Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Photo credit: Andre Benz. Source: Unsplash.

the trouble with crying at Times Square

is that you are a body in a sea of bodies

sailing from one heartbreak to the next


the year is new & you are still just you,

except older, with less apartment space


& less breathing space and a neon red

flash flood alert on your phone screen


you blend into the scene. a neon green

woman dances at an intersection, joy

seeping out of every painted pore. you


offer her your metro card and a smile.

you are soon leaving this city anyway


at 7th Avenue and Broadway, you break

down again, affirming the threat of flood


this scene would be good, so good, if you

were auditioning for a breakout role in a

tear-jerking play about immigration law


& prozac prescriptions. but you are not.

you are merely grieving your twenties


& a failed loan application & a romance

lacking romance, the American dream


a splintered mess at your callused feet.

& this brightly lit city? it neither sleeps

nor sees you weep amid its neon lights




Nkateko Masinga is a South African poet and 2019 Fellow of the Ebedi International Writers Residency. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2018 and her work has received support from Pro Helvetia Johannesburg and the Swiss Arts Council. She is the interviewer for poetry at Africa In Dialogue, an online interview magazine that archives creative and critical insights with Africa’s leading storytellers. She is the author of a digital chapbook titled “The Heart is a Caged Animal, published by Praxis Magazine. Her latest work has been selected by the African Poetry Book Fund, in collaboration with Akashic Books, for the 2020 New Generation African Poets chapbook box set.

Tags: , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."


Kwame Dawes’s “Yard Boy”: A Powerful Poem for Our Moment


Kwame Dawes recently wrote a poem titled “Yard Boy” that speaks to the recent events surrounding the death of George […]

Teju Cole’s Spotify Playlists Offer Musical Solace for These Times


Among Teju Cole’s many talents is his ability to curate music that captures a mood or even the feel of […]

Petina Gappah to Write Play About the Censorship History of Dambudzo Marechera’s Novel Black Sunlight

Untitled design

Petina Gappah recently announced that she was writing a play that focuses on “the 1982 banning and unbanning” of Dambudzo […]

Oh, Blessed Bri’Land | Jedah Mayberry | Fiction

fiction brittle paper Jedah Mayberry

Bri’Land glistened at me, her brilliant display of pink sand shimmering in delight.  It would seem that I had finally, […]

Books That Go with Wine and Books That Don’t

literary lifestyle wine and books

The beverages most associated with reading are tea and coffee. But many readers love to cozy up in bed with […]

In This House | Inok Rosemary | Poetry

poetry brittle paper inok rosemary

  In this house, we sift our words, Never letting the walls hear what they shouldn’t. The fear of their […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.