Some nights are a happy blur.
Monday, November 30, 2015
Some nights are a happy blur.
Sunday, November 22, 2015
A peaceful Sunday. I've much marking to do. At five I'm going to Nic and Mike for dinner. With wine. In their construction site of a house; they've been renovating for as long as I've wonderfully known them.
No music playing, my flat is silent. I'm alone with myself and the low-level shred and tear of the wind as it grows in forcefulness; judging by the hefty table cloth being thrown over Table Mountain it's most likely to develop into a full-force south-easter before long. I care not.
A distant siren, a not so distant train hurtling past in a low shriek-and-swoosh of sound. Many distant voices on the street; African voices in languages I don't recognise, Central African voices I'm sure. Also taxi hooters and, specifically, horns. Traffic sounds too. But distant and welcome. I'm alone but not lonely in a multicultural community that is, mostly, at rest today.
There're four vehicles in various stages of dilapidation with their hoods up and in a shaky line on the pavement alongside but not part of a (closed on Sunday) second-hand car dealership. They, and a group of smiling, talkative men are overseen by a socialising mechanic: a gleaming ebony skin and bulging biceps, baggy oil-smeared grey pants and a faded blue but sleeveless T-shirt.
This regular gathering takes place just off Lower Main. It's in direct line of sight of my reading and mountain-viewing chair at my floor to ceiling window. It's a vast flatscreen TV on my immediate world that, as it's central structure (of my life too) has the ever-changing flat-topped granite seventh natural wonder of the world. This phase of my life, in stark contrast to that which lies before it, is - relatively speaking of course - epitomised by solidity.
There's also clumps of sedate and well-dressed family members, all black, heading off to the ample churches in the mix-match of buildings along both Main and Lower Main streets that, like two fat and juicy veins, run parallel through Woodstock and Salt River, never joining. Bibled and with gleaming shoes they stroll confidently pious towards worldly destinations but with their eyes set on heaven, wherever the hell that might be.
I feel like a cool and disinterested god watching erratic ants on a playground-sized slab of cracked cement.
As we've all had driven home the last few months, weeks, nothing's solid; heaven's in the now. Right now. Neither past nor future counts for anything.
Monday, November 02, 2015
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
I scuttle home from the bus stop clutching my freshly printed copy of 'What Fanon said', past the scantily dressed, spider-legged prostitutes on lower main. Greeting them in my head I cluck-cluck-mother them into warmer clothing. And home. Please, it's cold. Also in my head. And shower them in prayers.
Autumn in the north ('the trees are in their autumn beauty, the woodland paths are dry'), spring here in the south. I'm again straddled between two worlds.
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Thursday, May 21, 2015
|Photographer Ranjith Kally joined Jim Bailey's|
iconic Drum Magazine in 1956
|The shame; lest we South Africans ever forget! This old sign is on a wall at the |
District Six Museum: "By Order Provincial Secretary".
I'm wearing his made-in-Sweden long johns (Storlek L / Bambu 93%). They're black and tight with a green thread where it counts. My long and slender deer legs (yeah, yeah, that's what I said whe they were called that) look tight and good in these. I'm also wearing his black long-sleeve shirt (large) - because the winter thrashed in on Thursday, cold and rain, all good. I found it, crumpled, behind the couch not long after he hugged me hard, long before bending into the cab at 06h19 on Tuesday morning to leave for the airport. And on to the summery Scandinavian far north, via Joburg, Addis.
Happy May Day long weekend: At the last possible minute on that Saturday we took a hire car on a road trip around the peninsula, via Chapman's. It was only on approaching Scarborough, at the end of a sunny and warm winter's afternoon as the ozone-heavy sea mist whispered up the ragged-tooth landmass that we saw The Moon. Jaw droppingly full in the dusk-sky / falling even more in love, in the surreal life-light / eerily in contrast to the icy, plankton-rich Atlantic.
Fate thank you for the perfectly only available two-seater - by the log fire - of the bustling Cape to Cuba restaurant. There we hatched more plans for the night while thriving on the shine in each other's eyes as the world, nay universe, immaculately and purely distilled into a single shining drop that contained just the two of us, two comfy chairs, a table and checked cloth, a fire, Viking eyes and accent. That is why the fire reek in the black fibres packed a powerful punch to the solar plexus.
|Copyright: Salmon Becker|
Did I say I'm hungry?
This very morning my digital friend (we've not 'met' yet), Salmon, sent me two photos he'd taken some 144 km away, where he lives just off the Southern Cape coast.The vineyard of rust-coloured autumn leaves is an imprint of my soul's colour this week and today.
Earlier, scrunched in bed, was reading WG Sebald in Granta 68 - 'In Vienna I visited none of the sights and spoke not a word to a soul' - and I knew that those words matched Salmon's photos soul-encapsulating photos.
In a mere 5 days geographical boundaries (read limitations) disappeared for me; I'm one of the freest people I know, I am a citizen of 'the world', from my glass writing table on the world I can, I do create my realities. I am shaken freer now post this Richter-rich life quake. Shaken but intact / inextricably and wonderfully altered / never again the same / a sharp sliver of my heart-and-soul glides-and-dips-and-soars over Stockholm's waterways and islands and the Laplands to its north.
The dehydrated purple condom I found only last night, the black shirt I'm wearing (a white fleck of dried toothpaste, his or mine, on its left shoulder) hid it, held it tight. It's not all I have left.
