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Origami Dreams


Excuse me Mr

You’re sitting on my

Origami dreams.


You’ve squashed them flat

With your big squat self.

Paper crumples under

Your weight.


You could have warned me

You know –

When I was building them

That words are heavy.


Tell me,

Did they make you angry

My intricate paper origami?


If only I’d known

I’d have built

A fleet of paper aeroplanes.


This time Mr …

I’ve had enough

This time Mr …

You’ve torn out pages!


And besides,

I’m not your paper doll.

Poetry illustration other mother 1.jpeg

The other mother

If you keep us as servants.

We will raise your children

With love,

We will educate them in warm hands

Until their minds burn.

So when you think us passive and domestic …

Remember …

We are the quiet revolution.

We are the silent teachers.

We are the other mothers.


Written for Miriam Jumama Zondi

Poetry illustration octopus 1.jpeg



I admired your arms once,

Moving powerfully as pythons,

Their tender tips sniffing me out

Like wet noses.

I admired your arms once

Changing from peach flesh

To red at my touch.

I admired your arms once

Planting countless kisses

Like chicken pox.


And when they stretched out

Over me

Curling and clinging and clasping,

They held everything.


They held my waist

And a thigh

My breast

And a hand

My heart

And my hair

My neck

And my mouth

- all at once.


But those eight arms

Those eight limbs,

Held all the cards.

A mad magician.

A mad juggler.

And you could not hold it all

- at once.


So when my voice came


It came loud as a

Ripple which

Became a wave.

Speaking over tentacles

And muscles

And suckers that suck,

It came,


And you cannot

Hold a voice

(Though you tried to)

In your hard, hateful beak.


So you pushed me off

Your blushing self,

Like a poisonous fish

Speckled with sucker scars,

Covering us both in

Your dark shadowy ink,

Skulking off into your

Black rock crevice

Before I could blink.


It is amazing how small

You became.

How you

Squeezed yourself,

Moulded yourself

Into a hole the size

Of my fist.


And I’m thinking now

Of the bones

Of the bones

Of the bones

You never got a chance

To break in your beak

Like a cracked crustacean.

Excerpts from 'Origami Dreams'

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