Friday, December 28, 2012

in the Ocean's orchestra pit; i am

Salt Rock: Sitting on my favorite outcrop in a maelstrom of wind, sound, sun and salt spray;
Gulping-in-deep the tang-salt of the-Ocean; this is most definitely not a sea;
December's summer sun on my skin; i'm in nothing but baggies;
After a deep, wonderful night's sleep - a gift to me - i plunged, barefoot, from bed - to - street - to - beach straight after waking:
i am the hot tar beneath my soul;
i am the clay-mud on the soggy path down to the sea squishing my toes and squirming my nails;
i am the crab that scuttled the rock pool, also the one suicide bombing from a rock when i surprised it and it me;
i am the salt invisible on the air;
i am the tang woven between my nostril hairs;
i am me. I am you. I am the divine. I am the Ocean, the Sky and the Clouds;
i am the rock beneath my bum and feet;
i am solid and rock and eternal being;
i am joy, love, compassion and peace;
i am in love, I am love;
i am the passion of the universe.

i am.
i am just me at the bottom of an ocean of air.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Rule of thirds

Yesterday this time I was at the beach, Tiffany's in Salt Rock. A scorcher of a day, I was grateful to be in the shade at the exact point that vegetation meets beach. Clutching a slithery-wet-cool bottle of milk stout and smoking for a change, I comprehended the world, the most beautiful world, from the rule of thirds' perspective: shadow, beach, ocean / sky.

Right now I'm sitting at a table sipping a cafe in the perfectly peaceful eye of the storm that is Christmas shopping frenzy on 22 December. Words and calmly tuned into the still, quite voice within. Despite the maelstrom.

'Be still and know that I am God.'

Amidst the hurry, flurry, noise and spending I'm at one with my Creator. Needing some space and desiring to be alone, I've come to Gateway in Umhlanga knowing it would be packed. In my anonymity, despite the crowds, I'm enjoying my time alone with Charles.

Here he has perspective. Here he is free.

On another note: Charles, after having not stepped into a Catholic Church since he was, ironically, confirmed in the Church in 1983, and after a long, winding and deeply intensive journey since then, is again embracing his Catholic roots. That's despite Pope Benedict's repulsive homophobia; Charles is still grappling with that one.

A surge of people enter the mall through the automatic glass doors just behind where I'm sitting - on a red chair - at a tiny round table that's the colour of full cream milk. It's the breeze that enter with them that gently seeks my attention. Like an old friend.

Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere is something else: the weather service warned of extreme discomfort, humidity and heat along the coastline today. It's 31 degrees centigrade.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Salt Rock Library

It's a beautiful sunny summer's afternoon.
For peace, and quiet I'm sitting at an old table in the library.
The whir-and-hum of the the air conditioner; the lone librarian talking Zulu on a phone; faint traffic noise from the road past the beach; someone's music box car pounding deeply but in no way that I can comprehend.
I've come here to surround myself with silent words and sentences, and the dreams of many writers ghost-breathing in and around my subconscious; this is a place of peace and calm and solitude.
It's an old fashioned place that harks back to an other world; old fashioned values.
Although I've purchased three ebooks online via my iPad in the last month, my first (and despite being a tactile man, and sentimental, I most definitely get it why ebooks are a future), I'm choosing a library for peace and comfort; I will always thrill at books.
I'm also choosing, today, to write real and inky words with a fountain pen in a an old fashioned CNA counter book (A4 - FEINT & MARGIN - 288 PAGES) that I bought for R21 (probably about £2).
I'm happily a nerd.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Beautiful night, perfectly

Just home.
With a beer, black and stout, beneath the tree in the corner by the pool, reclined.
At peace.
Beneath the hadeda nest and the crescent moon, which bejewels the ink-pot night sky.
Not even a breath, except mine: I'm alive in my Source.
Crickets, many, some frogs in the distance. World seems at peace.
Soft light, festive lights.
Ripples in and on the pool. Drop a stone into the pond
And see what on the ripples comes back
Beer taste of metal in my mouth
Oh to kiss
Apple you're too clever, spell ahead, and trip me up. Go away

Thunderstorm coming

The storm, wet elephant gray, arrived at Harrismith, Free State, just as I sipped a Heike's German coffee shop cappuccino.
That was after taking a bite of moist chocolate cake (they mingled, impressed, in my spit): December, thunderstorm, strong coffee and chocolate cake; my kind of combo.
Spattered with grape-size rain droplets, my bare arms curdled with goose flesh; I wiped coffee flavoured foam from my top lip and nose tip.
Changing gear I'm excited to rest, and dream.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Beautiful day

