Where is Zambia?

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Christmas is looming around the next corner;
cards and parcels sent and received.

At the post office (I wipe off my shoes)
I send off a present to friends in the heat –

they’re home in Zambia, all to the South.
The girl at the counter inspects the address.

She keys in with verve, then halts in her moves:
“Zambia, where is it?”; she’s muddled in guess.

“African South”, I tell her surprised
(Generation smartphone, no one @ home?)

“South Africa, oh!” she exclaims in relief.
I frown and correct her, slightly impatient:

“Southern”, I stress and cannot believe.
She appears to be trapped, asked a trick question.

I feel her brain ticking, about to implode.
I give her the look (howcanyounotknow?).

Her fingers are frozen, stand-by in mode.
I wait for a minute or two or another.

Then, all of a sudden it strikes my awareness:
She won’t find “Zambia” in this one computer

In the language of Goethe, it spells with an ‘S’.
“Try then with ‘S’”(Generation X advices today).

She types again – her face now lights up.
My parcel is stamped and sent on its way.

The drums of war and sorrow

angola17The head is filled with pain and flashes
a splinter of a memory
sable dust on open wounds
becomes a human’s tragedy

The house is worn with holes and bruises
a shadow of hilarity
scorched earth on gaping fields
becomes a country’s malady

Who has said we want this war?
Who decides on less and more?
Who can take our lives away?
And who’s the winner anyway?

The sky is shred in tears and claret
a fragment of eternity
billowed cloud on beaten ground
becomes a soldier’s blasphemy

The air is cringed with dread and terror
a notion of its purity
anxious thought in battered minds
becomes a people’s atrophy

Who has said we want this war?
Who decides on less and more?
Who can take our lives away?
And who’s the winner anyway?

The journal of a blistered country

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The morning gust
dispersing the dust
the sweeping sound
of brooms on ground
the veil of fire
exhausting the pyre

the mumbling of the early voices
rising
to absorbing sky
the promise of the heat and hunger
crawling
on disheveled shacks

the midday low
of cattle and glow
the rustling note
of dearth’s abode
a horizon of blaze
melting the haze

the desperate cry of men and children
smothered
by relentless sand
the knowledge of enduring plight
roaming
in a sweltering brain

the evening’s weight
on absence and wait
the merciless hint
of coming day’s stint
the night on the rise
gives strife a disguise

the chilling caw of slaughtered beasts
travelling
through forgotten bush
the rumour of a kingdom come
creeping
in a desolate earth