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‘Wounded’ by Benjamin Solomon

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Wounded was inspired by domestic violence. It is one of the social issues that is truly not talked about as much. Most women shy away from talking about it because of fear, or some sort of dependent love, which, in itself, is unhealthy. But, unlike other artistic expressions of domestic violence, I chose to portray it in the way that it really is – in most cases of domestic assault, as in Wounded, the women hardly break away from that unhealthy bond, which is where help needs to be provided.

The pestle is a very common African kitchen tool, and women in the rural areas who are unable to use it are usually castigated. The pestle symbolises strength, and proves to me that even the strongest women may still fall victim to a violent partner, without being able to rise again.

I drew much of my inspiration from the traditional African setting where a man is seen to have ultimate power over the ‘much inferior’ woman, so that violence within the home becomes his right. Hence, I chose to go traditional when taking the pictures. Her dressing symbolises innocence, but we still end up seeing that she’s happy nonetheless, which to me, is sort of a superpower that women possess; they’re able to smile through their pain, through their problems, something that I personally appreciate about the women around me.

– Benjamin Solomon

 

Midnight,

At midnight she awakens,

Her heart still sore from the thought of his words,

That punched holes in her core,

Like a fist through drywall.

Layer by layer,

Her self-worth eroded,

By the lash of his whip,

Her body greeting the cold marble.

 

Her bones are icy,

Her back tattooed with welts,

A love tainted by flays

of words and of belts.

She can only hope to Heaven,

Not that her wounds are cured,

Rather, that his sins are forgiven.

 

And is that what love really is?

Noon strikes, so does his hand,

Carving lesions into her back,

Her form laced with blood.

And in that moment,

She swallows a sword,

Fine china shattered across the floor,

Gore mixed with sweat.

Constantly shuffling between life and death.

But maybe she’s already dead,

Drowned in a pool of melancholy,

Not revived, not revivable.

 

 

For she is an amazon,

Bamboo to his storm,

Proving too tough to break.

A luminous beauty,

Battered with scars.

She wears her sorrow like a velvet scarf,

And his hands around her neck like crystal pearls.

Her pestle is her strength,

In her breasts she cradles life,

Life too pure to see.

 

 

Might she rise again,

Is her question to ask,

Her choice to make.

Still broken, she attempts to salvage

A romance once real,

Now chocked out by vehemence.

Piece by piece,

She picks her bruises off the ground,

And onto her shadow.

Still, he re-bruises her bruises,

And stirs up her anguish.

 

 

Her tears couldn’t heal

The burn she felt on her skin,

The throbbing in her head,

Nor the ache in her soul.

For she was no longer sad,

She was numb,

And in that state she knew,

She had crossed ruin beyond repair.

 

 

 

She must rise above the darkness,

For she knows for sure,

That she cannot fix anyone,

not until she fixes herself.

Yet here she is,

Trapped in a box,

Far from utopia, yet far from him,

Fighting to swallow all of her chances,

Before he rouses at dawn

Where his palm once again,

Meets her face.

 

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‘Anjiriya’ by Amao Faridah

LL Post 1

Someday, you shall come to terms with this place
Someday, hopefully, before the end of your time here
My father’s farm
Positioned west of the state
A gem to neighbouring estates
A land where God carried hoe, angels built ridges
The rains do not wash away the seeds
The seeds have germinated and become trees
The trees have flourished and borne fruits
And the winds do not blow away the fruits
The farmer has not learnt to preserve
The labourers have only heard, but know not how to serve
Who needs to toil when its all been done by God?

Remember, only one thing stays one way
Not the rains, not the winds, not the earth, ‘nothing’
Neither the seeds, the trees, nor the fruits
If they do not grow they wither
The plants are failing
The resources are fading
Even the goats refuse to eat grass, but feast on crops
Little wonder many of my siblings starve
But the farmer and his labourers see none of these
Or do they? Are they just not a bother to them?
Then, why should they be?
To whom other than their family must they show concern?
Is there not an abundance for them?
But who do they call family?
Are we not all born of the same father?

The idle soul is the devil’s playground I hear
With God’s work complete, the devil’s play begins at full steer
The offering? A hundred and seventy million grounds
What a number of lives to toy with
Who dances with the devil on two feet?
Who dines with demons with ten fingers?
Who sleeps in hell with both eyes closed?
In the midst of this communion, a new form of man unfolds
A man transfigured to self-destruct
Of what better use may they be if they will not bear product?
A new form of man, which loses its humanity
A new form of man, which reincarnates as beasts

The beasts from the south
Bullies of the small and feeble
Oppressors of the meek and stifled
Beasts who feast on plant and flesh
More easily tamed by the one from whom they fend
Their plight leaves a suspicion of a mammal more fondly referred as man’s best friend
Their wish, to secure justice and livelihood for their beloved
Now I see them and I shrug
Their sagging bellies and retreating necks
Their will eaten up by the meals with which they have been stuffed
But I see our relatives who abide closest to them and weep
Becoming leaner and their troubles more deep
Are these relations not the reason for the havoc they wreck
Or who do they call family
Are we not all born of the same father?

The beasts from the north
Unrelenting forces of destruction
Blood thirsty scoundrels to whom peace is no option
They would kill their own to assume control
They shall devour dogs, and feast on goats
Even more disturbing, they eat men
I see clear signs of a breed called king
Their mission, chaos and terrene
No signs of broken walls in sight
As if they have been ushered in through the gates?
Are there traitors among us who nourish their plight
I hurt from every drop of blood spilled by my siblings
We all live in fear of the inescapable danger that awaits
I wonder if the farmer hurts, if he lives in fear
Of whom are his guards aware?
Himself? His labourers? Their families?
Pardon me, I must ask
Who do they call family?
Are we not all born of the same father?

Do I hear whispers of beasts?
From the west, and from the east?
A new gathering of an evolving mankind
Poised expectantly for the outcome of the latest beast invasion
Nothing happens on this farm without an ax to grind
They all want something for themselves and their family
And I ask again; who do all these people call family?
Are we not all born of the same father?

Dear friend, someday, you shall come to terms with this place
Someday, hopefully, before it scares you away, or takes your life
But before then, Welcome!
Welcome to a land where everything goes, nothing works
A home with a laughable structure, whose shape leaves no smiles to behold
A people plagued by hope, where growth is marked by hopelessness
A voice that calls God, but stays only in tune with the devil
A nation called giant, dwarfed by ignorance and greed
A state of incomprehensible extremes
Welcome, to my father land
Welcome, to ANJIRIYA

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