Better Than Starbucks
Poetry and Fiction Journal
. . . if you love diversity and creative writing in any and every form, then you’re in the right place . . .
Vol VI No II
February, May, August,
in his topography
on the wall
a painting of a dove
and an image of a lamb
in a landscape of depth
Ndaba Sibanda’s poems have been widely anthologised. He is the author of The Gushungo Way, Sleeping Rivers, Love O’clock, The Dead Must Be Sobbing, Football of Fools, Cutting-edge Cache: Unsympathetic Untruth, Of the Saliva and the Tongue, and Poetry Pharmacy.
Eulogy for Willem Huyzers
Suspicious of the world, mistrusting intentions,
Yet clear perceptions, razorsharp intelligence.
Having read way too much Freud and all of Nietzsche,
He saw through your weakness and pretensions.
Hurt child lashing out, tried to
Seduce my girlfriend, drove off,
abandoning me in Hatfield.
And in Durban after drinking,
thought it cool to smash in
a window —
and then Brenda and Jan had to
take him to Emergency to
stitch the blood back into him.
Looking out on the brooding ocean
with that bandaged arm, Willem said
he felt like a ship without anchor,
adrift . . .
. . . like Holden Caulfield —
saw everybody else as phoney.
Driving back to Pretoria, Jan
taunted Lara, pushing pushing pushing
until, in the backseat, Willem exploded:
Hou nou op met hierdie kak!
Intense snot spooling down
the tip of that Roman nose.
New Year’s Eve in Rose Street, he’d dived
into an algae-green pool in his black jeans,
Hit his head in the dark, blood running
down his face, said
“You’re the only person I’ve ever loved.”
The last time I saw him,
I’d just flown in from China,
he was cancer riddled, sleeping
on a sofa in his mother’s old age home.
Happy to greet me at the gate, but he stank,
my God, had to open a window,
struggle not to gag.
Showed slides of Shanghai,
sat at the pond, watched the birds,
ate McDonalds, shared an ice cream.
His mother gave us each a cupcake
she’d bought for Mandela day.
Shot a clip of his shadow on my phone.
Anton Krueger is an amateurist from South Africa. He improvises with different forms — images, sounds, ideas, performances & words. He’s been trying to construct an unwieldy site storing creative outputs. It’s far from finished, but it may never be: https://amateurist.weebly.com.
Swissair flies south from the pristine Alps,
rinsed clean in the gleaming detergent snow of Europe,
powerful and pure, content in their aristocratic lineage,
thrust in the flight path,
hurled like a barrage of shields and spears
across the smoky veldt of Africa,
burst from the brown powder of Tanzania’s flat earth,
flung up in accusation, in terror, in anguish,
you, volcano, Kilimanjaro.
Flaky snow peels off
your stark crags like fine ash
spilt across naked shoulders.
No feathers from Germany, French silks, Italian leathers
hide your unashamed dark muscles.
Even steamy clouds
rise off your sides,
The little aircraft
crosses low above your sky-staring peak,
as scattering boulders reveal
the cauldron of your Cyclops crater,
dead or dormant,
burnt out or simply sleeping, brooding, waiting
Stuart Stromin is a South African-born writer and filmmaker, living in Los Angeles. He was educated at Rhodes University, South Africa, the Alliance Française de Paris, and UCLA, California. His work has appeared in Jalada Africa, Sheila-na-gig online, Dissident Voice, Rigorous, etc.
every morning, i enter my praying corner
like kaabah, like maqam Ibrahim; call names
and chant litanies; weigh my fear in my palms;
confirm God is closer to me than my jugular
vein. every morning, i wear my cloth briefly,
almost unworn: as if retrieved from the bowel
of a forgotten wardrobe. every morning,
i look at the pattern of all the roadside leaves
for roadmap to forlorn, say if you take me
there, i'll make for you a garden of birds
and blossoms & butterflies & bees.
every morning, i remind myself it's not a
coincidence that dove rhymes with love:
for love is white & prone to stain.
every morning after a long night,
when i wake into a water I do not know
when it rained; i walk slowly into life
like a leopard watching the steps of a gazelle;
as if survival is war and life is a battlefield,
i enter the street striking things & ducking things.
Taofeek Ayeyemi (fondly called Aswagaawy) is a Nigerian lawyer and writer whose works have appeared in Lucent Dreaming, Ethel-zine, The Pangolin Review, hedgerow, the QuillS, ARTmosterrific, Modern Haiku, Frogpond, and elsewhere. He has won honorable mention in poetry and haiku contests.
The conga speaks and the rhythms intoxicate,
Our heads bounce, buttocks pop and legs flitter,
Stout smiles breeze out from liquored mouths, noses meditate,
Health flies in and high blood absconds with bitter.
Rag the world and flag it zealous,
Life in the ghetto is like no other,
Nothing ever stops us from moving further,
Colours of costumes, rainbows get jealous.
Drums get their stomachs hit,
African elders feel the beat,
Clowns dish out their wit,
Masquerades sail and children join the fleet.
City people stand afar appearing rich,
While the visitors flinch, fearing a witch.
Uche Chidozie Okorie is a Nigerian rapper, poet, playwright, and music producer. He studied English language in Caritas University, Enugu, Nigeria.
Untitled by Jimoh Buraimoh