Martin Lochner

Rookie (28 April 1978 / De Doorns)

Scream: the complete poem


undaunted by mountains and rivers
and plains and predatory death
a defiant people made a great trek
in search of freedom lost

the settlers’ plough
smelted and moulded
to work a farmer’s dream
breaking stubborn ground
metal sparking darkened rock

struggling against Africa’s stronghold
battling through weeds and reeds
claiming our acre without shame
frustrated inch by bloody inch
cutting with blistered sweat
and burning toil to deliver the spoils
to a majority indigenous race

the granaries are now full
the cattle and sheep have been fattened
and now the call is for the defeated to rule
take our ancestors chipped tools
nationalise the wealth you deem ‘stolen’

embrace the misery that rages
from the Nile to the Limpopo
your promises remain promises
labour suffering as usual with

Aids/hiv
tuberculosis
overpopul ation
lack of education

etceteras of corruption and crime
the eclipse of the continent blots
the sun again.

Malema’s revolutionary call: ‘shoot the boer’
the reviled boers ripped from their farms
go to catch the midnights express
leaving this land of travail saying

when you have starved your people
get Mugabe,
Kaddafi or the
Eurasians to farm it again

leaving here is pain
nothing more to gain
flowing blood
that makes khaki stain

*2*

accusing hard-working farmers
encumbered by debt
who combed and levelled thistles and thorns
subduing stubborn veld to create

symmetrical crops and grain fields
who keep the mills grinding
bakery chimneys smoking
between four wired borders

they called their sloth their own
rising before dawn
walking alone into the fields
worries about hail or rain

succoured by a simple
leather bound faith in providence
believing our suffering to be
in proportion to what we can bear

that God controlled our fate
and that of our fragile harvest

red- eyed
sunburnt
we prayed and meditated on an unforgiving land
that thought nothing to miscarriage a good harvest
our way governed by a few non-negotiable principles:

1. do not discredit our God
2. do not deprive us of our land
3. do not disrespect our wives and abuse our children
4. do not touch our guns and never ask to drive our cars

but our generosity to complete strangers is immense
opening up
our koeksister and moer coffee kitchens
inviting them to our dinner tables
warming them with homemade brandy

and percale linen and blankets
sending unknown men and women
from our porches as lifelong friends

*3*

freedom was never offered to us
like a good-hearted man flicking
a nickel to a homeless beggar

we paid for it dearly, fighting
majestic and terrifying tribes of Z
ulu warriors
who wanted only our torture,

chanting ravaging foreigner death
of the fair-
skinned

honourable contracts and verbal agreements
for land and a right to exist
earned Piet Retief a crushed skull and
a permanent good bye
our forefathers forgot us on the big
old toe of Africa, as they fled back

with east Indian company ships
to pursue occupations growing bulbs
and maturing cheese
while we remained
meeting the barbarian hordes

who organised
themselves like
sworded red ants and no conciliatory words
to prevent the bloodshed coming
the pastor prayed:
if it is your wish dear lord,

we will perish courageously
but grant us victory in the shadow
of death and we will unify as
new peoples in this heartless country

mothers moulding lead bullets
children loading muskets
fathers dodging spears and keeping
the laager intact by
shooting and knifing the adversary
till the last battle cry echoed

andries Pretorius
believed moses
visited the slaughter site where the river
ran with blood tainting the fish eagle’s water

the price of our freedom was the death
of the pagan thousands strewn
and forgotten in the long grass
like a naughty child’s domino tiles

our dead are
buried
wounded are tended to
farming commences

*4*

plumes of smoke drift over
the karoo land
limpid blue skies
turning
grey and flaming red

one kommando farmer
seeing the smoke near his land
races his horse with a rabies mucus froth
to find his life’s work

scorched and burning
and a note dangling
on the front door

scorched earth policy,
children and
women
detained until you swear allegiance

to king and country
swinburne soldier poet compares the inmates
to whelps and dams of murderous foes
but the rednecks do better
keeping them in coops like
stray dogs or pathetic stray kittens.

bright eyed children burning with consumption
tormenting guilt of mothers failing to quench
the thirst of the young and the old,
losing their minds and feeding babies
their lacerated blood.

death camp moaning
as gangrene rots
inside tents and coverings
agonised screams as
legs and limbs are amputated.

