Dripping Poison

Dark times
was it planned?

Malice aforethought
not sleight of hand.

People gather on the streets
a bottle’s thrown
petrol flares…


Shelves are cleared
bags are stuffed
snatch a shopping cart
fill it to the brim
seize a hi-fi
grapple with a fridge
snatch another shopping cart
come back for more!

Grab your phone
tell your friends
the shelves aren’t empty yet
and not a cop in sight…


We might pick up the pieces
we might mend fences
but it’s going to be
a long
road
back.


Written in response to Sadje‘s What do You See #91 photo prompt.

The image shows a bust of a man. A dark thick liquid is being poured on it.


Important note: this poem was written from the photo prompt. The fact that it shows a dark liquid being poured on a white figure should not be taken as a representation of the violence that has occurred here in South Africa. The victims of the violence are primarily Black African-owned small businesses whose shops have been destroyed in shopping centres and malls, and the staff who work in the big retail outlets there.

73 thoughts on “Dripping Poison

    • It’s such a complex issue that I’m slightly uncomfortable for only scraping the surface of what I’ve seen on the screen. Nevertheless, I had to reflect something of what I’m feeling right now.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. You have summed up the situation very well, Chris. I concur except I don’t think there is a road back. I am in a black mood today after reading some of the stories coming out. I just don’t know how you overcome the sort of mentality that burns and loots over 50 schools. This was so orchestrated and so many people were involved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is frightening. Much more so for those in the affected provinces. But I’ve lived through rioting in the UK, and worked with people who grew up in the north of Ireland during the ‘Troubles’. Nevertheless, it’s a very dark chapter – as if Covid wasn’t enough already!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve seen the news footage of the rioting in S. Africa, Chris. Could just as easily be the US or other parts of the world. It’s chilling what happens to the human brain when a sort of mass hysteria takes over. Compassion and reason fly out the window. A chilling poem. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As I was reading the poem, I thought this could be some cities in the US right now. It wasn’t until I read through all the comments that I realized South Africa was having riots and schools burning 😬 Your last four lines were a perfect ending.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Because of Covid 19 we had something similar against our Asian Community – people wanting an easy scape-goat. When will people learn that violence is not the solution to any disagreement.

    Knowledge is power. Ignorance is defeat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Goutam. We’ve experienced a rough couple of weeks in some areas: burning, looting, violence, xenophobic attacks, largely confined to 2 provinces the other side of the country and apparently prompted by Jacob Zuma’s arrest. It’s much more complicated than just that, however, and poverty and inequality are significant drivers of the unrest. Fortunately, things are coming under control -for the moment at least.

      Liked by 1 person

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