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Tag: longing

Longing in brief

I lie here
Wondering what you feel like in the twilight
When your body
Is neither awake nor asleep
Or how you look
When the moon is full enough to briefly share its horizon with the Sun.

It’s a prison
To know you are somewhere in this world
Yet for me
You exist solely
As aching dreams inside my longing for you
And within a multitude of made-up and edited memories of you.

To think
There’s a weak and diluted shadow of you living
In almost every thought I’ve ever had since meeting you
A sliver of you
Has spread like a stain into almost all of me
Replacing what I used to be
With something I no longer am –
Nor will I ever be.

I’ve become
Nine parts fiction
And one part
Exasperated wishing that I’d never caught your gaze
For that briefest moment
Three years ago in September, at the corner of a busy street at midday.

If I could recreate reality

If I could recreate reality
I’d soften the finality
Of your forced farewell.

I’d make it so
That I can peel
Your every kiss-shaped memory
From my skin
And keep them in a tin.

So that when I miss
Your goey lips
Against my cheek or chin
I’d simply take them out
And let them kiss themselves
Onto my skin again.

If I could recreate reality
I’d lessen the enormity
Of my endless emptiness.

I’d sew a song
Into the you-shaped hole
Of longing your life left
Imprinted on my soul.
A never-ending
Heart-mending singsong
To fill me and
Fulfill me.

But wait…

If I could recreate reality
I’d have no use for tinned kisses
Or pointless paltry poetry
Or stitches in my soul.

Because you’d be here.
And I’d be whole.

– This was written for my baby girl who recently passed away – 12 days after her first birthday.


I am waiting for the stars to lead me
Away from this late night double-feature
But I just can’t get these scars to leave me

Our time was too short
For me to realise
That a five-star last resort
Was all I was to you

I should have been the wiser
I should have seen the womaniser
In time to stop myself from
Building you inside me

I fell in love with the beauty in the bridges
And the richness of the ridges
Connecting you to me

Can’t you see
How this poetry
Is defined by everything I’ve ever laid my heart on
Every race I’ve ever had a head start on
Every game I’ve ever played a part in
And every end of a new beginning of mine starting?

How can I wake up
Into a new day
When all I have left of you still belongs to this one?

How can I be redone
When I can’t even say
The sounds that make up the music of my name?

How am I supposed to move on
When everything still looks the same?

I’ve bid farewell to the vows we’ll never take
And I’ve said goodbye to the children we’ll never make

Yet I will wait for you indefinitely
And like a dream that’s blown apart
I will wait for you
At the bottom of my heart

Wonde wonderwerk

Ek het ons storie geskryf
Met ‘n lem op my lyf
Die son was te helder daai dag
Vir my hartklop om langer vir joune te wag.

Ek het die mes soos ‘n kwas vas gehou
En diep snye geskilder – ‘n van Gogh vir jou.

Ons verhaal het verskyn
Op my vel – lyn by lyn
En dit was helder – so rooi, so vol lewe daai pyn
Ek was seker dat die seer in my siel sal verdwyn.

Die letters van jou naam
Het bebloede kuns geword
Op al my breekbare vlaktes.

Soos ‘n straatbrak het ek jou vertrou
Waar is jy nou?
Hoe waar is jy nou?

Daai dag het die son so helder geskyn
En daar was net te veel kleur in ons samesyn
Ek het jou les diep in my spiere gekerf
En my lyf met jou lou-warm liefde geverf.

Another woman

There is another woman living
In the friction
Between your hips and my thighs

Do you think I haven’t seen
The memory of her
Swimming in the moisture of your eyes?

Do you think I haven’t noticed
The sadness
In the lines around your smile?

Do you think I haven’t realised
You’re somewhere else all the while?

Do you think I haven’t measured
The distance between
What you say and what you mean?

You’re not the first to show up here
With a broken dream
Slung over your shoulder
Heavy with things you never told her

How you’re wishing you could hold her
As we’re lying on my bed
I can hear her broken promises
Resounding in your head

I’m tired of being a consolation prize
I’m tired of soothing away silent cries
I’m tired of picking up the pieces
And wasting all my kisses
Wondering why no one misses

Should I just accept the fact
That she’ll probably want you back
Once she remembers all the things
That are making me fall in love with you?

Ek dra jou soos ‘n sonsak om my skouers

Droog en skaamteloos soos ‘n woestyn
Het ek geraamteloos verdwyn
Agter jou albaster oë.

Ek kon sien
Waar die holte en die oorloop
Van ‘n leeftyd se hoop en verlang
Jou vas vang.

En so raak ek toe verlore
Tussen die miriade woorde
Wat jy nie verby
Jou lippe kan kry.


