Stockpiled Poems

For Sonja

A hint of Rome,
a nose that guards
the Kaiser of good taste:
she is chef and chief
cook to this space-cart –
the daily round of sly
pages laced with humour
and her tinkling laugh,
itself a reminder to behave
as behoves a Saxon jester
who should have been a sailor
and would have landed her –
her ship worshipped full-breasted
in the figurehead, broad
in the beam, forecastle and after –
well-travelled by each tar
who dared to hammock her
and ran amok to win her heart
by charm or totem or some chant
last heard in a poet's cave,
a wonderwork naked before
her birthday still naked before the caul
that keeps a man from drowning
in her deep blue,
her tongue the language compassed north,
hardened to a plain truth
and ironstone of endless visions
of her mystery and caress
as if short-handed;
this lady grips the heart
as a vice and sole
raison d'être
for setting one step before another,
yet amid this cleverness,
and enlightened,
the valley and hills of soft love
foresee an almost English occupation
of this country before Christmas
with my Cox's orange pippin.


the edge

of desire is smooth
a blade well-honed and lubricated
with the spittle of her whetted wheel
at first she cannot believe the flooding
warmth that begins in air
a voice overheard
in a maze on the other side
of the privet
a voice that whispers
the odd word
her name was it
caught in the timbre
a sigh as if forgotten
but repeated no mistake
does he know her naked
soul dances to a rhythm
how it fires her spine
the small of her
the back of her to the drum
if he but knew would he not
beat a path to her
through the hedgehog sleeping day
the soft rain to where he finds her
him erect she kneeling to
no lesser god


the hologram

my love is image
she has three dimensions
of the ghost

but she is voice
she is moving type
she is rhythms of static

I embrace her
no sound no moan
no laughter

I kiss her lips
as still air
of summer evenings

I touch her breast
feel nothing
under her rib

O Adam call to god
she is hollow
where has she gone

as if on camera
watching me tear
my tongue out



my day seems long
when I think of you
so far and the sea
in the offing limitless

beneath the winter light
and the long flight to you
these lengthening years
shadows cast over me

but then there is the mountain
and the wind
and the rooivalk balanced
on the blade of his vision

knowing nothing of you
both of us
ignorant as the season
waiting for spring

already early arums gleam
in the wetter patches
vygies too
and I make plans

to go north to the flowers
one day soon
and feel myself
a little closer to you



I come from Kalk Bay
da byrrie see.
My Ma, my Pa, my Sussie
en me.
My Bro kom later -
dielaas lammetjie -
Ekis sho daarva
becos dey gives hymn
die voorletters, PS.

I come from Kalk Bay
da byrrie see
warrie hawe soennie baai
warrie snoek word opgelaai
vanaf skuite wiff names laaik
Marion Dawn en Star ovve Sea.

I come from Kalk Bay
da byrrie see
meddie geur va sout
en seaweed,
red lead en sawdust,
ennie blood en gutsa mackerel.

I come from Kalk Bay
da byrrie see
warrie kranse anwoot gee
warrie kabeljou en steenbras,
yellowtail en red roman
wa koud-stil lê, kou op rottang
oppie bakkie se voorskoot.

I come from Kalk Bay
da byrrie see
warrie ou man staan
teenie son ennie mier
wiff rottan teef
en suippie vaatjie lieg.

I come from Kalk Bay
da byrrie see.
Das niks dramaties
behalwe tamaties
ennie wind wat waai
ennie see.

I come from Kalk Bay
da byrrie see.
Dis gister tien jaa
Maadie visse hy kla ammeka
om sy stem te lat hoor
teen branne en boer.

I come from Kalk Bay
da byrrie see.
My Ma, my Pa, my Sussie
en me.
Emmy Bro ok – foeitog.