Track 01: January

Album: Walk Fast, Whistle

Next 02: Walk fast, whistle


in my kajuit op die see
sus die golwe my weg
na die land waar bome ween
waar winde veeg
die god omgee

out of the sunshine climbs the moths of the night into the ground into the flood into the thorn trees and bracken and bush by the gravel dam the lean-to goat shed and its sisal-poled shantytown sail through the stranded koppies and deeply ploughed ridges and the riches of the veld come in speckled lichen and dark-winged buzzards and the captain leguan calls a silent tongue along the ground for the souls to follow a small light at the bottom of the winding pools the silver line snaking slaking shaking the yellow pollen the exploding cloud the nightmouth open the wind cool the moths back in.

sitting inside a happy old tired thought
and the cars and buzzing flies
on the wet-lipped mouth and pause
the town a sliced open fruit
droplets slomo through the sky
the sky is the sky of the mute
a flock of starlings grow in number
swirl above the caravans and then
someone leans over and says
‘this is the end, this is how the end comes’

now you will come around the corner
and your smile will be alive and open
and from your hands will come words
‘shall we touch fingertips?’ I’ll ask
and you’ll say ‘yes, let’s do that’
sun will cut slices of cake
from the world around us
and daily troubles and tax
and syria and gunmen
politics and hate
will for a moment not be here
there will be nothing
just this

from inside the dying light
from the ping of the glass
when the shots die down
when the door of a home opens
sunshine and birds
spread across the world
of the hand of a man
and the heart of a woman
and the tongue of a child
and the wild woods crackle and pop
animals swim underwater
and fly above it and sit atop cliffs
and bark baboons and kudus
and bushbuck and dogs
down to the movement
of the cars and the cities
and the moonlit pipes
of the deepest down dark
of the mine and the murk
the money and the smirk
and the lazy swinging punch
the rubber bullets and armoured cars
the koppies and the knobkieries
the overalls and beanies
the gumboots and torn shirts
the lips and teeth and zol in there
the language the speaker
the listener the word
spit and shine
toe the line

we are in the prime of our nothings
and the tin roofs of our homes are blown to the poles
to expose our deeply set urges
to stay put and say nothing
to love and to hold
while a brass band plays underground
and the dust sparkles diamonds
for all the people here today
clap your hands say yeah
set your feet in the clay of the shade
made by the sun and the oaks and the wine

what we say is not all we are
but billboards, wings and black
the black of the night at our backs
as we turn around the blind corners
see laughs, lipstick and hair
but beware:

where the eye combs not
the world is a knot
a puzzle and a nail
a nest of words and hail

what the eye smooths out
curls up between our shoulders
where a monster is knitted
with no gloves to hold it
coals and smoulders
smokes and foals
a filly in brine

skuins uit die halfuur
strompel ’n soldaat
met ’n been in die mond
op die straathoek staan en kou
kon die minister nie maar net
brode bak en grou
met die hand wuif waar hy wou
en die misrabelheid weg kon jou
soos in bybelstories nou
in ’n ou geweeklaag
’n ge-arme ek ge-arme jy
gemene deler gemene gene
uniforms en vlae
party-t-hemde gespan oor party-mae
in ’n party-straat met ’n party-naam
word die partytjie geteken in ink
op die stippellyne gelaat
deur die strompelende soldaat
se stomp bloedvoete
getatoe tot die donker
met die eensame gefluit
deur die holte van die been
skoongeblaas van murg
witgesuig van wit

skuinsgeslaan deur die son
en uitgedraai deur die paaie van die land
verby die doringdraad en pale
die klinkers, die sparre
die heinings om die skape
en die bokke en die beeste
en die beste van die verderf
stap hulle met koppe op lywe
en lewens op stokke
en donkies op verslae hoewe
deur die stof en die reën en die wind
na die naderende golf
en die kind
op die heup op die rug op die wa
met die dooie woorde van mossies
opgefrommel in broeksakke
die golf van haas en gryp
van nie haat nie
maar nie liefhê nie
nie omgee nie
nie omkyk nie
nie opkyk nie
die golf van oormaat
en glans
van goue gans gaarmaak
op gods akker
en wagbeurt
waar die drenkelinge
in stadige aksie
uitspoel op die strand
met ’n hoedjie
in die hand

