Xû- Ī Xats Ta //U Khoe Kai Words of warning to the slaves of alcohol—a Khoekhoegowab poem.

Xû- ī xats ta //āu khoe kai
//î-ī xats ta //hōma //hōma hē

Xû-ī xats ta dana mâ kai hē
//î-ī xats ta dana xoxo khoe

Xû-ī xats ta xam xam
//î-ī xats ta /nōre #gâ,

#khawuts ta
Gârets ta
!nuwuts ta
Gaoets ta

#Gâi hets ta
#Gae hets ta
Nânâ hets ta
#Gae #ha wu hets ta

Tsîts a //oa , tātsē //oa
Tāts nî //oa
//oats a!

Ō,Tanisen re, tā its tani hē re! Xû- ī xa


Alcohol diminishes you
It makes you dysfunctional

Alcohol has under hypnosis
It has made you into a hybrid, have human, halve animal

Alcohol has turned you into a lion filled with wrath
It has turned you into a ghost

You have become weak
Became unwise
You have gone backward
It rules you

It calls you
It pulls you in
It lures you
It leads you into the wrong path

You at a point where you no longer can drink
You no longer can
Don’t be a slave to it
You incapable of drinking

Behave yourself
Don’t let alcohol live your life for you


Verushcka Garises is a Namibian poet, visual artist, and primary school teacher. She specialises in dressmaking, collage, and painting. She has exhibited at the National Art Gallery of Namibia’s “Creations” exhibition in 2019. She is currently completing her poetry anthology of Khoekhoegowab.