LVG pomes


Failed execution


Last request: a camera

Aimed at the man with the gun.

He lifts the rifle,

I click the shutter,

The photograph on the screen

Is bequeathed

To my father.


The bullet collides somewhere near

My heart.

I stagger home –


To be not dead.


Now the task is

To live




Boland Bluebeard


They were unruffled,

The artist and his mistress, when I arrived in a battered kombi

To save the wife.


But she had already disappeared.


Only pink water in a bucket and a bloodstain

That smelled of detergent and would not wash out

On the floor near the fridge.


It is happening to me now.

As I try to hide behind the rose bushes,

He says: “Did you really think you could escape?”



Fishing 1


Angling for water

The fish leapt

Under the bridge

Into my arms

A soft egg wounded

By gills

I knew it would die

Like that.




Tick bite fever


My knight in shining armour

Turned out to be an engorged tick

With no eyes

Who crawled out of the veld and drank my blood until I became so sick

He had to turn to another source of life


What they don’t tell you in fairy tales

Is that there is nothing

Behind the polished armour –

Inside the shiny smooth body of the tick you will find only

Your own blood.






I never thought

You could defeat me,

I always thought

My hate stronger.

But you are a white man,

with white hair

And so you and your henchmen

burned me,

Turned me into something


A parody of myself –

Cast out.


Remember. I am not on the side

of your tribe.

And the past is not forgotten.

Cast out –

I stand with the miners of Geduld

who cough up

Pieces of lung in shacks

near Mthatha,

And with the Cubans

who fought against you

At Cuito Cuanavale.



This wound


This wound inside

Most days sits quiet, seeping

As imperceptibly as blood murmurs through capillaries –


But oh

how the merest thought or kiss can tear open

The thin membrane, disgorging bits and then


I am on on the edge, almost falling

into that yawning void –

the solar plexus.



Northern Hemisphere Haiku I


Under grey English

Skies in June, I miss the smell

Of frangipani.



Southern Hemisphere Haiku I


Over these dark waves,

Lion’s Head and mute Apostles,

Wheels the Southern Cross.



A Disappearing World


The forest is being razed

Turned into powdered dust


From out of a chasm of hewn vegetation

They drag a panda bear


And her cub

Bound for some zoo, or worse


I rush to the mother,

And reunite them


Then carrying both creatures I run

Though the forest, now busy with men


What shall I feed these skepsels

When I take them into hiding?


Suddenly in my arms they grow

Smaller and smaller


As if I have been carrying two insects –

Lost, they have fallen


I search the dusty ground but see nothing

If I had my cellphone here I could call for help.





and stars

Bloom in darkness.



Settler’s hospital


I was 19 going on 20

when they put me into the hospital for settlers

I cannot remember why, though it must have been 

for something shameful

I remember the white ward

with two ancient white ladies, fellow settlers

one was dying

the other had lost her faculties

or at least some of her reason in the sense that

reason is focused on present coordinates

she kept rattling the end of her bed

like a cage and calling for “Florence”

and her little dog called Tover

Tover, Tover, where is my little dog


sometimes she swam into the present

and focused on her gasping companion

calling for the nurses to feed her grapes

as grapes are very digestible

sometimes I put my hands to my eyes

and feel the bones of my skull

it’s coming for all of us

the bones rattling their cage

wanting to get out

like Tover who escaped through

the hole in the fence






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