Zimbabwean author Dambudzo Marechera’s poems, collected by Flora Veit-Wild in Cemetery of Mind, are available in ebook form for the first time. Exclusive to The JRB, here are three poems from the new edition of the collection, which can be found here.
The Bar-Stool Edible Worm
I am against everything
Against war and those against
War. Against whatever diminishes
Th’individual’s blind impulse.
Shake the peaches down from
The summer poem, Rake in ripe
Luminosity; dust; taste.
Lunchtime News—pass the Castor Oil, Alice.
Tell me of thornwine
Whose aftertaste is twilight
The gobletmoon splashes stars
The number of her sorrows in a room
Of gravel mound marbled epitaph
Silence’s stooped shoulders hunched
Into the teeth of the tenant’s nightmares
Tell me not at all—they marched and are dead
Exhaustion foretells our untidy end
And the river wearies of running slope and sea
Ferrying you and I passengers on eerie longboats
Between intent and renouncement—they marched and are dead
My clothes have said
Your body is out of fashion:
K&M fashion for men
Beckons towards absolute solution
(She could at least have waited)
The poems of Zimbabwean author Dambudzo Marechera (1952–1987) spark with passion, sparkle with wit, and subvert cultural, literary and political pieties with the same spirit of provocation that informs his classic novel, House of Hunger.
This comprehensive collection, which includes a 1984 interview with Marechera on poetry, demonstrate Marechera’s lyrical genius afresh.
‘A profound even exaggeratedly self-aware writer, an instinctive nomad and Bohemian in temperament, Marechera was in constant quest for his real self, quarrying towards a core that he once wryly expressed in the cry, “My whole life has been an attempt to make myself a skeleton in my own cupboard.”’—Wole Soyinka