Poet Antoinette Ntuli reflects Pitika Ntuli and his work

Your bones are under my skin
January 28, 2021
Poet Antoinette Ntuli reflects Pitika Ntuli and his work


Your bones are under my skin


Your bones are under my skin, 
Poking, shoving and pushing
To be heard?
To be seen?
To be loved? 


Your bones

Embellished with stories belonging to time before time
In celestial languages carved from the first stirring of stars 
Their voices compete for attention
Strident and petal soft
Rebellious but compassionate
Often a screaming dirge 
Sometimes a drop of shimmering beauty
Their songs undo my harmonies
Fracturing the fragile equilibrium of my accommodating flesh
Your bones bend and warp in rhythm with your expansive heart

Their marrow bleeding poems for freedom

And amid the combat of our creaking cracking bones
Fighting for survival
We become a slave ship, adrift in oceans uncharted

Your bones sport images of delicate incandescence
Battling with memories of anguish
And freedom fighters,
Arms flung in abandon, graceful
Defining subtle negative spaces
Embroidered with sacred symbols, the
Universal language of first peoples 

Bead-river tributaries flowing 

Beneath undulating metallic brains

Chained at times
Provoking reverence for the soil
That has embraced our bones for an eternity

With shelter and protection

Your bones demand
And I am no longer sure that I can still see 

Beyond the lacerated flesh of our intertwining

Your bones make me restless

In their search for love and freedom 

Tearing, searing my flesh in the process

Every sinew stretched

Nerve ends unveiled, raw

Dying for resolution

I loved my best

Holding our bones in lullabies of tenderness

But will never know if it was enough 

I do know you tell a story that your people
Have been waiting for
It has been an ache in their bones
For centuries now

And can no longer be quieted


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