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when the world screams

when the world screams

we scream and never look back,
dogs bark, bite our tongues and scream foetsek
corner skeif just before a game of zwippi
drag the ciggie until it’s all coal
red but steady, glistening in the dark behind the corner shop
there at the corner, the boy holds the girl’s hand
30 second before roma
not the one of jack and rose
kasi romance
buy her a kota, tennis biscuits or some halls
just before you sneak into the backroom
hand above the skirt
‘baby, i wont insert all of it’
she smiles,
belt unbuckled,
pants down
and you penetrate
moanin’
some charlie mingus shit
until the corrugated iron sweats
‘ngiyakuthanda uyezwa’
no cuddling after sex, a different love language
can’t be too soft, she must not see lova’s anguish
but deep, deep down you love her.
here we scream and never look back.
lot is at stake
sometimes your life, your tooth and god forbid your nonexistent dignity.
we scream at walls, at ghosts and 325’s spinning and sweeping the streets.

we scream at children coming back from swimming in rivers,
skin dry and eyes red
from smoking weed, tik and drinking gin
we scream at children ‘til our voices break, maybe they will hear better
maybe we will remind them of their lost fathers
we scream at fafi for giving us the wrong number
at the loan sharks who threaten to take our fridges
because what’s a home without fridge? – a place where things rot
we scream and never look back
because our backs have been stabbed so many times
the sight of wounds might just collapse us
our backs that have carried men, young and old
bags of potatoes, cement, school bags and marks that will never be erased.
just because ---
if not us then who
but we continue screaming
‘til they call us bitter old women,
witches,
bitches,
snitches,
gossips, fuck we continue to scream
not because of the hope that someone will hear us but because our bones are tired,
hands finished
legs withered
only our voices remain so we scream.

we never look back,
pains to see the tall buildings and roads we built for nuts
where our nuts shrank from being overworked
got home (that fucken shit called home) and could not even touch my wife
tired as crumbs, could only scream at her and when she asked why, could only punch at her and when she screamed could only punch her again and again and again until the kids woke up. could not stand their gaze so i screamed at them ‘til they hid under the bed. kicked them the way i kick dirty shoes. they could only scream, i kept on punching until the neighbours woke up. they also screamed and kicked open the door, at that point she was flat on the floor. blood bath or homicide, or femicide. or
police sirens.
prison door
back against the floor
we scream and never look back…

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Mbe Mbhele

Mbe Mbhele

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