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.
He brought gifts,
of carved woods
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.