Sunday, February 18, 2018

The storm

lightning flares, a phosphorescent scar
a Jedi sword
of galactic proportions
pile driving/slashing/talking/linking
 into grey of sky, & then
a massive bang, like cracking earth

raindrops pelting; two
& five rand coins
zing bare skin; bend leaves

wooshing trees
leaning
raking wind
    the quivering branches
    the brushed grass

small & big pulses .... flash& boom
call & response
a jazz-rock mixture
written in the sky, in the
folds of my heart

later, an eastward drifting
of stygian clouds
a soft roar, whirring rain
pours forth like purple slush
daylight stirred                                          
into a soup

here, where vainly
i seek cover …
i notice
the bark’s abrasiveness,
its brown
deeply darkened

a degeneration of
this leisurely stroll
into moist abandon/water-lit brows/glistening lips

back on street
I take small steps; then
glance back
at
                wonderfully
          muddy
steps …

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Gay Paris

these streets of sarah baartman
nina simone, dulcie september
boulevards of james baldwin
these hard roads swept by                                 
sekoto’s brush

citadel; your belltowers & domes 
a collective memorial to
human rights; on grey days
dreams and hopes
surge upwards
against a ribbed skyline

t/here where
scientists honed their gaze  sideways
all-round, but mostly down
along the spine of the nose
     the formulas
         trying to define, to measure, to calculate
                  who can enjoy egalite (as filling between hunks of
                       moon and sun or
                          plain bread)
                         
i came
to find other truths
amid branded words, finessed tastes & eye-wide shapes
i came seeking
ways of perceiving, the delving, the ways to know
the twisted journeys of art
i came to dig
their treasures
but …
your basic  scent pervades the metro
your shadows
lay their (finger)prints
over trimlines, neon adverts & bunting

and when the lights shrivel
in galleries; the cafes go silent
their chairs stacked
the last waterborne-carriage departed
to overnight moorings

from the footpaths
to and from RER and waterways
past endless glass windows & concrete paving
& miles of lines
in my eyes

gentle whispers
lilting sounds, arias & calls of longing from the animals
of mountains and open plains
a-sail on the evening air: your names
touch ears, nape of neck, the pulsing folds
of this
corrugated heart

when i leave
what parts
will be tatooed on my brain
tricolours bordered in shweshwe cloth
a story ringed
by silvia's dreams and o.r.'s marks
sewn by singer needles
that clash mid-note:

who am I, algeria, haiti or reunion?

Oct 2017

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Che

a motorbike
soars through the sky

a beret turns green, red, black
reflections
that glance off
the rising moon
the waning sun

a guitar becomes a
kalashnikov; a kaloshnikov becomes
a guitar
a t-shirt, a flag fluttering its redness
above green fields
& corralled steeds

for a short while
(just for the time you
pass by, overhead)
borders open up
mountain ranges flatten
the sea divides to reveal pathways

back in buenos aries
you commune
with eva’s ghost; the generals
have nightmares
as they watch …  

a tango of silhouettes

an accordion
speaks from a mouth
twisting
this way and that - amused, emphatic; fingers
blue green blue & dripping red
streak their paints
across the expanse
of whispy blue

now and again
the pathways cross
you and
victor jarra, thami nyele, youcef sebti, nadia vera, el sadaawi
you and i
you and so many ordinary folk
in free and battle zones, in zones of light and dark
talking late into the night
we meet, along
pathways of the heart    

Nov 2017

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Water

the liquid
sometimes silver
at times brackish
sometimes seeding, straining

(silver  mercurial wetness 
of broken feelings
in the eye)

glass
on which our dreams sail
like little boats

we come, we bow, we wait
excited
as kids for sprinkles
we wade gingerly, we surrender
& sparkle
momentarily

we feel the lower and higher currents
twirling & writhing
like eels
around our legs & middle

patches & glints
dancing
the tune
of upper & lower lights

i feel the tow, the backpull
the wash and slurp
i swallow; am swallowed
while small birds cavort
high up
against the summer blue

the draw 
of plugholes
to new insights
phases that dribble in, stumble, then swell

the liquid of our dreams; then ... 
moments of
waking
into solidness, constituents, continents

we live, pulsing, flickering
beside the river
within us

F.M. Oct 2017

Sunday, August 13, 2017

World of storms

(Krotoa’s soliloquy)

Afrikaner, the Khoi, people
lend me your ears
i didn't come to bury Van Riebeeck
nor praise him

I have come to recall
how those days, so cracked & chipped
were wrought

I have come to un-bury pieces of myself

And thus, one day, i came to work
in his house
the crockery washed, the beds made, the floors swept
by those tiny hands

While scouring the shore
for shells, barnacles, mussels
i had been taken; just 11 years old
removed
by men in breeches

Like a mussel, like a patterned shell, i had the honour of being 'found'
being found art
being picked off a rock

Yet Van Riebeeck was an honourable man
& – don't get me wrong –
my uncle, who did not ignite a war
to demand my return
was also an honourable man

Are we not all honourable?

And so, i worked with the tongues of angels
& so, i helped create afrikaans out of stray words, utterances, sighs
and so i wove, as with wool or cotton
portuguese, khoi, afrikaans
into garments of
stark coexistence

A harsh entangling
that drove the children of the sun goddess, the first people
further & further away
to distant edges
far from fort and company gardens

… To edges of
extinction

Visiting the clan
these small feet traveled, then sojourned
in splendid openness
of veld, tree & fynbos
ah, the gorgeous reflexology of belonging
of child-like laughter, playmates and a festival of clicks

Thus it came that
Van Riebeeck, on his recall, set sail like a boat
over oceans vast
& i, like driftwood, eddied ...
but, alas, he was
indeed an honourable man

And so Van Meerhof arrived
who i took to marry, & whose children that budded and grew in me
ranked out like ivy
across the land; did they
in the cradle that was my womb
taste the distrust and suspicion
i swallowed
as i broke bread at fort and village?

Crushed between, i die
s many times
a wheel spins & a rope of metallic links
uncoils. Who
will be the anchor in my

cape of storms?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A short story, Cosmo's Return

I've been engaging in short story writing. My short story, Cosmo's Return, was published in the magazine Itch. The magazine is linked to Wits University and "is an online periodical for experimental creative work by emerging and established writers and artists working in a wide variety of media".

Read the story at: www.itch.co.za/writing/cosmos-return.




Thursday, April 13, 2017

Children's story: Outsiders

Thanks again to the Fundza initiative which features my children's story entitled Outsiders: https://tinyurl.com/kdd7keo. 

Each story is edited before being published on the mobi site. Fundza also adds questions after each chapter to enhance readers' engagement with the story. 

Frank Meintjies