Skip to content

Tendai Mwanaka

July 27, 2014

Licking Wounds


like excess baggage to lands beyond
nutritious young men shipped daily to.
worlds-wild, of which they knew not
like wild beasts lived, like Lazarus, they
rolled boulders uphill all day long, eating out of view
rich man’s little crumbs. lumps and left-over’s
with volcanic aversion they were viewed

A rumbling cloud of troops on troops, cattle, horses, carriages
across our vast and flowingly fertile homelands.
scrambling erupted, so did bloody dissection.
bequeathing unto their bloated bellies rich lands.
stretching beyond the reach of eyes
a sinner’s harvest of; gold, oil, silver, ivory, looted
to enrich a people belonging, not from our mothers’ wombs.
leaving a honeycomb, nectar-less, depleted

lowly tribal trust lands paired to dark ones
in townships, farm compounds, in prisons
in our own birth-right by a people ungrown from our soil.
sun kissed fertile highlands paired to light ones
as oceans-apart, divided we stood
like prisoners in chains, dark toiled for food
light harvesting milk: dark- tears and sweat
light took all of dark’s tears and sweat
which they feasted on to enrich themselves

dark shrouded in shadow’s enlightment.
light enjoying the river of enlightment.
dark exiled from enlightment to slave for light
light a rhizome of enlightment to master dark.
in unlit, dirt, potholed streets, dark
loitered, leisured, shopped, slaved
in streets like paradise’s golden paved lands
light worked, ate, shopped, leisured

at war, dark against light, for freedom
were sacrifices both sides of the divide
cripples, orphans, casualties
resulting in strawberry saturated freedom
but in-came, another colour, light unlike
yet dark it remained, lied to dark
like a mosquito it cared little but sapped
continuously scrambling on a scale so shameless
taking all, eating all, sharing in nothing

in light the other people happily live
in darkness, painted by someone else’s hands
we live and lick wounds still painful
What stink in our soul, called evils, flies in our core?
to deserve this slicing dismemberment of our ideals?
Can our cloudy eyes provide diagnosis-
to reverse the course of our rotting prognosis?
Can we re-read the pages of our past
to weave the dreams of our future?







Tendai Mwanaka was born in the remote eastern highlands district of Nyanga, Zimbabwe, in Mapfurira village, grew up there and did his primary, secondary, and high school in that area. He left Nyanga for Chitungwiza city in 1994, and started exploring writing that year, when he was barely twenty. He stayed in South Africa for two and half years but is now back in Zimbabwe, Chitungwiza city.  His first book to be published, VOICES FROM EXILE, a collection of poetry on Zimbabwe’s political situation and exile in South Africa, was published by Lapwing publications, Northern Ireland (2010). KEYS IN THE RIVER: Notes from a Modern Chimurenga, a novel of interlinked stories that deals with life inmodern day Zimbabwe’s soul was published by Savant books and publications, USA (2012). A book of creative non-fiction pieces, ZIMBABWE: THE BLAME GAME, was published by Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon (2013), a poetry collection entitled PLAYING TO LOVE’S GALLERY will be published by DIP PRESS, USA (2014), a novel entitled, A DARK ENERGY will be published by Aignos publishing company, USA (2014). His poetry books: Revolution, Logbook written by a drifter, and Voices from exile were short listed by the Erbecce press poetry prize in 2012, 2011, and 2009, respectively. Another poetry book entitled Pearls of Awareness was short listed for the Twoz creations chapbook prize (2012). He was nominated for the Pushcart twice in 2008 and 2010, and commended for the Dalro prize 2008. He was nominated and attended The Caine African writing workshop, 2012. He has published over  250 pieces of short stories, essays, memoirs, poems and photographic/visual art in over 150 magazines, journals, and anthologies in the USA , UK , Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe, India , Mexico, Kenya, Cameroon, Italy, Ghana, Uganda, France , Zambia, Nigeria, Spain , Romania, Cyprus, Australia and New Zealand. His work has been translated into French and Spanish.




No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: