Archives for June 2014


I unconsciously give it away
Listen to the depths of my voice as they draw a thought
Squeeze me
OH, my squire.

There can be miracles!
Paradise my soul
Meet me by the gravity of your fantasies
Attend to me with more than a glance.

Refill my glass
Scum me before the vines visit the channel to my thoughts
The truth will form a shape to my eye
It will create a window in my mouth;
To swallow your delight,
To spit out your rotten reasoning
From your past
Your slave of a truth
I shall induce your imperfections

Oh, my squire!
You speak of beauty so fluently.


Well, I find myself standing at this point, again, staring at my iPhone with exasperation, wondering why he hasn’t called yet, and wondering if I was so wrong to continue straight at the famous end-of-date cross road.  No left turn, no right turn, no good night kiss?

Maybe I gave away too much too quickly, those little messages – sent for no particular reason, in between meetings, during lunch, at the gym, everywhere – did they make me come across as being too involved, a little desperate, maybe?  But what is desperate about wanting to be loved, especially when you haven’t seen a decent man in ages?  The licentious ones are everywhere, heaven forbid, the childish, condescending type of man who perceives a woman as the modern version of a slave, born to mother him, and fulfill all his needs without question.

I admit that it has been a while since I met anyone whose departure has been worth tossing and turning over.  Is that why I’m sitting here persecuting myself over this man’s inability to like me back?  Ok, so maybe he does fascinate me, yes, that little bit.  And maybe he isn’t that bad, not that elevated on the corporate ladder, but he knows how to bring out the little girl in me.  Yes, he does. He says very little, but speaks volumes. I liked it the other day, when he spontaneously bought that blue dress at the flea market, and made me swear that I would only wear it when I am feeling beautiful. For the first time I didn’t care that something wasn’t an expensive designer piece.  It was the sincerity behind the deed that really spoke to my heart.  I want a man like that, who just flows with me, and begs for no approval, because he knows what he is doing.

Maybe it was the way he would call at twelve midnight, wanting to talk about nothing in particular, nothing life changing, then say it’s okay when I cut the call short because I would have an early meeting the next day.  Was I too busy, too self-absorbed, too unavailable?  Maybe I was too hurried to notice him needing me, in his small, silent ways, trying to find me, but I was too busy needing nothing from him, too busy being independent.

And what happened after the starter arrived, after he mentioned the two daughters that I have never ever heard anything about, until tonight?  Ok, so he has never mentioned them before, so what?  This was only our first real date. How much must a man say before he has said all that he needs to say?  Am I really that allergic to baby and mama drama that I flee at the very first mention of the word baby?  And maybe the flat yeahs and ohs, which followed that little event, are the reason why I am going to bed alone tonight.  It’s not my fault that my ideal man has no entourage of wailing babies behind him.  But then again, what does that have to do with the simple fact that I just adore Bheki, and I love his company, and the way he thinks, and the way he talks with his hands, and the way he just laughs from deep inside?

Can someone please tell me again why I am sitting here, sinking in self-pity while he continues with the rest of the party elsewhere without me?  I just don’t see him sulking over me.  He is too composed, and too self-sustaining for that.  Or maybe I seemed like a self-righteous control freak when I emphasised how critical it is for a man to understand his moral obligation towards his wife and children.  Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned the word wife, or children.  Maybe I came across as being too ripe for the picking, too expectant? Sigh.

Maybe I should have agreed to go over to his place when he asked me. And he did ask with decency, and caution.  What did I have to lose anyway?  I have stayed over so many times before with guys I didn’t really like anyway, how much more disastrous could this time have been, really?  Would he have thought me cheap if I stayed over after our first official date?  I don’t know, but that little sad twinkle in his eyes when I said no, said he wouldn’t have.

I am sick of fabulously rich, and boring, James. He will never leave his wife, nor his other mistress… And I am tired of lonely Saturday nights with bottles of expensive wine, used as an anesthetic to the gawking seriousness of my frustrating single-hood.  Yes I feel like a hopeless misfit, because even those members of the female populace who are obviously much less appealing than yours truly, seem to somehow get it right with some type of a man. And then the wedding traffic starts, invitation after invitation, cordially asking me to share in bidding someone else’s solitude goodbye.

I feel like crying when I see my friends tear-filled and overwhelmed at the altar.  Some of them don’t even love these poor men, for heaven’s sake!  I am willing to marry for love.  Will it ever be me standing there, all angelic with sparkling eyes, possessed by love, ready to devote myself to that one special man till the end of time?  I believe that I have been blessed with reasonably good genes, I will obviously produce very good-looking babies, not to mention my not-so-average IQ.  And I think I am tolerable, my irksome mannerisms are nothing an ordinary soccer-crazy man from Soweto or a mining magnate from Dainfern can’t endure.  Yet, in spite of it all, here I am. It is a bit awkward, not to mention impossible, for me to find rationale or balance in the idea that I am sitting here alone, frantic and almost in tears, waiting for this (very wonderful I might add…) man to validate me with a little phone call.  Sigh.


