Sunday, 22 October 2017

1997 - A thesaurus; Learning the meanings of old words

1997 - A thesaurus; Learning the meanings of old words

Necklace, no longer just the clutched pearls at Grandmother's throat,
Now they are the mark of shame of submission to a man,
Or the mark of a feminist statement declaring independence of thought,
Or the burning of rubber and flesh to absolve the sins of one to another,
Or a warning to those watching, hoping to rise beyond their station.

Freedom, burning the 18 candles in a room of women -yet to be friends,
Dancing past curfews, drinking in the life of those whom one wants to be like,
Stupid words, dangerous flirting, knowing the risk of casually forgetting -
Three letters always thought but never said, because of the colour of her skin,
Freedom from consequence, invincible hope and faith in a God that has yet to fail, yet to fall from grace.

Fear, driven by a need for new experiences, driven in vans filled with intimate strangers,
To and from work or university or one gamble to the next,
Guns and warnings from old women who had seen too much to forget -
To keep another mother's child from falling into the wrong crowd.
Broken glass, spent needles and used people, walked past and forgotten,
Car tyres bursting, breaking through barriers and, yet, building more,
Nails and bombs punctuating the school days that pass as distrust becomes a blanket
Of black and white and brown, mixing but not coalescing.

Sadness, that children will watch their mother burn for a love that is a Shakespearian theatre,
And that letters from home will be edited and parsed by the eagerness and immortality of youth,
And the truth of the cancer that grows will be hidden in the broken telephone calls late at night and deliberate miscommunication.

Brave, a long walk down to the pool bar or a quicker walk to the tequila shots?
Visiting Rhodes at midnight, 20 years before he'll be purged from memory,
Not flinching when car alarms and gunfire punctuate each stroll home,
Smiling through the confusion as the obvious is presented in a way that maked it visible,
And in its visibility it becomes a burden of shame and it discolours our liberal self image.

Miscellaneous, visiting a psychiatrist to find out if the breaking of your mind is medical or an example of causality,
That lectures on paradigm shifting in a world that is no longer black and white can trigger a fractured family to collapse into a kaleidoscope of foreign shores and scapegoats,
That there will be no going back, because history cannot be re-lived nor can it be rewritten, it can only be translated into new words.

1997 - the year I learnt the thesaurus of a new South Africa.


Stop

Stop
Stop grasping at the leftover pieces of the puzzle,
The picture tore itself in half many moons ago
Holding them close, forcing the imprints into your heart
Is not going to make it whole again.
The picture will always be incomplete
A reflection of you missing the pieces that show the beginning

Stop grasping at the unwritten words, never spoken
That set the scene, make explanations simpler
That ground the story - putting you in perspective.
No amount of editing can change the denouement
It is tightly sewn into the narrative of your soul
It is your story.

Stop grasping at them, those you’ve lost -
For they are found, just not with you
And their stories grow, your piece is lost now too
To them, you are a story or at best, a puzzle
Shelved with the others - precious but unwanted

Stop

Go

Move forward, shadows will fall
Pieces will be fewer
Plot lines will shift

Memories will be worth more.

Ghosts

The ghosts visited again today,
Blurs of rose and silver rising
From behind closed doors
Bringing with them the scent of summer
And the taste of tears
Bringing the promises made -
Sitting on the benches in the sun,
In city streets after midnight -
Whispered in the predawn light.

Shivers of words, promises and love
Running down her spine
Pooling in her eyes
Caught tight in her throat
They spilled out slowly,
As the scissors cut,
Trying to ease the pain
To send them back behind the iron doors
Or to see them swept away,
For if they can’t recognise her
They can’t find her.

For the ghosts will visit again.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

The Pain I Feel


You know that feeling when you've taken a bite of too-hot pizza?
You're trying to blink the tears away and swallow in a ladylike fashion?
While still appearing to be interested in the mundane everyday conversations around you?
Because you may miss that one moment of vulnerability that might slip out unguarded,
And linger there in the moment,
Like a ghost of the true self that is hidden
Within the heart of the girl with the blue hair
Or the soul of the boy with the secret?

You’ve felt it too​?
The pain of trying to keep up?
The pain of feeling like the only one with a secret self?

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

she runs marathons in her mind,
chasing thoughts that evade her
as she lies clinging to the concept of sleep

she wades through arguments in her mind,
trying to gain ground, or understanding,
before she has to waltz on eggshells

she lies breathlessly waiting,
what tune will play at dawn -
who will she be?

Monday, 24 October 2016

The Wolf And I





In between now and then
Skipping between the shadows
We dance
Longer, even during the nights,
Waltzing in the moonlight,
Our feet kicking up the past,
Ghosts dance under a night sky,
Fading as we break into a new day,
In the growing light we dance on
Hidden amongst the obvious
We dance.

Trailing hands in the River
Dipping in and dipping out
Following the melody
All the while, I wait for a pause.
A break, a moment
Where we are not one,
When the wolf is not at  my back
Nor at my door
Where I do not have to dance with the wolf,
For when I dance alone
Through the new day
And the terror stays in the night,
I will be free.

But for now
We dance
The wolf and I -
I and the wolf
We dance,
Partnered together
The light and the dark
We are one
For without the wolf
I am no-one.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Universe

Sometimes the universe is caught
In your eyes, lit up by laughter,
in her tears, sliding over pale cheeks
In magic he made for you,
Of glitter and tea, a child's potion.

Sometimes the stars blur,
Becoming fairy wings glittering in the setting sun
Or crushed glass under water and lights.
Stirred by winds, invisible fingers
Trailing through the memories of today and tomorrow.

Sometimes the universe falls at your feet,
Silken black, begging for forgiveness
At the shortness of breath,
The dying light at the tips of your fingers
At the end of the miracle, stardust crumbles
Caught only in photographs and memories.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Song

When the song plays and your face is all I see,
Taken out of context, stolen from the photo I took in the river, summer-warm,
Frozen smiles, secrets of youth, sunlit,
Taken before we spent timeless days dancing the dance of misheard lyrics and stubbed toes
I wonder where it is now
That other life, that other me?

When he sings along to the song,
His voice hides a smile, the words tickle him,
When the song plays, and he sings,
I can smile again.
I wonder at that dance,
That old life, that old me.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Moonrise

Moonrise

You used to look at me like that,
Like the world has stopped,
Like we were the only reason for being,

You used to look at me like that,
Under the full moon,
Under the colours I painted,

You used to look at me like that,
Until you saw under the veil,
Until the words and smiles faded,

You used to look at me like that,
Until the moon rose,
Until I stopped smiling,

You used to look at me like that.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Castles in the sky.

Get your head out of the clouds
Dreaming helps less than wishful thinking
Get your feet back on solid ground

His voice faded behind the contrails
Behind the roar of the jet engines

As I rose through the sky,
Fingers trailing through the wet spun sugar,
My smile grew as I started to recognize
Where I was...

I was as close to heaven as any soul can be
Whilst still leaving their vapour on glass
I walked through the castles,
The churches and mausoleums in the sky
Touching the puppies, dragons and pirate ships 
As seen by those who still looked up in wonder at the castles in the sky
And those who still wonder that we can look down with out falling 
That we are here, feet on the ground,
Head in the clouds,
Our hearts in every place we have ever loved.