Monday, August 20, 2012


morning |ˈmôrni ng |
the period of time between midnight and noon, esp. from sunrise to noon 

It's the painful process of letting go. It's a choice to trust in decisions, to trust in intentions, to trust words. It's a confrontation of my own insignificance, an acceptance of my limited reach. It's a fleeting moment of self-acceptance, of self-love. It's a choice to be. It's a choice to relinquish control in favour of happiness. It's a choice to relinquish thought in favour of action. It's a choice to relinquish fear in favour of skin. It's the banishment of self-doubt. It's a stepping out, claim staking, the proud announcement that I too am worthy.

Monday, July 9, 2012


father |ˈfäðər|
1 a man in relation to his natural child or children

Will you call him 'father'? The emaciated man, pale with dust in the glare of a yellow highway light stoops again to pick up with his tired back the weight of his generation. He bends and sweats, his calloused hands strong and sure around his struggle for freedom, for hope, for sunlight. Will you call him 'father' as you pass at ten past midnight on a Sunday, staring out at the lights of a city that you love but do not know? You will watch him grow to the size of ominous machines, dozing in the shadow of industry and development until he moves and scrapes and weeps into the hands that have no room to clutch the crumbs of his efforts or the body of his child, no time to caress the hips of his lover or a new blade of grass. The man will sweat on the highway until he crumbles into the pale dust around the freedom and hope and sunlight of his sons. Will you call him 'father'?                                               

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


poetry |ˈpōətrē; ˈpōitrē|
literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm; poems collectively or as a genre of literature : he is chiefly famous for his love poetry.

Let's change the variables. Let's adjust one 'yes' to 'no'. Let's see how many changes lead to Tom Waits days, to daisy sadness and small-town beauty pageants. Let's kick the dust up under our shoes and howl at the full moon in white cotton. We can run somewhere for no reason at all and fall in the wet grass. It can all be lighter and brighter and easier, maybe in a small villa with red floors and blue shutters where it's hot, hot all the time and flies buzz overhead like small machines, where we'll listen to far-off village children shrieking, where the glare from the ocean will blind our sleepy eyes if we dared peek out, where I'm always a poet and never just a me.

Friday, June 22, 2012


fiction |ˈfik sh ən|
literature in the form of prose, esp. short stories and novels, that describes imaginary events and people.

She was the type of girl who regarded herself as exceptionally beautiful or exceptionally ghastly, depending on the amount of time she spent thinking of her real or perceived sins of the past or present. Her dress sense imitated the practical style of her father, a factory worker whom she idolized, making her appear at once unaffected, sensual and a little butch. Her character, to those who didn't know her, was mostly dependent on the physical image she held of herself on any particular day. She would as often be completely overlooked in conversations as she would be the very magical source from which a bright, warm light radiated. Similarly, her ability to converse with strangers could never be predicted, making her a dangerous option at the type of party that relies on the geniality of its guests. She favoured theoretical discussions on a number of social issues over everyday chitchat, which she regarded as beneath her. Even in her brightest moments she seemed oppressed, even at her most content she gave the impression of constant movement. She was difficult to be around, and she knew it. Most of all she understood the pedestrian quality of her own existence, which is why she killed herself on a Saturday in July.
By the following Tuesday the disorganized efforts of a variety of those who tried to love her finally yielded results. Her employer, an amiable man of forty whom she secretly loved, managed to convince her landlord to crack the stubborn skull of her humble home to reveal its blue-faced, alcohol-soaked treasure. A very impersonal autopsy report on crisp government paper revealed that she swallowed a number of pills that she presumably stole when house-sitting for friends with a bottle of vodka before hanging herself with a thin, black faux leather belt. A lack of oxygen finally did the trick.
The funeral was a simple affair that she would have hated. The preacher read from the Book of Psalms, tried to console the handful of attendees who stared back at him blankly and wondered whether they remembered to switch off the stove and worried about their unusual lack of sexual appetite in recent days.
Her distraught parents started packing up her belongings a day after the funeral. Her mother, ever practical, wanted to waste no time in finalising the affairs surrounding the death of her only child. To her surprise, she found a packet of King Size Rizzla rolling papers (drugs?) and a pink dildo with a vibrating attachment for clitoral stimulation, an expired condom and a tube of flavoured lubricant (a failed relationship? venereal disease?) among the meagre belongings of her saintly daughter. A number of diaries could have shed light on the events leading up to her darling's horrid act of self-destruction, but a belated sense of respect for her privacy prevented the grieving mother from reading them. 
A day after the moving truck removed the last traces of the swinger, as her landlords jokingly called her, an overweight and slightly superstitious cleaning lady with respiratory problems industriously dusted and swept and soaked and dried until the last particles of her existence were removed from the dwelling in which she experienced not so much unhappiness as a complete lack of emotion.
With a final, audible pull, the door was closed on the life, the love, the fear, the hope, the borderline insanity of an average 25-year-old.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


summer 1 |ˈsəmər|
the warmest season of the year, in the northern hemisphere from June to August and in the southern hemisphere from December to February : the plant flowers in late summer | a long hot summer | [as adj. ] summer vacation

