Friday, April 12, 2024

Top 5 This Week

Related Posts

A Man, Not Knowing What To Do: Poems by Emmanuel Sigauke


This. Only this
Is the way rain clouds will gather
And Mama will rip off all red linen
Sink under a hip of blankets
And tell us all to hush.
One: we need rain again this year.
Talk and it’s angry
Will leave stomachs hungry.
Two: if it gets really angry
Its red whip can tear the village
And bury all desire –
Rivers, not of rain, of tears
Will flood possibility.
So this. Only this –
Sit down, bury your head in silence’s lap,
Listen to the heartbeat of your ears
Walk the tunnels of memory
Until glint is Chisiya
On whose rock grandfather sits
Caressing the village’s ears
With words no one can eat enough of –
Only this
Can enrich your new day
When the rivers you want to cross
Are croc-infested, and threaten to topple levees
And flood your caverns of possibility.



The fool sits
The fool sits to shit:
How many years have scratched on blank concrete
Hoping the water of money would seep out?
Tired of concrete,
The fool rotates, becomes this train’s wheel
And now crunches the lungs of silence
Until the red in the blood
Is the wealth that yanked him from mother.
The fool sits no more,
The fool is a thousand wheels
Desire and ambition
Caterpillar of tenfold hope
Thundering into the now open
Doors of possibility.



Now that we have met, after endless groping

Allow me to sing like the Zimbabwe bird;
Tame a wild heart; let it recline as it
Sails in your sea of kindness
Aglow with hope. Let
Your outstretched arms
Invite me to your cradle of love.

Motivate a once flailing spirit;
Untie its knots of despair
Guard its repairing heart and
Open the gates to the Chimanimani of joy.
Bring Happiness, bare her face to me,
Open the horned gates of Ambition,
Giving of your unbridled kindness;
Offering re-growth to a stunted zeal,
Bringing the key to a new world
Of love that defies all mortality.



should depend
on forgetting
when cheats bow
then rediscover love
and hug
making up.

Tell me when
you forgave
and your heart crystalized
with the joy
for the return
of the lost
the loved-again
the more-loving.

should depend
on scars
in the heart



I went to see this Zimbabwean musician in action.
Hailed the premier jazz stylist
giant of Southern Africa, icon of Africa,
I found the man terribly familiar,
with a voice that awakens ashes of the dead
a consciousness that rouses us from the sleep of Forgetfulness..

Yes, down in the Jack London Square
the master lit sparks of memory, burned to ashes

Selective diasporic amnesia;
then as we swayed to songs about aging and not aging,
going away and coming back (especially coming back),
about stunted love, betrayal, endless tears,
and stories about learning to forget,
it was as if we were becoming one
with the stone soul which is the pride of our origins.

This Zimbabwean musician,
years upon years of rearing the young and the old alike:
Oliver Mtukudzi, the King of Shauro,
unspent by the cruelty of Time,
the Scourge of Change,
able still to keep a smile,
when he mouths the legend Zimbabwe:
now known as a torn, often deserted, nearly unremembered
chamber of squalor, impossible efforts, dead spirits of the once-caring dead.

Tuku, for that is often his real name,
started with an announcement:
“We are from Zimbabwe.”
Following this with an immediate rendition

an all-time national, now diasporic favorite,
one about going away and coming back (especially coming back);
an unfading love for the soil
that heaved forth the very meaning of the poetry of this poetry.

So then there was the dancing,
by those who new and cared,
and those who did not know but learned to care
about an art from a familiar and increasingly infamous r place.

So then there was the dancing,
driven to impossible heights by earth-possessed drums,
then the transfiguring voice of a soul
that has nursed hearts, nurtured ambition, and oiled the desire for life.

So then there was the dancing,
legs locking with legs chained to a desperate shred of hope
until we couldn’t tell if we had spent only two hours at Jack London,
or a marathonic two-days,
only to be awakened by Parking Lot attendant’s Voice,
intoning “One-and-half hours is $4.00”.

But even as cars revved their farewell,
and hearts pulsed to recovery zone,
souls continued to skip in glee
rejoicing for recaptured memories for some,
the onset a new journey for others,
a combination of the two for me.


Poems (c) Emmanuel Sigauke

Emmanuel Sigauke
Emmanuel Sigauke
Emmanuel Sigauke was born in Zimbabwe, where he started writing at the age of thirteen. After graduating from the University of Zimbabwe with a BA in English, he moved to California where he completed graduate studies. He teaches English at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, where he is an editor of the Cosumnes River Journal. Sigauke is the moderator of Africa Poets, a Google Groups discussion forum.

SAY SOMETHING (Comments held for moderation)

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Popular Articles