arm her.

She navigates the labyrinths of her mind and in every dark , smoky room she’s faced with two things:

Him and Her Dreams.

Every time she chose him.


Blind to this he fed ambitions, selfish as Summer’s first storm.

For her he went to battle but did not stay until the fight was over.
For him she went to war;

And stayed in the trenches till the battlefield fell silent.

She drifted from life injured by love but armed with sweet re-soul-ute.

purple heart


just a native.

Pulsating heat, alluring me with matriarch warmth;

This city, these people;

From Signal Hill to St. Georgie’s steeple;

Table top smiles and the sounds of hajis trading breyani recipes;

Sambals and cymbals, mother tongue precipitates;

Don’t mind me, I’m just a native.

Cobble stoned ambition;

Frown lines and Cape Flats intuition;

Spill over into this valley of lime and concrete;

Of hope and stealth and glory;

Spiritually quenched by distorted history;

Enveloped by art, irrigated with ancient drum beats;

Perfected through tribal sacrament;

Don’t mind me, I’m just a native.

Verbal symphonies, age old tales, slave ships and fish & chips;

 Snake oil identities, ‘five rand a bag’;

Colonially defined by a fictional tag;

Beauty and pain;

Equal parts of the parcel;

Haunted by screams, lost ghosts chained to a castle;

Fortress of good dope around my heart;

This place which birthed my dreams;

Augmented a near reality;

Downtown minstrel, uptown liberal;

Kaleidoscope souls of Obs hippie and Kloof creative;

Princeton pongs, craft beer throngs, gatsby superlatives;

Don’t mind me, I’m just a native.



10 things i want to say to a black woman – joshua bennett

10 Things I Want To Say To A Black Woman

1. i wish i could put your voice in a jar. wait for those lonely winter nights when i forget what god sounds like run to the nearest maximum security prison and open it. watch the notes bounce off the walls like ricochet bullets etching keyholes into the sternums of every brother in the room skeletons opening rose blossom beautiful to remind you that the way to a black mans’ heart is not through his stomach, it is through the heaven in your hello. the echo of my ? galaxy that pounces forth through you vocal chords, and melts ice grills into oceans, baptizing our lips, until harsh words fade from our memories, and we forget why we stopped calling you divine in the first place.

2. when i was born, my mothers’ smile was so bright it knocked the air form my lungs. and i haven’t been able to breath right since. its something about the way light dances off of your teeth. the way the moon gets jealous when you mock her crescent figure with the shape of your mouth, queen. you make the sky insecure. self conscious ? stare at your face every morning, and realize that the ? of her skin was painted by that symphony doing cartwheels on your tongue.

3. who else can make kings out of bastards. turn a ?? into a floor full of gifts in a kitchen, that’s ???? and my sister, was a blacksmith. who when she put fire and metal and made kitchen miracles at 15. making ??? to feed a little boy who didn’t have the words to see how much she meant to him back then ???

4. your skin reminds me of everything beautiful i have ever known. the color of ink on a page, the earth we walk on, and the cross ?? savior.

5. I’ve seen you crucified too. spread out on billboards to be spiritually impaled by millions of men with eyes like nails. made ??? of your daughters. so I’m sorry for the music videos, for Justin timber-lake at the Superbowl, and the young man on the corner this morning. when you just want to shed your flesh and become invisible. never doubt, they only insult us because… men are confused. we’re trained to destroy or conquer everything we see from birth.

6. if i ever see don Imus in public I’ll punch him in the face. one time, for every member of the Rutgers and Tennessee women’s basketball teams. then I’ll show him a picture of Phylicia Rashad, Assata Shakur, Eartha Kitt, my mother, my grandmother, my 7 year old neice whose got eyes like fire bombs, and then dare him to tell me that Black women are only beautiful in one shade of skin.

7. you are like a sunrise in a nation at war. you remind people that there is always something worth waking up to.

8. when we are married i will cook. wash the dishes, and whatever else it will take to let you know that traditional gender roles have no place in the home we build. so my last name is an option. babysitting the kid s a treat we split equally and our bed, where I’ll construct altars of wax on the small of your back. we make love like the sky is falling. moving, to the rhythm of bed springs and Bel Biv Devoe and angels, calling to us. saying this, is the way it was meant to be.

9. my daughter, my daughter will know her fathers’ face from the day she is born. and i can only pray that this superman complex lasts long enough, for me to deflect the pain this world will aim at her from the moment she’s old enough to realize that the color brown is still not considered human most places. my daughter will have a smile like a wheelchair, so even when i am at my worst, when the Cryptonite of this putrid planet threatens to render me grounded, the light dancing off of her teeth, will transfer the shards of my broken body into heart-shaped blackbirds, taking flight on wind that reminds me of my ???, of my daughters’ smile, of my mothers’ laugh when i was in her womb.

