This Isn't Africa

by: Joana Dey

This poem first appeared in No Holds Barred #16 and is re-printed here with the permission of the publisher and author. No Holds Barred is still in print and available.


Sometimes Bodie, you're such a dumb crud!
Do you know what it does to me?
Sitting here, watching you thrash around
as if the very demons of Hell --or worse--
were after you?

You're always yelling at me:
Be careful, Ray.
Lock your doors, Ray.
Don't take chances, Ray.
Stupid sod, Ray!

So, Bodie-mate, what would you call this?
Taking a blade straight through the back door
to your ribs?


I just can't...believe...I'm sitting here,
crying in tune with your shallow,
in-barely-out puffs of air.

There's good in you, Bodie.
I know you're struggling against the prejudice

that comes from your own private Hell.
But Christ, Bodie, what did you do,
what did you say to make them leave you,
to die?

You're lucky, sunshine. We're lucky.
I'd be lost without you.
Who'd make sure I was careful,
to lock my doors, to not take chances?
And who'd be around to pick up the pieces,
if I wasn't, and didn't, and made a mistake?

You're gonna win, Bodie-mate.
You'll beat the blade and keep on breathing.
And some day, Bodie,
I promise,
You'll see.
This isn't Africa.