Skin-on-skin. Mind-on-mind. Soul-intertwined-with-soul.
My beard's 5 days old now; in the cleft on my chin I notice that there's more grey: once I was Peter Pan, now I admire the spider leg-thick hairs and savour even more my life progression. Most idiots call it an ageing process. Vehemently I disagree. Instead, I savour my living process... and if those 5-days are nothing more than a crack-and-a-bang on my Richter scale, I'm then again aware of how deeply and passionately and in-the-moment I am capable of living. I am un-complacent.
Skin-on-skin. Mind-on-mind. Soul-intertwined-with-soul.
|Life seasons: some call it an ageing process, I call it the living process.|
I am not dying... ever. None of us are. Copyright: Salmon Becker
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
The merry seagulls with their birdseye view; The Mountain disappeared into a woolly mammoth; longing for coffee and, today, to be in foreign places far away, perhaps to the north but no problem with the south.
Sounds like anywhere doesn't it. East or west too; the longing for noses and faces and hair and hues I don't know. Food and voices too. Colours of eye that look me back to Vikings and Celts and boglands of green and below elephant-grey.
Low-slung with pregnant primeval skies.
All of this from my glass table on the world, the workshop where the dream cells are impregnated with desperate spunks at shutterspeed.
The days are short; the light is less, the sun's infused with milk; the kids in the streets below wear jerseys, are much quieter much earlier.
I pull the duvet much closer now, pad me in and around, probably have to get a blanket now that this winter sees I'm alone. Alone, but looking forward to to a winter-long healing of hibernation.
Last night the first cheery log fire of my winter-content. In a, quiet, restaurant as I dined and wined and read and wrote alone far from the crowd.
Tonight, despite the deepening gloom, quite welcome, my mind's to anonymous company at a bar, where I can pretend to not be my mind. A mind made fuzzy and freiendly with wine.
Friday, April 17, 2015
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Monday, April 06, 2015
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Saturday, March 21, 2015
|Bromwell street, which runs behind the Old Biscuit Mill.|
On another note, not completely unrelated, yesterday I began reading Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life. In the introduction, she wrote about her father, also a writer, and about an article he wrote before he died of brain cancer:
"Then a strange thing happened. My father wrote an article for a magazine, called "A Lousy Place to Raise Kids," and it was about Marin County and specifically the community where we lived, which is as beautiful a place as one can imagine. Yet the people on our peninsula were second only to the Native Americans in the slums of Oakland in the rate of alcoholism, and the drug abuse among teenagers was, as my father wrote, soul chilling, and there was rampant divorce and mental breakdown and wayward sexual behavior. My father wrote disparagingly about the men in the community, their values and materialistic frenzy, and about their wives, "these estimable women, the wives of doctors, architects, and lawyers, in tennis dresses and cotton frocks, tanned and well preserved, wandering the aisles of our supermarkets with glints of madness in their eyes." No one in our town came off looking great. "This is the great tragedy of California," he wrote in the last paragraph, "for a life oriented to leisure is in the end a life oriented to death—the greatest leisure of all."
|Glints of madness: Inside of the very high walls surrounding, not unlike a prison, the Old Biscuit Mill this morning.|
Friday, March 20, 2015
Peace and calm in my apartment as the coffee percolates and my orchid exuberantly flowers as if it’s spring; down below in Woodstock the streets are rowdy as the seagulls squawk. Tomorrow I'll watch as the gentrifiers flock from early to the Old Biscuit Mill and environs to spend their rands, dollars, euros in a frenzy not unlike the seagulls' feeding frenzy. This will take place while the mostly down-at-heel locals look on in 'wonder' and 'awe' at these colonising strangers from seemingly much more glamorous parts of the city. Life is changing for many down below. As for me, I'm sitting uncomfortably on a spiky fence, but tending to fall over and in with the locals. In the meantime I need to read more about gentrification in other parts of the world.
It’s a beautiful day.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
|There, in the dove-grey nothingness is where you would normally find a handsome flank of Devil's Peak.|
Thursday, March 05, 2015
Sunday, March 01, 2015
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
The Slave Lodge. On an extremely hot day. The building always grasps my attention; despite its history I'm drawn to the elegant architecture, which to me makes it much more attractive than the many other nearby buildings and some eyesores conjured up by architects over the centuries.
Slavery apalls me: I struggle to get my head around it. Also the fact that the Cape Colony was - according to my understanding - the one African 'country' to import slaves. I'm also aware that millions are entrapped in modern slavery.
The temperature in the city bowl, at almost 5pm, is hovering on 38 degrees: it's a dry, searing heat that (most unpleasantly) cooks my face skin as I beat the tar in a pair of jeans that I resent wearing, but shorts at work are out of the question. It's so hot that I'm squinting.
Today I've slogged through two double sets of lectures and spent the time inbetween and around them at my desk: mostly cheerfully I've worked my butt off while enjoying through my office window the view of The Mountain and its cable car etched against a holiday-blue summer sky.
However, today, I also had one hour-long meltdown moment when I questioned my relevance on this planet and felt rage seethe through my veins and arteries at the thought that I'd perhaps battened down my hatches and had lost my sense of adventure.
Because my life must must have meaning, or else it's not worth living, my prayer for today was for fire in my spirit, and to lead an extraordinary (in the humblest sense I emphasise) life.
It is done.