The Power of Poetry and the rise of Underground Voices
I am writing a letter to dissidents farting hatred in Congo
Congo, My Nagasaki pimping the state for hot bread and cheap slogans.
Darfur, My Hiroshima, fermenting coup d’états in breweries of war
Dissidents plucking off the petals of the revolution. Drinking the
passion fruit of freedom
I want to silence the gun. I will not silence the sun.
Poetry is currently rated as one of the most influential media of literary arts and resistance activism and the voice for human rights advocacy. From the time of our birthing to these days of maturation, we are all shaped, serenaded and entertained by sweet ancient lullabies, drum beat throbs and early morning birdsongs. Song and dance are verse in motion, poetry remains a vehicle of freedom of expression and catalytic medium of creative consciousness. It is a super creative genre that cannot easily relegated to the peripheral pleats of human intellectuality but must be respected in our quest for freedom in all our struggles for human liberation. We are swayed everyday by rough political winds. Poetry injects the penicillin of sanity into the corrupted blood of rat-brained devils and iron steel-hearted dictatorial tyrants. At least they might repent after sipping a bitter sweet beverage of satire and hard to swallow brew of metaphor. Thus, the power of poetry, it is not a silent language. It is the official lingo of literary activism. The language that can be spoken in gutter, underground, ghetto, street pavements, village pathways and polished corridors of power in high offices. And with advent of digital literacy and internet revolution, it is not easy to gag poets and their voices.
The blunt-edged swords of my metaphor and razor-sharp flesh slicing irony burrow truth through banking malls scarred by corruption graffiti. It roasts and stews up sandy paper souls of political demigods and unrepentant bloodletting war- lords. It blisters the long extortion roughened – fingers of gluttonous bureaucrats, it scalds ideological imbeciles and revolutionary rejects with hot holy waters of satire and imagery.
Poetry fertilizes the baobab seeds of revolutions in our arduous expedition to freedom. It remains the literary -machete of resistance through and through out. The echoes transcend from violence smitten favelas of Latina Americas to through blood graffiti on walls of Washington to up to the corruption -creased streets of Africa.
Nazism establishments and Napoleonic political set ups have been using poetry art as propaganda crank to influence segregation, intimidation and totalitarianism. The modern underground poets are now conscious of true and false revolutions. We refuse to be manipulated and then discarded into cemeteries of failure over-used like condom sheaths.
Today’s world is haunted by turbulent times of warlords, regionalism, super-power autocracy, political banditry, Islamophobia and xenophobia. Against such global quandary, the poet, the mason of resistance must raise their fist of resilience and proclaim total freedom. Therefore, to remain voices to save vulnerable communities from sinking into dungeons of autocracy and dark pits of casava republics.
For example, a few decades ago, Zimbabwe’s harsh political twists, moral decadence and economic malaise birthed of underground poets and cultivated the rise protest art. The poets raw – crude art and satire projected mass poverty and as citizens groan under the yoke dynasticity tendencies of the Mugabe’s totalitarian regime. Now that Mugabe is gone with his political fist, Are we safe with the current regime with their mantra of the Second Republic. House of Hunger Poetry Slam (founded in 2006) was a direct response to the political- moral crisis perpetuated by the tyrannical, autocratic and corruption drunk Mugabe regime.
The fervent crop of protest poets overthrew the degreed old-guard literists, the old guard regime of poets had lost the salt of expression due to fear and intimidation by the state. Most of them ended up as commissars of the failing but steel gloved Mugabe regime. Many had no choice but to succumb to profound silence for the purposes of their saving their lives, professional careers and daily freedoms.
The brave lot of new generation protest poets are adamant and vocal about and against the police state tendencies and brutality in Zimbabwe. We aim our metaphoric slings at post-liberation oppression, against human rights abuses, police brutality and politically perpetuated violence. Our grand old guard poet’s word-slinged against white-colonialism, slavery, racial segregation and apartheid. And like today, during those brutal years, dissenting voices were vehemently thwarted. Likewise, todays African regimes gag, imprison, plunder the freedoms and lives of resilient voices. Those and other experiences led me to create and curate the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign, it has since generated into Global Poetry of Resistance Movement speaking hard truth to power against moral decadence, against machinations of dictatorships, bad governance, abuse of human rights, gagging of freedom of expression. Protest poetry has remained as the viable medium of literary arts activism in the struggle for tolerance, promotion of dissenting voices and freedom of expression.
When the sun filters its orange into this red earth. I see twin
brothers Renamo and Frelimo laughing out loud to baboons dangling in
I see children sniffing face book and colonial dope.
Darfur, drowning in the din of rattling drums and blood dollars, their
children eating wiki leaks for breakfast and twitter mojo for supper,
oiling the revolutionary engines through song and dance
Burning candles from both ends.
Nodding to the wind of drums and beat of the gun, drunk with wind and sound
Sing to the freedom babies eating twitter berries and faces book figs.
Forgetting their fingers in Google forests. Licking Wounds after
burning in cultural monoxide and moral dioxide
Bastards starved of ideological oxygen- EXCERPT from SambisasCousins.
Mbizo CHIRASHA, the Author of a Letter to the President. co-Authored Whispering Woes of Ganges and Zambezi. Co-Edited Street Voices Poetry Collection (Germany Africa Poetry Anthology). Co- Editor of the Corpses of Unity Anthology. Associate Editor at Diasporia(n) online. Chief Editor at Time of the Poet Republic. Founding Editor at WomaWords Literary Press. Publisher at Brave Voices Poetry journal. Curator at Africa Writers Caravan. UNESCO-RILA Affiliate Artist at University of Glasgow. 2020 Poet in Residence Fictional Café. 2019 African Fellow, IHRAF.ORG. Project Curator and Co-Editor of the Second Name of Earth is Peace (Poetry Voices Against WAR Anthology). Contributing Essayist to Monk Arts and Soul Magazine. Poetry and writtings appear in FemAsia Magazine ,Wrath -Bearing Tree, Inksweat andtears journal , One Ghana One Magazine, Ofi Press, World Poetry Almanac, Demer Press , Atunis Galaxy poetry online , IHRAF Publishes , The Poet a Day , Bezine.Com , Sentinel UK, Oxford School of Poetry Pamphlet , Africa Crayons, PulpitMagazine,Poetry Pacific, Zimbolicious , Best New Poets ,Poetry Bulawayo , Gramnet webjournal, Diogen Plus , Poeisis.si , Festival de Poesia Medellin and elsewhere.