Home Literature/Poetry Smokes on Screen – Poetry from a Refugee Camp

Smokes on Screen – Poetry from a Refugee Camp

Smokes on Screen – Poetry from a Refugee Camp
Illustration Courtesy: Freepik

Charles Lipanda Matenga, born in DR Congo, raised orphan, and living in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi, shares three of his poems

Charles Lipanda Matenga is a published poet, writer, author of Our Voice is Our Catalyst Anthology with Salvador CapBic and performer in Slam Poetry from our talents, our advocacy festival, Tumaini Festival and Zomba City Festival. He is the first poet to perform United Nations Day commemoration on 31 October 2023 and National Youth Policy Launch 2023-2028 in Malawi.
Charles Lipanda MatengaHe was born on 2nd July 2005 in DR Congo. He never saw his father as a result he was raised by a single mom, called Sada Magdaleine who also later died when he just turned five years old. The author has been living in a tremendous life in which he once wrote in his poem ‘Angel of Bread’, “For the death is the only storehouse of struggles.” He also attempted to commit suicide due to starvation that overwhelmed him in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi where he is a refugee. The Congolese poet is also optimistic. He proves this mostly in his poetry where he writes about hope, dream and future. He is one of the founders and the president of African Youth Artistic Poetry – AYAP where children and youth are trained for poetry and one of the organizers of Our talents, our advocacy festival which takes place in Dzaleka Refugee Camp at UBUNTU, Dowa Malawi. Poetry is his savior, his joy, and psychotherapy for the soul.
Dzaleka Refugee Camp
Charles is currently in his refugee home, with his co-author, Ruth Takodwa, working on an anthology of his poetry, titled, ‘Being a Refugee Wasn’t a Choice’…

Smokes on Screen

Words heal

Words kill

Spoken, said or told

Still make you cold

For their freezing point


Faces talk too much than mouth can walk

Standing afar

Waiting for someone you’ve never seen before

Chilling hot wind pressing your body

Dead air swirling in living lake


People can call you guilty

For being more insecure than the starved

Is your skin color scaring them?

Or just your lively presence in their golden castle?

Their eyes rolling down

Like Tsunamis waving waters

Terrifying you to the breaking of the arteries in brain

As drifting and cracking of questions in your mind, driving you insane


Life is the smoke on screens

Blurred from seeing what is inside

Keep on taking risks

Till your legs swell and ooze

Slipping and piercing into the folded box

For it’s the closed flower

Waiting for it to open


Life is the dust particles on the mirror

Shaded by the attraction of multiplication in mutation

Image is blurted only if you tussle your tackles in wrestles

Don’t say your plans before your achievements

Or else the beast will effectively ruin your trajectory


Never hold back

Even if you’re irritated or black

Voice can be twang, tutting

Erupting thoughts flooding in your head

Rendering you to a better life


H-old tightly onto your dreams

Open your heart and soul to the steams

Live as there is no tomorrow

Die from horror to shocked marrow in narrow


Breathe without stopping

A-s you’re feeling as if you’re out of control

C-rooked words twisting in laughter

Kneeling in eyes of lies


Blood and guts overlaying and overlapping

Ghost stories spreading as fast as the rays of the sun

Close your eyes

What do you see?

Listen to your heart

What does it tell?

Touch your soul

How does it feel?


Blood and thunderstorms smashing and faulting

Ceasing Mt Babylon down

For the heaven is near

But smokes on the screen are seen sinless


Smoke on Screen - Harsha Perera
Image Courtesy: Harsha Perera

If Not Now, When?

Next time is the house undecorated yet blindly painted

It’s the dim bulb that fails to lighten inches of the page

It’s the tongue with dead cells filled with mild taste

Next time sleeps too loud in silent waves


Fears are the blocks of your progress

Hindering you from chasing your mirage

That lies in the midst of the mire

You’re indefatigable and indomitable

Don’t swiftly hold indrawn breath

Keep sinking and drowning to catch it


Don’t wait for tomorrow

For your victory is now

Make it as indentation in history

Success blooms, bleeping as beeping

As long as indispensable courage pours on it

Mirthful results stretch through folding stoned walls

If you’re dedicatedly aiming higher


Studying aimlessly is like muttering indistinct words

It’s a blight on your life

For you’re indolent

It’s the indelible blemished blisters on the brain

Bloated with indictment and indenture

Spilling indelicate indemnity

For it’s indefensible indignity


Indulging in destruction of education

Yet others are persistent in motivation

It’s the disturbance of little intelligence you have from depredation

Being blown like blimp dove above to deposition

Miming and mimicking, that’s not inspiration


Failure wilts as old and dry as flowers

If you no longer do things at whim

Consistency is the weapon of achievement

Denaturing infamy with insistence

Resistance still not leads to nuisance

For you have discovered that

No more other time than now

But now


Mary told Jesus

It’s still too early to teach

It’s still too early to preach

But Jesus asked “if not now, when?”


My voice is blazoned across your blatant ears

Blipping as flashing light on the sky screen

Displaying bleak prospect

Yet you’ll still hear bleat in my absence

And forget what I said in the presence

Don’t be bleary-eyed blathering indiscreet


My words are bling

Like blinking, my life is

Disparage me not

For I’m not in insanity

Though I’m sounding like Polyphonic


I am the living


Malai Camp
Refugee Camp in Malawi

My Death Is Near

I am in the darkness

Strolling the pavements

I am drunker of death

Consuming bottles of poison ivy

I am hater of life

Dissenting starvation

I am tired of the future

For it seems to delay

But now my death is near

Please burry me here


Jasna Gugić - Croatia- Sindh CourierReceived poems and introduction of poet from Jasna Gugić, a renowned poet and writer from Croatia 




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