• Thabiso Nkoana

Black Lines Matter

Along the lines of prose

they strode

you know

to pose

smoke hash

tag the woke

Now what matters is the front row

that symbolic art at the falling of Rhodes

to structure black magic into sterile poems

while the lives of brushstrokes

are hung in digital posts

at times with ropes

else framed by oak

Karen’s culture cancels conscious cleaning cloaks

as they march in abundance to politically identify their woes

Those stories ancestors foretold

as they were traded for gold

shedding tears at the coast

with each stolen load

nations torn on boats

family names disposed

manhood decomposed

daughters of the soil dethroned

this could not be the destination

of that road

where we still try to convince our own

that who we are cannot be owned

even at this very show

we seem exposed

our art is bought and sold

crafts brought in to fit established moulds

creations sourced only to make a trend grow

so your Face is booked for the Twitter of Instant gramophones

But what do I know?

A third citizen in a continental dirt bowl

Where we seem to exist in the history of shadows

forced to tiptoe

& dance at foreign tempos

the subject of fetish talk shows

they say it’s quid pro quo

two backs scratched

tit for tat

a way to pay it back

maybe a reparation act

escaped from a guilt trap


in the end we’re left alone

in the time that toppled statue whispers

“Cape to Cairo!”

what remains of our Pharos

is in some dusty underground dome

on the other side of the globe

so the descendants of Thievery have something to prod and poke

until they have a new ology to promote

through a new ism they’ve exposed

But then again, what do I know?

For along the lines of prose

they strode

you know

to pose

smoke hash

tag the woke

Now what matters is the blunt joke

that exotic art for the trawling of votes

to puncture black classics into futile hopes

while the lives of brushstrokes

are stuck to miserable quotes

by rich folk

aimed to provoke

even underground bros

let me bring you into the origin fold

I refuse to be disrobed

for some contrived waltz on a greasy pole

In fact

I’ll trade you zero fucks for that thick wad of crisp offshore notes

even for this collectible droll

of garish rhymes I wrote

“Yo Smalls! Take it slow.

Redirect the resentful tone.

Conserve that spirit for warranted foes.”

Oh yes of course

extenuate connecting woes

attenuate collective throes

accommodate rejective shmoes


neglect the blows


How dare I bulldoze

master’s primrose

a gift he/she/they bestow

to diasporic widows

No more waiting for Godot

for now we’re clothed

far cry from allegoric blackholes

“That’s exactly right Smalls.

Bring it to a close

it’s for us & by those

whose legacy lines enclose

a line age that extends

along the heirship vine of Eden Garden afterglows

Let the melanated kinship have the distinction Scorpion holds

sheer conviction when they pose

for photos

Botaki ba baTswana bo benye sebaka

Banne bantse ba batla bontle ba Borwa bo bonwe

Bo buse botho ba batho ba bone

Boloi ba bana ba bone bo bontshe bogabaru ba basadi ba ba bolokileng banna bao bosigo.”

Along the lines of black virtues extolled

Along the lives that art urges



they strode

to pose what matters



Copyright © Thabiso Nkoana August2020

#mzansiartist #art #zurich #southafrica #collaboration #blackartmatters #poetry #interdisciplinary #BlackLinesMatter

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