Two poems by Raphael D’Abdon

“The famous south african poet”.
(posthumous recognition)

i am no son of the soil
nor daughter of the land
and have no business with mama afrika
my tongue don’t click
when i say umkombothi
my throat don’t sound like a
cheesegrater when i say
hammanskraal
and i can’t use portmanteaus
the way that stephen watson did
i wasn’t raised by a strong single mother
don’t go to church on sunday
and can’t quote from the bible
i have no uncle who died in the struggle
and no schoolmate of mine was shot dead by the cops
(although my aunt nadia drank herself to death
and my friend jim died at 16 of a heroine overdose
and they were freedom fighters
in their own peculiar way)
i had no lover who broke my heart
(although i’ve been dumped by a few)
my ancestors are people of few words
nothing is happening under my skin
and my blood is very well where it is
as for the stars and the constellations
i don’t want them any nearer
and have no message for them
on stage i am soft spoken
i read from the page
and wear no dashiki shirt
i have no youtube channel
no twitter
no instagram account
i have never performed at etv sunrise
never been invited to the franschhoek festival
never been published in prufrock
never been short(nor long)listed
for the sol plaatje award
all i write about is
drunkards
sex
bars
drunkards having sex
and drunkards having sex in bars
one day i shall be a
famous south african poet but
considering the information above
it ain’t gonna be soon

another beer, guys?
(written after reading Harriet Sherwood’s article “Israelis gather on hillsides to watch and cheer as military drops bombs on Gaza”, The Guardian, 20 July 2014)

lead rains have fallen from skies of odium
and starred aircrafts are flying back to the hq

amos, shlomo and bram set up their camping chairs
and tables
on the hilltop in front
of the gaza border

they check the iphone batteries: they’re full
and so is the portable fridge
the coal in the barbecue is red hot
the golani brigade’s banner waves smugly
in the sundown breeze
the stereo blasts
metallica’s “kill’em all”

the buddies uncap three beers
and have a toast

one talmud song and
one selfie
as they wait for the next raid

thuds of shellfire
flashes of explosions
and palls of smoke
from the agonizing strip

“yeah!…” shouts amos
“fuck yeah!” sobs shlomo
“wooooo-ohhhh” grunts bram

a round of hi-tens
and they down the beers

harar and jijiga
warsaw
rotterdam
london
dresden
hamburg
chongqing
guernica
hiroshima
nagasaki
philadelphia
hanoi
beirut
belgrade
mururoa
grozny
kabul
baghdad
gaza
++++++gaza
+++++++++++gaza…

fascists in different eras and
under different flags
have always had a flair for
crashing down cities
bodies
and spirits

their progenies chill on viewpoints with
a hot dog in one hand
and a binocular in the other

and enjoy the show

“there is no rationality in the nazi hatred”
primo levi wrote
“consciences can be seduced and obscured again”
++++++and again
+++++++++++and again…

the aircrafts are coming back
the iphones are ready

+++++++++++++++++++“another beer, guys?”

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