They are senseless
sensated spot on
wild animals when
it comes to their prey.

Their swiftness when
they go for their meal
is like that of athletes
going for that gold medal.
Then they catch it, that is
when they realise that
it will be a banquet day
for their families.

When they finish eating
they serve themselves with
dessert of licking one another.

The infertility-kit

I’m not yours, birds sing
Your hairdresser, mummy says
Your Ophelia, your Julia
And this also means that I’m
Not your cosmic admirer

After the glimpse
Of the grotesque
Laughing carcass
Turn away from it
The Bostonians

Are marching –
They are all
Calling out to me
Lowell, Sexton,
Plath, psychoanalysis

I have a child’s heart
The impressions of a child
The intelligence of a detached
Cold woman who can
Still feel the cruel blood

Of family, of mummy,
Preparation for upheaval
Chaos and disorder
Has been prescribed for me
Long ago

What is relaxation?
What is warmth?
All I know of the world
Is ego and sacrifice
Women must always be sacrificing

Nurturing and care-taking
It is impossible for them
For men to understand
Women can be poets too
And celebrate life

In the end it will either be
A case study of who was the most stimulating
Who was the most attractive?
But I was the one who was obsolete
For all my childhood years – imprisoned
And in the end I just gave up.

the poet

it was a given
that he would return
once it was over
and the funerals had been held

he stood alone,
quiet and unnoticed
watching people and chickens
scratching in the dirt

he recognised what he saw
burnt out homes
that once held families
charred machinery
bought on hire purchase

all that remained
was debt
no equity
victorious enemies
dreams no longer possible.

A Cemetery

This is a site
of all the departed ones.
They sleep in relaxation,
surrounded by a towering fence,
making them one huge family.

Oh! Oh! Oh!
What a relaxed family!
No working!
No schooling!
No being troubled by
what to eat nor
what to do!

Just reposing there
and enjoying the
moment of silence.

(By: Mihlali Makunga)

