Saturday, January 30, 2016

Bat outta hell

I'm unexpectedly 1404 km from home and travelling light; one small backpack containing a novel, toiletries and a single change of clothing.
This far north the sun sets much earlier. The sky's bigger. Struck I was, from the minute I disembarked from the orange plane, by vistas of eye-soothing greenness.
Welcome to the perfect summer climate of the Highveld. In comparison Cape Town is barren, bleak and barren with droughtness. I'm relieved to be here.
Sitting topless by the pool I've lit a fire while watching bats swoop in the inky duskness.
I'm here to say goodbye, for now, to my mother.
Memories surge through the wiring of my mind... childhood, adolescence, my foolish early adulthood. The greens of summer, the cobalt blue of this world's ceiling, the veld, the cumulus billows. All trigger me, make me nostalgic, sometimes sore.
This is suburbia, but it's quiteness, peace and (electric fence) security is alluring in its illusion of peace.
I am love.
Twilight peels itself off. The skin below is tattooed black. This is the electric Highveld.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

hell


Fucking sterile suburbia. Vredehoek since Sunday.

Has none of the life and texture of my streets. I emphasise sterility. As hot as a convection oven. The streets are clean. The walls are high and uncracked. Bleached of life.

No-one's on the streets except for those walking shiny-coated dogs or straddling titanium saddle mounts and two thin wheels, which alone are worth more than many years of working, or begging, for the average man or woman in my hood.

A total shortage of smiles and eye contact. People walking around barbed wired in and electric fenced out, lit with the secret language of little blue 'activated - don't touch lights'; 'cos personal walls are so last decade.

I'm house sitting in hell. But I sure love the aircon (we've all got our price).

And Stella, the wire haired terrier puppy and I have bonded on the couch; she's sussed me and has me at her beck and call.

It's scorchingly hot all day long; my glasses slide down the bridge of my nose and make me look like a bigger ass than I already am.

Psycholigally, what's behind self-deprecation? My answer? Humour.

I either laugh at myself or throw myself off a bridge.

Amen.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Looking backwards so as to contemplate now



Hiding behind long white cotton curtains, despising the bleached glare and heat of a city scoured by torrid temperatures and smoke from the vegetation fires on the distant peninsula, I take a peak at this view. 

It was the view that I could almost touch from my bed in the wonderfully dark, cooler room beneath the swirling fan in the apex of the A-frame house. How I wish I was there. Now, On the monkeyed hill above Hibberdene on KwaZulu-Natal's south coast. 

I spent the week that ended in Christmas there, visiting my ageing father. But he was an alien there, hiding in his corner, trapped in a spiral of negativity. 

I've spent much time there, when the house was unoccupied. Many times alone. Mostly in the extremely short but champagne days of winter. Or at Easter (often). And in September. Keenly I would listen at night, beneath the whirring fan, to the Indian Ocean thundering against the rocks, imagining the moon dropping a lighted ladder to the shore. 

Or, my favourite, beneath the dripping, misty rain that would comfortably muddle my mind into a contorted zone of dreams and unreal distractions. This is possible only when life's handbrake has been jerked up. The always-green grass wet and matted like a dog's fur after it's just shaken itself from the sea. 

I could live there.

There I've shared the space with precious, important loves of my life; their faces are slightly blurred now like teary glass that's dribbled slowly for a century-old. The Love - my memories of whom are the deepest-scratched-and-picked-and-tooled into the rockface of my soul - remains a heavy beautiful paperweight pressing down on a corner of my life's map; I was so broken at the time. Things can never be the same again, there's no going back, all that I can do now is strive to be the person that I should've been then, now.

My father. I came to see my ageing father. He brooded in the corner like a black widow spider; the king has lost his castle, dreads death, is depressed by a country he no longer really understands. It's the first time I've experienced him like this. I have forgiven myself for resenting him and spending so much time in the bath, reading.

Only now as dusk turns to ink and the ink evaporates The Mountain does my mood lift, slightly, and life, with the slight drop in temperature, becomes bearable. Alone I sit at this screen and keyboard not needing anyone, knowing that I could slip away unnoticed for days. The thought of going through the year's paces again, pouring energy into desperate, stubborn youths, depletes my battery in advance. Tonight that contemplation's bleak.

I'm sure tomorrow that I'll somehow be fine. 

Although I linger as quiet as a midnight mouse in the bottom drawer of my memories, I long to extend my arm and to touch that subtropical view, to drink in deep the passion and welcome of the Indian Ocean, also that perfect blue sky.

This life's been a good one.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Kodak magic moment



'Hello white man.'
- 'Hello brown man.'
'You got a cigarette for me?'
- 'Sorry man, I don't smoke and I don't have any money.'
'I don't need your money.'

The walls we walk our streets behind; souls skirting each other gingerly in the night.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Ripped and rippled / Cause and effect



A people-free day filled with sleep, books, silent words between desk and bed. 

Sale Christmas cake and a French press of coffee. 

Turn on the lamp in my corner on the world. 

Last night the lower slopes of Devil's Peak burned before my eyes. 

Today's the fourth flat-out day of howling, tearing, ripping, shredding wind; I adore the forced isolation. 

Tomorrow back to work after a month of conflicting emotions and time with people. 

New chapter. Varying irons in different fires; variously shaped pebbles launched not on the whim into ponds and puddles, let's see what comes back on the ripples.

A chapter of words and writing and related travel.

A year of sleeping alone. Future tense. Choice. Peace and freedom. 


Dusk through a dusty window; my kingdom for a few days away alone with my thoughts in the remote and dry-aired, big-sky Karoo, maybe on a farm called Klapperbos. 

Perspective before the rush and roar of the next 365.