the trek is burdensome at times. but now you want to carry me through it all. you want to put me in your make-shift bag and carry me like a possession. a doll you picked up, a mannequin of some sort. i don’t blame you sometimes. hope feeds all of us who are starving and thirsting. isn’t that all you want? to kick your feet up knowing this is more than an oasis, another pit stop before you head to nowhere. look around child, it’s a desert out here. the skulls, horns and rib cages scattered around have probably made you fearful. but you’re the child to the desert…

soldier-alone, love

wame muse gwafila 2018

beat

heart on queue

with its own.

mind-pulsating

a continuous tap

of a pencil

doodle after doodle

i almost took a walk

to a phenomenal poem

once written

to thoughts that have

been dealt with.

it made me walk

backwards onto

incoming traffic.

which is better,

the usual traffic

or a blank?

wame muse gwafila 2018

elements

not to gas you up

but

your solidness,

with firm–form

the fragility and naivety

of my shapeless

liquid nature.

wame muse gwafila 2018

whichever one is the truth

the truth will let you get to the basement of a walk up only to remind you you’ve forgotten an important file in your apartment which is on the last floor.

it will cry your name, as loud as blue whales can sing, in the library.

it will wait for the precise moment when you’ve locked your car keys inside your car before it can say gotcha.

the truth has a ready search warrant. it will bang bang bang your door and search nothing in your house but you.

it will have you working double shifts, while saving up for school and remind you you forgot to pick up your kids at school.

the truth will eat the last slice of pizza you left in the fridge. you know, the one you’ve been thinking about all day. and after a long day at work…

the truth will let you do the dishes and soon as you finish put its plate in the sink.

the truth will walk over where you have just mopped.

it will make you sweat profusely in a job interview.

the truth is not your friend if you’re not it’s friend. it won’t sit next to you at lunch on your first day at school in the middle of the term.

the truth will smack you in the face and call it a prank.

the truth will lay next to you, deeply asleep and snoring, to remind you you’re just not into it anymore.

the truth will have you driving cross country to be with someone dear, someone ailing only to have you arrive to their death.

it will entrap all the words you wanted to say to them, smack at your shoulder and say “you know all humans owe god a death.”

the truth has no sense of socialism and mannerism because it keeps company with nobody.

wouldn’t you be like that if nobody wanted you?

wame muse gwafila 2018

scenarios.

. a shelf. my clothes in it. world distance. a shelf. your clothes in it. i could call. but it’s resurrecting dragons.

a shelf. his clothes in it. lines drawn. like the one between life and death. a shelf. with her clothes in it. they’re together.

trail of words.

when a poet

runs out of breath,

like wine

oxidizing in a bottle,

they come back

drunk to the

last syllable

but when a poet

runs out of ink

out of lead…

some people

aren’t on lists

don’t get banners,

blimps, journal reviews…

they get a page

you wrote to many

and if not to anyone

then to this solitude,

this silhouette sitting

at the back–awe struck.

5 letter man

clad in cloak

sneaks

under your bones

asks you to stop

talking

you do.

you’re out

of ink

but never out of words.

wame muse gwafila 2018

for @raelyric. rest eternally in peace.

the purge: the last entry.

doors close. doors open. half open, half closed doors can be whisked closed. shut firmly. shut aggressively by the batting of eyelids. life seldom happens without your will. i can’t bend you, morph you, caress you deep into the generations of uncertainty and pain in your psyche. im not a carpenter nor am i an iron smith let alone a psychiatrist. i am not a messiah. i am not here to save you from yourself. no one ever wins those fights. to be or not to be…i am all but bitter–full of the understanding my first breath into this world registered me to a marathon of learning…
you’re a lesson i have learned and took for granted… a lesson i left in my jacket pocket when i was doing laundry. the gaze i missed taking while hurryingly getting ready for work. the sock i find when changing my bedding. the list of things i say i love before i get to mention myself.
i know. i know who i am. i must’ve forgotten. thank you for the reminder. you and me are alike–people hoarders. like scaffolds, i learn sometimes that it’s temporary. yet temporary is permanent and permanent is temporary. just the other day my students said,
“teacher, to get permanent marker off a white board maker use toilet spray.”
and it worked. the smudges remained but it worked.
you and i are much alike. trading failed promises made to ourselves … playing five cards. dropping ace of spade to trade for ace of hearts. it gets tiring being so strong but it doesn’t get tiring loving. i assume that’s what it is. that’s what the cards meant. but it’s all right–promises are not things to be kept let alone made. you, this lesson from ions ago, gravitating to my doorstep… i am uncertain too. the wind found the door open. you found the door open. i left the door open. you walked in and a knot made to close the door.
this can’t be undone by an exhale. i purge. then i stand at your door. no longer half open. just closed. life’s happenings are mostly dependent on your choice. you hear me? i said, do you hear me? it’s not you im talking to.

 

wame muse gwafila 2018

road nature trees branches
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