—Ruzvidzo Mupfudza, Zimbabwe
Red sunset over a purple haze
Of fierce jacaranda blooms
A dying friend walks
I can feel the cold dark night
Descending over his soul
In the ever fading light
Of his young life
I shake his hand as if nothing has changed
I pretend not to notice the sores in his mouth
His voice is a hoarse whisper, an old man's mumble
His wasted body stands reed thin
But I talk to the friend I used to know
The one I used to play with
—marbles, cops and robbers, hide & seek—
Yet I cannot shake off the wings of guilt
Flapping in the secrecy of my mind
Do all survivors feel like this?
But am I really a survivor?
Just haven’t been tested, that’s all…
Ah, we play hide & seek with our consciences now…
In this place, very few of us dare confront the dreaded monster
That prowls in the dark chambers of a past we think sordid
For now, I just reach out for my friend’s hand
In the fading light, the jacaranda leaves
Bloom a fierce purple haze
I know this is how I will always
Remember him…nature’s gift that shines
In our midst but for a short while….
When their season is done all jacaranda leaves
…simply wilt away
We bid each other farewell
He shuffles away
…he has begun his slow, painful journey home
Under the fading light
Beholding the glorious sight of the purple haze
I wonder if I'll ever see him again
Thanks, Ruzvidzo! Born in Zimbabwe in 1971, Ruzvidzo Stanley Mupfudza developed a passion for the art of storytelling and a love for the written word at a tender age. Long before he was literate, he would gaze with fascination at the beauty of the written word on scraps of paper, old magazines, newspapers, books, et al., and by the time he was in the third grade was a passionate, wide reader, whose reading material was more often than not ‘way beyond his scope.
It was also at this time that Ruzvidzo started writing his own stories, spurred by a vivid imagination and his already entrenched reading culture. After studying Literature in English at the University of Zimbabwe, he worked for eight years as a high school English Language and Literature in English teacher before moving to Zimbabwe’s national television broadcaster, where he worked as Chief Producer of Social and Cultural programs for children. After that spell, his perennial wanderlust saw him move on to the world of advertising, where he worked as a copywriter for a local advertising agency. It was not long, though, before he packed his creative bags and joined the mainstream print media as an Assistant Editor, specialising in feature writing and covering the arts for a Zimbabwean daily and weekly paper. He eventually became the Acting Editor of the weekly Sunday paper until its demise in 2007. Since then, he has survived through the benevolence of friends, his art, freelancing and doing consultancy work in the world of media and advertising.
Ruzvidzo's poetry, essays and short stories have been published in Zimbabwe and abroad. His early poetry started appearing in the University of Zimbabwe English Department’s literary magazine, The Bloom, national and international magazines, as well as on the poetryinteranational.org- zimbabwe website. His stories appear in the following anthologies: A Roof to Repair (Harare: College Press), Creatures Great and Small (Gweru: Mambo Press 2000), Writing Still: New Stories from Zimbabwe (Harare: Weaver Press, 2003), Writing Now: More Stories from Zimbabwe (Harare: Weaver Press, 2005), and Dreams, Miracles and Jazz: New Adventures in African Writing (Northlands: Picador Africa, 2008). A story has also been published online by SABLE Literary Magazine, and he has been interviewed on: “Conversations with Writers” at http://conversationswithwriters.blogspot.com/2007/04/interview-with-zimbabwean-author.html
Kubatana - Archive - "Inside/out with author Ruzvidzo Stanley" and Mupfudzahttp://www.kubatana.net/html/archive/artcul/081218kub.asp?sector=ARTCUL
He also occasionally, when the spirit moves him, blogs on www.zimbablog.com/.
We are pleased and honored to feature Ruzvidzo in what is becoming a series of spotlights on Zimbabwean poets, both today on Medusa's Kitchen and in the upcoming Rattlesnake Review.
This weekend in NorCal poetry:
•••Fri. (8/28, and every last Friday of the month), 8-10:30 PM: TheBlackOutPoetrySeries inside The Upper Level VIP Lounge, 26 Massic Ct., Sacramento (located inside of Fitness Systems Heathclub, by Cal State Skating Rink; exit Mack Road East to Stockton Blvd and then make a left on Massie, then right past Motel 6) features Hip Hop superstar Ambassador, vocalist Cheryn Yancy, poet Supanova plus vocalists Derick and Andrea Moore—and open mic. $5.00. Info: 916-208-POET or email@example.com/.
•••Sat. (8/29, and every last Sat. of the month), 7-9 PM: TheShowPoetrySeries features Bob Stanley, acclaimed teacher and Poet Laureate for the city of Sacramento. Bob has written poetry and volunteered in poetry organizations for over three decades. President of the Sacramento Poetry Center since 2006, Mr. Stanley also served on the board of Alameda Poets, and he has led workshops and readings all over Northern California. Also featuring are super talents poet Anna Marie and vocalists Lynn Fleury and the award-winning Mae Gee. Wo'se Community Center, 2863 35th St. (Off 35th & Broadway), $5.00. Info: 916 208-POET or firstname.lastname@example.org/.
