Dispersed

Sobered by winter you crossed streets, finicky
Muttering untruths under your moustache, absolving
The wind with your cheeks ridden by tears

Unhappy and generally unclean, spotted
At dingy late-night coves of country liquor, praising
The keeper for his honesty and laughter

You dispersed into many beings and fit nowhere,

So much for staying alien, a city’s problems
Tied to your ankle while nails rust at your crucifix
The kites encircle meat houses at noon screaming
At you when walk past blocking the sun from your years

Routes

locked away into a novel, scampering around your own world
the world within the city that fell while you were unborn
tragic that you came to life as an aftermath

while boys played cricket over gravestones levelled into the earth
the rains seeped into notebooks and slushed around the words
on drying the language changed, the smell of damp nothings

a day in November you too will be much older, sorry
for forgetting your mother-tongue like the others from your groups
where-they-all-now you’ll wonder, alone in a cube cooled inside a skyscraper

synthetic coffee, planned romance, reminders will get you across.

Cafe, circa 2011

sorry
said the poet, lingering around
looking at a stained tea-cup where
his lips once touched, in steam,
his nose
immersed

…unpaid, half-done, finished
allow me to leave, said the poet
fishing around the outskirts with his glance

arrives the crook, crutches cancelled
as he retires into a chair – his shadows
waving a cigarette

the counter opens to commotion

the poet’s account heavier; he’ll be back
says the crook
what you offer is tea, which everyone does
but what you provide is drama, which no one else does

refill please

Rain

I loved you like the rain
That awakens the whole city with relief
Embalms and cleanses, provides and floods
Breaks for occasional strobes of sun
Children play football and open their arms to the sky
You resurfaced,

becoming yourself, you settled
finally smiling and narrating poetry
stirring cups of coffee, washing
away
disasters that reduced you
coming to me as woman and child

You couldn’t love me as the rain, instead
wavered like the wind and floated
back into back habits
bringing the sun out and dried
every drop from our lake

I let go like the rain that leaves a city
Gradually then all at once
In summers to come you’ll look at sky
Parched
Why aren’t the clouds arriving, one asks

Francophone

Today the day scatters moodily, scarfs
tied against pulled back hair
embroidered with block-printed tales
wave along the smoggy air
…bus stop, white earphones
a farewell bid to unknown faces
senseless proximity with strangers
in the distance a coffee shop dead- livened
by an opening shutter
the flux of beans roasting released
a cup rinsed by black
black, and more black
french accent, african descent
a country opens its newspaper

Fields, circa 2010

in the interim, your hair disturbed
by October and its slow winds
flurrying over fields of sugarcane
your rustic accent splintering slangs, your fangs
biting into my innocence
what a fabulous season it was
the highway wasn’t built yet, storks circled
pipits danced, the mat we slept on scarred
by tense movements
muscle and bone
hair and breath
evenings and more evenings
nights without names