Feet of the Sky

 

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

petro-chemical waste.

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.

be careful!

arsehole!

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

she says.

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.

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