Perfect morning, summer's here, even if only for the morning.
Next week Friday sees South Africa shut down for the summer holidays.
Already Salt Rock and Ballito are buzzing with folk from up north, here for the season: roads being repaired, walls and balustrades being painted, restaurants preparing.
I'm at Waterberry for coffee, words, then tea.
Tea signals work time, in the traditional sense.
I'm running hard again, last work touches before the world shuts down for summer-Christmas.
Phone's off for my quiet time.
Soft music from somewhere inside; outside, on the furtherest table away from the world, I'm gratefully merging into the dappled light on a copse of old-wise indigenous trees, water, the last arum Lillie's, tree frogs and cicadas.
Slipping away, into my quiet, I'm sure no-one will notice.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

I am alive, I am brimming over with life, and love

Just out of church; I prefer that the Saturday evening service, there's few children and the adults seem chilled, and focused.
Now I'm having a cappuccino with myself, still in my 'womb' space, knowing it will be over when I get back to the house.
A cool wind, unusual for so late in the summer is blowing; even so I'm considering a glass of wine on the beach while watching the ships passing in the night.
I love December because it both the summer holidays month and Christmas; many people complain about the commercialization of Christmas: no one has the power to commercialize Christmas but yourself. Only you can give your power away. Take it back.
I love the mall decorations, Christmas carols, and spending time with my family and friends.
I love giving and receiving gifts; I give as much thought as possible to purchasing something as special as possible for whoever I have in mind.
I also give the gifts with love.
Christmas, for me, is a celebration of life.
I am alive, I am brimming over with life, and love.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Umhlanga, yesterday. Right on heart

It was a moody afternoon yesterday. And the air was salt-thick heavy; the tang of which I drew deep, deep into my lungs and smiled - WIDE - about.
A smile dripping with the joy of life. As if life was a big, ripe mess of all the earth's finest fruits; the juice, its fleshes, dripping, congealing, clotting in my beard, and brows, and on my lashes, into the hair on my chest.

So instead of heading home yesterday afternoon, as per 'normal', and after an intense day, and despite the weather, I slowly walked and photographed Umhlanga's esplanade; and enjoyed its village cafes; sucking the marrow from
life's bone; and confusing my metaphors.

My first reward was the salt-thick and heavy air that raced my pulse.

Walking into to local CNA, old fashioned with the reek of books and magazines, it was reminiscent of an old-style stationery shop, not a chain store. I breathed in deep that reek too. And smiled wide.

There I - almost - allowed myself the pleasure of buying two locally written and very recently published books; both of them exceptional examples of investigative journalism: Adriaan Basson's Zuma Exposed, Julian Rademeyer's Killing for Profit, about the despicable rhino horn trade.

But I didn't. Because I'm a minimalist and have streamlined and simplified my life: despite my overwhelming addiction to, and passion for books, I am taking the eBook route, which I confess I know nothing about. For the second half of my life I am traveling light and uncluttered. My thousand or so books are being redistributed as I type these words.

I savoured the two old white ducks chirruping and folding-and-unfolding knotted, gnarled hands on a bench close to the Beverly Hills. I smiled widely at their summery, breezy frocks and sensible pumps.

Still grinning I watched with a seagull eye the oily surfer-boy-seals; their boards invisible, they were nothing more than black ink drops on gray velvet, not yet absorbed.

My heart, wide open to life, was deeply satisfied by my deviation; and it cost nothing, and extended my life by at least 365 days.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gray. I'm not a sheep even though I baa and bah

It's gray and raining. That's more than okay with me.

I'm drinking overpriced coffee at Vida e Cafe. 

How do they justify charging R26 for a single mug of Caffe Mocha; I just do not see what they have on offer other than having created some smoke-and-mirror vague-linked-to-cool brand tailor made for our sheep-consumerist society? 

Vida e Caffe having your behind-the-counter non-service orientated staff creating a ruckus every time they're tipped - like now - is rather tired after all these years, and certainly isn't the 'value-add' I'm prepared to pay for. Especially as I'm - now - a much wiser and savvy making-it-through the international financial crisis individual looking to be wowed, wooed and definitely not fooled into being content at your rip-off.

I'm writing and watching a humble sparrow (mossie in Afrikaans) beaking crumbs around my, and the table's feet. 

Most have lost their way. And have compromised their values, integrity.

