The Misinformed Prince, By Mak Manaka

I first heard this piece at the 18th Poetry Africa, Durban. I cried tears of realisation and relief at the same time. I was so dumbfounded that I only realised after it was over, that I had a camera on my lap and could have recorded it. So, I hounded Mak to send me a copy I could read over and over again. Once I had it, I read it to a friend of mine, who by the end of my off the cuff reading, was balancing tears too.
I feel like these words may bring others the feelings it brought to the few who have witnessed it, so I am compelled to share it. Enjoy.

 

 

The Misinformed Prince

For Linn

By Mak Manaka

 

 

Behind the palace walls

Cries the lonely queen,

Her tears echo

The pain of a million women,

“Date-rape is real”.

She hands me a piece of light

While I plot to devour her pride

I mold her art

And reshape her heart

Simply because “I am a man”

But I am not man enough

To proclaim my love for her

What will she teach her son?

All men are dogs

Born in the heart of Babylon

Conceived from the sand of Mars

Because we refuse

To defuse our emotions at bars?

She sleeps covered in self-hatred

Blaming her self for your bullshit,

That same bullshit

That raised the little boy into an inferior

And stubborn Sheppard

See how he leads himself

To self destruction

Who will teach the young Prince

How to handle a woman’s emotion

When all he’s known is abuse

Who will let him know

That sometimes its ok to loose?

Young soldier

Walk away from gender oppression

And free your mind

From the corner’s unflinching

Chord progression

Be more than just a man,

Be the yellow brick

Upon where she stands

A real life fairytale

With happiness at the end

Though always remember

Truth can be hard to comprehend

Because in the face of reality

Uneasy lies the head

That wears a plastic

But still is the body that refused it

She marches against our hearts

Because we keep rapping her dignity

And corrupting her understanding of equality

Vanity has now lost her virginity

To profanity,

She is no longer secret.

Her body is now a damaged painting

We love to exhibit

Look how she laughs

Only to hide the shame,

Almost every woman I have met

Has been touched down there

When they were just young worlds

In every family lies the wicked blood

That clutches the smiles of little girls

Many young princesses

Have been crying in silent for years

Their tears falling on deaf ears

“She’s just silly girl”

Shouts the last voice they had trust in,

And so the bitterness on their skin

Thickens,

Deepens

Into nervous conditions

Careless reasons

Anger in the heart turned into burnt linen

Should a child live in fear

From her father’s laughter?

Home should not be an open space

Of constant bad weather

My grandmother was right

“bophelo ke ntwa”

Especially for a black sister

Raised by a sexist and conservative culture

Yet still, we keep unplucking her feathers

And blinding her further,

Because our dicks are not big enough

To apologize and mean it

Though I’ll be the first dick to admit it,

I am weak without her.

“ I am sorry my love”.

Behind every promise

A burnt peacock still dreams of beauty,

And behind the palace walls

A queen writes tears away from her face

Hoping that one day

You and I will learn how to listen.