the amandzing way

Home » Poetry » old man Africa kissed me on the cheek

old man Africa kissed me on the cheek

old man Africa kissed me on the cheek067
the other day
2014 freedom day
a day when he would remember
a lifetime of wrong
a day of sad song
no one would blame him for wanting to dismember
this caucasian this white this apartheid era ex-cop

he was sitting on a chair in the sun
i leaned close to him to ask him
that stupid question reporters have to ask in post-apartheid south africa
“Hello Grandfather, how does it feel being able to vote?”
and as he smiled a thousand years smoothed from his face
and i saw a proud young man in love with his country
with his wife his children his life
his people

old man Africa pulled me closer
cheek to cheek his stubble was scratchy
i was panicky i didnt know the custom
what if he was an elder
what if i was doing
way to go amanda piss off a people already pissed off
then he released me
took my face in his soft leathery hands again

he laughed gently at me
his breath of fresh umqoboti (traditional beer)
washing over me
his energy and vitality
bathing me
“This, my daughter, is how it feels,” said old man Africa
and i laughed too as his love cleansed me
and made me sad

i cried when i left
i cried for the wrongs, my wrongs
i cried for lives destroyed
because people say different is wrong
when it isnt
different can never be wrong
its only better
when different makes whole



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