A Collection of Original Poetry by Students of Ladysmith High School

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Suicide is Not an Act of Cowardice ~ Zaynab Asmal

Don’t tell me these kids are weak
The weak would never dance the line between life and death
Would never press metal to organ, press end to life
Because the hardest part of a suicide is that final step:
The fall comes after in the dizzying rush
But before that is the knowing that it all ends
That no more oxygen will come
No more kisses or bruises, no more shame or desire
The end stretches to an infinity of uncertainty
In those last few moments, there is a lifetime
To remember each caress and clenched fist
To consider what it would be liked to be locked in a box
Six feet underground, screaming
And those that still chose to jump, to slice,
To dice open their soul to the blank cosmos
They are brave
And in pain
And have been failed
By this world
Because their choice to press delete
To end game. No save. Nothing but blank screen
No credits left to roll over dead body
That choice they make
Is done knowing their souls have already dug their graves
Have already lived in the darkest recesses of night, screaming requiems,
And our split second judgement, our careless comment
(Why didn’t they just ask for help?)
Is a brand that won’t show on the body already burning.

©  Zaynab Asmal

Matriculant 2013

To the end of all our late night conversations ~ Zaynab Asmal

How I long for the right words
To walk you off that ledge and into my arms
To ease your pain for a millisecond
To watch a mental wound close
Under the warm weight of tender assurances
How I long for assurances
For the idea of certainty
That my words now won’t become a lie later
That haunts you at night when I’m not there
And you’re left wondering why life failed you.
Why you failed at life
Why failure is even a word
You who live among magic and light,
What use are words like failure?
Why drag a knife through a heart born bruised
Why slam standards onto a sky that never met a horizon
Why do we mark our happiness and sadness
By words like success or failure
When we should measure our life
By heartbeats hard won, by smiles despite tears
By days you dragged yourself into a garden
Instead of sleeping among the thorns.
How I long to open your mind
To your inner strength, your boundless possibilities...

But all that falls from my lips are mere trivialities
Random phantoms that dance among your pain

© Zaynab Asmal

Matriculant 2013

Saturday, 19 March 2016

#ThatStatueMustFall ~ Zaynab Asmal

Bring it down.
Apartheid is over
On paper and in the history books
But our eyes see white and black still
(Forget the other colours – this is not their fight)

Bring it down.
The administration doesn’t care for us.
Textbooks bleed us dry
White men and women still (de)grade us
(When will we see our own race?)

Bring it down
We are not welcome here
We are still surrounded by too many others
We are still the other
Never mind if they feel the same
We are not welcome here
(But loneliness is not so easily cured)

©  Zaynab Asmal

Matriculant 2013

#SayNoToXenophobia ~ Zaynab Asmal

Stop passing the buck
because the paper is frayed
and the face of a dead man
and the glory of a dying species
is fading into dust.

Stop playing blame games.
1994 didn’t happen
by saying it’s the government’s fault
Do not preach to me education
while you tax knowledge
and churn out policies
about science and math
forgetting about the history
of the tongues that built this land.

South Africa is a graveyard of paper boxes
a land divided into gridlock
boxes getting smaller
lines getting thinner
until everything is grey
but not black
Black is the colour that accepts all
White, red, yellow –shade doesn’t matter
because black embraces all and holds them within
not letting go.

you say you’re Black but you call him Nigerian
you say you’re Indian but they are Memen
you’re called Asian but you’re actually Taiwanese
(no one else in the world sees you
as anything but South African
when your family has roots in this land)

We are not one
We are not Africa
But South Africa
a colony
in a sea of black
that refuses to join the flow.

© Zaynab Asmal

Matriculant 2013

Friday, 18 March 2016

I want to write a poem about the moon ~ Zaynab Asmal

I want to write a poem about the moon

In all her glowy glory

I want to talk about the sun

without calling it a ball or a disc that fries my eyes

I want to describe green growing things

and breezes fluttering through wind chimes

I want you to taste the bitterness on my tongue

And picture each frown upon my character's face

but this page is blank as my stilled hand

and once I can face and discard its white lie

I realise I'm not that kind of author

I couldn't smooth talk my way to a free drink if I tried

I'd just stand there and smile because the moment I open my mouth

you'd run from my tirades and discussions of death

and god and my appalling lack of manners

but what good is 'how are you?' when you answer in monosyllables

when I want thunderstorms

I want to feel your passion, understand your ire

break down the walls you built for a reason I can't yet discern

but until you're willing to let down your gate

I can either stand there and smile

or whip out my ineloquence

and hope you stick along for the ride.

© Zaynab Asmal 

Matriculant 2013 

On the hopelessness of social conventions ~ Zaynab Asmal

I have broken my bones to fit your spaces
I have walked the hard path worn smooth by the smiling masses
I have been patted on the back by empty words
I have stared into the face of acceptance and spat

Because I’m tired of waiting for someone to ignite me
Tired of hoping someone will see me
Tired of forcing myself to feel for someone
When my mind is focused on other things

I have lived in this brainless slaughterhouse too long
And I have come to love myself too much to stay
where my wings will be butchered for the sake of a sun
And my womb is just another sacrifice
To the shining temple of patriarchy

(It’s strange that the first man to kiss me, to repulse me
Is the first that helped free me)

So maybe I did need that burning touch
That unknowingly helpful hand
Because now I know that nothing more is needed
Just my heart, my head, and all my broken pieces

© Zaynab Asmal

Matriculant 2013

My terrorists do not drop bombs ~ Zaynab Asmal

My terrorists do not drop bombs
They are the rapist residing in every strange man’s face
The glances tossed my way as I walk down the street
The idea I guard against when I lock my doors tight
And pray that it’s not me that’s attacked tonight.

My terrorists have no convenient names
Like ISIS or Bin Laden.
They carry ugly hereditary titles:
Poverty, abuse, social decay
And every title is but one branch
On a Lernaean family tree desperate to be pruned.

My terrorists have no real race or identity
No matter what technicolor my TV feeds me
Or what nationalities are spat at
By friends, families, strangers
Who feel safe to speak only in their homes.

America’s terrorists are not my own
Switch off the internal media feed
You’re already surrounded by enemies
And it begins with an ambush inside your head.

(the symptom is not the problem
recognise the crisis
treat the disease)

© Zaynab Asmal

Matriculant 2013