Cheswayo Mphanza

                                                                                    “Love TKO”

I do believe you Teddy Pendergrass;
I too have been on the rope-a-dopes

of love, soaking in fists from women
who do not believe a man can be down,

but I am obsessed with the body;
its gentle measures, holes and ridges,

soft cuts and dips. I want to take care
of the body. Provide and preserve

imperturbable layers of skin to coat
the flesh after its shedding. Soothe

its unseen agony even nudity cannot
make transparent with all its talk

of vulnerability and tenderness.
When I make love Teddy, I want

to feel symphonies led by mad men,
their brutish genius nestling and

rustling in the underbelly; the bone’s
moans and crackling grooves.

The lower frequencies of the voice.
I want to crash with them, re-create

the cacophonous sounds and bellows
of my primitive past, my despair

and longing to be wrapped in the
charged electric, elasticity of the body.



Cheswayo Mphanzawas was born in Lusaka, Zambia and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He earned a B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing from Middlebury college. His work primarily focuses on intersecting the diasporic community. He has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Columbia University, and Cave Canem. He is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at Rutgers-Newark.




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