“i’m off to africa next month”
he said in his southern californian drawl
as if he was visiting rockport maine
as if the continent had been dismembered by a mega compactor
and crushed into a giant multi-coloured rubix cube to be solved in 30 seconds

as if a myriad languages and dialects
had flat-lined into a terminal mono-bleep

as if every mountain and valley had been scraped off africa’s face
and rolled into a huge pepperoni pizza

as if all history had been reduced to a neglected wikipedia paragraph
– timbuktu expunged

as if migrating serengeti wildebeest
could be confined to a single postal code

as if the skeleton coast
was an uber beach destination

as if all the faiths under the african sun
had fused into one
rabbis taking advice from wise imams
bishops casting sangoma bones
hindu temples built on ancient khoisan stones

i was about to ask him where precisely he was going
but then thought better of it



About the author

Archie Swanson is a 62 year old surfer living in the Garden Route in South Africa. His poems have been published since 1973 when his poem  “mapolisa – the police” was included in English Alive – an annual anthology of South African High School creative writing. His poems appear in several anthologies, poetry blogs and quarterly poetry publications in South Africa like Stanzas and New Contrast and have been translated and published in Spanish and in Japanese. In 2017 his poems were short listed for the European Union Sol Plaatje Award and for the United Kingdom Bridport prize.






We're legion

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