Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Writing the Ungovernable

Lesego Rampolokeng
Lesego Rampolokeng, Public Lecture, Faculty of Humanities, Rhodes University, 12 June 2012

Artaud: ‘That trick you have of always turning your back on questions will not prevent the heavens from opening up on the appointed day and establishing a new language in the midst of your imbecile tracts. We mean the tracts of your ideas.’

Fanon: ‘My final prayer : oh my body, make of me, always, a man who questions.’

Pasolini: ‘The real Marxist must not be a good Marxist. his function is to put orthodoxy and codified certainties into crisis. His duty is to break the rules.’

(what WARS BANTU EDUCATION crimes against human minds---

The wedding Music-lyrics of inferiority’s internalisation : ‘tswang tswang tswang

   le mmoneng….ngwana o tshwana le lekhalate’…(‘come out & see her…see how beautiful she is…
                 the bride is so beautiful she looks ‘coloured’’

___grandma’s compliment : ‘jy’s so ‘n mooi kaffir

                                                        Jy lyk net soos King George’

The writings of hydroquinone went deeper than skin-tone to graffiti inside the cranial-wall

Ek hardloop met ‘Die bang-worsie….’

En ‘daar kom Jan Ballie an…hy lag so hie hy lag so ha hy Lag so hiehahahaha’

Tessa & Die Grensvergter…fighting die uitlanders…

Savage, Slaughter, Cool…SA Clint Eastwooden enuff for the brazier-smoke that made Soweto-dusk such an exotic sight

HE-MAN, she & Chunky Charlie
                 Who could have pulled a less absurd idea of my liberation
                   out of his coat were his name Nikolai Gogol

& CHINWEIZU’s ‘the west & the rest of us’, a social stratification bubble-burst…
the native who caused all the rubble cometh

As mista Jack Goody too-loose broke down ‘the domestication of the savage mind’
Charles DICKENS & outs & ins-&-outs left generations of children’s heads turned to marsh/mush, K-Y jellied….yes, he preached my annihilation, a final solution to the kaffir-problem

As he wagged his ‘tail of two faeces’ he called up the savage to come grunting onto & out of his bloody paper-shits/sheets. scat-tracts.

Thus it was I wished Senghor’s head in the blocked toilet of waste-thoughts when he said ‘emotion is completely negro as reason is greek’ & lifted Soyinka on my scrawny shoulders when he butt-plugged him ‘Senghor’s negritude not only accepted the dialectical structure of European ideological confrontation  but borrowed from the very components of its racist syllogism’.


Gibson Kente…wailing out a Sikhalo that grew up to be a question: How Long
(& Mphela Makgoba echoed in verse…/urging me ‘run, boy, run’---making of the SOWETO anagram: ‘sons of women enslaved, terrorized, offended’

I’d been  scratching my locks off in wonder at the ‘I love Soweto’ stickers my people covered their arses with. asking myself how one could express positive emotion for a slave-labour camp? I sat, saying with Michael Smith ‘mi cyaan believe it’…until…along came Mista Sepamla’s ‘the Soweto I love’…oh yes, love for self..& Sam Mhangwane’s Unfaithful Woman….(I can’t be disillusioned if I never harboured illusions to start/fire-fart with)…I sat, staring at James Mthoba’s Visions of the Night, yes, I sat, deep in Dukuza ka Macu’s Night of the Long Wake…awaiting the Soweto Dawn that Mike Makgalemele later blew out of his horn.(yes, I said with Ngoaps ‘I was born there, I will die there’ as I sat, in that hell of apartheid design…frozen, cramped between Jimmy Cliff’s ‘House of Exile’  & Dambudzo Marechera’s House of Hunger.& I was alienated, ravenous.

I sat. & Kippie Moeketsi blasted on thru from the Scullery Department…(much like fleeing the buggery compartment) & wafted high up on alcohol fumes    & into my cold-as-the-Mageza-funeral-undertaker refrigerated-dreams.                     

& Harare called up the communal in me :’if you give…a little bit of what u have’…

I sat, waiting to GIVE words that would celebrate life & denigrate strife.cos ’I am the watcher’, along with Serote, so I sat as Teenage Lovers bobbed on a Hammond organ…& The Movers made Spirits Rejoice amid squalor born of scorn

& the big Kimberley hole swallowed, yawned…& spoke in red, wet syllables as I sat. & sit still…
where …‘the revolution has been postponed’, as Sony Labou-Tansi said & I awaited death since he stated ‘to die is to dream a different dream’

As Matsemela Manaka’s  ‘let art be life’ turns into ‘the wet fart of strife’

Still, with Maishe Maponya ‘We March’…even as the theatre of the dispossessed

Becomes the amputator of the retrogressed…

     & Lefifi Tladi’s  Black Lightning strike ‘We are the Elephant’-
          Black Consciousness -chant becomes a wheezy Red Ant rant for rent

-- it is time again for Dumile Feni’s African Guernica

For Thami Mnyele’s black art of tragedy…that rises out of the deep & dark river of blood
& gardens sprouting heads with flowers growing out them like Fikile Magadlela drew.

The English literarily canonized Racism

& I found myself getting ridden Haggard
From here to where my people broke their spines going down into King Solomon’s mines
& from their cashed flesh & bartered bones rose Johannesburg.

Dread encountered Uncle Tom’s cartoon children step-n-fetchin all over Disney’s cloverland

That’s when I took a Aime Cesairean Return to my Native Land…running

& I ran as Jean Binta Breeze became a dub-storm hurtling thru sounding out ‘watch out…AID travels with a bomb!’...

yes, there is a time for the burning & looting need…for both the poem & the bomb. This much we learned from Agostinho Neto.

Thus I ran…Amilcar Cabralised to howling with Ginsberg,(howling) not at the moon but at Armstrong…the Apollo creed was a bad seed. for as the Purple Prince said : ‘sister killed her baby cos she couldn’t afford to feed it yet we’re sending people to the moon…& if the night falls & a bomb falls will everybody see the dawn?’

I ran…from throwing stones & the (dynamite) sticks of june ‘76 to tossing alternative Afrikaans rock with James the beboptist Phillips….cherry & cheery-faced Lurcher/ (some got shot down in the street & some got the third-force blues…hou my nie so vas nie korporal…

Getting Funked up & Punked out with the Warrick Soniced surfer…. the Khalagadi bleeding sound  like that other desert gushing oil around death)

Ingoapele Madingoane – scratching beginnings & endings out in the south western township gold-&-broken-human-bone-dust

& it threw an axe into his skull while he sat on a toilet….that is how sewer-bound poetry is written…Even as, from the guerilla camps…dressed as if for high-fashion ramps:

‘jou vokken maskanda’ was military might’s denunciatory thundering down on The Artist…
of ANY form or formation)

& I ran, from sketches & recitations to….drawing, scrawling, scribbling beyond Grada Kilomba’s Plantation Memories & Prophecies in the blood-flesh-bone-brain-dust mix of liberatory ART….as power yells ‘cut’ & I realize,’ damn, I missed my cue’, but that’s nothing. been missing those since my juvenilia.

FiLmic Race-hate

       From SILIVA the Zulu…DINGAKA…SHAKA ZULU…from dusk to the Dawn of the Dread runs the black bodied exotic object…along came barefoot-dread Muta, rasta tutor against Vatican pasta-brains, ’dis poem shall be continued in your mind’ …but all the devil wanted to do was go up the native’s behind : slime-choice : ‘kaffir-vrou, die tronk of die bosies…’kaffir woman, jail or the bush’ & of course power spred the black coosh…

eLollipop…chocolate-baby pop & drop…from there to Mshefane

My people couldn’t help cooning, cheerful in babbling buffoonery, grinning, blackamooring their way all over the BLACK HOLLYWOODEN world

‘burn Hollywood burn’—public enemy number one
& the screen tears up, celluloid shimmers, goes to toast
          like it did in Jesus giving up the ghost
yes, ’there’s a zulu on my crap’, said mista baas, scratching his serrated arse.

--- compare with “the cinema of heresy “– HIS nemesis

Thus, at one with the Blade Runner’s prey, I can say : ‘I have seen things you people wouldn’t believe’
 So where was I to place Nicanor Parra writing  ‘the poet’s only duty is this :
to improve on the blank page../..i doubt that is possible’ & still ‘write as you want /
too much blood has gone under the bridge / to go on believing / that only one way is possible.’


(Billy Paul’s ) War of the Gods
   (became a silly jol) Gore of the Hordes
        Whoring in Words…I stand & stare…’the horror…the horror’
                                             indeed (apocalypse there & then)

THE BIBLE as a racist document)
                – grandmother’s hands Bill Withered around The Bible
Is two sets of Crooked lines running all the way from Genesis to Revelations
Of…WHAT?----catholic versus black consciously poetic missions ---
                            I had two baptisms at Regina Mundi---soaked in more than just fire, water
                                               & spirits both holy & other-liar-wise-driven
                                                                                           to self-identification
----- & then the morphology of Liberation Theology
                (from Soul on Ice- Eldridge Cleaver to SOUL ON LICE, head on fire, Ramps

the right-left-about-turn-salute-zombie-talking Reverend Chikane’s seven un/holy days that choked the ‘I ham an African’-cry in London-bound champagne-sounds of meekness, expedient politics & e-toll tricks. Treason & chicanery.  Soul-sales to the naaierst bidder. & pick-pork the Cheshire cat creamed itself when the church-bell rang. No mouse climbed up the clock…but it was a louse that disappeared up the frock.
Out of this south’s multiple, putrefied moralities….(& not from its petrified papyrus either…but more from the Khoisan’s caves that defy erosion) my lost childhood, travelling with Artaud’s  electro-therapeed-on nerves, screams out of my catholicized-to-senility mouth: “we don’t give a damn for your canons, index, sin, confessional, clergy, we are thinking of another war – war on you, Pope, dog....”

here spirit confesses to spit as Anthony B chants in chorus with us :
‘fire ‘pon Rome, fe Pope Paul & him scissors & comb’
Indeed, we are Bound to Violence with Yambo Ouologuem.
& Richard Pryor proved to be just that. He pried that tomb-talk open, stood it up & made comic of  it, thus: ‘the reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullshit’.

I agree. so, mom, I think I might just be a vampire. From now on kindly call me Count Blackula.
 & hence, my Robin black Hood ambition:
steal from men of the cloth & give to women of none

Colonial Literature…got me thinking blue…several blues…the blue of eyes, of collars, of some blood…& I bled til Mista Gwala  sang me ‘no more lullabies’ but LIBERATION BLUES 1974, mourning Onkgopotse Tiro parcel-bombed up in the murder-church service of  the god of pigmentation (& yessah, I realized then that ‘me listening to jazz is not leisure / it is a soul-operation’ & I knew then I had to choose between Jol’inkomo (that is, in his words ‘bringing lines home to the kraal of my black experience’ or Yakh’inkomo, to OUTCRY with bawl the anguish like a cow being slain…& decided there was nothing bovine about me…& so… I took to Staffriding…all the way from Phefeni to HERE.
Rhodes,  yes, the devil literature of craniometers & penciled skulls…the anthropology of hate & the psychology of race. Pederasty. a prostituted people. they made me do it. the Art of Darkness.
Master’s call & slave’s response. ‘let there be spite’, sayeth the powered, sick horde. & it was right. Kentucky Fried Chicken-winged. & the whips come down & thick lips are glued tight. the scream bounces backward but the blood splashes all across my antiquity & posterity’s book-pages. Whitelight.

5 nights multiplied history-long with Linton Kwesi Johnson I bled
Came out of it Screaming in Voices of the Living & the Dead.
Yes, they do. Dead Voices Shout.  bra James Matthews is witness to it,
 ‘the hate that hate produced’, as spoken of by Malcolm the X-is-black-man.
Baraka went there, to the edge of fear. black dada nihilismus.(against what light-skin?)
No, ‘black is not what white is not. black is black’…Lemn Sissay had THAT myth to slay.
& yes. ‘they want your black arse, not your Black Art’, Rux rear-views it.
(& as in that "Fourth Poem of a Canto of Accusation" that Costa Andrade wailed out of Angola, we also know the dead whom no one buried, like Lumumba.
& how corpse-stacks became rungs the Aryan raced up to superiority on
Alongside Tin Tin in the Congo cutting out rubbered tongues
Laughing all the while & in the lounges of expansionist whiteness
Was the breaking of more than just a smile
& Cesaire spent a night in communion with the Lumumba spirit
Even as Jesus gave up King Leopold’s Ghost
Another holocaust…why bother counting the Hollow Cost
Of black skins when white masks crack?
my RHODESian RANT:   (dedicated to Cecil John Rhodes)

not rhyming, son...envenomation this

the scheme's a toxin...cerebration poison

intellect-crack like chest-plate buck

in full-metal-jacket talk...

santa puss
       & father piss-mass
                  bring disease as present
countdown to 'ah-mama-get-on' this

hoarse men of the epoch-eclipse
keep my name off your pork-lips

peace in your uterus
       piss on the mattress
            each a piece of the universe

gift of the rabid...(i got that
next mongrel tones

my generation break-beaten into line
                                 pornography pageantry
sah, faecal & cum-stains post-bum-invasion
                                      never con-sanguineous with my ancestry
thus my telescopes     your rectal-probes

superstars, asteroids/arse-steroids & haemorrhoids
all things i try to avoid
now) time's stuck a fist so far up my rectum
it's waving Amandla out of my mouth
(what a boneless slogan to chew)

THUS) cecilia joan rhodes? pissed to meat you
dread your cervix.

---& last, my governing ideal:
 no need to search for me
i’m right the words i write
get off that tour-bus to soweto...
sitting up in there like it is zoo-time...
let ME 'take you on a walk thru hell'
give me a pen & u can be sure it won't be 'one-armed-struggle'
my ambition is to be...'reactionary',as defined by the current atmosFEAR
 or should that be counter-revolutionHARRY,dirty or otherwise?

don't like my asbestos-crack-busted lung-wage?  
 safari-suit-&-straitjacket yourself
u don't get it...well, maybe it was never there to be got.

'rhyme HARD'...was ntate mofokeng's advice...
(been trying a lifetime, sah...pulverised crap, it bounce rite the hell back...

no,i am no late-hippie/liberal/metro-textual...ahm...sexual anything.
just striving to impossible task, it seems.
but i'll never write to anyone’s brain-dead dictates...
as ARTAUD says :
‚we are surrounded by roughneck popes, scribblers,critics, dogs;
Our spirit is among the dogs, whose thoughts are immediately earthbound,
who think inorrigibly in the present.’
unquote,as the scalpel said to the throat while i beam myself to the future.
for, as Mista Mthoba said :
we often wonder whether there is any school in this country
that can satisfactorily teach us how to crit black theatre.
the best school we can think of is inside the theatre.
critics should not wag their tongues from
outside the theatre...“...furthermore ‚if your contemporaries do not understand you, it is okay.
the next generation will.“
so gwaan,bring the critical hate
what do they want,? cow-dung poetry, goat-droppings mapping the literary path? fuckcuff!
i flex it much the mentalhighway, punkarse...u want what 'oh massa gore-dam' barf/coonery?

'we live in a society where manhood is about conquering and violence, man'.. – Powell
'call me NOT a MAN,
For neither am I a man in the eyes of the law,
Nor am I a man in the eyes of my fellowman '... – Mthuthuzeli Matshoba
'i am no big black man...i am a blackmanchild'.. –Serote
(Phefeni boy signing out: be all the man u want, sir...u are just not me.
peace to your uebermanliness...u are just too stressed to impress, count me out,
unlike yr grandfather's gout
Poor Righteous Teachers over crapitalist-studio-created-thugs, anyday!

*Trying to luv you, S.A. you are just making yourself so totally unlovable. always have. & I’m just your son, prodigal or not, trying to come home. with a bag of books, music & art the Sasol 3 were traded for…& the guerilla-poet Solomon Mahlangu wrote his will in his own blood when Goch street was not far from Russia. Mayakovsky was there.

showing me appreciation/respect shouldn't depend on whether or not u can draw a line between me & some euro/american (caucasian or otherwise)!
before & (independent of) yr non-ME references.
                                                    i AM. & i create.