The Republic and Other Poems


Mbizo Chirasha

Art by Vincent Stracquadanio


The Republic

Mandela is our revolutionary cousin, the rainbow is the color of our freedom
Limpopo.....the metaphor of boundaries,
Another paradox
............recipe of the Rhodesian colonial diet
We are freedom babes of unfinished struggles
Our jugs of liberation are filled with bitter lemon and orange squash
We ate colonial samp with gusto and we shat the diarrhea of poverty
every midnight, dawns come with woes of propaganda toddlers wincing from claps of hunger
This afternoon, ideological imbeciles drank the sweat of the republic and later munched the rich steak of our flag
.....rigged elections are the itch of syphilis clutching the scrotum of the republic
Violence is the oil lubricating the rough political wheels of the state
Kaunda is another revolutionary camaraderie
Zambezi river carries the holy mist of the land, the smoke that thunders
Ngwazi is the grand master of the dictators club
with thumbprints as hieroglyphics on tear-filled presidential coffee mugs
Footprints are the wretched paradox of the torn statehouse carpets
Spirit of Nehanda is the nectar of Chimurenga with a sweet dream of the sweet honeycomb of political deliverance
Kinjikitile remains the soul of the land of Azania,
she was not buried in Bagamoyo, her bones are interred in the crevices of great caves
Tanganyika is the genesis of our revolution, dear Azania, Tanganyika is your kindred cousin
Nzinga sang her psalms alongside King Solomon and Menelik of Ethiopia
Kakurukazi Mungunda held the hands of tata Nujoma past the shadows of death up to the freedom podium, Namibia is the republic of silence, not violence,
..........***************This republic eats the ideological berries of Lenin for breakfast
*****************This republic munches propaganda nuts of Chairman Mao
This republic was birthed between the stitches of bullet and laughter of the gun,
This republic, my republic, your republic



Her breath steps are shoestrings of my conscience tied on the cross memory
In this winter, winds whine against the cold moon, her voice trapped in the silence of the weeping stone
her tongue is the page of ancient poesy
In this winter, her cowhide drum set sits broken and lonely inside orphaned rondavels of poverty
In summer, her bones sing to the rhythm of the dying sun and to the aging moon,
Her footsteps are not silent in this silence, they are guitar strings spirits of walking lives,
Her mound of peace seat under the grind of this dying sun burning sun, black sun
She died before time, we buried her in the autumn of the influenza

Mother your songs are the rhythm of black villages smoked by revolutionary imbeciles like snuff
Mother, your poetry is ancient wisdom over sniffed propaganda idiots
Mother, you chanted a slogan and recited a paradox before you closed your eyelids
Mother, I see your hopeful eyes through the crevices of a broken country
I dip my ink in dishes of blood, cups of sweat and pots of tears and sing my diction with griots of realm land
Mother, you are a descendant of ancient griots
Your song, your drumbeat, and your trance rose ancestors from pastures to walk again in the walking land

Her silent anthill sits under the orooko, muhacha tree, the tree of Gods
Gods, mist and wisdom sit above the muhacha tree from dawn to another dawn
We buried her bones among anthills of home

We buried wisdom inside the armpits of the wonderland, the land of the spirits, the anthills of Gods
Mother, you aged with time like baobab
Mother, you lived your time like banana leaves


Autumn, the season we dance to the tune of harvest in rugged patches, you planted sorghum and millet,
Spring, the drumbeat echoing the ancient song that you chanted alongside angels and ancestors of land................

Summer, we sit silently listening to your footsteps and breathing steps
And we silently imbibe from cups of your proverbs
When the rain comes we recite love alongside your beautiful soul and then our sacred anthills are elegantly dressed in dark green combats like combatants and
we sing still
Mother, we sing still
Mother, you aged your time like baobab
Mother, you lived your life like banana leaves