kommandos overlooking those camps
weep over the suffering
of our loved ones
62000 die in those gentleman’s death camps
and the queen gets the cullinan diamond
for her successful campaign

fearless warriors who use att
ila acumen in the field
bring
the great empire to its lion knees
shooting them down from horseback
simple men that fight

out of a simple conviction that our land
is not going to be sucked dry
by the colonial leeches.
guerilla warriors crawling on proud knees
relinquishing their spirit
for the release of our families

the rednecks relishing the squirming
of a stubborn boer
dirty tricks succeed where battle has failed
to defeat these
fighters on the fields of war

bloemfontein decorated with the tombstones of the
albion people and their wealthy exploits

*5*

increasing feelings of insecurity
english law prevails and traitors
die in front of firing squads
and hang on the weight of their corded necks

elevated gentry smile in bronze
shakespeare
invading every street and boulevard
children receive the victorian rod for
failing english reading and grammar
the civil threats of “if i ever
hear
you speak afrikaans you will be expelled”

english aristocrats reach our shores
build mansions and elegant homesteads
along the scenic south ridges looking down on
the misery of the peoples feeling the sting
of taxed oppression and social crimes.
leaving the cape colony to claim

independence
we open a diamond encrusted hole
mining and working our wealth
a sense of pride returns

news from the witwatersrand tells that we have
found
a vein under the ground that
spurts golden blood and that
we could finance a government for free men.

trooper ships landing after hearing of inland fortunes
the reds marched,
echoing gongs
and drumming like captured monkeys.

my scottish brother did you forget the freedom cry of sir william wallace
my irish compatriot did you forget the yearning sighs of saint patrick
generals chatting up a storm
with old roman sophism
over tea with honey
become offended and declare war
using their wealth in their favour
as far as her majesties sun rises

polished button troops escape
that horrid island taking in the sun
and learning their safari trip entails
more than seeing the big five of Africa
friedrich engels notes the successes

of the industrial revolution
the power loom and spinning jenny
ransacking and mangling the bodies of
cheap laboured work house minors and woman
working them 16 hours a day in low,

damp ceilinged factories
a lack of running water and sewerage,
misery increases
manchester becomes a place of cripples and amputees

an empire clothes it’s young ones
in helmet and uniform promising them three
square meals and a few pounds to send home to
welfare families starving in english towns


*6*

we serve a cucumber sandwich queen
giving our lives in two wars

when the northern hemisphere turns mad
bi polar churchill sends us to die
in suicide missions in caen and tripoli

independence given after enough blood
is spilled and king george visits our shores
giving folk the royal wave and a practised smile

pennies and pounds beco
me rands and cents
afrikaners control

our destiny again
never! we cry
under oath

will the boers submit again
we would rather die on our feet
than crawl on our knees seeking mercy

*7*

apartheid codified, promulgated and entrenched
diseased act of our leaders to neutralize
and destroy any neurotic threat
fearing to become slaves they enslave a nation
boers exchanging khaki

for cotton lounge shirts and polyester suits
enjoying the image of the master in their gilt-edged mirrors.
black framed frowning officials zealously planning group areas
and keeping the best prime property for the new found afrikaner elite

one morning coming into district six
with earth moving machines
the army and the police smilingly
do their enforcement work
relocating complete communities
and planting them in shacks in the
dust and grime of the cape flats.

fair-skinned coloureds applying for id cards
officials testing their ethnicity by asking them to say thirteen
failing the tests they relegate them to garden ‘boys’
and kitchen girls for the rest of their natural lives
smiling subserviently for a sjambok hiding
and weekly pay that consists of half a litre harvest wine

living on ‘the book’ they never will repay the debt
to fill their stomachs and to raise their children.
neither black nor white they centre
on the humiliation that they exist

creations of prohibited enjoyment
after inter racial copulation of boer and bantu.
never really supporting the boer mandate
never integrated with the fate of the blacks

floating about and fitting the puzzle
never finding the piece that will connect their identity
in the bigger scope of things

feeling the desolation of indifference and subservience
teenagers become despondent, forming gangs
drugging, fornicating and killing themselves
into a stupor and hormonal hysteria

crying in bloody t-shirts that they also want
to be doctors, pilots and engineers
hopeless coloured boys robbing their elders on the railway bridge
sweet sixteen mommies

with clinging snot-nose babies found stealing in shoprite
dixie boys and american gangs fighting
the system against each other and afrikaner cops
coming to despatch them from this earth

wastelands of people staying in subsidized pigeon holes
overcrowded cubicle flats of cockroach misery
blocking the sewage
tripping the electricity

breaking fathers’ spirits
ogling the depths of a beer bottle
emptying a week’s livelihood
gurgling it down at the station
going home and handing small change to feed the kids

