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Tropical Scars

Body: 
cover image

Ethekwini

There is
    an expanse of green and dust
    hemmed-in
        by cane and a stitchwork of hills
there, here,
    this expanse
        spat at by waves
        pummeled by sunblasts
            stewing in sweat
            yes, liquid
            yes, waves: whose necks are
                       thickser with corrugation
there, here
    is this expanse that claims me: my Hell.

From here
    from this hell's odours
        - tomato street, guava avenue, molasses valley
        steel-shavings township, glue location, massala hill
            melting and boiling-
        there is no stench of heaven left to prize
            there is a sky: yes-
              blue-like, grey-like, alien-like
                            weighing downwards
                              pouring
                                sweat
                                  at dusk
                                    downwards
                                      riveting all aground
                                    downwards yes,
                                 with only sideward escapades.
There, here,
    mechanical bullfrogs and cicades grind away
    and sometimes wounded cars cough-by pierced by assegais*
    and sometimes surfers emerge from the mouths
   of micro-wave ovens

              and always
                         life continues like the sound of splintering glass.

This hell,
           hemmed-in:
                          its forced geometry of concrete boils
                      spread outwards
                                 sidewards
                                   in its rashes of sack cloth
                                   of shack, of specification matchbox
                                   to touch to stitch work of hills
                            as near the docks
                                the boss drives by in his Shepstone* Benz
                as his "boys" load Cetshwayo's* skull as cargo
here, there,
               confined
                        where visions of heaven subsided long ago
                        with the arrival of sails creaking
                                        under a hyperload of sparrows
here, 
there,
               in this maze of splintering glass
                        in this expanse that claims me
                          in these infernal flamewaves tanning my fate
                                        I was lost there
                                          smiling
                                               porcelain smiles
                        and waving
                                       ox-hide kites.

Description: 
Destined to be an important contribution to progressive writing in S.A. - Frank Meintjies

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