The Line

I often impress myself

by mundane acts such as; washing my socks

or getting my dry pants from the line

or doing the dishes or taking bus to work

and I wonder how I am able to keep on going

getting on in this strange mechanical manner

when my soul is not here–mostly–lately.

.

I want to take off this reality

Like a dirty cloth that has begun to stink

.

Just a little turn of my head

Just a second more staring at the wall

and I realize the miracle of my daily motion

how I am able to keep on going

like a stray bag left in the seat of a bus

which no one is coming back for

.

What a thin line, a tight rope

between keeping up with these mechanical motions

and tipping over to the sweet gnawing melancholy

that calls on to me like that attractive forbidden lover

to abandon my washing task

and sink my head in my foam covered palms.

________________________________________

The miracle is in walking this line

Zindzile VIII

In the days I readily fell in love

My whole being leaned towards possibilities

And I took cause to succumb

to the slightest maiden glance

In days like these I did meet her- elegantly clad

in the only green dress committed to the closet of my memory

I rushed to my spice box

And a soup did make her

To tell of the savories of love to come

.

I told her of the death of my childhood dog

How I learnt not all pain is physical

How not to relive the pain I foreswore dogs

I took her hand in mine

And with the great sense of possibility—or illusion

In my heart made her my wife

.

Zindzile dear I am brave now

With you by my side

I am ready to keep a dog again

Nirvana

I remember counting my steps as a child

From our hut down the stream

Every day on my way there and back

How when spanked for some mischief

I rushed to the garden to weep

And nocturnal birds imitated my sobs

How I heaved a sigh and went silent

Seeing reflection of the starry sky in a puddle of rainwater

and realized how the flower bearing shrubs

That grows around the hut formed around me

a colourful protective moat from the darkness beyond

.

For a long time life felt like those steps from the stream

Same path, same steps and everyday counting

Over and over again

How these memories come back now

Like projected pictures in a theatre hall

And am alone in the darkness all seats empty

I am the stream flowing seamless

With no need of counting

I am a nocturnal bird imitating other’s sobs

In this garden – world–of constant sorrow  

I have drunk all the stars in the rainwater puddle

and sigh no more

a fence of flowering shrubs around my heart

.

Whenever I want I can be eight again

Sitting on the rock terraced slope

Of the old church hill

White warm pebbles of a Saturday midmorning

Among a colony of periwinkles

Looking out on the yon still morning lake

Little passion fruit seeds on my smeared cheeks

Zindzile VII

I dreamt I was a child again

And I was walking on to you

So I can relive the chapters of life

Which I lived without you

I left the swing chair

Still going back and forth under the swing tree

My toys lying idle in the ground

Walking on to a happy being

The jacaranda shed its purple hood

Carpeting the path on my way to you

.

I passed by Celtic meadows

The horses have been left there– free

To roam in the wild untamed

As reprieve and recompense

For riding and dying in all history’s senseless wars

They understand this journey—

.

My dear Zindzile, my love, my all

I’ll sit you down and tell you

Everything I remember since my birth

I’ll show you all the birthmarks

In the most private parts of my life

Zindzile VI

A song comes on like a long lost friend

My mind is once again a dance floor

of wooden polished planks

creaking under the weight of waltzing thoughts

Am reminded of our first slow dance

how shy you were and a little embarrassed

for now and then stepping on my feet

I had never been a dancer either

but the music came on

and you had a lovely dress on

there was nothing else to do

Am reminded of that flowery summer dress

few inches shy of your knees

that you love because it flatters your waistline

Am reminded of the scent of your neck

and blots of tears on my shoulder

My Zindzile—the selfsame song came on again today

And my feet itched for a dance

My arms reached out in the empty air—for your waist

All the while all alone – listening

I muttered under my breath

What a waste, what a waste

What a waste of a good song!

Early Days Of Madness

The sorrows that are—with or without our will

The terrors that set men lightly fleeing

It could only be this

Or something worse

A man was running along the street – and fast

There was sweat dripping off his brow

And terror in his unblinking eyes

Yet no one was after him

Or knew why or where

But I saw him get smaller

And disappear way beyond in selfsame speed

Seemed like he’ll never stop running

Like a man in early days of madness

He’ll run on a long while I thought

For the demons he was fleeing

I saw them in his eyes

Zindzile V

Many a day and night I hoped – a lover forlorn

And my incessant passions dwelt for long

On the wind creations of fairy airs

As vivid as the brave imagination dares

And there I dwelt among silent groves

Whispering steaming words to a cold world

My hand clasps missing the fleeting doves

My fiery touch melting female figures of wax mold

Eventually did I burst out of this lonely dream  

And finally did I find my beautiful — my isle girl

O I want to sing and dance and whirl

Having tasted love I want to shout and scream

My Zindzile– it is more delightful to wait on a lover real

Than fading images without the lover’s feel