On Janis Joplin

She was the pearl

that should have remained enclosed

from this salty, turbulent and ugly sea.

Too good for this world

she detached from it

like a petal from a roadside daisy

detaches from its stalk

dances in the air a few seconds

and is thrashed on the gravel by indifferent feet

Zindzile IX

I discovered it at last

What? Intimacy – –

is slow dancing naked with you–

In the dark

to the music of my voice


in the morning you left your clothes

Lying idle at the foot of the bed

posing for me my beloved

like an ancient Egyptian figure

of a lewd queen


I did set my easel and paints

and rendered your feminine frame

With a blooming rose for your face

Then with nothing on but paints all over my hands did say–

remember me like this


I discovered it again

What? Beauty–

is you posing nude

in the coy morning light

My magnificent Nile Queen!

A dream #2

Tell me, what was the dream about?

That you dreamt last night of you and me

Was it steamy?

Was it glorious and fantastic?

Did you sigh?

Did I cry?


No it wasn’t steamy

There was no glory or fantasy

Neither sighing nor crying

You were standing, I was sitting – –

I was hugging your waist

and you were stroking my head


Someone has aired their cloths out to dry

way up on the higher floors

and they drip down peacemeal.

Seated on this bench on the ground floor

the drops are forming a little stream

which approaches my feet.

There is this unbearable tedium this morning

and my mind seeking distraction from it

has created a rhythm for the drops of soapy water

but even they do not fall right with my rhythm.

Something or someone has aired me out here to dry

and I keep dripping day and night

I won’t dry

therefore I won’t be taken back in

Painted Birds

I have painted Birds on my wall

every morning I wake up to their silent songs

The city is still this morning

The rains tore down all the chaos in the air last night

There is a strange calmness before the start of day

Which for sure will be noisy and chaotic

I take one look at my birdy creations

And like their plumage

I hear the colorful songs — each to each

All in my head.

Lo I can’t hear the Hoopoe!

Oh dear oh dear

I got to paint more birds!

Zindzile IX

I promised my girl a walk by the river

Many years ago–but it rained

And we took shelter under a shack

Where we giggled and talked with shiver

a whole afternoon was gained

and we cursed our luck


the plastic shade was worn out

and with the windy rain we got a little wet.

Rock breakers shelter in them from the sun

where their glistening backs give out

where hammers and fingers in pain are met

brows winced and sweat overrun


I passed by that spot today

The shade shacks are all gone

Rocks are broken by machines now

In their place a cover of teaming hay

Where we sat forget-me- nots are grown

Right where I swore my vow  


 Now I wander around looking for a riverbank

Where I’ll take my Zindzile for that promised stroll

but it always rains and the shacks are naught

so alone I walk in the rain with eyes blank

I go around the blue blossoms on a roll

 wet lips whispering forget me not…..forget me not

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