Track 03: The News

Album: Satelliet EP

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There is unease in the air, not far from here
at times, shots ring out – I am not sure:
is it that, or just a car? or is it just me, do I hear
that now, in everything, like I hear it too,
in my dreams, I imagine intruders, a window sliding open,
a shadow looms over me, I wake, there is nothing but the night.

In the morning, the news drifts into our lives:
a retweeted tweet, a WhatsApp from an aunt:
They have found a vaccine! Eat garlic! Drink hot water!
Alice shows me a funny meme, but I don’t know what it means.

I click on a website: They know I’m there, as I search the site
for important events, someone is collecting my data
so there’s a readymade advertisement waiting for me
next time, knowing I’ve been muttering about Mahindra
bakkies, or getting a new Samsung, or simply Cadbury’s,
or that I’ve just forgotten to brush my teeth.

Driving in my car, seeing the world approach my
window with outstretched hands,
I accidentally touch my lips, I wonder:
The virus, what have I been holding?
I squirt soap into my hands, when the lights are red
I even keep it in the car – aren’t the lights red for longer these days?
I think about all the new types of plastic, the facemasks
in the sea, the see-saw of history, standing in the balance
waiting like a tennis ball suspended in the air by
accidentally pressing pause on reality’s quarter finals.

A community radio presenter stumbles over
the words, and I cannot blame her,
I am surprised she gets anything out at all.

It amazes me how slick – even beautiful (I have a
favourite newsreader on Al Jazeera, do you?) – it sometimes
seems on the news networks, how fine their hair,
how chiselled the cheekbones, and how brief the footnote
of another attack somewhere in Chad.

There’s no footage from there, no smart phones were present
(Unlike when the shed full of fertilizer exploded in Beirut)
and by the time the authorities reach the site,
at the edge of a lake, where fishermen lived in makeshift
huts made from reeds and mud, the bodies are puffed up,
a layer of dust has collected over what has been the news,
and the Boko Haram has disappeared into the desert:
The djinns of their own destiny.