Rough Music: Selected Poems 1989-2013
The night’s very restless inyanga is already by the pier,
eyes shut, pacing
and murmuring the 11th commandment of a new faith.
The beer-stained guards have exhausted their shift
umpiring since dawn the eternal struggle
between mynahs and crows by the rubbish bins.
The fishermen, past their third bottle of cane
dream of grunters, reek of shad
and complain that no ship was hooked
even though they cast their lines far in the far gardens of foam.
And there: the sea’s eyelid full of fins
the factory sirens quiet at last
the hooligan moon peers over the Bluff
and the horses of the deep get restless.
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from Songs Shoeshine and Piano 1992
from Slave Trades 2000
from Rhythmskewed 2000 originally in Greek 1991
from The RDP Poems 2004
from The Book of Accounting 2008
from 80 Days Around the World the India Section 2010
from Insurrections 2012
from The Vespa Diaries
Evening Song Durban
Africa’s Aurangabad bird birdshot blood bone boomslang boys chalo cracked cried crooning Dalits dancing dark dead dear Zigmund Gumede deep desert’s dream Durban Dyani eim gonna eyes fingers flowers gather glue gone grey hair Half-foot halfwayman hands haunt head heart Hello hide hill hunger strike hurt illal Lah inside Iran Johannesburg Johnny Dyani Klerksdorp Kokovoko Kokstad Kolkata KwaMashu KwaZulu Natal leap learn to love lives look lover lungs Macondo Marikana meerkat moaned moon murmur neck night Oh Lord One-Arrow pain Passepartout past piano we go poet prayed Qabula Red Sea remember restless rhythm sails sand scent scream searching shoeshine and piano shroud sing skin skull slave smile song soul spinning stab the rain street stupid sun’s sweat tear torso toyi-toyi trees tropical scars two-step Varanasi Vespa Vodacom voice walk walk in rhythm waves wind wire yellow