In My Language
This you might not know is a conversation,
It’s a conversation not of persons.
This is a conversation of multiple languages.
If you could observe the functions of my mind,
You would marvel at the thought processes
Criss-crossing ideas in various languages
I am not sorry for not thinking in one language only.
I am happy that the multiplicity of languages
Offers me just as multiple images;
Here you are thinking I am writing this in English,
Yes. But know this that what you see in this language
Is thought through ciTonga, through, siLozi and even
Through ichiBemba and chiChewa
How more purer can an idea be created!?
You sure do not know that a dog in siLozi is nja…
To know the word ‘dog’ I need to imagine ‘nja’
How else would I know its meaning?
To write a sentence, I must have thought about it
Three times more than you reading this…
‘Wait a minute’ in my language does not mean sixty ticking bits
That’s what it means to you…
In my language your minute could last a year…
You wonder why ninety days is more than ten years!
Wait a minute darling…welcome to my world.
In my language things are winding.
Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that a ‘chimbwi’
Refers only to the animal ‘hyena’
It should; but does it?
In my language, you are safe if you do not translate anything.
Say ‘chikala’ and you will be cheered on
Translate that to some uncivilized language…
It’d be too civil for the hearing.
We do not name, we image in my language…
Love imaged as someone’s property
Think of a car that one really cares for…
That’d not sound real romantic in your ears…
In my language a mate would dance hearing
Being referred to as a well-tended car…
In my language, unlike yours, ‘fat’ is a compliment
Sex is communicated through naughty dances.
No one is exempted from these dances.
Even people in public offices show desire…
What you see…that’d not what you get.
The smiles carry within them deep felt grief.
They hope their loved one would come back.
He has prayed his goodbyes without facing them.
They wait for a minute; they still wait.
They sing dirges as the sun sets
There you are thinking they are morning a loss
In truth, they are rehearsing for a soon to occur demise
The disease without a name has come to visit yet again.
In my language stories are a norm
Alcoholic drinks accompany the tales
We have long known how to play our ‘ngoma’
The sound of ngoma does not mean anything to you; maybe
We know the differences in pulses;
Which announces a birth and which a death
There are fewer birth sounds…not birth to this side
Many births to the other side…
In my language Christmas is not the birth of some strange child.
It is for eating and drinking rare food and beverages.
The free range chickens know where to hide…
The greens wave with joy; they celebrate…
The not so nimble white hens pray in surrender…
The young and the old flirt…what a sight…
All adorned in new regalia…
In my language…
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