breaking mothers’ desperate hearts
working victoria street fishnet style
or getting it behind from dry dock china sailors
feeding her whelps after a night’s paid passion

rubbish collectors singing operettas
maids reciting homers iliad
boys replicating god’s finger
holding a nokia on council walls
all going to a bloody sorry waste
of humane opportunity
genius is skin deep

and the bronze on you does not fit buddy
power never shares
the english taught us well
psycho barbwire dividing:

the master and the slave
the victor and the defeated
the rich and the poor


*8*



leaving rural kraals

to find work in the cities

leaving wives and children behind

promising to send a subsistence and some letters



going to hostels and townships

working the mines

dying of asbestoses

buried in unmarked municipality graves



walking through afrikaner suburbs

looking for gardening or ironing jobs

stopped by police to check the ‘dom pass’



checking the time

running fast for the last train,

the clock rule prevails

otherwise a good beating and a night in the ping

going back to paraffin shacks

winds ripping on oil skin roofs

cold frosting and heat perspiring

on cardboard box walls



growing resentment of

whites only signs into banks, restaurants,

parks, beaches, and public toilets

verbal, physical, emotional abuse,

cursing their predicament



the neighbour cries as her husband is taken away

by the security police

beating him into a yellow service van

for anti government activities



activists sent to robben island for twenty years hard labour

tortured to a mental fry... cleverness rocking in psychiatrist ward

despatched from life in pretoria correctional facility

the wife vainly enquiring about the whereabouts of her husband



plaatjies forms the african national congress

awareness starts with steve biko dying violently in detention

bleeding empty for being a clever kaffir

resistance grows with walter sisulu

conviction increases with desmond tutu

nelson mandela cool calculator for freedom

takes the gamble for the collective relief of suffering

knowing the rivionia trial could cost him his life

not recanting he takes detention for 27 years of his

life...working ceaselessly in a confined space

to direct the apartheid theatre



the african youth rises up in the townships, throwing

the bones for their futures

burning tyres, obstructing paths, with mere

stones they confront the military,

willing to fight to the death

in sharpeville the armed forces shooting

rubber bullets, then loading live rounds

shooting children in the back as they flee



poor hector peterson picking up the last brick

gets three in the chest and dies in his brothers arms

a journalist gets that award winning picture

and the world rages calling an end to this horror



fw de klerk having his cigarette in mandela’s cell

calls a truce and works ceaselessly to start the countdown

for the end of the segregation regime

he instructs the release of nelson mandela.



outraged silence prevails in the suburbs and joy

sounds in the ghettos.





*9*



south africa decides the fate of the nation

through democracy leadership goes

to former freedom fighters and power

belongs to the poverty stricken population.





*10*



father leaves home early

not returning the evening

mother fears the worst

father talking the previous evening

of death

stroking the border scars on his body

crying “why did we die in the war! ”



mother sends me to the military graveyard

in maitland walking the numerous rows of white crosses

tombs revealing the loss of 17 years old boys

fighting the communist insurgents on the borders

of namibia and angola



finding him asleep on my oldest brothers

grave i wake him, tell him to come home.



struggling with him i never saw him sobbing before

grieving the death of his child who fought

for country and cause

cursing himself saying that he pushed his boy

to protect the homeland

from the nation’s enemy

cutting his face with the pins

of the pro patria medal and crux honorius

he received for bravery

he cries

“for nothing my child, nothing! ”







*11*



the once fervent dutch reformed church

and national party, that indoctrinated the young

to support apartheid, change their ideology overnight

and instruct the young to have a forgiving attitude



and to ask god’s grace for the

terrible sins of the fathers



teachers filling the boer youth with angst

decrying the lot of our people

preaching our downfall

and the suffering and humiliation to come.

defeated talk of elders and parents

spitting bitterness and hopelessness about any future

the young denouncing their culture and inheritance

changing their names and learning english,

playing british



signs of insipid suicide in the eyes of tomorrow’s future

principles fading

and the overwhelming sense of being sold out

gall on the swollen tongue





*12*



the wheel of power

turns steadily

the most stubborn of convictions change—

as does the constitution.



hardened afrikaner patriots

zealous former torture camp commanders

and the intellectuals of apartheid

cry and apologise for their iniquities

hug and embrace desmond tutu and his

righteous entourage of godly coloured men

and the truth escapes their lying bellies

to save themselves they bad mouth

everything that was worthy to be spared

slaughtering the spirit

of a culture that groomed



pierneef

leopold

cj langehoven

and chris barnard



confessing how under the banner of segregated politics

they killed, enslaved and oppressed out of

sheer individual pleasure to hurt.