CATACOMBS OF THE HEART
There's secret place
Where all things unsaid
Where feelings unspoken lie hidden
All songs unsung
Are in limbo there, waiting to be found
There are dark lands
Full of monsters, myths and legends
Waiting for the sun of love to shine
Ah, love, the ultimate dragon slayer
Unlocking closed doors, the eternal prayer
Of the heart that reveals and frees all
…and throughout the ages, I wait
For my chance to finally leave this place
Unearth all words, feelings and songs buried
I know, one day you'll come to me
Together we'll travel across the universe
Two souls, hand in hand, until we become one
Wings of the imagination
Soar on warm winds of desires
Crossing oceans of time and space
Seeking showers of your heart to put out these fires
Travelling, travelling…only to be with you
In this land of dreams
Winged visions and sweet songs
Between the sharp intake of breath
In that moment our eyes meet
When time stands still
Both of us waiting to exhale
Inhaling long and deep our souls' fragrances
Fingers gently stitching together time's fragments
Finally, it comes, that deep awed sigh
And I know, at last, the reason why
I was put on this earth
Lost, lost in the depths of your eyes
Only then do I realise
That all this time
All the roads I’ve been travelling on
Have been leading to this destination
All the rivers of my dreams
Have been flowing, flowing
… to you
All these years
Wandering through time’s alleys and byways
I have been seeking your heart
Mine confirms this with each poignant beat
Now I know why birds welcome dawn with sweet song
I know, too, why jacaranda leaves
Burn a purple haze when they bloom
I understand, now, the true meaning of resurrection
After all, today, I'm as new
as morning dew
… thanks to you
Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?
—Henry Ward Beecher
And finally, my apologies to Carol Louise Moon for my error in her poem yesterday. I misunderstood the word "cinder" and replaced it with "cylinder". Here's the correct version:
—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento
the last cinder as blood and flush are falling
through my father’s face,
gauzy sheet of death
I know that I have lost him:
his sorrow... his joy
his fire gone out,
leaving but one cinder
on the Victrola.
Now available: two new chapbooks from Joyce Odam:
Peripherals: Prose Poems (illustrated by Charlotte Vincent)
and Rattlesnake LittleBook #2 (Noir Love).
That’s at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento.
WTF!!: The third issue of WTF, the free quarterly journal from
Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe that is edited by frank andrick,
is now available at The Book Collector,
or send me two bux and I'll mail you one.
Deadline for Issue #4 will be Oct. 15.
Submission guidelines are the same as for the Snake, but send your poems, photos, smallish art or prose pieces (500 words or less) to email@example.com (attachments preferred) or, if you’re snailing,
to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726 (clearly marked for WTF).
And be forewarned: this publication is for adults only, so you must be
over 18 years of age to submit. (More info at rattlesnakepress.com/.)
RATTLESNAKE REVIEW: Issue #22 is now available (free) at The Book Collector, or send me four bux and I'll mail you one. Or you can order copies of current or past issues through rattlesnakepress.com/.
Issue #23 will be available at The Book Collector the night of Sept. 9.
Deadline is November 15 for RR24: send 3-5 poems, smallish art pieces and/or photos (no bio, no cover letter, no simultaneous submissions or previously-published poems) to firstname.lastname@example.org or
P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. E-mail attachments are preferred, but be sure to add all contact info, including snail address. Meanwhile, the snakes of the on-going Medusa are always hungry; keep that poetry comin', rain or shine!
Just let us know if your submission is for the Review or for Medusa, or for either one, and please—only one submission packet per issue of the quarterly Review.
(More info at rattlesnakepress.com/.)
Also available (free): littlesnake broadside #46: Snake Secrets: Getting Your Poetry Published in Rattlesnake Press (and lots of other places, besides!): A compendium of ideas for brushing up on your submissions process so as to make editors everywhere more happy, thereby increasing the likelihood of getting your poetry published. Pick up a copy at The Book Collector or write to me (include snail address) and I'll send you one. Free!
COMING IN SEPTEMBER:
Join us at The Book Collector Wednesday, September 9 at 7:30 PM
for the release of a new chapbook by
Susan Finkleman (Mirror, Mirror: Poems Of The Mother-Daughter Relationship, illustrated by Joseph Finkleman);
plus a new HandyStuff blank journal from Katy Brown (A Capital Affair);
a littlesnake broadside from Marie Reynolds (Late Harvest);
and a brand new issue of Rattlesnake Review (#23)!
Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their POETRY, PHOTOS and ART, as well as announcements of Northern California poetry events, to email@example.com (or snail ‘em to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726) for posting on this daily Snake blog. Rights remain with the poets. Previously-published poems are okay for Medusa’s Kitchen, as long as you own the rights. (Please cite publication.) Medusa cannot vouch for the moral fiber of other publications, contests, etc. that she lists, however, so submit to them at your own risk. For more info about the Snake Empire, including guidelines for submitting to or obtaining our publications, click on the link to the right of this column: Rattlesnake Press (rattlesnakepress.com). And be sure to sign up for Snakebytes, our monthly e-newsletter that will keep you up-to-date on all our ophidian chicanery.