Talking to Tateguru

I see him walking onto the tendrils of mist floating over the red hills of home at dawn
Tateguru jives with the festival of birdsongs and baboon poetry
Tateguru walks with the mist and his footsteps are hymns of Chimurenga renditions
Ancestor walked with me in the dreamland
we slept walking, we sleepwalking, walking still, living still, and singing still
Tateguru, your spirit is a garment patched with revolutionary scars and ideological wounds
and the politically scarred moon is the signature to our identity
And when your spirit fades, it fades with fading moon into winter nights,
And sometimes, your sun smiles with a new liberation glee at every dawn
And you sing along, you walk along and walk along, Tateguru, you never talked to Mandela but you walked with him in spirit
Your Chimurenga scarred palms caressed the rainbow, you endured the charcoal of xenophobia and gulped bitter sugar tears of Afrophobia
You winced under the grind of crude political doctrines and carried the cross of hard metal autocracy
Demonic gorgons once buried in dark shadows of Golgotha of death and still, you endured the cross
Tateguru, father of my father,
You breathe psalms of our wisdom onto the clay ears of this land
I became you the griot of the land
my birthright is dipped in the metaphor of land, glossed by the paradox of the revolution
Roasted in the pans of ancient proverbs
Tateguru---------- a griot is born, the griot lived, griot lives
griot living in pastures of diction and eating berries of the lexicon



November is the sacred month, goats bleat to the signal of the smiling moon,
Cockerels welcome the morning star with an alarming shrill before the earth is born again
Errant dogs bark to the incessant hoot of black, brown, and white owls
Shadows dress November beautifully with black gowns like unveiling a tombstone
Masowe is the land of pilgrims, spirit land, and wonderland
Sister and shift team are pilgrims to Masowe,
Masowe, the holy earth of spirit,
Masowe, the altar of divine
Sister and shift team ran away from the grace of penicillin and the glory of Betadine
to drink the holy concoction of the covenant, water, sand, prayer, salt, and wood ash
Masowe, the land of the holy
Masowe, the spirit of the land
Masowe, my eczema-burnt palms are bandaged by my covenant pledge
Masowe, my depressed mind is caressed by Masowe’s incantations
Masowe, the land of holy pilgrims
Friday, Masowe pledges blood covenant with the holy Gods
Thursday, Masowe welcomes/receives angels of bliss and war from the heavens
Sunday, Masowe relishes the sacred voice of the Almighty
At midnight, pilgrims sing holy monologues alongside bone-chilling winds, supplicating for glory and grace from Heaven
Masowe, the land of holy pilgrims
Masowe, the spirit land of grace


Mbizo Chirasha

Mbizo Chirasha is the author of A Letter to the President and Pilgrims of Zame, co-author of Whispering Woes of Ganges and Zambezi, and co-editor of Street Voices Poetry and Corpses of Unity. Chirasha is associate editor at Diaspora(n) online, chief editor at Time of the Poet Republic, founding editor at WomaWords Literary Press, publisher at Brave Voices Poetry, and curator at Africa Writers Caravan. He has also been a UNESCO-RILA Affiliate Artist at University of Glasgow, 2020 Poet in Residence Fictional Café, 2019 African Fellow at IHRAF, project curator and co-editor of the Second Name of Earth is Peace (Poetry Voices Against WAR Anthology), and a contributing essayist for Monk Arts and Soul Magazine. Poetry and writings appear in FemAsia Magazine, Wrath-Bearing Tree, Ink Sweat and Tears Journal, One Ghana World Poetry Almanac, Demer Press, Atunis Galaxy, One Magazine, Ofi Press, IHRAF Publishes, The Poet a Day, Bezine.Com, Sentinel UK, Oxford School of Poetry Pamphlet, Africa Crayons, PulpitMagazine, Poetry Pacific, Zimbolicious, Best New Poets, Poetry Bulawayo, Gramnet, Diogen Plus,, Festival de Poesia Medellin, and elsewhere.

Vincent Stracquadanio

Vincent Stracquadanio (b. New York, NY) is an artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Stracquadanio’s work depicts moments of transformation and magic. The rich patterning of his spaces is dense with visual surprise and references that collapse and expand hierarchies between foreground and background, form and formlessness, clarity and confusion. He was a nominee for the Rema Hort Mann Foundation’s Emerging Artist Grant, and is currently a museum educator at the Jewish Museum and an adjunct professor at Fordham University. Stracquadanio earned his MFA from the Yale School of Art and is represented by Good Naked Gallery, NYC.

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