Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Tariro Ndoro

FOUR ROADS

FOUR ROADS

FOUR ROADS

Your winters bite me like an ugly scar –
sheets of drizzle and confused
weather patterns that summon winter
in the morning and autumn by midday
City of Saints, I am nostalgic of your call of artistry
man who plays his brown guitar
at the corner ‘cross from Debonair’s and the scores
of painters that tumbled through the July festival
eRhini, even moonlit
brings me back to New Street clubs that spewed
fighting couples onto tarmac – I remember, even
the drunken revelers that painted the town purple
in spurts of: throwing up, passing out, going back for more
even those fake Samaritan boys who dragged
inebriated girls to their res rooms
and called them ‘takeaways’
Grahamstad, I grow nostalgic
Of High Street eating establishments
And even those gilded hair salons
Where white women were quick to tell us
Ethnic hair was not their concern
Remember those side alleys we danced into
That ushered us to Nigerian salons where our hair
Was not haram?
High Street.
And who could forget the statue of Colonel Graham
Still mounted on steed
Still claiming that land that should have been freed in ‘94
And the black canons of settlers
that still frown down on the city, on the town?
And beyond the cathedral,
On High street and Hill
Where a line of churches run down the line
Belying the liquor record –
Second highest consumption… in the world
Beyond the cathedral
English spoken in Afrikaans accents
Gives way to full bodied Xhosa
Those clicks I never quite learned to swallow
Down the road and right
To the Sunflower Hospice Shop
Where hipsters spent change on pre-owned novels
And the less fortunate bought pre-worn clothes
On lay bye
I am reminded of Beaufort Street
That vena cava that ran high in both directions:
The river of blue tar that transmuted
From hushed electric gates
And avenues of neat green lawns
Into a lesser tributary flanked by dust and garbage
On one side of it: the Grahamstown station
Where Muslim immigrants took refuge once,
When the city turned them out, bayed for their entrails
October 22nd, the date scored in my diary like a prison sentence
Beyond this point I go no further, unescorted
I remember that I too I am not from around these parts
That this city, this town is not my own
Although I cannot erase it
From my being


Close

FOUR ROADS

Your winters bite me like an ugly scar –
sheets of drizzle and confused
weather patterns that summon winter
in the morning and autumn by midday
City of Saints, I am nostalgic of your call of artistry
man who plays his brown guitar
at the corner ‘cross from Debonair’s and the scores
of painters that tumbled through the July festival
eRhini, even moonlit
brings me back to New Street clubs that spewed
fighting couples onto tarmac – I remember, even
the drunken revelers that painted the town purple
in spurts of: throwing up, passing out, going back for more
even those fake Samaritan boys who dragged
inebriated girls to their res rooms
and called them ‘takeaways’
Grahamstad, I grow nostalgic
Of High Street eating establishments
And even those gilded hair salons
Where white women were quick to tell us
Ethnic hair was not their concern
Remember those side alleys we danced into
That ushered us to Nigerian salons where our hair
Was not haram?
High Street.
And who could forget the statue of Colonel Graham
Still mounted on steed
Still claiming that land that should have been freed in ‘94
And the black canons of settlers
that still frown down on the city, on the town?
And beyond the cathedral,
On High street and Hill
Where a line of churches run down the line
Belying the liquor record –
Second highest consumption… in the world
Beyond the cathedral
English spoken in Afrikaans accents
Gives way to full bodied Xhosa
Those clicks I never quite learned to swallow
Down the road and right
To the Sunflower Hospice Shop
Where hipsters spent change on pre-owned novels
And the less fortunate bought pre-worn clothes
On lay bye
I am reminded of Beaufort Street
That vena cava that ran high in both directions:
The river of blue tar that transmuted
From hushed electric gates
And avenues of neat green lawns
Into a lesser tributary flanked by dust and garbage
On one side of it: the Grahamstown station
Where Muslim immigrants took refuge once,
When the city turned them out, bayed for their entrails
October 22nd, the date scored in my diary like a prison sentence
Beyond this point I go no further, unescorted
I remember that I too I am not from around these parts
That this city, this town is not my own
Although I cannot erase it
From my being


FOUR ROADS

Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
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