“Behind our smiles and somewhere deep inside each one of us, there are broken flowers of love, of loss, of relationship, and of memory.”

Mak Manaka

mak-manaka-flowers-of-a-broken-smile-cover-webMak Manaka has published two collections of poetry If Only (self-published. 2003) and In Time (Geko. 2009), as well as a dub-poetry album Word Sound Power. His work has been translated into Italian and German and has appeared in literary journals and newspapers such as Mail & Guardian, Aerodrom, Poetry Potion, Kotaz, Botsotso.

“Manaka’s pen inhabits femininity as it has never before”

-Lebo Mashile, poet. in the Foreword of Flowers of a Broken Smile

Flowers for a Broken Smile is his newest collection of poetry, dedicated to his mother Nomsa Kupi-Manaka who is a dancer/choreographer extraordinaire.

Mak Manaka

Mak Manaka (img by Flo Mokale. Still Skill)

“The poems in my collection attempt to sincerely and openly express the joys and pains behind the smiles of the women in my life that have raised me, loved me, shared tears with me, and taught me, how and what it means to be a man…”

-Mak Manaka

To get the book you can contact the publisher, The Ink Sword on their Facebook Page or via email. You can also contact Mak directly on Facebook. Here is a selection of some of the poems in the collection.

Flowers of a Broken Smile

Women In My Blood

I want to cancer
with my mother,
Know when to
hold her eish…
Slow walk Chemo
with a smile
Swallow motherly pains
and other volcanoes
without explosions of sweat

I want to woman
like my grandmother
and teach without teaching
Learn to find love
in sacrifice
but never for a lover
who cannot love

I want to percussion
dancing mountains
out of my mind
and bend time
like my great
grandmother’s heart
always chanting
to her own rhythm
And like moving waters
my mother knows
we’ll find a way
coz bloodlines don’t rot
unless by choice

A Lonely Kiss

Once I was in love
with a woman
who lived inside
a glass dream
She stole my legs
and stoned my sky

I have seen brown nights
swallow cries
between cursing thighs,
with yellow tongues
and smiles rusting
through crack-ing lips

I fell in love
with a promise
She folded days
into nightmares
with rotten kisses
and lonely looks

The Best Of Fools

I am in love with the illusion of beauty / imprisoned by her insecurity / I am drowning in the waters of passion / poisoned by her love / she is a prostitute’s dream / singing drugs / and dancing to the beat of fame and friendly thugs / a tamed lioness / she blames her mother’s past for her shame / running game in my name / hustling Joburg for snow / look how she is slowly losing her glow / loves to argue but has no clue / now i know / I have been the best of fools / I fell in love with the illusion of an altered tune / she sleeps with open eyes / reciting my dreams / queen of despair / stuck in the sadness of my yesterday / she only loves me when I am here

Letter To My Person

Peri peri face
Atchar monate body
Slenda sa ma khathalog
Taxi to my Bara
You my Zola Budd
I love you with all
my heart and wind
My morning gwinya and special
The chicken in my dumpling
You and me Streetwise Two forever
why you throw me away, but?
I still chakalaka for you
You are the Kaizer Chiefs of my eye
My Phefeni glamor girl
My finger lickin’ bone of Kentucky

The Silence Of A Pen

I do not trust myself
around an open page
My impulsive pen
wants to burst out
inside of her book

I do not have enough words
for her soft lips
to embrace my lines

How do I write
when I cannot hold
the poem she recites?


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