My mascot is, of now, the humble sparrow. I'm looking for natural lines and wrinkles in faces that have chosen to age gracefully; thinking youngsters not gaga'd out and unthinkingly branded and walking over everything to get nowhere.

I choose life, not the living dead. No to noise, muchness and busyness: I choose to stare into my abyss, not to plug my ears with a racket and to gorge myself on possessions, anything to avoid the quiet, still voice within.

Bah baa black sheep.........

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bench of my content

Rainy late Sunday afternoon
Sitting on an always-unused bench
Peering though the untamed undergrowth
At the mighty ocean below, and-far-away
Battleship gray sky merges ocean like my left brain onto my right
It was - until now - a technology free weekend of recuperation
And a smattering of pages from a bland book
Lots of coffee too; fine French vanilla flavour from The Waterberry, last week
And, yesterday, three writers meet at The Edge, also over coffee and smoked salmon, passion and The Artist's Way
Then to church, and the night

Friday, November 23, 2012

Adams Booksellers... I am blessed

I am blessed and inspired to be working with the amazing management team from Adams Books in Durban.

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Distress signal frequency

Obama biographer David Remnick calls on him to end the "magical thinking" on climate change:

Inaction on climate change has an insidious ally: time. As the writer and activist Bill McKibben writes in The New York Review of Books, "Global warming happens just slowly enough that political systems have been able to ignore it. The distress signal is emitted at a frequency that scientists can hear quite clearly, but is seemingly just beyond the reach of most politicians." 

Good omens

Dreary, overcast day sees me still in bed, until now
Soaking in the bath I can hear the ocean, blustery sporadic wind, intense chirruping of at least ten weaver birds constructing homes above the pool by destructing the trees around them; 99% of the nests are sure to be rejected
22, 88 and yellow weaver birds, as well as the lotus flower, are strong-good omens for me
Even these words are struggly, like my attempt to not beat up my internal sensor, like my attempt to not procrastinate
I'm at the arse end of a long, hard year and I'm tired

Friday, November 16, 2012

Struggling for W.O.R.D.S

I'm slugging down a cappuccino; there's a deep tiredness right at the far dark back of my eye sockets; when I close my eyes - to rest them - they beg and scratch at me not to open them; not ever again please
I'm exhausted and battered
But good exhausted and good battered
A large woman hunched and round-shouldered - to the bursting - into a turquoise jersey stares at the magazine rack and clutches her new born to her bosom; I'm envious of her distilled and nature-instinctive focus
It's raining raining raining outside
I've been struggling for words
I'm working on a (very) short story about a crab; her name's Sally Lightfoot
I have to finish it by tomorrow
Feels like I've lost focus right here, that this has become the blog of my discontent
I smile wryly
To myself
And catch myself listening to the irritatingly but unusually high pitched squeak of an exceptionally short waitress reading a loaned-from-the-bookshop magazine: recycling I think might be the term

Sunday, October 21, 2012


My random jackdaw thoughts are on auto-shuttle through my cranium and behind my tired eyes; I'm having these while on the couch downstairs.
Staring out of the window at the rain that began 48-hours ago, they are mostly, and understandably, sunless: the rain's pattering down hard on the verdant, broad-leaved sub-tropical vegetation. The scene and sounds could, easily, be out of any of countless movies I've never seen.
A scraping then spraying of a battered black pan in the kitchen; subdued rain-sodden thoughts while I wait for my chicken-chili omelette; the rattle of long blunt-but-powerful Doberman claws ticking across terra cotta-cool tiles; a boy-and-girl being loud Sunday afternoon neighbour's kids other side the fence; then the crescendo of a silent but cloying fart, same Doberman, that causes me to wrinkle my nose in disgust.
Random photos and memories from last week; we went to Durban's Grey Street market finding disappointment; then - by accident - mysterious undercurrents in the much less formal, but intriguing muti market that's woven itself like a spider's web around Durban's train station. I'd describe it as a symbiotic relationship in a truly African sense; but I didn't feel at ease, nor completely welcome, rather like a spy from the other-side. And conspicuously white.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I'm alone on the narrow strip of beach that's left thus far untouched by the incoming tide; all alone except for Sasha. She was sheared today, except for her head and tail; and looks like a good looking but emaciated lion.
A sand-coloured crab runs crookedly-straight across my vision.
The tide is angrily trying to get me, I still have some leeway though: not sure which is going to get me first, the tide, the dusk, or the approaching fiercely-beautiful storm?
It's my first alone time today, my artist-writer needs it.
We - me and the elements - are turbulent. But free