Kristia van Heerden
Every afternoon I hopped onto my pink Strawberry bicycle with the little white basket on the front and the carrier that only barely held my haggardly blue schoolbag. Sometimes I would take to the streets with a purpose – buying a coke at the nursery on the corner or to enjoy the view from the cooling comfort of my friend’s swimming pool. Mostly I just rode around and around the neighbourhood until the trees cast long, comforting shadows, my sunburnt legs furiously pedalling while I constructed lifetime after lifetime of adventure and romance, of wealth and happiness. Ever the hero, my pedals transported me across galaxies to exotic destinations where I saved lives and fell in love. I watched the neighbourhood transform into a wonderland every afternoon and came home at dark with the summer in my hair. One day I waved to the neighbour’s daughter who laughed at the way my knees looked when I cycled and told me that oranges make me fat. The next day the streets didn’t change and then I got a bigger bike. In blue. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


sleeve |slēv|
the part of a garment that wholly or partly covers a person's arm : a shirt with the sleeves rolled up.
• (also record sleeve or album sleeve) a protective paper or cardboard cover for a record.
• a protective or connecting tube fitting over or enclosing a rod, spindle, or smaller tube.

If my words fail me (as my words often fail me), if I vomit cliché after cliché onto every blank canvas, into every open carcass, if suddenly I spoke only in rhyme and felt only in verse, if the majesty of a yellow flower failed to captivate me and my treacherous body no longer responded to the longing of my heart, if I wept at your devotion, if I spent a lifetime chasing after nothing and escaping nothing, could weakness not become bravery?

If I could muster the energy to be really angry and spit out impotent little swearwords - fuck, cunt - at surprised passersby in supermarkets, if I hurled ripe fruit across walkways at the overweight shoppers in short-sleeved blue checkered shirts buying chocolate flavoured breakfasts to stuff their empty children, if I could yell at every pretty girl in a summer dress that pussy has a shelf life, if I dramatically tore out tufts of hair and covered my naked body in red dirt, if I cried out every dead relative and the boy who stuck his fingers in me when I was only a child, would bravery not become death?

Monday, March 12, 2012


nature |ˈnā ch ər|
1 the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations : the breathtaking beauty of nature.

Here we begin.
This is the nature of the night. We’ll leave before sunrise, when the flickering lights become indiscernible from the light of reality. We’ll kick off our glass slippers before the first rays catch us, we’ll make a home under the covers and hope it passes without noticing.
This is the nature of dreaming. We can free ourselves and face ourselves over cascading waterfalls of deep blue, we can be the very best and bravest. We can stare into a black nothingness and feel only the slightest stir of excitement. We are never as afraid as when we wake.
This is the nature of love. We can fall, fall, fall and never hit the ground. We stir an uprising in a glance, we change a season in a touch, we erase a lifetime of dreaded sunrises and so become the sun.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


seam |sēm|
1 a line along which two pieces of fabric are sewn together in a garment or other article.

Every weekend my home dons a flamboyant hat. It puts on a song from the eighties and showers itself in a confetti of worn garments, empty champagne bottles and an assortment of picnic accessories. It dances about merrily with its arms in the air, wine overflowing delicate glasses with a comforting plop on the carpet. On Saturday it wakes up slowly at noon but gets up quickly to twirl about in its dotted underpants, laughing with its mouth all the way into a wide open waltz so I can see right into its throat of feather boas.

On a Monday morning it staggers slightly while pulling itself together at the seams before focusing a red, red eye on the contents of its inhabitant.

Friday, January 13, 2012


atrophy |ˈatrəfē|
verb ( -phies, -phied) [ intrans. ]
(of body tissue or an organ) waste away, typically due to the degeneration of cells, or become vestigial during evolution : without exercise, the muscles will atrophy | [as adj. ] ( atrophied) in some beetles, the hind wings are atrophied.

