New York-based South African poet and TED Fellow Lee Mokobe doesn’t hold anything back in his poetry. His latest poem, “The Not Yet Burning Country”, makes comparisons between how South Africa handled xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia to how America, with the election of Donald Trump, is poised to deal with immigrants. The poem is in light of US President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration happening today.
“I have seen a burning country before. The kind that just crumbles and asks of its citizens to call the ruin victory,” he begins the poem. “I have seen a country break itself apart to make faggots of queer bones, and swore they saw God in the mirage of flames. They called it divine faith, elected themselves deputy Jesus’s, and scorched all that which did not look like them (See: trannies, See: fags, See: I respect gays just not in front of the children).”
He then goes on to address how people that are affected by the ills in America, end up being vilified themselves and debated if their responses are valid. “America, you are not yet burning. But there is plenty of smoke, and people arguing whether it is fair to say this smoke kills, or debating whether those who are already choking are being dramatic or truthful.”
He also goes on to mention the hypocrisy of present day America – how Native Americans were welcoming to the immigrants that are now known as Americans.
He ends the poem on an optimistic note, We will use our voices as fire extinguishers, use physical intervention as water that calms the inferno of violence and our commitment to inclusion as the sand dunes that engulfed the embers of trumpery.”