*13*



with nowhere to go

the once mute africans chant

for justice and feverishly threaten

one bullet one boer.



azapo screams

to drive the boers into the oceans



bombarded with documentaries

and anti-apartheid propaganda

walking head down and hearing the insults, apologies

and the accusations,

i wonder who is to blame

i am just a pimply teenager

groping already to understand

my hormonal pendulum moods



one african boy approaches me and spits in my face

calling me a racist dog

keeping silent i make haste because the violent crowd

watches my every move and reaction

reason will not convince them

and death is close.







*14*

i also know discrimination

my father is a railway man

hard worker but really going nowhere

average mind and kind spirited



he does his best providing for his family

listens to the powers without question

humbly believes every word they say

good fortune for not being rebellious

teaches us the simple tenets of our inequality

unspoken rules about our conduct

if the ‘bosses’ come to visit

teaches us the tenets

that all blacks and coloureds

are inferior to white men.

teaches us wrong but believes it through habit

he lovingly protects us and guides us

to fit in to the well- programmed machine

that controls all of us.



“do not speak to the blacks unless you want to go to jail”

“do not walk with the coloureds unless you want to get

a salt bath caning at the court”

the little railway town divides into four

segregated areas

the black township outside on the national road

the coloured location on your way to the town

the railway community on the outskirts of town

the whites in the affluent suburbs

the professional and mercantile community in the hub of the town



the blacks hate all whites and some coloureds

the coloureds feel a shy contempt for the whites

and hate all blacks

the whites feeling pragmatic irritation

towards the coloureds hate all blacks

the white railway workers feel subservient

to the upper class whites

the upper class whites feel superior

to the railway class acting snobbish

and just indifferent toward the coloured folk

the attorney’s son is always class captain or prefect

the banker’s daughter is spring queen of the town fair

passing with distinction

teachers predict my future

reprimanding me for thinking

i can become a medical doctor

a railway worker like my father

i will become



*15*



the new government fast tracks

evelopment in the workplace

initiates affirmative action on recruitment

and selection of previously disadvantaged people



matriculating, straight flush of distinctions

affirmative action, no bursary

affirmative action, no work



work as a car washer, car guard, security guard

no promotion, affirmative action

work double shifts, overtime

cut back on necessities to save for my studies



study with difficulty

boarding with runny nose poor whites

passing cum laude in economics

no prospects, affirmative action

leave the country

flee affirmative action

make 7 million euros in a year

the government taxes me and calls me

privileged white aristocrat sitting on old money

*16 *

the land of the south celebrates

almost two decades of democracy
brags about the most progressive constitution
on the globe

but as old monuments are ripped apart
and street names are changed to honour freedom fighters
the country is thrown into hell

johannesburg becomes the most dangerous city
in the world to live in

hijackings
robberies
murder
ra pe
and the etceteras
of hideous crimes erupt on the scene

government fraud, corruption and misappropriation
of much-needed funds for hiv orphans and the old
overflowing, decaying derelict hospitals
and deteriorating basic services

incompetent municipalities and sewage overflowing
into the main roads of communities
devastating strikes, riots and unrest engulf townships
pregnant slums, poverty increasing

due to lack of employment opportunities
stagnant home affairs department
scamming housing developers
bankrupt broadcast company

condemned to a freedom the world celebrates
this brief history of oppression gives me
meridian flight of thought

*17*

recalling tolkien’s lord of the rings

power in the hand of any man
destroys himself and others
but who will be the burdened ring bearer
who destroys the root of all evil

dropping the symbol of power into the fiery fires
of mount doom
no more political utopia fancies for me
king’s noblest intentions do not save

the hunger of one starving baby
if he survives they give him a rally shirt to teach hate
and the boers will in turn be taught to hate back
because we are either oppressed or superior

conclusion:

i offer no solution
god forgive us all for the violations we perpetrate

against others and ourselves
this is not just a story about the boers it represents all the
red indians
negros of the american south
rainforest tribes

mayans
street children of brazil
victims of apartheid
victims of idi amin
victims of atrocities in libya, egypt, iraq, afghanistan
victims of the first world war / second world war
genocide in rwanda and sudan

victims of fascist italy
victims of fascist spain
nazis of germany and the holocaust
genocide in bosnia
aborigines of australia

victims of communist russia
victims of communist china
victims of the pol pot
victims of the tamil tigers
victims of fidel castro
the pain of the tibetans

Submitted: Saturday, April 30, 2011
Edited: Friday, May 06, 2011

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