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Two Poems


Lesego Rampolokeng

Art by Amir R. Hariri


There's a Sermon in My Snout

they are weeping their eyes out of socket.
they are raining busts/statues to suffering.
but these are shadows monkeying matter.
battle-ground mentalities

electric power to the people.
let’s be specific in the season of hell’s flaming dark.

the land sprawls belly to the inverted sky but where’s the earth?
now vultures are life symbols beaks of doves drip red.
existence is theory in a social science text-book

it’s demons that know good like night sunlight
the serote poet said it of dreams and nightmares

preacher sees honey & milk in diarrhea
they collect the waste in a bowl & use it for baptism
come down moses touch soil
i want to see the wages of my toil

we stuff maggots in the mouths of babies
it’s the corpses breast-fed the knowledge of the age

condolences & the glitter of a dead eye are the same
to the widow & orphan on a mat full of grief
& the cum of alms in the tearfilled palm

worms sit at the mouth of the birth canal
the church is doling out salvation in skeletons
there’s a breaking of waters where hell rages pregnant with hope
for the birth inside the tomb likewise the death in a womb


What's Sacred in a Dead Land

on the edge of death birth is sacrilege
in the desecration age
those born in glass cages
learn to be afraid of cutting edges
like the artist crafting himself prostrate
in his own portrait
but what’s sacred in a dead land
the question of children caught in a flood
of pus & blood left unanswered
but profane prayers for peace
spill/spew from lips of merchants of violence
it’s all clean & innocence
for the hangman the assassin
& the war-lords’ poet is full of praise
awards are doled out to the putrid
but the hand of the medicine-man
is dripping & ridden with disease
& christian soldiers stand
at the ease of rigor mortis
before their crucifix of complacence
what is undying is the tongue oiled
on the judas decadence ride
climbing another rung
on the bloated-belly side
to the heaven of homicide
& life is an impurity
strife dispensed with such impunity
even lucifer can’t decipher
these codes of inverted morality
body counts are stock-taking exercise
in the industry of murder
the minion of economics
is fed fat on carrion knives & forks in corpses
are a dissection of stocks & shares
yes predators wield the scales
of the commerce of justice
the sword of command & demand
a state of infinite mortality
what’s sacred in a dead land


Lesego Rampolokeng

Lesego Rampolokeng was born in 1965 in Soweto, South Africa. He studied law but decided he was better suited to be an ungovernable disturber of the peace. Influenced by Black Consciousness during the 1970s and 1980s, he has become a political commentator through his poetry, plays, novels. He combines his own linguistic background and style of delivery with influences of rap and dub to create his own unique voice. He has produced eight books of poetry, two plays and three novels, and collaborated with visual artists, playwrights, filmmakers, theatre and opera producers, poets, and musicians. He is currently researching and writing on the work of the late Black Consciousness poet Mafika Gwala.

Amir R. Hariri

Amir Hariri is an Iranian-born multi-disciplinary artist working in New York City. His work combines his professional background in design and engineering with his extensive studies in anatomy. Amir has exhibited nationally/internationally, with pieces included in public/private collections in the U.S., Italy, Spain, Hong Kong, and Japan. Recent awards include the Museum of Arts and Design and NARS Foundation residencies, Smack Mellon 'Hot Picks,' and the NYFA Fellowship.

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