Push/Pull

A Poem

By Nkateko Masinga

Beware of prosperity poets
and their obsession with softness.

Be wary of the push to pen odes
when the pull to write raw truths is stronger:

The push says,
Describe the softness of a pillow,
albeit tear-drenched.
The pull says,
Aforementioned pillow belongs to a widow,
heart-wrenched.

Be careful with your softness.

The first hands to touch you were not your mother’s,
but she was the first to hold you.
She carried you until she was instructed to push you
and you were pulled from her softness
into this hard world.

Be wary of the push to pen odes
when the pull to write raw truths is stronger:

The push says,
Describe the softness of a blanket,
albeit blood-stained.
The pull says,
Aforementioned blanket belongs to a newborn baby,
innocent.

Beware of prosperity poets
and their obsession with softness:

They will tell you to write about soft things
as if your entire life hasn’t been as tough
as the ground beneath your feet
and the calluses on your hands
from decades of  hard labour

They will tell you to write about soft things
until you write yourself to death for them
and even then,
people will come to see the hard things:
your coffin (solid wood exterior)
your grave (concrete lining)
and maybe,
by virtue of blood,
the soft things inside.