A second chance

It was a beautiful sunny morning when I passed through the streets that lead me to doom. The newspaper flew from nowhere and landed right on my pathway. It was Lebo’s picture that caught my attention, she still looked the way she did ten years ago though a bit matured. She was standing next to her mansion in silver lakes with a big Range rover parked next to the garage, she was now a successful business executive and attorney. The woman who had haunted my dreams every single night when I closed my eyes. I found myself wondering how it was like to be living a life like hers, I was envious and felt so small. Luxury in abundance, expensive holiday trips abroad, expensive designer clothes and diamonds. Those were my little conclusions about her and the likelihood that she was surrounded by equivalent powerful and successful people like her. What more could a woman ask for? I thought some girls had all the luck in the world except me, I had grown up from the poorest of backgrounds with fifteen siblings in a five roomed house. There was no privacy or even the simplest form of a peaceful mind. My parents had named me Kagiso and I hated them for having so many children and so little to offer. I was a plain grumpy child with huge brown eyes. I saw everything with my big eyes, they were like two hunters. My childhood was filled with depression and so I grew up with no sense of direction whatsoever. When I became a matriculant I gave myself to dagga, alcohol and different strange men. The men were those type that ended in jail or as junkies. This fact didn’t bother me, it was all about pleasure. These things and the only friend I had gave me comfort. My neighbour Lebo had become a dear friend throughout the years even though I hid my pagan ways from her. There was no bursary or money waiting for me after matric unlike for Lebo. Unlike my friend I had always believed I was a slow learner or an average performer. It didn’t matter to me much when my classmates said I was a stupid gal with a big afro on her head. I was hopeless and people’s opinions didn’t shake me, at least I was popular for misbehaving. Lebo had the looks and the brains of Einstein. She was the picture of a perfect woman, disciplined, focussed and I was the only friend she had. It was the farewell party that had changed my life forever. I had persuaded Lebo to come along against her nature and had told my parents not to switch off the candle. We usually didn’t afford electricity, it was a once off luxury. That night I persuaded Lebo to have dagga with me and my other buddies. “A little bit of fun won’t hurt you, I promise” I still remember uttering those words. I don’t know what happened after the dagga and the brandy but Lebo and I were on our way home accompanied by some guys I knew. She was crying and her dress was stained with blood, she had been raped and I didn’t even see it happen. She had uttered so many words of hate towards me that night and I didn’t care. When I got home people where standing outside my home with buckets of water. I thought my vision was playing tricks on me but my home was filled with smoke and ashes. Immediately I came back to reality without even trying to. The candle had burned down everything and everyone. It was my fault that my whole family died that night and it was also my fault that my best friend was rapped. I cried that night, until the the morning sun shone. The matric results came and luckily I had passed. Everyone who took me in quickly kicked me out. I missed my family, the noise and clutter I used to hate so much. I never appreciated them until it was too late, I had no one. The fiery furnace dreams wearied me down and made it hard for me to get through the day. The cries of my family members tormented me, this was the same every night. I thought God was punishing me with the dreams. Some years back a family I had lived with had even took me to a psychologist. The dreams had remained, they never went away but kept me sane. The other nightmare I had was about Lebo, she was always telling me that she hates me and that I’ll go to hell one day. The streets of Marabastat and Pretoria CBD had become my home for four years. I had spent some years with different families and shelters before. It was the newspaper I had picked up that day that led me to my new home, it was a homeless shelter run by a Mrs Mahlangu. The homeless shelter was just below the article about Lebo and hence I found out about it. The hunger and lack of sleep were overwhelming so I followed the newspaper trail and found the shelter. I longed for a piece of bread and a bath. Even though the cold in the night at the streets took away the pain I felt so deeply, the night out there was like waiting for a jackal to sup on you. Mrs Mahlangu was warm and welcoming. She understood each and every one of us well, she was herself an orphan who had to move from one place to the other. It was here that I found some paints and cardboards and immediately knew what I was doing. Art became my friend, the only thing I could do so well without anybody telling me what to do. It was a good discovery, I felt proud that I could do something. Mrs Mahlangu was impressed and borrowed some of the paintings I did. For the first time in my life I knew how to focus on something, I was indoors most of the time. One morning Mrs mahlangu came and took me by the hand and led me to her office. She told me I was talented, artistic and that art might be my way out of the shelter. She told me about a woman opening a gallery who liked my paintings. I thought my paintings looked cheap, she thought they had substance and originality. Mrs Mahlangu bought me more material and I was committed to my art, it kept me going. The first pay check I got was five thousand rand, I went out that day with the intention of buying more material and sum clothes. I quickly lost my way and forgot how hard I had worked to impress Mrs Mahlangu. My old friends were waiting for me like hungry lions as though they smelled the cash from miles. I spent two weeks on the streets boozing and smoking. How I had missed misbehaving and getting high. The adrenalin felt good for that moment and when reality hits, regret occurred. It was when the money was no more that I remembered the big meeting I was supposed to have that day with the gallery owner. I had woken up feeling like I had been hit by a train, smelling like a brothel. I have not had a decent meal in the two weeks that I’ve been away. My whole being told me that I had to be at the meeting with gallery owner. I just couldn’t miss the opportunity, it looked like it was already late and I was a mess. It was a very sunny day and I could feel the heat through my body as I ran like a rabbit, I just knew that I had to see this woman. Sweat was dripping and I was out of breath when I finally saw the shelter. I didn’t care about how I looked or smelled, I just had to be there. Just when I approached the gate my life stopped for a minute and suddenly everything was black. I couldn’t talk or feel my body. I heard voices from a distance, someone was saying call an ambulance, you hit her. It was Mrs Mahlangu’s shake that brought me back to life. When I opened my eyes I saw a beautiful woman in a white suit, I thought she was an angel until I saw tears streaming down her face. She was speaking on her mobile phone, giving commands. The woman in white had a familiar face, I knew I’ve seen her before. It was the woman I’ve seen on the newspaper that led me to Mrs mahlangu’s shelter. The big clock I saw when I opened my eyes said it was 8pm, I was lying in a hospital bed and my whole body ached. I felt dizzy and light headed. The woman was Lebo, my childhood friend and she was holding my hand. She had been beside my bed all this time and had said quite a lot of things while I was unconscious. She was sorry she never forgave me, the burden had grown big and heavy. When I finally gained strength I raised my voice high in pain”I’m sorry I hurt you, i’ve been longing to see you” with those words I passed out into another deep sleep. She had also looked for me in the past and had given up. Lebo’s parents had moved as well and hence I couldn’t locate her. When I finally woke up I told her how I’ve forgiven her too, that I heard everything she had said. The doctor who was always attending to me came in and asked Lebo to go home and rest. I had never paid attention to men before but this doctor caught my attention, Dr Billy Dalton. His voice had become familiar throughout my stay in the hospital. It was the first time I really saw his face and paid attention. He had a physique like that of an athlete, his bright blue eyes complemented his gentle face. It was his dimpled smile that took my breath away to a coveted world of bliss. Since I became homeless I never dwelt on such thoughts and didn’t let them to enter my domain. “Hi I’m Dr Dalton and how are you feeling today? You look rejuvenated I must say, still experiencing some pains? I’m here to take care of you” he said with a soothing voice. Immediately I snapped out of my delusional dream, somehow I thought he could see through my thoughts. I summoned the voice in me in response “ I’m much better thanks doc, I would be perfect if I didn’t look so terrible like I haven’t had a bath in 50 yrs” I giggled. The doc looked at me with amusement and said “I’d take you out any day looking like this, I’m sorry I’m not supposed to be talking like this to my patient, hope I’m forgiven”. “I’ll only forgive you if you could ask me out when I’m finally leaving this place” I said shyly so. In two weeks I was out of the hospital ready to do the paintings requested for the gallery and for the date with Billy. Lebo had saved my life and I had saved hers too. Forgiveness was what I sought to help me move forward. I had even forgiven myself for the arson tragedy. Picking up the pieces of my life back again was a hard task, I failed a couple of times until I made it. Lebo was now dating. She never did after the rape. She was a virgin when her innocence was took by force and she had resented men ever since. Everything was now in my capable hands, to make life what I wanted it to be. As for my family they remain in my heart always and forever….

