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Robin S. Ngangom

A Civilised Monologue


D: We’ll develop everyone. Happy days are here for the poor. They can now dream realistically about becoming rich.

CP: What about our forests, our two meals of the day?

D: These are trifles. Soon you’ll be driving a vehicle, living in your own house with guards and secure walls, feasting on exotic out-of-season fruits.

CV: What about our raped and murdered daughters, our disappeared sons?

D: They’ve made the supreme sacrifice for the country. To reciprocate with the humanity of our hearts, we’ve earmarked handsome rates for martyrs even before their deaths. The considerable sum we’ve set aside will not bring them back, but know that your sorrow is our sorrow.

CC: How about the poison in our soil, our rivers, our plants, the poison we were not told about?

D: Don’t believe in these rumours from the West. Have any of our own flag-kissing scientists substantiated these allegations?

CI: How about our farmers who committed suicide?

D: We never encourage foolhardiness. They actually succumbed to greed, borrowing beyond their means. Our motto has always been: If you don’t borrow, you will not lend.


Roots © Merlin Moli

With our Guns

Before they shoot us#
let us have the thrill of shooting them first.

Love, let us push aside this muzzle
which keep our lips from meeting,
let us free the bullet stuck in our throats
which prevent our hearts from speaking.

Watching their tears of joy
in solidarity’s revelries saluted by guns,
our tears have gone quiet now.

A prostrate future riddled with revolution’s bullets,
the never-to-return, fatally wounded by democracy’s rifles,
and yet our hearts have not yellowed on boughs,
your breasts still smell of the golden leihāo.

Even cold blue metal can become a reassuring hand
when nothing’s left to defend our naked flesh, and
for the sake of the mutilated present
we will befriend a gun for a while.

And one day like animals we will be shot
either by fiendish hands or
the age’s nonpartisan bullets.

Before they shoot us
let us have the satisfaction of shooting them first.