Tag Archives: Cape Town

The First Four Poems

Most of my friends are scattered in various parts of the world. Not a single one was able to attend when I read at Off the Wall on Monday night.

It would have been nice to see familiar faces. But that night I also made new friends, I hope. Thank you to those who came to listen, and for those who wished they could’ve been there, I’ve made a brief recording and put it up on Soundcloud. Tell me what you think. And thanks again for all the support. Soon I hope to announce the release of A THOUSAND EYES.

photo from The Guardian of a Lego man depicting what took place in Abu Gharib, Iraq

It’s this Thursday!


Book Lounge launch 24 July – In the Heat of Shadows

Multiple Vehicle Crash Too Close to Home

Drove past a major car crash today. A bus loaded with people, a car, and a big vehicle… SUV? is that what you call them petrol guzzlers? The bus crashed and tore through the metal railing on the side of the N1 highway but the passengers escaped unharmed. There was a smashed up windscreen lying on the side of the railing. It had come right off the car which was now facing the direction of oncoming traffic – my direction. The man in the car had one bloody arm – broken, by the looks of it, hanging limp out the window – and his face was a mess. Paramedics were talking to him to keep him awake. His car was a total wreck at the front, metal probably wrapped around his legs. The big van was lying on its side, no visible passengers. It was not even 9 in the morning.

Tomorrow I have a long drive to take my kids to their school camp.

Five hours later update… a massive crane still trying to pull the bus up from the side of the highway.

Six hours later, news from someone who saw the same accident after I drove past. He saw the man being covered up on the ground. The poor guy didn’t make it.

Warm Christmas

When I arrived in Cape Town in October 1994 the newspapers mentioned it was the coldest winter in ten years.  There was snow right on Table Mountain.  And I was told just before I took the plane that spring was on its way.

I have to admit, I came to South Africa with the barest of knowledge of the place and its people.  All I knew about Africa came filtered by Hollywood’s misleading eye.  Friends and family were warning me about lions and gorillas roaming the streets.  Chanting tribal folks with spears.  Yeah, ignorance is easy to catch and feed.  It is still an effort to explain to those back home that this place is just like any other place in a lot of ways.

In terms of the weather, it took me a while to work out that this place has its seasons backwards.  Even back home December was colder than most times of the year.  Here it is summer.  Winter begins to hit around June and July.

Now I sit here, 9:00 AM watching the summer breeze gently rustling the greenest leaves of trees.  Our Christmas tree stands in the corner, lovely and bright with all the glittery decorations two seven-year-olds could hang.  The biggest tree we’ve ever managed to get.  It is dressed up to look like a tree in winter, of course.  Winter in the middle of summer.

The mind is a strange thing.  What it remembers and what it takes in remain a mystery.  I have memories of midnight Christmas masses, the cold air before dawn, the warmth of people.  It is very different here.  It has taken me a long time to say that this, too, is now home.  I am lucky to be with family.