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.