Two Poems by Kharys Laue



I have taken in many names over the years.
Karry-du-barrie & Sweetie & Treasure. And

Karry & Khar & K. And Bear & Sweetheart
& Love & Snoglet & Dearest & Bebe. Small

suckling names. Pink & soft & naked. Blind
eyed names, the bones still hardening inside.


It is the people I love who bring me names.
They carry them nipped between their teeth

like newborn mice and lay them at my feet
all squirming & needy. My presence is their

milk. Who would have thought I could bear
++++++++++++++++++ such helpless offerings.


I have lost most of my names. Some defect,
others wither and perish. Many are crushed

underfoot. Bear & Sweetheart & Love &
Snoglet & Dearest. And Khar & K. And

Karry-du-barrie & Sweetie & Treasure.
The mess of skin and blood and bone is

intolerable. I wonder how
do you keep names from dying like this.

The Words Said

do you remember
the words said and the acts committed /

how it felt to have to ask
do you love me /

how it felt to have to leave
you there /

jesus christ /
what degradation are we not capable of /

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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