Yoga Practice Where's the fire in your belly that was going to burn the Master's house?

Cat. Cow. Dog. Cobra. Pigeon.
There are rapists and racists. Cultural appropriators
Aren’t you complicit in it, you feckless bird?
Are you anything more than a mediocre fool?

Pigeon. Cobra. Dog. Cow. Cat.
Put on the full armor of God, the apostle wrote
When oppressors in the desert were the cat’s meow
When believers were complicit in their impotence

Pigeon. Dog. Cow. Cat. Cobra.
Who knew depression could feck with your soul?
Everyone everywhere is acting like a snake
Capital keeps on reproducing its injustices

Cow. Cat. Pigeon. Cobra. Dog.
The hound howls out his low b-flat
Where’s the fire in your belly, the one
That was going to burn down the Master’s house?

Pigeon. Cobra. Dog. Cat. Cow.
The best lack all conviction, that Irishman wrote
What’s going on? What and where’s the beef?
Where is the next big source of nutrition for humanity?

Cat. Cow. Dog. Cobra. Pigeon.
We hurt because we function in a dysfunctional society
Self-sabotage is best left out there, for the birds
Come, let us go out and plant our seeds

Yoga Practice, 2021. © Ondjaki.

Hugh Ellis is a media studies lecturer, photojournalist, and poet from Namibia. His first book of poems, ‘Hakahana‘, was published by Unam Press.


Ondjaki is an Angolan author, poet, and occasional screenwriter. His novels include Good Morning Comrades (2001); Grandma Nineteen and the Soviet’s Secret (2008); and Transparent City (2013) which was listed by Vanity Fair, Vulture, the Globe and Mail, and Lithub as a notable and favourite book of the year, and won the 2013 José Saramago Prize for Literature. Hope The Pitanga Cherries Grow: Tales of Luanda, his documentary about his hometown, was released in 2006. He is a member of União Dos Escritores Angolanos (Angolan Writers Union). His work has been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, German, English, and Mandarin. Ondjaki is the co-founder of Kiela, a Luanda-based bookshop, and Kacimbo, an Angolan publisher.

Cover Image: Youssef Naddam on Unsplash.