“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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