Friday, October 12, 2012

Staring reality in the face as the tide comes in

Sitting on the ocean edge watching more rain coming in from the south - it's close-by now and I will be soaked - and the tide's coming in: it's a battleship-grey kinda day.
Earlier I slipped on schloffy jeans and slipped off my sneakers; wearing a beanie I leashed up Sascha and walked to the sea for some us-time.
It's going to be a moody-wet weekend, which I'm ecstatic about.
The ocean is so huge that I cannot imagine it being over-fished and severely environmentally at risk; the problem is that my imagination's obviously too small; and living in a spacious and relatively unpopulated 'corner' of the planet, I can't begin to fathom this incredible planet's resources ever being even remotely stretched (that's the problem with imaginations, sometimes they have to stare reality in the face to get the picture!).
Two things are striking me right now:
Perhaps I cannot believe that people who spend so much time on the very edge of the ocean - fishermen - could be so untouched by its grand-splendour as to, disrespectfully of both it and themselves, never mind others, pollute its beaches and rocks as much as they do?
That global companies - and local national brands like Unilever's Dove - can still be so arrogant, unthinking and uncaring as to produce the blue-plastic earbuds that litter our shores at spring tide; have they honestly not yet considered bamboo as an alternative? Decision-made: I will never again purchase a plastic earbud. (And I challenge their CEO to come walk with me and, while he's picking up his litter, to explain to me why on earth they're still on plastic.)
An almost transparent and minute red ant struts - between sea sand granule rocks (it's all relative isn't it?) - utterly weightless across my bare left foot and leaves me gaping in awe: this frigging life-thing is truly miraculous, from the subatomic level and upwards!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dear Ingrid

I ran-walked to the ocean's very edge today, then sat just within its tender reach of salt-spray.
Barefoot and bummed on a rock outcrop I contemplated the nearness of God, the grayish scudding foam suds, and the Afrikaans poet Ingrid Jonker who committed suicide. She walked into the icy Atlantic from Seapoint, Cape Town. Although this is the warm and mostly friendly Indian, I could not imagine walking into it one-way; on this cool grey day I'm repulsed at being swallowed in, deep, by it. And I'd never have the balls.

I also thought about my days in the army - which at the time I thought to be my last.
Later, when back at the house and talking to Lee on our unmade bed, triggered by my beard I told him a story of my last days of 'national service'. Those were robot-acted out in the Koakaveld, just south of the then South West African, and Angolan, border. That's where I smelt what the killing fields reek of, and lost the remnants of my innocence.
I then got-up-and-off-the-bed and shaved (no full stop intended)

It's raining now.

I've just wolfed down a slab of chocolate cake, and a cappuccino, at what has become my 'local' coffee joint - at Tiffanys.
I wonder what Monkey's doing right now, and my mother.
It's a misty, moody and rainy elephant grey dusk, with much dripping.
And there's some decisions I need to make, in utter faith that they are right decisions.
Two beautiful, and also extremely slender women walk past in the prime of their womanhood; the scent of their perfumes and soaps, which I don't recognize, waft on the wind to me: I'm carried away to a world that's not mine. Just a glimpse please I'm curious...thank you.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Pan's labyrinth

These photos also taken on Saturday in Durban reflect my darker, more somber mood of today. This afternoon I'm walking slowly but stealthily, and without my usual smile, through Pan's's been a downward spiral into the depths of my garden; but now I'm seeking light and for Him to walk with me: it's our secret garden after all.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Durban, botanical garden

On Saturday afternoon, late, we visited Durban's botanical garden; it was good.
As my blood sugar levels dipped, I got high on a craving for Castle milk stout, and the glucose I sucked from the super c sweets I bought for emergencies, like that one.
The brilliant summer sunshine quickly gave way to elephant gray moodiness; then from Sunday early afternoon until now, rain.
Although my favourite weather, I now confess to a mild bout of cabin fever.
I tune in from autopilot to the swamp frogs that I can, with ease, hear through the open windows.
Elephant gray doesn't cease to be the theme and texture of my last, but not last, 48-hours.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

sam. smile. negative. Ganesha

Close to midnight and the temperature has dropped; the wind is rustling-tussling the leaves on the milk wood below the wood-frame window; the frogs have piped down to a hardly-noticeable audio wallpaper; the old fan moans as it stutter-swings rightwards, every-single-time-to-the-right.

