Don’t Talk Write ep 8 with Loraine Mponela

Interview with poet and activist Loraine Mponela.

I was not born a sad poet — Get a copy:

Socials: @LoraineMponela



Rule of Law

If you want to destroy a society,
first you have to break the rule of law.
Change how judges are appointed,
and watch the dominoes begin to fall.

Say that the judges are all activists,
and give yourself power of judicial review.
You can destroy the power of the people,
and create a government for the few.

Say that you can’t be bound by any rules,
it’s a matter of simple sovereignty.
Break away from collaborative bodies
that are tasked with protecting democracy.

Say it imposes on your liberty
to be forced to respect human rights.
Your freedom is a form of tyranny,
and no one can question your might.

You won’t respect any rules
that protect the environment.
Corporations’ needs are societies wants
in your corrupted government.

The idea that workers have rights
is a threat to your order of things.
You say peasants should serve their lords,
and your ministers should act like kings.

Arrest those who express
they’re own opinion.
Make it the law that other’s
views are seen as sedition.

Denounce as traitors anyone who
threatens your supremacy.
It’s only might that makes right
in your demented vision of democracy.

Some people say this is all mad paranoia,
it can’t happen here, anyhow.
But it’s time for the sleepers to be woke.
It’s happening here. It’s happening now.

How to Talk to Adults about War

Approach the mic with gravitas.

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Make the words seem profound, even
if you have nothing to say. Mention
something azure and something cerulean —
these are the colours of poetry.

Assume a passion if you have none.
Wear profundity as a cloak for insipid ideas.

Don’t mention war, unless it is the battle
between your soul and your flesh.
No one wants to hear of naked aggression
at the border. They will grow bored
hearing of children under accelerating bombs.

You must ignore the hunger of the victims,
and the wandering of the dispossessed.
You didn’t actually see the blood, after all,
and your nostrils never knew the smell
of sizzling flesh in a hospital that is now a target.

You aren’t self-important enough to assume
you have anything to impart to your audience
regarding either sudden violence or slow starvation
in a conflict concocted by megalomaniacs who regard
human lives as poker chips in an evening show of bravado.

Money is on the table, and your listeners will know,
by God, that you have had a sleepless night.

Epistemic Certainty in Times of War

In the age of the hyperreal, it is impossible to distinguish something from its copies, until

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shrapnel rips your material flesh and your own tears salt the wounds. As hunger rises and terror builds, suffering is epistemic certainty. Disinformation is in the air; but immutable conviction lives on the ground. Movie stars line up to join an imaginary battle for justice only to die or flee the bullets of confirmation.

This information has been verified by the independent flesh and bone of children dying in the rubble of hospitals and schools. Sometimes there’s a moment when you realise, when the judgment hits you like a ton of bricks, that all flags are false.