literature and poetry

periferias 6 | race, Racism, Territory and Institutions

poetry anthology I

a Folk Song | #blacklivesmatter | during the Sermon, the Pastor Says Black Is For Funerals | how They Received Him | dealing With Attitudes | out of Kibera

Achieng Duro | Ayoola Goodness | Ndaba Sibanda | Gordon B. Anjili

| Kenya | Nigeria |

Achieng Duro
a Folk Song 

Tar little baby don’t you cry,
or the popos gonna put you to sleep tonight,
and if you cry or try to fight,
then their grips gonna get a bit more tight,
and just as you sip into the light,
Its gonna dawn on them that you had rights, 
So my tar little baby please don’t cry,
So mummy may have just one more night. 


Ayoola Goodness

When does an act of worship
Become a weapon of asphyxiation

Each time my knees greet the ground, I burn with
Grief: my body, a solemn revolution

My breath stops. Instead of God, my eyes
See George fighting for breath

Silence bursts into my mouth, my bones:
Fragile twigs breaking beneath.

I touch again the soul of solemnity, it is stormy

I am unclasping from a white weight

Every hand aiding me is a black man holding
His breath in protest

Screaming, I can’t breathe.


during the Sermon, the Pastor Says Black Is For Funerals 

When he says it, the tone grips. Scars
My skin color; jet-black sepulchers erect as Goosebumps. 

In his voice, a stereotyped importunity sits.

Each word, in plethora echoes, returns, torturing
Every breath of freedom to (b)r(e)athe in this skin;

What it means to be black: accidentals, an artifact
For point-shooting,  

A skin of darkness, a shroud of ruins, 

A yearning for flowers; or the perfect night sky 

Embroidered in stars? 

The moment we rise to sing the hymn, the choir
All donned in harmonious black is Black Rising

I, the organist, my fingers softly
Tendering the keys; the full chords meld, sustaining
All the names of black lives lost to racial injustice. 

In the interlude, I hear all the protests. I hear all the protests. 

In the calm: 

A black man repeatedly shot by police in Wisconsin in
Front of his screaming children pops up on my Facebook Watch

In my head, giant silence and a funeral song echo.


Ndaba Sibanda
how They Received Him 

He was moving from door
to door asking citizens
to give him a big vote
so that he could become
their next prime minister 

They chuckled and looked
at him as if they thought:
here's a man on a mission
to count the number of hairs
on our bodies in a split second!


dealing With Attitudes 

A court judge made
the following remarks:

a privileged people should
have a duty and a conscience 

that says we cannot be
the immortal beneficiaries
of the imbalances of the past

because we are living in the present
with its demands for equity and equability


Gordon B. Anjili
out of Kibera

I toiled to save,
God knows I toiled,
The times were tough,
In this tax-happy land;
But I saved enough,
I set up a stall,
I sold fresh fish from our Lake.

A few people bought my fish,
And many more came,
And many more and more came,
And my children went to school,
And I moved out of a mud-walled shack;
And I had a dream to move out of Kibera.

Then a few people bought my fish,
And many more did not come;
And many more and more did not come,
And my childred dropped out of school,
Like unripe fruits from a tree —
Fish from China was cheap:
Will I ever move out of Kibera?


N/B Kibera is the largest slum in Eastern Africa



Achieng Nyar Duro, aka AND or Duro, is a Woman of Letters from Nairobi, Kenya. Having taken her first bic to7

Achieng Nyar Duro | Kenya |

Achieng Nyar Duro, aka AND or Duro, is a Woman of Letters from Nairobi, Kenya. Having taken her first bic to penmanship at adolescence, her mother would say she has been writing since the moment she tasted the earth’s space. Now in this life, she uses the written word to express what she sees, breathes and experiences, through poetry, spiritual understanding, short stories and so much more. 


Goodness Olanrewaju Ayoola | Nigeria |

Nigerian poet and teacher of English who reaches out to poetry as escapism from the contentions within and around him. His poetry has appeared in Glass, Dust Poetry, Pangolin Review, Oddball Magazine, Mobius, Ethel Zine and elsewhere. He is a Best of the Net Award Nominee and author of Meditations (WRR, 2016).


Sibanda | Nigeria |

Author of Notes, Themes, Things And Other Things, The Gushungo Way, Sleeping Rivers, Love O’clock, The Dead Must Be Sobbing, Football of Fools, Cutting-edge Cache, Of the Saliva and the Tongue, When Inspiration Sings In Silence, The Way Forward, Sometimes Seasons Come With Unseasonal Harvests, As If They Minded:The Loudness Of Whispers, This Cannot Be Happening :Speaking Truth To Power, The Dangers  Of Child Marriages: Billions Of Dollars Lost In Earnings And Human Capital, The Ndaba Jamela and Collections and Poetry Pharmacy.  Sibanda's work has received Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. Some of his work has been translated into Serbian.

Gordon Anjilli | Kenya |

Resides in Njoro, Kenya. Reading classics and writing plays.

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