Month: April 2017

Pomes, unfamous ‘cos unknown

Then there are the poems – pomes, John Lennon called them – which are unfamous by definition, since they never were published, or submitted for publication. This is a conceit, of course – these poems like their published cousins would doubtless be languishing in the same dry obscurity even if they had been published. Still, it’s a nice point to make – you know, I coulda been champion of the world! Here’s one of them. The Journey Some journeys are a metaphor, and this Just past, continues in my mind. It’s true, we’ve travelled down this way before, But love […]

Unfamous Poem

Woodsmoke. Embers. Whisky. Cigar. Good jazz playing, on a really nice system – Class A Marantz amp, Arcam CD player, B&W speakers, fat cables. Don’t get me started. But the sound is warm, detailed, alive – every lick of the snares, grunt of the sax, deep and present, three-dimensional. Not loud, just there. As here as I am. You stare into the fire – the oldest mystery – and see yourself there, in its flickering dance, dissolving. Dust to dust, ashes to ashes. What do you do, when your wife is in Chicago, far away in lunatic Trumpistan, visiting her kissing […]

The Bump

Kathy – I couldn’t resist.

Family Matters

It’s hard to imagine, but it’s only last Tuesday that Eve and Shaun and little Joshua boarded their plane en route to Toronto. I was up until the small hours of Thursday morning, waiting for confirmation that they had landed and got through immigration. Their departure was always going to be stressful, but it had turned out a near disaster, with Eve needing to get an electronic travel authorization, at the very last moment, even though she was travelling on an Irish passport, and had been led to believe that no other documentation was needed. So it’s perhaps understandable that […]

Three poems from Staffrider

I was going through a box of old diaries and papers last night (there are things in there that will go with me to my grave!) and came across a few copies of New Coin, Sesame, Staffrider – small South African literary magazines from the 80s and 90s. I knew there were a few old poems of mine in there somewhere, one that I remembered in outline, and others I had more or less forgotten about (though I doubt you ever forget these things, these words you have struggled over, completely). Here are three that I published in Staffrider, in 1989 […]

Contemplating Havana’s Malecon…

The Vedado end of the eight-or-so kilometre Malecon in Havana has a very different feel to it, from the more grandly built-up and fortified stretch toward the harbour mouth. Crumbling apartment buildings face across the dual carriageway, and the sea that crashes coldly into the rocks seems a metaphor for isolation and banishment. People sit on the battered sea-wall, or stare in vain at the horizon, as if waiting for something – the future? – to appear. Here is a final set of images.

Out and about in Habana Vieja

I thought I was done with my Havana portfolio, but I’m not – at least not yet. I had planned, this morning, to pull up a final set of images of the Malecon for processing, but decided to go through the complete file, just in case – and came up with these photos instead, which I hope you will agree deserve a life of their own. After this past ten days in South Africa – a midnight reshuffle of the Cabinet, two ratings downgrades to junk status, by Standard & Poors and Fitch, after protests against Zuma all across the […]

The Malecon, Habana

You may recall that I had said that I wanted to post a final set of photographs of Havana’s grand and crumbling esplanade, the Malecon; you may also recall that I’d  said that it might be some time before I got to this, what with the move back to South Africa, finding a house and a car, moving, settling in and so on and so on. This doesn’t mean I had forgotten: so here, then, is a first set of photographs, taken one mild and mellow evening at the beginning of our stay in Havana, as the sun was going […]

South Africa in the news

For our overseas family and friends: South Africa is in the news again, and for all the wrong reasons. President Jacob Zuma’s “night of the long knives,” in which he purged a third of his cabinet, including the respected finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, and Gordhan’s deputy, Jonas Mncebisi,  has caused consternation and a growing backlash, not least amongst members of his own party. The country’s Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has spoken out openly against the decision, as has the party’s Secretary-General, Gwede Mantashe. The South African Communist Party, which is in alliance with the ANC and has a number of ministers […]