POEM: Industry International, Lower Illovo


Through the sugar cane
Past the rehab facility
Next to the distillery
Scene of last night’s revelry
Is an unused factory typical
South Coast scenery

Old machine parts lie quilted
In a post-industrial deconstruction
Drives, motors, pumps
Each in their ordered place

We’re looking for a flow meter, Endress and Hauser
(We have charged liquids to measure.)
I’m told it resembles something you’d expect to see on Deepsea Challenger

Dad is on the mezzanine when I spot it
I peer down to decipher its type
German cognates
Time stagnates
Afrikaans pop permeates
stop, wag, bly nog ‘n bietjie
in the unit next to this one they’re rebuilding motorbikes.

And it’s strange that I’m here on Wednesday afternoon
silently, respectfully peering at dismembered machinery
Imagining what this could have been
Amid the disused pumps, motors and drives, powerless, hoping

POEM: The neighbours for insensible tendencies


Usually they’re never home
so our communication is theoretical.
We can’t rehearse the formal fake wave
hands scratching or adjusting,
then a sky scanning look
anticipating some vast migration
not so empathetic as pragmatic,
like the grass is as green as our needs.
The shuffling buzz of preoccupation
is a hindrance to these.
My machine’s achievements are legendary.
where my clothes are drying on the roof.

POEM: Still life with Frenchman, dog and grandmother


Charles Aznavour is crooning about loss
and existence and loneliness and wine,
and other Gallic national concerns

and Tommy is sunning his golden fur
on checkerboard flagstones, turning over
methodically, every half hour

and my grandmother is staring at the
murky world in front of her milky eyes
saying (to no one in particular):

Before we were married, my husband used
to walk five miles, just to have tea with me.
I was once the village beauty, see.

POEM: Me, African


My body is smooth and my skin shines like a sculpture made from ebony wood
He made me in his divine picture
He placed me in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya…
I am black, beautiful, rare and expensive
He placed me in the heart of central basin of the Congo
I’m stiff and magic
He placed me in the Kalahari and Sahara Deserts
I am a wonder and unapologetic
He placed me at the feet of Mount Kilimanjaro
I’m catchy to the eyes of tourists
He hides me in the Horn of Africa
makes me walk from the gulf of Guinea to the Cape of Good Hope
Me, African