now in the blinking lights of the communication of nothing
and the ongoing words and the updates and the edits
where we are all perfectly suited to ourselves
and just about nothing and no one else
where we are overly familiar with everyone’s facades
and the walls we build and the posters we make
our mating calls and displays of skill and daring
the snaps and the chirps and the likes and the glimmer
of every day a brave new world
every day a brand new remake of a human from a mould
every day a slight tilt of the frame, back to straight

instead of digging until fingers bleed
instead of open-mouth kisses in bars
instead of a veldfire
instead of falling down the stairs
instead of stars and lightning
instead of running until your lungs rip
instead of listening and laughing
instead of falling asleep with a book
instead of smelling the inside of a dog’s ear
instead of holding your breath underwater
we are here
(on facebook)

in die hel is niemand op facebook nie
in die hel lees niemand boeke nie
in die hel kan niemand lees nie
in die hel ry niemand met safety belts nie
in die hel is daar nie safety belts nie
in die hel jaag mense
in die hel is daar nie appels nie
net gifappels en slange
in die hel ken almal jou naam
en faal jy die een breathaliser test na die ander
en verskyn jy voorop koerante
wat uitbrand in jou hand

tracking up the hillsides
where the homes huddle under
tattered banana groves
well-worn benches
and hand-rubbed potatoes
and glossy globs of tomatoes
and children’s toes
tickling the skin
of tanzania
a bird passes over
with its heavy hornbill
clacking out a baby’s cry
the sun ripped from its blanket
the breath of dead leaves
the steaming, worming soil
a little fire where road ends
and the young men we have met
hold our smiles in their hands
and us theirs in ours
I leave you by the smoke
and set out up the ridge
the spine of a slice
of the world
on a slow bounce
through space
and the eventuality
of our lives
and a trogon dances around
in the mist and mystery
of a branch holding out a hand
the down an abyss of moss
down the inside of the crater
I scramble down the past
past the fears
the disbelief and traditions
older than the rift right here
the birds and the colobuses
who shake the treetops by their hair
loosely fly like weird
arboreal dogs
and I dive into the lake
with the lip of the mountain
closing around me
down the throat of lava
leave the clouds shapeshifting
the fleeing ducks
the oxygen
towards magnetic earth
heavy elements
the place where
the top
spins on the finger

an aeroplane flies over the slow warm night and the bay and the lights a broken black dance of here and not here and i sit and i think of a small house on a mountainside with a fireplace for a heart and a flock of birds of books shear down the slope cutting the time into mahem minutes and osprey seconds and wind-swallow split seconds and feathers and squeaks and the thought rushes across my face and down the lining of the inside of my shadow percolates through the broth and blood around my organs the crow’s nest of sinews and veins around my bones and leaves through a tiny hole at the back of my skull back into the small house into the fire into the chimney out into the kloof in amongst the birds in amongst the books, gone

onder die bestek van my gesig
is my skedel ’n fossiel
en die spore van my frons
en die rimpel van my oë
dieselfde as die lyne
wat ons oopkap uit rots
dieselfde splinters bene opgespoor
oopgeboor en afgestof
pas in die dele van my skelet
waar skrapnel en tyd en kanker
oor die eeue my voorskadu
oopgeskiet en hand na mond
aangespoor het om te swoeg
wakker te slaap
en in die hande te spoeg
met fyn onfeilbaarheid
’n spies in die huid van ’n dier
te forseer en te draai en te dood
of met hande uitmekaarskeur
en eet of vreet met bloed
wat by die punte van
die elmboë ontmoet
en soos ek hier by my rekenaar sit
saampoel soos ’n fyn net
en oor die aarde span
al stywer en trom
met die liggiese wip
van die wiel
van die mensdom