Four Poems by Jack Little

Old Baobab
Great one, rooted in a history
Fat to bursting, slumped asleep:
Rest your tired grey eyes,
Grand and wild-

He saw you from
The white verandah plains
Looking at his land, garden of the ancients
In a handful of dust: thrown and
Lost to the wind.

Alitupa Zawadi
He brought gifts,
of carved woods
and masks
which glared down from
the mantelpiece for years

He would play Bach, and read
the news, made a lifetime
since his youth in Africa

On his deathbed, he muttered lost words
In Urdu and Swahili forgotten by all
And burnt out of disgust
For “progress” and power


The white monkey walks among them

two-bob, Muzungu, a ghost

Of the past, of slavery and infrastructure

highways washed away by

Monsoon rains on terracotta red soils

And the smell of new mornin .

Once the divisions were drawn by uniforms

Dividing ancient tribes and traditions by cutting

In deep wounds of machete harvests

And now true borders are made where

Mobile phone reception ends-

Where stories of the oral tradition are lost

To internet buzzwords and facebook…

“I Like Africa”

But Grandpa’s tales of the good old days of

British rule leaves marks like a transplanted liver

Which never works quite as well as it did in

the poor pig’s heart.

Order and Progress

He signed them one by one

While she watched over, coquettishly

Smiling at his fastidiousness.

He crossed each ‘t’, dotting each ‘i’ of the

Men he would punish.

For progress is one thing, and order another.

He built hospitals, and burnt their bodies too;

His journals lost long after the fall

And removal of the pyre of unwanted possessions-

Unknown to me alone for the bedtime stories

And searching looks at my skin.

Jack Little (b. 1987) is a British poet living in Mexico City where he runs The Ofi Press, a bilingual online poetry magazine and publishing company which organizes regular poetry events. His work has been published in 3:AM Magazine, Warwick Unbound, Calliope Nerve, The Bubble, Eunoia Review and most recently in Blue Pepper Poetry. He also has forthcoming publications with Kerouac’s Dog, Drey and Wasafiri. In March 2012, Jack read at the Linares International Literary Festival in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. As well as his literary related activities, he also manages the national cricket team of Mexico.





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