Late afternoon, just on the right side of 34 degrees Celsius, we sat on the shop side of Sam's table in Tambetha, Umhlali. Lee drank red wine out of a mug, green tea and ginger for me. We bought a mauve essential oil burner: from Thailand the ceramic Ganesha elephant bears a lotus flower on its back; a tea candle aromatically roasts citronella and tea tree in almond oil on my bedside table, right now. (I only noticed the Christ thorn and aloe in the large ceramic pot outside the gate as we left at dusk.)

At 13h30, like two little wide-eyed vivisection monkeys about to be experimented on, we sat on the edge of a white-iron clinic bed. Aids tests for two. By two we knew we were HIV-negative times-two.

ocean. inspiration. healing

mighty OCEAN, constant roar, smell & sound of GOD o' universe: I bow down, in awe

I left my room-and-creative studio, then the house, at 6h30; Sascha the blonde German shepherd tried to follow me. But today I wanted to be alone (who on earth said you can't start a sentence with but?) so I shooed her away.
The house is 800m from the Indian ocean, that includes a steep 100m drop from the cliff top to sea level; one day I'll count the steps as I charge back up them: it's my proof to self that all resistance can be whipped, even twice if need be.
I ran to The Royale (so un-aptly named, never mind un-aptly designed: where do bad South African architects spend purgatory? I know! In Tuscany. Tuscany, Italy that is), then took the slippery steps and the winded path to the beach.
I love stripping off my vest, kicking off my running shoes, the first feet on sand-surf-white foam: At sea level, with The Greatness before me, I give thanks for my aliveness and for my healing.
This place - 595.3 km from Waterval Boven - is where I have come to live, to heal, to recuperate, to love, and to e loved.
Yesterday I rested from phone and email, today I work: I am location independent.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Lebombo border post

Approaching the SA / Mozambique Lebombo border post: It's a dead-heavy heat that's lacquered across a mostly colourless, tinderbox-dry pan-flat landscape. It's a parched landscape desperate, and begging, for summer's rain.
As my eyes get bored with staring, they unfocus into a non-present moment. That's the direction of where Samora Machel's plane hit the ground in 1986.
Then, suddenly, the bleakness left over from winter is destroyed, and interspersed, by vast, wonderfully lumo-green banana plantations: for contrast's sake the luscious, flailing palms stand, ironically, soldier-stiff in rich-red loamy soil.
Komatipoort passes in a flash.
Then the wide-flat blue beauty of the Komati River, in less-of-a-flash, flowing fast and hard from last week's first, but faraway rains.
Passport's out.
"No smoking & alcohol allowed", and "no blasphemy", is inscribed on the inside of the luxury bus we're traveling in.
A fresh, strong wind's blowing aggressively from Maputo's direction; amidst this bleakness of the landscape - and the litter-strewn devastation of the no-man's land between borders - it's surreal to smell, and sense, the exotic Indian Ocean so close-by.
I'm also well aware, because it was during my life time, of the ghosts of the war that shredded Mozambique. Also an awareness of the loss of life, mostly always of the poor and downtrodden, and of the ghosts of land-mines (and body parts) this now fine road is built upon.
Nor should we ever forget the sublime 'wars' that the former SA apartheid regime inflicted upon its neighbours.

Thursday, September 06, 2012


It's stopped, in the early hours of the morning, the rain that's lashed the house for two days.
Croaking frogs, more deep throated than those I'm used to at home, are interspersed by silence, then crickets, and then by the first large aircraft that I've noticed in days despite the nearby international airport.
But no dripping, sodden leaves, and sheets of rain; although 100 mm is expected through today. Then summer sun for the weekend.
As I arrived on the N2, 22 km north of Zinkwazi, on Friday, a stray dog ran in front of my car. At 16h00 on a Friday afternoon I was stuck on the side of road and with what should have been the insides of my car, then hanging out.
After a good and snotty sobbing session I came to my senses: I was unscathed, I was alive, I had been doing less than the speed limit, if not I could have rolled the car.
Without transport I've been able to explore the coastline on foot, both by running and walking, and I've had - at least twice - the opportunity to be wonderfully soaked through to my skin, and to jump in puddles; all of this with a broad, toothy grin on my gaunt dial!
To be oozing energy, fitness, leanness, mental health and wellness is a gift from the most high.
Now back to bed and deliciously deep sleep - I'm still needing tablets - and to think this nighttime rambling all started with an early morning pee.