Thursday, October 27, 2016


It was 50 minutes well-spent in peak hour traffic.
To the fishing village of Kommetjie* on the other side of the peninsular.
The isolation of working at home for almost three weeks while my university campus has been out of bounds - because of the increasingly dangerous #FeesMustFall protests - has been getting to me.
I've found myself spiralling downwards.
Some alone time on the sea path from the village to the Slangkop Lighthouse and back was good for me, also time alone with my notebook and two beers at the homely LightHouse Pub, a favourite of mine, saw me centred again.
And sane.
For now.
The rest of the year remains uncertain.
Not to mention that Cape Town is embarking on level 3 water restrictions from 1 November.
And this, please note, is at the tail end of our 'rainy' season.
These are but some of the stresses that I go to sleep on, and awake to with a tight throat and chest in the early hours.

*Kommetjie (Afrikaans for `small basin,` approximately pronounced cawma-key) is a suburb of Cape Town, in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It lies about halfway down the west coast of the Cape Peninsula, at the southern end of the long wide beach that runs northwards towards Chapman`s Peak and Noordhoek. The village is situated around ......

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Particles of heart & cayenne pepper dust

A quarter of the year and Spring have trickled through my long fingers since I last left any trace of me here.

I've crept in through the backdoor, though, a few times, to attempt to -decently and with dignity- slough my skin in the drafts folder before going public so-to-speak: what to leave in, what to leave out. But, without getting my shit together.

I have slunk out leaving behind muddy footprints and the gristle of half-chewed, semi-digested bones, chunks of my own flesh and skin, also pillars of salt. These are visible only to me as I look shamefaced over my shoulder at my lot as I admit defeat and scamper safely back into the deep of the forest: in invisibleness.

Pushing pause for reasons still unknown to me. Floundering. Not that I'm floundering any less now, except that I'm perhaps more comfortable in my crinkly crackling sloughing skin: put 'em words down or die.

Even dying's easier than returning to 'Advertising' or 'Television' in Jo'burg.

Now, as the bright, adolescent Summer sun sinks behind Kloof Neck and as Woodstock fades towards the still distant dusk, this year in retrospect seems only to have made sense to me from the start of my three deeply relaxing and restful mid-year weeks in Waterval Boven, Mpumalanga.

Then a late-July, mid-academic year's fumbling start on a doctoral path at the University of Cape Town. Insecure making as I question my intelligence, also my role as an academic type and caucasian human being living at the tumultuous tip of Africa. Do I have anything whatsoever to offer anyone, is there a role that I can play here, in the humblest sense, that is?

Wham! Bam! Out of nowhere, by the end of the winter month, within 24-hours I found myself in a new relationship: 0 to 145 km kilometers in the split of an atom. Another layer of skin now ripped and stretched from my flesh and frame: I'd given up hope, I'd slumped into meaningless sex and even less meaningful conversations, anything to numb me from cold aloneness. And from the depression that accompanied two empty years' firing empty cartridges into the pitch black above the Atlantic.

With my phone off and the sun sinking and me wishing that I could turn my coffee into wine, it's as good a day as any to splash bloody, tattered words across this blog. Which ain't that long after I'd decided to delete and then burn it's carcass, to wipe my albeit meager and listless presence from the 'Net, like vomit from the floor.

As our universities burn, as the fees don't seem to fall, I sit working from home because it's not safe on the locked down campuses. There's too much time to pick at my sloughed skin, to scratch at scabs, to clumsily finger veins and arteries, as if they're not mine.

One of my orphan orchid's is flowering; I'd picked the scraggly, dying plant off a tattered turf next to a dustbin in Seapoint. A year ago. Amongst the piss, blood, shit and cum on the streets that I walk daily.

There's also a buttery pale green avocado spread thickly across my toast, crackling with black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper.

The index finger on  my right hand's still tender from the steel jab of yesterday afternoon's HIV test.

This evening the rusted and corrugated multi-coloured iron roofs of Woodstock are bleak and lifeless. Tomorrow, in full and wholesome morning sunshine, they'll take my breath away and my heart will sing and soar again.

The wind's died down and as outside fades to ink I faintly see my reflection in the glass behind my desk.

Photo credit (at the top): Darrin Higgs