On our way home

We are
creased commuters, squashed between mama and the silent man with the itch in his side. After-robot! Now we can nurse life back into a tingly leg.

We are
drivers with our windows open and the radio up, we’ll chance metal against our temples because the air con’s broke and it’s a long wait at a dead robot at 5.30pm on a weekday.

We are
the man selling sunglasses at the corner. And the one selling mangoes. And the one selling clothes hangers. And the one selling a massive neon bouncing ball.

We are
the lady selling chances to numb your guilt.

We are
the one giving her money, thinking her child seems too old to be carried. “Look, his legs dangle past her knee,” we mutter while fishing in the ashtray for the car-guard’s change.

We are
taxi drivers, battered emperors of the tacky tarmac. Don’t be so insolent as to believe you have any right of way over us.

We are
12 year olds at the roadside, wielding spark plugs for just one shot for glass to rain. Just one chance. One cellphone. This is the difference between today and tomorrow for me.

We are
the people who shoot them. Thieving bastards deserve it. Damn, he looked older when he smashed my windscreen.

—-

You may have heard/read this in the news. Crime has made something ugly of us all, the victims and the perpetrators. See how the lines are blurring.

capsule mthatha (a really little pill)

DSC00042
O.R Tambo International Airport – 6.15am.
Take-off for Mthatha in a Jetstream 4100, one of those R/C looking propeller planes.
(Blah photograph but I do like the Munsch-colours. We all begin in blood.)
DSC00099The tallest building in town.
Mthatha
smells like: damp wood.
tastes like: sweet veld grass.
sounds like: unhurried deliberation.
feels like: the place you would go, to listen to the wind.

16.06.1976

For Unknown 16/06/76
(after a visit to the Hector Pieterson Memorial in Soweto, June 16, 2005)

a frozen face
on a white wall.

open mouth
rigid arms

your eyes
are the eyes of your comrades

children
with weighted shoulders

and loud voices
muted by the captured moment.

but I hear it.
decibels of scaled anger
your suffering erupt,

holding out its arms to me.

am I worthy of embrace?

1976- not even a seeded thought
in the mind of a girl I call mother.

you are background
context to your time
framing the “struggle”
painting it with your essence
as bullets tattoo your fate.

A bricked acknowledgement
that you were felled on that day
now bedded on gravel
bordered by the crunching tourist tiptoes
echoing now-impotent jackboots

the granite speaks

of more bodies,
not nobodies
but somebodies
with names
and for others without

there is a brick
in a yard
on the gravel.