This poem won 1st prize in 2011 Lupus International Poetry competition.

Thinking of what's going on in Zimbabwe right now  so decided to put up again.  Supposed to be elections announced by end of July, people everywhere are QUEUING up to register to vote all you people who don't bother to  vote.  Members of the police told to photocopy their voting slip and hand to their commanding officer ... to show who they voted for ....

Bulawayo is south of Zimbabwe and is where the Gukhurahundi took place in the 80s, under Mugabe when 30,000+ Ndebeles (Mugabe is Shona) were massacred by foreign mercenaries hired by Mugabe.

In the playground
we compare notes
to place ourselves.
Where you born then?
Watford. Harrow. London
English places.

I wait. Holding back.
Then I say it, rolling the vowel sounds
slowly on my tongue,
casual like.


What? Where’s that?
Low key, shrug.
Wow. Then silence.
Staring at me.
No one can top that.

I walk off slowly, nonchalant like.
I don’t know what Bul-a-way-o is.
I know it’s in Africa.
They tell me nothing about it.
Too busy with the present,
to bother about that past time in Africa.

I don’t care, I’m different, special,
‘cos of Bul-a-way-o.
Its mine, my place,
I came from there.
No one else does, ever.

In the album, a black and white picture
of small me on some steps in a garden
and an ‘arm-a-dillo’, strange creature,
in Bul-a-way-o.

I like the name
where I was born.
No one can top that.

Anna Meryt ©


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