A selection of poems from
FEET OF THE SKY
ACROSS THE ORANGE RIVER
“Say No to Unsafe Sex” –
a billboard on the border between KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State
stony sheep in a dry yellow veld.
crushed carcasses line the edge of the freeway.
a house with a sagging roof.
slowed up by long pantechnicons, lorries carrying
he stays awake to keep her company.
bare trees turn their backs against the wind.
an old VW overtakes on a blind rise almost
doesn’t make it.
she pisses beside the car on the cold alternate route.
they play ismael lo to stay interested.
the seven pillars of a grain silo show the turn-off
from the old road to the new.
a flurry of white BMW’s, Z3’s, Mercs, Jaguars, 4 x 4’s trailing
trailers caravans jet-ski’s yachts you name it the lot
throng the freeway into Jo’burg.
in the city of jacarandas and old monuments
they imagine for a moment they’re being tailed.
fear of my past in this place is hard to get rid of
on the other side of the park there by the big tree
is where the ex and I lived she says.
the grass has faded into the past.
he pulls silly faces to make her smile.
in the playground he pushes her 2 kids on the swings.
“pick up your feet pick up your feet pick up . . . ”
over there a man battles with his kite in the wind.
it’s cold in the evening around the braai
that refuses to flame.
a chopper searches overhead with a long bright beam.
her friends from those days wear heavy knives.
red red red
is the colour of her eyes.
he sleeps on the floor to give her ghosts
more room in the bed.
in the morning they drink three cups of coffee
eat three slices of toast
three rashers of bacon each.
“but I still haven’t found what I’m looking for,”
the car radio sings.
“but I still haven’t found . . .”
they stop three times along the road
for her to piss.
he stays awake to keep her company
outside Harrismith they lift a one-legged man.
he stinks the car out all the way home.
all the way home.
dreams of horrible murder keep her awake
in her own bed.
IN THE GARDEN
There will be no dying tonight;
not of the moon, nor the moon-flowers,
not of the candles she bears in her eyes
nor the wind soft as sleep in the trees –
On the wet earth she lies
back and feels night slowly moisten
the silence in their clay hearts.
The sky echoes with everything
there will never be enough words for.