The laughing carcass

I’m back –
I’ve made a full recovery
From being condemned
To inferiority
They’ve said

The qualities
Of ghosts no longer
Frighten me senseless
Like needles and nurses
The taste of both that I feel

In segments
And how it hurts like fresh tulips
The fate of snow
In my gloved hands
Life has become the enemy

Standing in front
Of the mouth of an open grave
With my purse mourning
Morning and how it inflicts
Pain on my existence

Or being thrust
Into an hallucination
Dissolving into
A blank space, stiff, comatose
A carcass – an experiment

I want to be –
Surrounded by mountains again
My home, my home, my feast
Your death-ray is a distraction
There is only silence now

In this velvet garden
Of green leaves on the arms of trees
The sun, black butterflies
Is like the wheel
Simple machinery

Alien face in the mirror
You seem to be embarrassed
To be alive, of having wasted
Your life away in hospitals
Gorgeous swimmer – project yourself.

Lamb (five haiku)

Once a boy was hatched.
Born with sonnet wings most heaven-sent –
Eased into planting.

Appalled by the world’s stage.
Tooth – radar splitting the hunt
Courage is exposed.

Brilliant inner sea –
His cry glides across the moon.
This mother tongue comforts me.

Ghost of a vision.
Every finger a stem –
Leaves antiques, tears sap.

Winter’s bone – a party’s birthday balloon
Summoning earth’s ripening –
Blades of pleasant grass.

A young woman’s thoughts in the silence of her bedroom

Rain has given quite a performance today.
Leaves the property of trees drowned – the phoenix
Found the exit out. Winter’s gospel, the school
Teacher who shouted at me became an offering
To a museum. Cracked my pomegranate-skull.
These are the memories of my youth – bleeding,
A life drawing of The Great Depression of the year 2014
I found loyalty in intelligent people, Rilke, Hemingway.
My fingers melt across the wilted pages of books.

They are uninterrupted. I am uninterrupted in this.
This damaged inner silence, this filtered cycle of illness
That has not yet found the exit out. There is planting,
Planning, fingers clenching and unclenching a poem.
Hands tightening, there are no more poems for mummy
Like Noah’s ark, they are autumn, going off to wars
In Africa, I have my own fears to whom it may concern.
But the human voices that I hear bring me tulips.
I have eyes. I march like a tiger. Sunlight like a swan.

All I see is red. A red dawn. A red world. A red sickness.
They are waiting for me in the waiting room. Lucky me.
I feel like a bomb ready to go off, unseen, crazy coming on.
Chains charm me, omens and relics. A knowledge of
Turning, twisting that key in the ignition, sabotaging
Myself in secret and quiet ways, finding sanctuary, hope.
Where do I live? It is dark, rotting driftwood, gravity is rough.
All can be found there concentrated. These surroundings
Have become my country, this hospital too. But people

Will grow in this silence, in this arena to compensate
For the fact that leaves will fall and flowers will die.
They speak to me as if I am from outer space, an alien.
What to do about all of this nonsense, silliness, and gobbledegook?
I have two-heads now, feel vacant. Family-life does
Not and will never suit me. Splinters. Tell me am I the lotus flower?
I grow in mud. Roots knotted in mud. Dendrites
Made of lightning and thunder. Nerves like uncommon butterflies.
Surfing. Triumphal. Serotonin like smoke.