Africa Poem (Free)

By Joergen Ostensen


This is a free-verse poem that describes experiencing South Africa for the first time as I study abroad here this semester.

There's a bus rumbling through

A rainbow sunset

Purple flower

Country and the

Windows ripple

With speed bumps,

Palm trees,

Green grasses spilling

Through open-mouthed chainlink fences,

Leaky drainage pipes

Bleeding out on the sidewalks,

Red lighted robots

Crying out against the anarchy

Of vans and rows of cars needing

To be home

And men,

Groups of men, sitting under the train tracks

Gathering together, a congress

Under the leaves of strange, stunted moonlight trees

Together to talk and drink so as to smile

Into cheap beer

Under brilliant, scorched orange clouds

While quiet beggers with armfuls of for sale rosaries and fake American passports

Hide in the shade along the busy baking three o'clock sidewalks

While others stand in the streets, the middle

Of busy, busy streets holding signs and nectarines

And smoke is rising on hot, hot days

Sweat dripping days when sunglasses

Don't even work and people stumble into one another

Walking on the wrong side of the street

And old bearded men and dogs sing Dylan

And even have harmonicas

Outside grocery stores where they sell blueberry tea

And the banks are never open

Even for angel faced zebras

Who walk the streets with never ending giraffes

Eating french fries dabbled with ketchup and mustard and anything else lying around

While it suddenly starts to rain again

In a flash of light and pouring sky crumbling rain falling

Falling down, washing away the streets and the advertising signs

For abortions and petrol and love and black tie tutors and Jesus and white God churches

And all this in the rippling rain water window

Of the bumpy road bus.