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 –

Ashamed

To be not dead.

Now the task is

To live

Furtively.

 

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

 

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 a 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.


 

 

Defeat

 

I never thought

You could defeat me,

I always thought

My will stronger.

But you are a white man,

with white hair

And so you and your henchmen

burned me,

Turned me into something

Hideous,

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 a body breathing –

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 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 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.

 

Bloom

Tears

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

Tover

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 –

after Tover

there was just the hole

and the fence.

 


Driving home

 

The lights encircling Lions

Head are rows of jewels,

they lift

my soul into a place

dark and weightless.

I need something to take

away the edges

But when i take it –

the thing

that takes away the edges

(after scrolling past all the emojis

until i find the red heart) –

it’s no good

for my gut

and the gut is the centre

of being –

So maybe I need

the edges

that cut

between atoms

and neutrons

and that slice

a portal

into another world

Maybe I need

the edges

But

you have

no

edge.

 

 

 

Lamentations (and other melodies)

On Arthurs Road a security guard sings

In a strange tongue

It sounds like fresh water pouring into the sea

Though I know it’s a lament


Underneath a window Romeo calls

For Gaby, who jangles keys and shouts that she’s comin

A cop checks his cellphone in a parked patrol car

The light of the screen quietly illuminating his face


I climb the North West slope of Signal Hill

In the twilight


It’s not very profound

I don’t know when it happened

But my heart has dipped heavily into my stomach

And my hands are empty

 

Leonor (after Camões)

The day there were needles

in my body,

I took a bath, immersed to the

waist, like a shipwrecked Portuguese noblewoman,

in front of a group of young men.

To one of them I tried to explain

about the needles:

but no words came, only gestures,

and besides, he was laughing.

Some of the needles were still having threads in them.

 

The watcher

She is the one who died in the woods.

I was kneeling beside her as she expired

from that awful gunshot wound, and she looked into

my eyes,

and I held her close.

Somebody else was there,

but it was not you.

 

On the other side of the curve


Endtimes doggerel published in herri3, 2020: https://herri.org.za/3/lucy-valerie-graham/

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