by Mphae Charmaine Mashifane

You’ve been through hells you would not mention with your own lips
Afraid their fire might burn your tongue
And if you get all dragon about it
The hearer’s ears might catch a flame

And like corners of a room never greeted by sunshine
You shove them in the backyard of your heart
Then when some stand close enough to see the smoke clouding your eyes
You lift your chin up to the sun
For some things are so bright they scorch everything that falls for their light
And when some stand close enough to smell the smoke in your hoodie
You smile at questions that raise ashes from the ground

So they all wonder why you hate the dark with passion
They don’t know you’ve just come out of a flaming tunnel
They don’t know the only light you’ve known was of a burning fuelled by souls
And that it was you who swept their ashes

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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