Shebeen Living

Shebeen Living

A Story by martinos74

This is about a afternoon / evening I spent in the local Shebeen bar in the hills of Lesotho All of the characters are true It was an inspirational day

My appointment's late,
It's starting to rain,
It's a dusty afternoon,
and it's Africa time.
I need to take cover,
with a friend of mine,
so head to the Shebeen,
just to feel alive.

A dark, empty room,
A fridge full of beer,
2 large ones please,
and i'll pull up a chair.
The room starts to fill,
One by one,
The clouds trade places,
With the burning sun.

Enter the local priest,
with his big pot belly,
He's been to Durham,
He's studied, he can't swim,
but he's back with his people now.
Spread far and wide over the hills,
he visits them all asking for contributions,
to keep their names on the list of the saved.
He tells me of the latest miracle turning piss into generator fuel,
As he walks off to piss against the makeshit toilet that is a wall.

My appointment is late,
but I'm in no hurry.
They might not even find me here,
Hiding in this special place,
but that's no worry.

Enter the local madman,
Begging me for beer,
I give him a sip, which he takes through his blackened teeth,
I regret this instantly and now I'm his friend,
We all fill his glass, which is gone in a second,
Soon replaced with his own white, bitter tasting homebrew,
which gets him whipped out of the bar ungracefully as regulars look on and laugh.
Later I spot him outside someones house, lifting weights made of stone, 
Almost falling and breaking his back.
But he's still around,
not really caring.
But still I feel pity.

It's Friday afternoon,
The bar is filling.
Inside it's so so dark,
Outside the sun still shining.
I track down my appointment,
who's band I was to record,
I sense bad energy so continue to drink and ignore.

Enter the chief of the village,
She's a lady to my surprise,
Old, wise, crackling face,
With a walk of confidence and grace.
She's accompanied by a man with a Kaiser Chief's hat,
He was a FIFA referee all across Africa,
What should I believe here in this cosy, remote bar, in the hills of Africa?

A few beers down and I start to stagger,
That switch is turned on and my nose turns to dagga,
Crammed full of seeds, roots and branches,
Chuck in the newspaper,
and light it with matches.
Poof, paff, pam,
I take it down,
Sing, sing, sing,
laugh like a clown.

I shell out a beer for my new acquaintances,
22 and 26,
Innocence etched on their faces.
Ink etched onto their skin,
Names of their lovers,
And the mark of their gang,
Caught stealing gold from the mines in SA,
How it happened they just wouldn't say.
It's a long story for another day.
But they're back here now,
In this mountain kingdom,
back with their people,
back with their freedom.

Life is hard though,
waking up every day surrounded by mountains,
I see this as beauty,
every direction they see a barrier,
to their hopes and ambitions.
The winter is cold, to get food is a chore,
Some days you wake and don;t want to walk out the door.
Heat some water to press out the cold,
blankets heavy with snow and ice,
when all i do is press a button,
to warm up my life.

My appointment is gone,
I leave too,
I record the band alone,
not as I had hoped, but it will do,
I take some food and drink a beer,
Then my intrigue taps me on my shoulder and asks me
"What you doing here?"

I head back to the Shebeen,
This time it's pitch dark,
We pass some shadows as we stagger,
We pass some strangers and smell the dagga
Slipping through the thorns, we find the doorway,
Dark, black, dark.

One solitary candle burning in the darkened bar,
6 dark faces, suddenly so unfamiliar,
This place now seems a little eerie,
Without the safety of light,
I start to feel weary.
I drink my beer quickly and retreat a safe distance,
This day dealt me such good cards,
I'd be a fool to persevere,
This day on the mountain,
Good people,
Good laughter,
Good feeling,
and Good beer.

Malelea, Lesotho, Africa : March 2013
This is about a afternoon / evening I spent in the local Shebeen bar in the hills of Lesotho All of the characters are true It was an inspirational day

© 2013 martinos74

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Added on June 23, 2013
Last Updated on June 23, 2013
Tags: underground poetry, spoken word, poetry, acoustic, travel




I'm interested in exploring poems, stories, words, rhythms, lyrics and sounds. more..

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