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COME SEE THE GRAVE OF CECIL RHODES by Andre Peltier

I

Magnificent Africa.

Narratives of

cooperation and order.

 

Streets of Zimbabwe,

paved with diamonds

ever lead through labyrinthine

longings.

Starving in streets and back alley haunts

diving in dumpsters for crumbs.

Who sits in the castles of the world?

Sokwanele liberationists,

black bands on our arms, black skin on our faces.

Bubbling up in gutters of Paris and Bonn.

The gutters of Toledo

run with the ruin of antelope.

 

Into the sand white-darkness they march,

crawl, jump, fly

to conquer different skins

and flatter noses.

Back to the cradle.

They will raise their tents above the

Tigris, the Euphrates,

but won’t be lulled to sleep

by the roaring water.

Their roars will wake the world.

 

Sleepwalking

through history.

Four-Hundred and Eight dead

in a bunker

1991.

And no rigging in

Kano.

 

Anonymous guerillas

hide in shacks below Bulawayo:

“You know this government is

just trying to keep a grip on power for

too long.

The country is now

ruined.

We see that there is no one

in this country who is going to

liberate it.

 

Even if it is high risk,

there is nothing we can do.”

 

Matobo Hills rise out of

grassland oasis.

Come see the balancing rocks!

Come see the grey rhinos!

Come see the grave of Cecil Rhodes!

Come see the lovely lakes!

Come see the bushmen with bones

in their noses!

Come worship the men in the castles.

Who are these guerrillas

in the bush killing

and being killed?

Anonymous bushmen

turning their press into

Molotov Cocktails.

 

II

Kolmanskop:

The diamond darkness of ghost towns

buried in the dunes of time:

German engineering and

global capitalism

sending stones

home home home.

But its emptiness swallows

and swallows whole

the milky capital

ejaculate of imperialism.

 

Glasplatz Station:

alpha and omega,

the hush of the glitter echoes through

the canyons of the world.

Reverberations in minds

and bodies of worlds never

to see the bottom of things.

The reverie of destiny

whispered on the Orange River,

always carrying the sand to the coast,

always separating empire

from empire,

always washing

the land of its past.

Orange River valley

where stones are plenty

where people are scarce.

 

North to Aranos,

outpost of progress,

the road winds

through winds and

waves through history,

heat, and turmoil.

 

South towards Botswana,

in Mata Mata.

Impatient Kalahari spiders,

weaving webs of silk and sand,

have learned to grill

their ants in the sun,

the ants who fight for

tufts of grass and

survival in their wanting

universe.

Will they make it

to Fish Canyon?

Destiny and hope drive them forward,

pushing to the next

clump of earth.

Ai-Ais cannot save them.

The ants noiselessly searching

for a hint and a

connection to the

tuft.

 

And Cecil Rhodes is

beastly

dead.

Andre Peltier Author

Andre Peltier is a Lecturer III in the Department of English Language and Literature at Eastern Michigan University where he has taught since 1998. He teaches freshman composition, African American Literature, Afro-Futurism, and Science Fiction. He live in Ypsilanti, MI with his wife, kids, cats, and dog. In his spar time he obsesses about soccer and comic books.

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