Poems by Vanessa Van Gelder


For Fannyann Eddy, victim of a hate crime, murdered in Sierra Leone last year for being a Lesbian.


I am invisible
But not, because you cant see me,
And with invisible I am inaudible
But not, because you can’t hear me.
I am untouchable,
But not, because I am deformed,
No not.

And if I turn up the volume
Will you try to silence me?
(you will) But not because I am loud
& if I glimmer-glamour brighter(breathe)
Will you will paint(pound) me black for being fighter
(you will) With blue
With red stripes (strikes) right through
Because I should be invisible,
Invisible to you


Longing (mine)

Here I sit,
At my desk.
Sunken egg eyes and brain swollen with code
That you would not be able to decipher,
And I would not be able to explain

Here I sit,
Leaning towards my keyboard
And into my hand ,
Its Friday and I don’t care if
sneak browse neruda and rich,
document ‘if you forget me’ and ‘song’ to you server logs
they sing loudly between the formal chatterings,
of case statements and cube processing.
they sing loudly and my fingers cant help but dance over the keyboard
my heart jumps around uncontrollably
for an unrealistic longing of software,
that could take me over a million miles from here
without having to go anywhere
and bring me right back again when its time to log back in

here I sit
my hand holds me up as it pushes into my cheekbone
people comment on my sunken eyes
its time to logout again
and I say to myself I can dream
of soft short brown hair against my neck
warms hands clamped around my neck
soft kisses and blue eyes
I can dream of software and Neruda

But maybe I will wake up

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Myesha Jenkins – Tribute

Botsotso would like to pay homage to Myesha Jenkins, the poet and promoter of poetry who died on Saturday, 05 September 2020. Myesha was a founder member of Feelah Sistah, the all-woman poetry group that in its time made such an impact. Thereafter, she was indefatigable in organising and strengthening poetry platforms on radio and for live performance/readings. Myesha’s work was included in two Botsotso productions – the anthology Isis X and the recording Roots and Branches. Her spirit as a politically conscious, jazz-loving artist lives on and is well expressed in her seminal poem Autobiography which was included in both these projects.

Click here to read Autobiography, a poem by Myesha Jenkins.

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