Magnum Opus. From left, Rabbie Wrote, Sibusiso Ndebele and Thobani Mntambo. Picture : Lungelo Msibi
Magnum Opus. From left, Rabbie Wrote, Sibusiso Ndebele and Thobani Mntambo. Picture : Lungelo Msibi
#Poeticlicence #OpusPoetry
#Poeticlicence #OpusPoetry

I used to read my father’s palm.
I think he is the universe.

I still struggle to read mother’s palm.

Her fingers are constantly clenched, holding onto a somber strife.

Mother has pilgrims for arms. Her hands, nomads.

To the universe they run repeatedly, roving relentlessly.

A purge of patriarchal propensity.

This is a story of abuse.

Moving mountains she said.

Her pilgrims come to the universe to prey.

Maybe this is why dad hates religion.

Because he is offered as sacrifice,

Mother doesn’t need brooms.

She sweeps the floor with my father’s pride.

In our house, we use a Richter scale to tell the time.

The dead silence is a sign of her imminent arrival.

She carries a minefield with her. It fills any space that surrounds.

It is never a miss when she strikes.

Conversation happens in rounds.

We all have a lot to say, but unfortunately body language bound.

See, she has the gift of jab.

Apparently actions speak loud.

Even the cupboards tremble and shake.

The walls there are beginning to go deaf.

My family is built on tectonic plates.

Mother is a volcano, a succession of eruptions.

Blow by blow she bullies him into a bloodbath, hoping to cleanse sins of her own.

He didn’t always have blue eyes, or skin deformed.

Mother burns like lava.

Our pictures are melting off the walls, our memories are out of focus because an eye for an eye.

There’s nothing matrimonial about ring marks on jaw lines.

He can only brave a crooked smile because a fist for a tooth.

It is difficult to breathe in a house with no windows.

It’s difficult to see at the end of a tunnel that has lost its hope.

She throws stones with ease.

Glass houses were never meant for people this broken.

This is a story of abuse.

A handsome beauty.

A beautiful beast.

A bellowing belly.

And she seldom fails to feed.

She is power hungry and lives on his silent screams.

He called her his heart, so she never stops beating.

His eyes are perpetually bleeding.

I am numb. I’m drowning in the teary floods.

I am stunned. He seems to have formed fins.

I have lost sight, I am teaching my third eye how to swim.

Mother broke my universe.

She took away my sky and dared me to fly.

Maybe this is why dad hates religion.

Or maybe Jesus’ family tree was too complicated for him to understand.

Or maybe Mohamed spent too time preparing for paradise he left us with hell to inherit.

But whatever the case is, one day the Richter scale will break.

Her nomads will cease to arrive. The pilgrims will travel less.

Our walls will have normal secrets to listen to.

Or at least this is my hope for a different truth.

For now, dad rewrites the universe into my palms.

He tells me to give as much sky as I can at every chance.

He says God seeps from the inside out.

And so, in my words he should permanently reside.

My father, a broken man who refuses to dim his light.

My mother, an abusive woman who guarantees darkness with the fall of each night.

I, a son that cries himself to sleep with a daunting task and rises with reality to rewrite.

I will soon find out if Mother refers to a woman or a man.

But with a pen and sheet, this is how broken little boys survive.

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The Saturday Star