10. never stop pushing. this world needs you now more than ever.

Joshua Bennett


jasmine mans – ‘dear ex lover’


Jasmine Mans

Jasmine Mans

As read by Amy Chen

Dear Ex Lover, 

I promise I’ll stop chasing your memory in my dreams.
I’ll stop bringing your name up over cups of coffee, muffins, and loneliness.
I will marry a man and I will lay my heart on his chest
like red roses on Mahogany caskets
and I’ll have his daughter
and she’ll have eyes reminding me that God still believes in second chances.
and if she ever decided to love a woman, i will love bravery down her spine.
I will be reminded of all the times that we loved,
like there were expiration dates tattooed on our inner thighs.
If she ever comes home with eyelids like cracking Levis
and bruised kneecaps
and a heart filled with question marks
I will hold her like my mother never held me.
I will clasp her face in my palms like the new testament on judgement day.
I’ll tell her that love is the passion that allows you to do the right thing,
and that no woman can play coaster to a half empty heart.
And if she ever feels as if she is alone,
as if she is a hand-me-down pulled out of the depths of mummy’s closet
I’ll remember your name and I’ll mumble it under my breath.
and if she asks me what I said;
I’ll tell her I know what it’s like to drag a woman out of a cold war
and then being too worn to clean up the battlefield that it has made of you.
I’ll tell her that your heartbeat sounded like gun shells tripping over battered cement.
I’ll tell her that i know what it’s like just to want someone to remember you
and that some women are as foul as expired men in produce isles
and that apologies are like oxygen masks on a hijacked plane.
Forgive yourself before you EVER forgive the person sitting next to you.
I’ll tell her to never regret loving in permanent ink,
and that scars only give you stretch marks, something to gossip about
and that hearts and stop signs are fraternal twins,
lost in open roads and hollow chests.
And if my daughter’s mirror ever looks unfamiliar
and she’s too embarrassed and proud to run into mummy’s arms
I’ll pray, that she has friends with hearts filled with thousands of fire flies
who are not too cold to pray with her, who will tell her
to stop looking for the light at the end of the tunnel
and find God in the darkness.
If my daughter ever walks in my house like shattering glass, I’ll tell her about you.
I’ll tell her that we hurt like c-sections birthing dead babies,
and that we cried together,
and we prayed together,
and we smiled together like our smiles were the only ones that mattered in this world.
And that we hurt like women who loved women, who loved people that did not love us.

Dear Ex Lover,
I hope my daughter never knows what a goodbye kiss feels like..
I hope she never knows what “I’ll see you later.” really means.
I hope she never memories the dial-tone of a last conversation,
because a broken heart feels like poisoned butterflies taking their last flutters in the pit of your stomach

Dear Ex Lover,
I hope my daughter never bears her soul at a poetry showcase
with her first love sitting in the audience.
Knowing that the hands she’ll use to applaud her with,
will be the same hands that will never hold her again.

Poem by: Jasmine Mans


I am inspired

I am inspired by life, I am inspired by people who love life. I am inspired by moments which make life sweeter. Creativity inspires me, my spirituality and internal creation inspires me.

Nature, in all it’s wondrous glory, inspires me. The smell of the earth just after the rain, the scarlet sky when dusk is about to set in. The glow of the dew drops clinging to blades of grass when a new day arrives. The way the fresh sea breeze tingles down my spine. The sound of the waves crashing against the rocks the way the surf meets the shore and retracts into the deep blue unknown.

Africa inspires me. Her valleys, her mountains, her rivers and streams. Her Marrakesh glow, her Lagos power, her Cairo fire, her Nairobi beat, her Cape Town majesty, her Kinshasa kisses. The vastness of her landscapes, the warmth of her people, the magic of her heartbeat.

I am inspired by style, fashion, le mode. I am inspired by music, the beat of tribal drums, the music in my soul playing untamed melodies. I am inspired by the time signature in which my spirit pulsates. The song in my heart inspires me.

I am inspired by people from various walks of life whose paths have fused with mine. The laughter of children playing in the park on a summer afternoon, the gleam in the eyes of my grandparents when they tell me of days gone by and simpler times. These beings, they inspire me to seek out the different avenues of humanity. They encourage me to change my thinking and step out of my comfort zone. To explore life. My eternal curiosity and wild spirit inspires me. Heart inspires me.

The love of my mother, strong, gentle, regal, unconditional. The love of my friends and family,their inner beauty, raw honesty, support & encouragement. The love of self, all encompassing and awe inspiring.

I am inspired by light, love and beauty.

I am inspired by reckless genius.

I am inspired by joy.


(Top image shot by Tunde Owolabi)