Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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Definition: Poems by Mtendere Alice Kishindo


i.    The Old Man and I

The wind blew hard,
Cars swooshed past;
Bicycles, people, swayed faster,
And he stared.

As we walked along,
The old man with the bristly hair,
Yellow but fair,
He stared;
At me…?
In shock at first;
Soon he realized,
I was real,
Just very dark,
Darker than him,
And so, he stared.

We walked side by side,
Slow, sometimes fast;
Wrinkling the cold kissed skin,
His neck motioned,
Sideways, sideways,
His eyes squinted open,
The old man,
Pretended not to see me.

But together, we
Snuck looks;
One of wonder,
The other of disbelief,
Is he serious?
Can he be mad?
What is he looking at?
I need to pull up my leggings?
Damn, what is it, he wants?
He just keeps looking…
Once in a while;
He gazes,
Into the distance ahead,
His patched coat from winters gone.

Up, up, he climbs the steps faster;
Only to stop, and look down,
One long hard look,
She backs away, irate!
He sighs, unconvinced,
Scoffs almost,
Holding on to his plastic bag;
Chow mien,
He mumbles on…

Past the high buildings,
With all the lights beaming,
Onto the muddy streets,
We walked;
His back, stooped,
Stealing glances,
In acquaintance now,
He now understands a truth,
He knows, he has seen,
This person…
Black but with hair;
Just like his wife’s,
She is not bad looking at all,
In fact…
But, just look…
And so he stared
One more time
And to the crowd she was lost.


ii.    Definition

I am the soil that covers my feet,
The kinky bush on my head,
I am,
Remarkable as can be,
For She created me,

Outspokenly soft,
When I speak;
I caress, tender,
Earlobes, tentative.

A leader, a mother,
I, nurture,
Philosophic rhetoric.

My child, the thinker,
Walked before She spoke,
The universe in her eyes
She twinkles, I mold,
She, delicate,
Flowing through me,
A tangible metaphor,

And when I lay,
My thighs thunder,
Recalling strains;
Cuts and bruises,
Broken heart strings,
Stretched, and leapt over,
Diplomatic subjugation,
Truly they equal to Him.

He, my other, the donor
Built from smoldering charcoal and Africa’s flames,
A Man, the provider,
My monthly lover,
He stays,
Lulled and loyal
Often than not, he falls
At the mercy of my nature,
I conquer him, and his kind, the same.

When night is done,
I rise
Rouge lips, framed eyes,
My tufts curly and tight,
Intelligent, hip-swaying confident
Knowing, I am, it!
Super woman!
It comes natural to me.


iii.    An Ode

Like a moth without light
He left unpersuaded,
Grated against the banks of time,
Drowned in embrace of change,
Knowing he has to exist.

He jeered taunts to the future,
Challenged the past,
Spoke in the present,
This place was not his to stay.

The moth he was,
He, journeyed on,
In these foreign lands,
He slept;
Amongst cherry blossoms and bald black thorns,
Crippled by contradiction,
He sang to the wind, it blew
And he went.

An idealist? Rarely;
He read of existentiality,
The practical,
The subject,
The heart,
The people,
He was not conflicted,
Never was he a tortured soul,
Harnessed by reckless words, fawning nor smoke.

He knew his purpose,
And he left this place,
To those keen, to serve in blindness.


iv.    Bright Lights (China)

Underwhelmed I sit and stare,
The time crawls to my despair,
The characters swirl;
The tones pick and drop,
And the heads bow and bob,
Admitting to misunderstanding at the days end.
In the streets I wander,
Pedestrians draped in latest trends;
Colorful, short, barely there,
Faces and hair doll like.
Men don tight phallic pants,
Their coiffeurs designed,
All shapes, all directions,
It is hard to imagine but I see it,
Eyes with make up or cut open,
In am in the wall central.
The bell wakes me from my stupor,
The lecturer blushes for me in embarrassment,
She does not comprehend my resilience,
No, my lack of interest, no, just my misunderstanding,
The tones peak and the snickering begins
Perfect two shoes!
Perfect know it all’s!
Delirious with their ‘can I help you’s’
“Keyi bu keyi, give it a twry?”
And how “howareyoufindingchina” creeps up everywhere!
“I am sorry can you say that again?”
Another topic ends.
Buildings that tower above the sky,
Lit up with every other color possible,
For what purpose?
Beauty happens to be relative.
Matchboxes with air conditioners hanging;
On the sides.
Trees strategically planted and uprooted for the next construction,
‘The new old city must change with the times,’
Echoes and mantra’s heard every day,
But the people do not change.
Frolicking teens, screaming little girls,
‘ooooh feichang piaoliang, can I touch your hair, whereareyoufrom? I want to be friend!!!!!”
A mob, then they skelter off, one remain
And you have a follower
As the day ends,
No one sleeps, the foreign students;
Drink, eat and pretend to be the free of A*** generation
(We do not often talk of such, hush hush…)
The free generation of bed hoppers
We have every reason, why, abortion is cheap here;
And legal! Three shouts to Liberation!
Morning comes with a screeching,
My made in china clock does not like me,
No birds, no cocks, no sunshine,
Just an orange building, radiations scares,
And my overdose of homesickness settles in
Some days are better than most
Other’s fleet by
Friends change faces so quickly
You barely get to know them
Like the seasons, I cannot tell them apart
Cold, hot, very cold, wet, dry then snow!
My body confused it complains of strange illness
The doctors prescribe hot water
(my journey’s begin where i begin)


v.    Infacto

I am a woman
Things that make me, others see
The things that don’t, embody me
In flimsy moments I lose my god
In righteous times he finds me
In constant prostration I lie
As age leers at me
Two, three more years
Come and get me before I die
The mockery of other women
The show and tell at showers
Shriveled breasts, dry uterus
The open bed and breakfast
Come and save before then
Age leers at me more
As I move from it is, to it was
It was but it isn’t now that he is with her
I am a woman it is true
The war out here is fierce,
He said I was too big, I lost it,
He said too small,
He said too average,
He said too sophisticated
He said I will have you but I will not marry you
They said you need to try harder when it comes to gods
I am a woman aint I?
Stronger than most gods
Carrier of souls in birth
The one designated cleaner in death
Your pall bearer, your mistress in black
Kiss your rings at early waking
In bloody times carry your disease
Keeper of your weaknesses, am I not yours
Yet better than you are?
You, your sisters and holier others
Torment me, disregard my existence
Am I less than their yoked selves?
Tied down to myths and polices I am not worthy of
Or am I?
I am still not a woman with or without them?


vi.    Kayatu (I don’t know…)!!!

The destruction or is it the making,
I can never understand.
To be judged? Normal.
To be watched? Normal.
Spoken of?
Chastised? Everyone gets their turn
When do you ever win?
This challenge
What is the highest score?
I do not know!
Money? Never enough!
Success?  Overrated!
They say….
Ambition? Overwhelmingly normal,
Hearts?  Crushed to pulp
Trust, earned with all above
Friends, non-existent philosophy
Skeptic? Indefinitely!!!

What is all this fuss?
Challenge! You quip!!!
You take it, run with it, try it out!!!
Start over, tens of millions of quests
Isn’t it exciting!!!
You say…
It is that overdressed futility
Sashaying her hips
Lulling you on her breasts
Towards your imminent failure!


© Mtendere Alice Kishindo

Mtendere Alice Kishindo
Mtendere Alice Kishindo
Mtendere Alice Kishindo, Malawian poet and writer, has always been enthused by local and international female poets. Recently published in a Malawian Poetry Anthology (2013), she has also written for local newspapers and online blogs.


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