The Vacant Spaces
Siyamthanda Mabizela

I’m from a place that screams for poverty alleviation
But dims every light of hope shining on its streets.
A place where Black on Black hatred is palpable.
Hearts are as bitter as aloe vera,
Homes as cold as ice,
Churches as barren as the Bible character Sarah.

I’m from a place that sucks the life out of dreams and chews its own people to pieces.
A community so divided but united in destroying anyone who chooses the best out of life.
A place whose misery loves company.

I’m from a place where the only businesses that thrive are bottle stores and drug dealerships. Innovation and the 4th industrial revolution have no womb to be conceived in
Unless AI can form digital prints of alcohol and drugs.
I’m from a place where you are despised for minding your own business
A place where you strike many rocks if you are a private person.
The community’s nosiness will tear down any walls of solitude.
I’m from a place where education is despised.
Registers are full yet classrooms are empty.

School children roaming on the dusty streets of this town
claiming to be tired of choking from the chalk on the board.
The local library has been gathering dust long before I was conceived in my mother’s womb.

I’m from a place where dreams shatter from a baby’s first cry.
Love and hope have no space in the vacant spaces of the people’s hearts.

A place where until you get out of it
You’ll never realize how imprisoned you are by its ignorance.