Saturday, 21 April 2012


From a sick woman's countenance
memory of caring,
from a man who lost his legs
a betal-chew smile,
from the sunday papers
the courage to say no,
from the roadways
an unexpected colour-mix,
and from the sky
the poetry of cloud movement;
strung together
with words from adictionary conversations.
wrapped in heart-paper made for breaking
at touch and kiss and glance:
my token of love
on a slow afternoon.

[From the collection 'Some texts are made of leaves', shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award 2011]

Thursday, 19 April 2012

For Tutu

Who are you,
tell me,
two years is long enough
incognito is not forever,
are you a lizard
of the colour-changing kind
or a monitor,
a tick perhaps,
or grasshopper,
are you clown, politician or hobo,
or is this long obstinacy of not-telling
a marker of knowing,
arrogance of a kind
or compassion?
Are you a constitution
a corporation or cooperative,
a flea-farm or field of dreams?
Are you story book or lovability,
gatekeeper or head-of-household,
and do you say to yourself
in the national language of your choice
as you offer blanks tagged with wag
to my daily questionnaire,
‘I have no idea what the fuck you are talking about, man!’? 

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Love masks

And love
is about masks
the make-up that makes-up
the lavish blush
of divine colour
the immemorial woo-dance
and the inevitable sweats
of maintaining the unsustainable
and then the undressing
and dress-down of knowing
caress of believed perfection
sharp pull back of hand
at wart and scar
the congenital dry skin of fallibility
abrasioned by the masking years
and the slow and difficult learning:
beauty doesn’t have to come smooth
or in pleasing geometries.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Fire works, really!

And what goes up
must come down,
that which burns bright
explodes, delights and is gone,
like is a sparkler
an ahas koora
along whose trajectory
eye will run
and whose upward curve
is made of squeal and laughter
and when it ends
the night is no less bright
no more dark
the universe is cleared
collapses into true dimensions,
but that's for certain eyes
and in days of celebration
and thanksgiving
it's good to soar
good to delight
good to be a child. 

[published in 'The Nation', April 15, 2015]


Sunday, 15 April 2012

Shelf life: Indeterminate

(for oldness)

These are the libraries
of our land,
made of novels and epic poetry
rarely perused
seldom cited:
and yet there are letters
words and metaphors
tapestries woven
with labour
and the threads of being,
the bartering without permission
wheels that turn
despite impediment and age-limit,
the fruits of our today
the catch that fell through
the butterfingers of political economy,
the story of a child
and her tomorrow
and the transcripts
of a timeless,

[From the collection 'Some texts are made of leaves,' shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award 2011]