Poems by Carol Leff

visa for america

during my mother’s visa interview
they asked why she wished to visit my sister.
her flow of tears hid unspoken fears as she
explained they had not seen each other
for six long years.

my interview a year earlier
had gone more smoothly.
they only made me walk barefoot and drink
my bottled water in front of them.

every last drop.


jet lag synesthesia

arab emirates aeroplane
fills with the spicy warm scent
of ginger and blood orange

at dubai airport i wander awe-struck
a voyeur on a shopping spree
penniless but with strong intention

back in the air, across vast oceans and frozen lands
i fall asleep with headphones
curl up with tom waits

outside JFK airport, on the way to the car
windswept and brittle
i smell the cold air

if aromas have a colour
that day it was blue
deep icy

and the sky had a veil from a sci-fi movie
or a lens filter that changed the view

these memories not captured in photographs
but in steaming green pea soup
at grand central station

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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.

A Call for Submissions: Johannesburg in Poetry