The eldest of them, draws me nearer with his finger.
I don’t know how to dig a tunnel from where we are now to back then
I don’t know how to make sorry mean what I actually want it to mean.
I don’t know how to make you stop haunting my dreams……
I’ve never been good at reading erratic compass needles,
I’ve always thought that every woman in my life was there to guide me home
Searching for a reason to be carved inside my bones
trying to find a gap in-between the conversation my heart has with my brain on a daily basis
You’ve succeeded in playing welcomed intruder
at a time I needed you most
You cost more than I budgeted for
Bending time along with the strings to my hearts orchestra
You’re an orchid flower standing in an awkward pose
against your posture and own desire
Yet, all these words are just ghosts of a haunted head,
All the thoughts that I’ve wanted dead
You can forget so well, you’re a professional repressionist
Good at pushing thoughts aside
Especially anything that interferes with pride
Kill yourself with lies and wash it down with a shot of cyanide
Miss plastic personality with a paper pulse
When did words become vaporous because they keep escaping us
You can take a day out of the week to display faith and over inflated trust
yet still……all the words keep escaping us
All I have now are epitaphs of an old relationship written in the form of insincere text messages
It would be no different if it was set in stone and cement
And this poem is a loners lament
sang out by someone who is prone to regret
You wont leave my head alone like the captain of an abandoned ghost ship
Cause I’ve tried to place ink to your pulse to make it ring again
Though I’ve never been one to trust my own penmanship
I pushed the line too far
I disconnected the pulse from what we had,
ink spilling out of a cut wrist
Bringing a permanent pause to what we were
Separating us from a life we once had
I don’t need you to guide me home
I have the stars for that
But I can see your tears in them
When they dry and I forget, I’ll know that I’m finally there.
It’s not the prostitutes who forgot what shame was. It’s not the pollution clinging to the air or the dirt hugging the walls, making every commuter feel dirty after leaving the city. It’s not the forlorn beggars asking for change; no, expecting you to hand it over like philanthropy and altruism was a marked column in your budget.
I remember this
I remember the way he smelled, being pulled along by a child who was younger than a fifth of his age; like a dog. He would be guided into the mini bus taxi; he would be pushed through, stumbling, mumbling almost inaudible apologies. I could tell who the boss was in the relationship by the apathetic expression on the child’s face. He’s the responsible one, he’s the one who handles the money and pays. It’s hard not to wrinkle your noise at how they both smell. The blind man is seated next to me, eyelids flapping over two ghosts who left a long time ago and it’s like those empty sockets yearn to see but can’t like an arthritic hand trying to grab a-hold of the wind. I’m happy not to be cramped into one of those old slow super 16 Toyotas. South African car owners and people with alternative transportation who aren’t regular parcels of the dismal transport system will never know the joy of being seated in a relatively new Toyota Quantum. He’s blind but even he can sense the difference in the seating and its pace. I can overhear him speaking with his handler. It’s a simple joy for him.
A short stop
The blind man exits the mini bus taxi with the child in tow. You can hear the notorious taxi gossipers speaking about how they are there to solicit change for sorry stories. They have gotten off not far from my own stop. I guess the truth is, we’re all there to beg in one way or another. We’re trying to trade something for money and livelihood. They use the blind man’s empty sockets while I use a keyboard. This is their nine to five.
Knock off time
He nonchalantly pulls the old man with his left hand while his right hand pages through an old catalogue. You can tell that he’s magazine window shopping for things that he’ll probably never get. There’s a cherry flavoured sucker hanging from his mouth and all I can think about when he dumps that rag into the dustbin is how he doesn’t care. He’ll play pretend for money but once upon a time, I think he cared; I think that he didn’t have to act for spare change and the tears were real. Routine ends up numbing you, you accept a situation as it is and you adapt. The story was once true but the new headphones hugging his neck say its all bullshit now. It’s knock off time for them just like it is for me. The child’s pockets are stuffed with what you get when sympathy and guilt meets with someone who has something while you have nothing. They’re riding home just like I am. It’s all the same, the sun sets on us three in the same way like a downcast product of a dead beat dad, counting broken promises on a Saturday afternoon.
We often talk about how we want more freedom, more economic freedom or whatever but when you start studying current affairs like what’s going on in Egypt or China, it starts to become abundantly clear that freedom is a chain tethering us to our governments. The country you are in or from dictates how long and tight that chain is. We all have a certain amount of freedom. Some of us decide to hang ourselves by those chains and we die as martyrs but we’re resurrected every time a new generation reads about our struggles and our words. This freedom that you have given us will never be enough. Humanity is constantly trying to claw itself out of a crawl space sized prison that we have built for ourselves. It seems that there will never be an end to our hunger, until we die and we’ll die hungry but death will feed us. The thing is, I want to be free while I’m still alive; I want to be free while I’m still awake. I don’t want to dream freedom, I want to live it.