It started with a matter of fact description on the way to school in winter - a woman ripped apart by violent gang rape, bloodied and crawling towards safety. Our green car struggled over a hill overlooking the schoolyard, the grass white and dreadful, and I sunk, sunk, sunk all the way down and curled up in my own heart.  I wrote a biology test and cried on the lined paper, the tears smearing ink containing the facts about the anatomy of something or the other. I poke at the dead tissue every time another part dies, hoping in vain that feeling would return.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


dear |di(ə)r|
1 regarded with deep affection; cherished by someone : a dear friend | he is very dear to me
Nobody remembers a melancholy wave from the first waka to cross the Pacific in search of hope. Nobody remembers the first spear to reach into the very heart of a springbok. Who knows what prompted an entire generation and their sons to give up Sunday mornings in favour of suffering? Nobody's looking into this white room where you and I face each other. Nobody cares how we decorate the walls. The love or hate we create here is of no significance to anyone. Why don't we empty buckets of ocher and ultramarine on the bare walls and collapse in colour? Why don't we dance on the furniture and fall on the floor? This is ours now. Let's do with it as we please.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


tourist |ˈtoŏrist|
1 a person who is traveling or visiting a place for pleasure : the pyramids have drawn tourists to Egypt.

We are all the same, clinging to our possessions on the pier, protecting our delicate limbs from the brutality of the elements. We are so alike, me and the bearded man in a blue hoodie, noisily chewing on an ice cream cone as his companion stares dreamily into space. So similar are the olive-skinned American boy and the retired Chinese visitor in her red cap that I can scarcely tell them apart. They are so alike, the fathers, the mothers, the children, the aged and the wealthy on their yachts, the shopkeepers, the little girls in aquamarine shirts, hopping up the steps like little exotic birds. We are all tourists here, waiting for the next boat.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


pebble |ˈpebəl|
a small stone made smooth and round by the action of water or sand.

I picked up a single pebble and kept it in my pocket. I wandered across continents, I slept in dark alleys, I laughed and cried a lifetime with its smooth, reassuring surface only a thought away. One day I reached for the pebble and found my pocket empty. I stumbled home in darkness, I wept an ocean, I trembled in wretched solitude. Drowning I reached out in desperation and woke up on a pebbled beach.

Monday, January 9, 2012


homecoming |ˈhōmˌkəmi ng |
an instance of returning home.

We'll go on a journey together. You'll uncover a secret landscape in your dreams: fertile valleys and majestic peaks. You'll submerge yourself in a sweet river, sink your naked body and come up to kiss me, your wet lips refreshed, your soul anointed.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


fact |fakt|
a thing that is indisputably the case : she lacks political experience—a fact that becomes clear when she appears in public | a body of fact.

Consumed by the enchanted landscape of the South African veld on an overcast day in the summer, the boy wasn't surprised to find the slender soldier under a tree. The old doringboom whispered an inaudible warning as the boy and the soldier became better acquainted.

One afternoon, one thunderstorm and one promise of adventure later the boy skipped home, promising the soldier to return with supplies from the sparse kitchen without telling a soul about his new friend. Sadly, secrecy is not in the nature of little boys whose friendships with real soldiers are worth at least some bragging rights in a family of fourteen. Later the boy rushed to the tree with a fresh loaf of bread and some jam to find in the place of his friend the soldier an angry black dog with red eyes.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


raincoat |ˈrānˌkōt|
a long coat made from waterproofed or water-resistant fabric.

So much water has gone under the bridge, dear friend, that I'm not sure if I'll know your eyes anymore. I was so sorry to hear about everything that happened. I think of those Leonard Cohen nights often, about how our heady, melodic conversations in smoky holes would have been so good for us now. I think of your packet of cigarettes - a little box of comfort between us - and how we clung to those tubes like our hearts clung to the chords of expression that continue to elude us.

I wanted to tell you about what I lost and gained as I'm sure you want to tell me, but that packet between us has somehow become a mountain. I wanted to bring you my happiness as a tribute to the perilous landscape we failed to navigate. I wanted to lift a scarlet glass and nod in appreciation of all the things that you shaped in me before letting the dingos run wild.

Friday, January 6, 2012


homesick |ˈhōmˌsik|
experiencing a longing for one's home during a period of absence from it : he was homesick for America after five weeks in Europe.

Of course the hadada would be the first thing. Do you remember that day in October when the harsh call scared us half to death? There's also the sun in the morning (maybe a little obvious), the sound of twelve languages officially mixing with about a hundred others, the yuppies with their oversized sunglasses sipping cappuccinos in Parktown, hidden behind luxury German cars and the rags of the homeless.

