Monday, January 14, 2013


(This poem was written around June 2012. It is anchored around the remarkable talent and influence of Whitney Houston, who died in February 2012. More broadly, it refers to the impact of popular culture on young people in popular neighbourhoods, impoverished settlements and working class communities ).

voice sinewy, voice bird-skin tough
voice that journeys
& turns
& pirouettes
on boardwalks

in the lane, between the flats
in the location
or in the flattest Cape
present, in the thirteen-year-old
that sings herself beyond her limits
beyond uneven fences
beyond the wasteland

whitney, roaming the land
one foot in a hotel bath
another on a stage
a smile, breaking through the make-up
another day
best-friend real

voice elongates
as it wanders
the cosmos fields
down lanes
over streams
between the homesteads
voice that burns the fields, orange flames

in the gorges
between high buildings
at the all-night shop
at the troyeville garage
by the alex hairdresser
& the internet shop with its old computers
beyond the bars
beyond the soullessness

in nights of elegance
voice canters on, covers ground
whirls & wheels
dips back
to caress
the grubby streets

Frank Meintjies