Two poems by Darren-Lee Carolissen

State of Emergency


Today the blood is not on your hands / Or on your dress / your shirt / your eyes, mouth / or shoes but / tomorrow you might not be carrying luck with you / tomorrow you might be carrying regret / pockets full of fear that you cannot empty / no one hears your muffled screams / tomorrow / you google “how to get your own blood out of your clothes” / “how to move on with your life” / “how to look your friends / family in the eyes after” / tomorrow / google will have none of the answers / today / the blood is not on your hands


The women / they gather to raise their voices / build a wall with their breasts / because the men they do not listen / sometimes the men they take / especially that which they were not given / sometimes / the women they scream / if anyone hears this call / we could never tell / all that we know is / tomorrow someone wakes with a disgraceful sense of pride / elsewhere the awakening is more violent / the eyes cried too raw to close / body too awake to still / fight or flight / “shame” they say / “what were you wearing” they say / “could you have done / worn / something differently” they say / the women gather to raise their voices / build a wall with their breasts / the weight of their shame / with their dried blood / and their year old wounds / because the men / do not listen


For weeks after / I could not kiss even my mother / the air was heavy / around me / almost suffocating / touch / burnt my skin / made my body shiver itself into a wreckage / still / today even lips sometimes come in the night / to haunt my body in taste


For the fifth time this evening

I sit photograph in hand,
Forgotten kiss on lips,
Taste of memory on skin. But,
Nothing brings you back to me.

Your name
Pressed against the back walls
Of my eyes,
Caught in the back of my throat.
The sound of your voice
Knotted into the cracking
Of the floor around me,
The creaking of a door,
The ring of a message,
Of a phone call.
My thoughts get lost
In the thoughts of you,
Words trip
and under
One another.

I am a flower bending
Towards the moon,
Because I told the sun
Stop calling me.

Darren Carolissen is 19 years old. He was born and raised in Kylemore, Stellenbosch. He is currently a student at Stellenbosch University studying towards a BA degree in Language and Cultures. Darren works as a part-time radio presenter at the community radio station in Stellenbosch, MFM 92.6.

His love for writing started at the tender age of 13 in the form of song and has since then spilled over into poetry and continues strong to this day. Some of his poetry was published on the Badilisha Poetry X-Change which also features audio renditions of the poems. These works were first published on Badilisha Poetry and have since been featured on various other podcasting poetry websites.

Twitter: @iamdarrentoo
Instagram: @iamstilldarren

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