San Fernando Poetry Journal

Soweto in my Pocket

Itching behind my father’s advice
don’t say anything son
it’s not like Nairobi
don’t speak out
not even on the phone
it might be tapped
I fingered Soweto in my pocket,
A prickly fossil to be savored
Like the Southern Lights.

No cotton mouth African thirst
Ever made me question Hiskia or Anna
(little white boy on their heels)
But what I let them tell me
Whatever they would…

boy when my people rise boy
they might want to kill you boy
i will not stop them
I cannot stop them
you are white boy
they are my people


What You Say is True
an Afrikaner’s Point of View

What you say is true,
We took this land from the Bantu.
In return,
We let them live
Just beyond our thriving cities,
So that they might learn our ways.
We give them jobs,
Because we must have servants
To keep our houses
And mind our meals.
We find it a pity
That they feel deprived
And yearn to be free of us,
But it does not matter.


Beyond Reach

Apartheid is a slow child
By the frantic pace of life,
Dimwitted and abused
Confused by the graceful space
Between wrong and right,
Outwitted by strife.

An only child
Accused of too much,
When it pleases new friends
But reluctant
To give up toys for them.

A child
Out of touch,
Out of luck,
Stuck in the mud
Like a whale
Beached beyond reach
Of the ocean’s pale love.


Copyright 1991 by Jeffrey Spahr-Summers.