Late last year I started writing some poems. I think most of them really suck right now if I’m being honest. But I’m fascinated by this form of expression. This new hobby of mine was prompted by an online course that I took, where the tutor introduced various forms like Villanels, and other equally fancy terms. Let’s just say, I can’t wait to see what my mind can do with some more practice and reading.
A Poem About Africa
Speaking of reading, I’m on chapter 7 of Caroline Ellis’ The Ethnographic I. The chapter is called ‘Writing As Inquiry’, and it just prompted me to add to my drafts for this blog. In a guest lecture by Laurel Richardson, whose books I need to check out, she reads a poem to the class and says afterwards, “I moved from poetic writing to autobiographical stories, which revealed to me parts of myself I hadn’t known” (p. 173). For me, my poems are revealing parts of myself I think prose would have taken longer access; which is why I’m very excited about poetry. I wish I had this much freedom back in my primary and secondary school days. Anyway, here’s my first poem about Africa.
What they’re emerging from I don’t know.
My guess, the depths of hell.
From the frying pan, right into the fire, or worse; a well.
A deep hole stronger than gravity, the force.
To be forever under the thumb of remorse.
A modern era of endless acts, policies and bla bla bla.
Shut up with all your platitudes.
I see what’s really going on. Aha!
You speak of sustainable development.
Nice to know that you’ve led by example.
Carried the mantle for all these years.
Centuries of ruthlessness, now veiled in sheep’s clothing.
But you won’t shut up. Because you don’t speak.
You never have. You just do.
Each day that goes by, you carry on anew.
Behind all the talk of hope, equality and more progress,
it seems the wolves are lurking.
Cooking up the next tool to subdue countless.
This time, not behind closed doors. But in plain sight.
It’s scary to imagine such spite.
Each year that goes by it becomes clearer that you never cared.
You sold guns, drugs and all kinds of war.
And each time, you kept coming back for more.
You’ve built up antibodies that ensure your survival.
But sometimes I wonder if you’re alive at all.
But what do I know?
Maybe you’re more alive than ever.
Doing what you do best but always more clever.
That not even the most stable of geniuses can evade your pressure.
A strong enough foundation that each break makes you stronger,
So strong that not even the Gremlin can take you under.
Against this dreary background, foregrounded is nothing short of magical.
Beyond hope, prayers or a thoughtless radical.
Or maybe this is all just fake outrage.
An attempt to evade the boredom of this endless monotony and baggage.
Or maybe, the term is out of date.
Like every other that makes me increasingly more irate.
In which case, this poem is at least ten years late.
Or maybe there are too many maybes’.
And I’m perfectly suited for this time of vague uneasiness and indifference.
In which case, my imagination probably needs more sociology and (less) a lesson in rhymes.
🙂 I wrote most of this earlier in the year, and decided to go back to do some editing mainly because of some books I’m reading at the moment. One of them is The Bitcoin Standard, which is an audiobook for when I’m out and about. Half-way through editing, I also realised that while I’m at it with the sociology, I’ll throw in some history, much deeper policy and extensive ethnographic analysis to create more refined, and better informed poems. Such a fascinating world awaits 🙂
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