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Writer’s Block

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I sit forlornly staring at the blank page.
The words
(which had been my dinner guests
and filled the dining hall with noisy laughter)
have taken the last flight to Durban
and left this vacant space.
The void defies me to write,
scribble,
record —
anything, everything, one thing.

I draw lines through unfinished lines
and try to remember what my visitors looked like.
Loud and round,
short and silly,
hairy and uninhibited,
and grandly verbose.

Lyrics bounced around the room
not hours before,

but now —
all is silent.

The sudden purr of the fridge
lulls my heavy lids to close
and I resign myself to sleep,
stumble to my bed
and mutter, “Tomorrow.
I’ll write those words
tomorrow.”

with the wash of a RAINBOW

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with the wash of a rainbow

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This poem begged to end in wild frolicking abandon so I had to paste a picture of it here, rather than typing it out.

Once Again

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“Perhaps,”
you said,
“when you are older
you will be young enough
to love again.”

Stuck
like a monkey’s fist in a jar of apples,
no words could relax my grasp,
no speech satisfy the hunger in my soul.
Tenacious,
I would not let go.

And when the urn was shattered
I wept for the loss
before realising that I was free
and the apples lay before me.

Later that year
I (finally) understood your paradox:
in letting go we receive,
in dying we live.

I am once again young enough
to love.

Now

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I tread lightly now
picking paths with wary care.
Now that I have suffered my soles ripped to ribbons,
lightly now I tread.

I secure my heart now
encasing it in cotton-lined steel.
Now that it has been shattered to splinters
my heart now I secure.

I faintly recall the child
who danced with abandon,
the wild-eyed innocent
who swallowed the world whole,
skipping through days,
laughing in wonder.

Hours of adventure have turned
to endless seconds of trepidation.

Now that I understand
the world is a dangerous place
I tread lightly now.

My South African Garden

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Carissa, white star in a forest green sky,
hiding behind double-edged swords,
they gutturally call you, “Amatungulu,”
seeing your milky, copper-red fruit.
The herbalists name you “Canine death,”
but you quieten their hearts.

Charlotte, seeking solace in English gardens,
fingernails permanently stained with earth,
became the benefactress of the heavenly fowl that is no bird.
Lovingly she embraced the massicot crown
above the pale sage stem.

Celestial stars, cheerful labourers,
growing in great profusion,
your bright faces follow the sun.
But you mischievously refuse to close your eyes at day end
and gazing intently at the moon,
you transform your periwinkle locks into grey fluff.

 

 

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I had some fun with the flowers in my garden.
See if you can match the pictures to the stanzas.

carissa felicia strelitzia

Your Room

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Giggles
and
wiggles
and teddies
(who have lengthy conversations).

Long tales
where characters splash themselves across the room
and
protesting groans
bemoan
the end of a chapter.

Kisses and prayers
and goodnight hugs.

These things swim
around my head
every time I cross the threshold.

I close my eyes
and wonder what you are doing tonight —
my grown-up babies,
my most precious daughters.

What room embraces you,
what memories are you making?

I give Teddy a squeeze,
turn out the light,
and head for bed —
blessed
by the memories
I carry.

GoogleMap Ghost

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The walk down O’Shaughnessy through Glen Park was a long one.
The eucalyptus berries which were trampled underfoot released a pungent fragrance.
Even now the scent wafts back over 26 years and more than15 000 kilometres.

I google-walked the old neighbourhood last night.
There’s a Starbucks on the corner where a stationery shop used to be.
Ebenezer Lutheran Church is now painted purple. Large banners announce the celebration of the feast of the divine goddess, drumming circles and kundalinin yoga.
McAteer High School has become Ruth Asawa School of the Arts.
The old busses have been replaced by hydro-electric ones.
The frozen yogurt shop is a deli.
The coffee shop is a dry cleaners.
The pizza place is a French bistro which bookends a psychic with sushi.

Ten minutes and my nostalgic arm-chair tour was complete.
As I navigated my internet ship away from street-view maps,
I felt the old familiar tug at my heart.
A piece of me still lives in the shadow of Twin Peaks.

I wonder how many other spectres wander the streets at night.

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