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 sees more when love is blind.   The journey outward seemed like a return. Once in the air, our thoughts turned south. Though coming home was leaving all again, I touched your knee, and longed to kiss your mouth.   We both knew better. But who cared? Time heals, it seems, but does not cure. A different kind of truth

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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 cuz and her kissing cuz’s drily entertaining husband, and you are on your own, on your darkened porch in Johannesburg, staring into the fire, watching African TV, in your Danish fire-pit? You wax philosophical, sentimental – remember past exploits, vanities, disappointments, and then you think (topping up your whisky, reaching for the chocolate) – remember that poem I published (one of

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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 and 1990. Those were different times, back then. Emergency The neck is the place the yoke rests heavily; after all it was made by god or whoever to suffer submissive the pull of the plough something like that   which is a way of saying finding the escape route of the poem the bars of the police state are erected in

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