Monthly Archives: December 2015

The Ghost in the Glass – a first draft

The Ghost in the Glass

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language.
And next year’s words await another voice.”

– T.S. Eliot

He took two photographs of himself
as if he were a ghost trapped in glass.
Shirtless, the sun striking him
directly from above, he could feel
ultraviolet rays penetrating his skin.

A fool foolishly marking the last day
of another year in a country where he remains
alien, though not on paper. He Skyped
with his family back home the day before
with his webcam turned off.

A glimpse of his mother on her birthday
was all he asked for, her sight
having left her years ago. He saw everyone
there peering through the tiny lens
of his sister’s tablet. No one saw him.



Yes / No / Maybe


The other night I got another rejection slip for my trilogy of poems based on Kieslowski’s THREE COLOURS (BLUE, WHITE, RED) which I’ve been struggling to find a home for the past three years. The editor who rejected them said the poem on “White” which has the title “Breathing Hole” came close. Should I feel slightly less bad about it? It’s just one more rejection slip, ready to be deleted. Sigh…

At least this set of poems got published in Four Quarters Magazine volume 4, number 2 (they could do better with presenting the poems, though.). The poems are “Francolin Feathers in Her Jaws,” “With Hazards On,” and the more recent “Ghost Train.”

It would be great to hear what readers have to say. Thanks.





Sinking the ship you’re in so you can build a new one


That seems to be the only logic behind Zuma’s axing of Nhlanhla Nene as Finance Minister. From the broken pieces of this ship he’s surely sinking, Zuma promises to build a new South Africa – perhaps with China cheering him on.

The announcement came just as the so-called 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Children was coming to a dismal closure (from 25 November to 10 December, Human Rights Day). Zuma tells us to take his word for it, to trust him though he fails to explain why someone who has stood to fight corruption by taking on the untouchable Dudu Myeni is being shown the back door with the lights turned off down a dark alley. Maybe Nene is just one more obstacle removed so the Russian nuclear deal can push through. Will there be anyone bold enough to take on the shady dealings with petroleum corporations (led by Shell) and the proposed (already approved under the table?) fracking of the Karoo?

Zuma, even before he stepped into those big shoes Mandela left (and Mbeki who was ordered to go barefoot), set the local newspapers (and got international coverage, too!) on fire for months with the story of an alleged rape of a friend’s daughter. One has to remember he took a shower. Then there was the Schabir Shaik trial which magically left Zuma unscathed and apparently even revitalized, no, emboldened. The blood from Marikana miners didn’t seem to taint him either. The famed firepool of Nkandla must have some magical powers (interesting links here).

Is it just us who are mad to imagine there is even a sinking ship? All along we’ve witnessed things that were too hard to believe. Yet they keep happening.

My very good friend who showed me around Durban back in November, a day after the 2015 Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award, said Zuma is considered by his countless supporters to be a prophet. Perhaps there is no crisis. Only non-believers.