by Angifi Dladla
we have smoked away all forms and voices of life.
Our dumb river, like a faint, very faint path, drags itself
timidly across the city. What roar are walls
as we jostle our way to relieve fellow breadwinners.
What chatter are computers and mobile phones
playing with the unseen, reliving our childhood.
What hiss drive faeces and urine down
under our feet. What hoot are wheeled coffins
carved strictly for Kyalami and the highways.
No need of cockroaches, ours are two-legged –
just to spite our Mayor. Serves them right
when police, in winter, burn their rags
and with teargas fumigate their crevices. Here,
we all die from want, noise, crowd and loneliness
diseases. Corpses and carcasses live long
in coolers, waiting for the last festival in the bowels.
Here, flowers grow in pots, their gnarled roots grope
upwards, like their cousin stems, to the Almighty.
Small men masturbate from balconies.
Seeds splash on heads and shoulders of passers-by.
In corridors of trade, a troupe of gangly girls
with plain grins as smiles, promenade around
as if the floors they tread on are queasy. Then,
bingo! After a short interval – strip dance and
extras! dubbed sex engineering by our new nobles
dying from obesity in private villas. Here, hard
their experts slap the newly-born, giving them sham
violence and X-rated madness preparing them
for this life … Infants and their counterparts – toothless
wrinkles grow apart in quarantine to avoid exchanging
word of earth; word of the hereafter. Here, we lock
juveniles in jail or asylum as prematurely psychotics.