In addition to all of that, obviously, is the sound of your key jerkily turning in a lock, the steady rhythm of your breath in the morning, your dark brow and green eyes (oh! those eyes!), your voice a refuge among the sirens and the suffering of a Johannesburg night. Maybe I could write you a sentence, lover, with a subject and an object and a verb. Maybe I could write something that is easy to accept. Maybe I could give you what I've got (not that much, really) and hope that you'll take it all the same.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


puppet |ˈpəpət|
a movable model of a person or animal that is used in entertainment and is typically moved either by strings controlled from above or by a hand inside it.

How not to seethe. How not to want. How to bring forth from a fertile belly. How to serve. How to relinquish. How to suppress. How to blend. How to delight. How to be beautiful. How to marry rich. How to raise a generation. How to lose a generation. How to deny. How to bare flesh. How to hide flesh. How to lie very still until it's over. How to moan like it's satisfying. How to give it away. How not to give it away too soon. How to manipulate. How to listen. How not to protest. How not to object. How not to speak. How not to hear. How to look away. How to abandon.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


stroll |strōl|
verb [ intrans. ]
walk in a leisurely way : I strolled around the city

The wind maneuvers through the folds of a jacket and the tight weave of synthetics to tease hidden follicles. Under a blanket of clouds the landscape seems removed from reality. Poplars hiss ancient rituals, vines twirl a golden promise and through the wet grass sparkling slippers trudge an uninspired trail towards nothing in particular.

The river sings a primeval song past a single reprieve for desperate souls to cling to in the hope of second chances. On its moss-covered banks an unhatched duck egg lies exposed - its shell offering ineffective and unnecessary protection to a cold embryo. In the depths a girl sleeps an escape among weeds and hair that protest the flow of time.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Wish list

wish list
a list of desired things or occurrences.

Today we strolled along the pier in the early morning light while calm waters scattered rays that danced in your emerald eyes. Your hand was soft in mine as we spoke about nothing in particular in hushed tones. You carefully unpacked a delicate smile that traveled through ages, passed from the hands of one ancestor to the next to be delivered to me at the crack of dawn.

Today we exchanged meaningful looks over bulging lunch spreads and fragrant mowed lawns, we stole glances over the brims of wine glasses and I could feel you radiating joy and life where your shoulder touched mine. I watched as your exquisite fingers picked white meat from a red shell, as you broke warm bread, as you took pleasure in the smell of fresh herbs. Today laughter collected in my throat, spilled over my lips and washed over you as you ran to where I stood to pick me up, to kiss my face, to hold me suspended in your arms.

Today we sauntered home merrily in the twilight, we kissed deeply and passionately, we made love slowly and I fell asleep wrapped in the perfume of our love.  

Monday, January 2, 2012


lifetime |ˈlīfˌtīm|
the duration of a person's life : a reward for a lifetime's work.

To put it down so others can pick it up, to stand hunched over in the cold looking at what's right in front of you and looking thousands of miles across oceans to something as small as one green eye in a single face among so many others. To leave, being slightly different from who you are. To come back exactly the same as you weren't. To nervously blink snow-like raindrops out of your eyes, trying to look unaffected while your heart breaks and breaks to the sound of dead musicians. To watch seabirds and seaweeds and sailors not as cavalier as you had always imagined - observer and observed, confined by cells and sinews, to a body that refuses to fly or even swim with grace. To bring it all down to a single thought - maybe fragrant windblown broccoli or an ominous tree shedding skin like snakes, maybe even the memory of an unwanted gag reflex. To wrap all of this up, shards of memory and observation, into a single whole that makes one lifetime.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


rain |rān|
moisture condensed from the atmosphere that falls visibly in separate drops : the rain had not stopped for days | it's pouring rain.
Of course nothing surprised me. The dreadful rain seeping like pus from a chilly wound, the washed-out journey on the threshold between madness and apathy, exhaustion and slight horniness at the thought of unfertilized eggs snugly tucked in my aging belly while death's creaking joints squeak ever closer. Least surprising of all my presence there - back in the bare confinement of spirit and mind where the denial of physicality and emotion is the only object. The despicable sight of those who care without knowing, who attempt to distinguish a flame of words that still remain unspoken, with sharp consonants tearing at delicate flesh and soft vowels burrowing relentlessly to find a place to nestle and rot.

Of course, I thought, it would be the brown and yellow pattern of these wooden floors. Of course it would be the anaemic organ screeching butchered masterpieces. Of course it would be me perched on a cheap olive-green chair, clinging for dear life to a promise of sanity, groping and desperately hanging on to scraps of poetry flung unceremoniously at the emotionless faces, ripping away from meaning and somehow collecting in my throat.

Of course it would end like this.