I tried to recall the rhyme our bodies made
As we laid under the setting moon
And you hummed the tune
Of an old cartoon

Your whispers made me weak
Your words set me free
Under a star-filled canopy
Love appeared to me
In the shade of a tree

The poetry in our sighs
Could’ve won a Nobel prize
Your three fingers on my thigh
In the form a C chord –
A Grammy award

Our friction wrote a dictionary
You made me feel less ordinary
You were my best
And I still believe your chest
Was made to fit my cheek

But now we don’t even speak
You left before the week
Was over
The four-leafed clover
That I found in my hair
Never warned me it was to be a rebound affair

I was cheated out of luck
In the end it was just
To help you pretend
That the woman you went home to
Hadn’t forgotten how to love you

But in trying to erase
The pain you still had to face
You hurt me instead

Well, you’re still in my head
You’re on my lips, my tongue, my hips

I’ve washed, I’ve scrubbed, I’ve shaved
But I still crave your hands, your smile
You made my life worthwhile

The memory of your breath
Has made me blind
Now all I have is death on my mind

On a bridge
I stare at the cars below
I dare myself to swallow
My pointless expectation

I feel a sense of elation
As my feet leave the foundation
I lift my empty hands to the sky
I’m done asking why

I just wish I could’ve known
A little more about you
It might have helped me live
A life without you

Cullinary creation

I didn’t mean
To weep into your tea
I just wanted a piece of me
Inside you

I not quite sure why
I cried into your stir-fry
Maybe it was dry
And needed salt

It’s not my fault
I didn’t mean to wail
Into your ice-cream
And share my dreams
With a frozen milk dessert

But do you know
How much hurts
Everytime I think if Key Lime pie?
And how you said goodbye
Between bites

Its not right
But I can’t untie
Your noose from around my neck

And god knows I’ve tried
Not to think
About having anything to drink

I’ve tried to go off food
But it doesn’t do me any good

You made me feel less ordinary
Your caresses were legendary
You were the cherry
On top of my Sundae
But I guess I always knew
You’d leave someday

Its true – I always bite off
More than I can chew

I choose you
To be the casserole
Of my soul

I wanna take our lovin’
And stick it in the oven
And turn it up to 220 degrees
Cover it in cheese
And let it bake

I want it to get stuck between you teeth
Show up as a chocolate beneath
You pillow
And watch you grow
Kilo by kilo

You killed my sleep

My skin still retains the heat of your breath
As you recited Macbeth
Into my hair

It’s not fair
That all I am is the vibration of your words
Against my breast as you confessed
And now your sudden escape from our life is causing dischord

Your side of the bed still remembers your shape
And I can still hear your voice in my pillow
Its coming through the walls, billowing the curtains, relentlessly it calls

The willow in the back has been weeping leaves on the ground
Remembering the sound of you mumbling in your sleep
Or how you used to pray the lord your soul to keep

Nothing wants to grow
Not since you had to go
The change of the season
Is just not enough reason

To exist without your protection
The weathervane has lost direction
Its pointing up at heaven.
The sundial is stuck at a quarter to seven.

And your laughter resounds in the silences between my screams
The volume of you keeps adjusting itself in my dreams

I’ve seen a trace of your ghost on my face
Dulling my complexion
I’ve seen a reflection of you in my tea

The memory of your name hurts my lips
While my fingers struggle coming to grips
With grasping emptiness

You were my country, my planet, my undiscovered star
You were my pain before death, my colour of rain, my smoky midnight bar

You sold my ability to hold any other person close
You’ve put back the worry in my smile
And the wrinkles that were gone for a while
You’ve darkened my skies
Set free my butterflies
And I remain in a cage devoid of my senses
Cradling a souvenir of your lies and pretences

I was the shadow attached to your feet
And whether you’d walk, run or dance
I’d always keep your beat
Its dark in here
And hollow
It’s empty
With no one to follow

You plagiarised
The shape of my eyes
And you took away the taste of your love
From my lips
You even dissolved your fingerprints
From my hips

Can you stop
The never-ending cycle
Of my heart breaking?

Can you cease
This unrelenting chaos
Your absence has been creating?


Jy lat my dink an fynbos en heuning
Ek voel jou in my spiere se spanning.
In die spasies tussen my kinderdae
En die masker wat ek deesdae dra
Skenk jy vir my ‘n kussing


Geen storie uit my hede
Sal so vassit in my verlede
Soos daai onverwagte toneel
Toe ek en jy laatoggend ‘n tafel deel
My woorde sit vas in my keel
Terwyl ons oë soos kinders hande vat
En met mekaar speel


As ek my hande saamvou om te bid
Bly jou hitte tussen my palms vas sit
My naels stempel sekels in my kneukels
Soos ek die vlamme probeer dooddruk
En begin an my gebed verstik


Droog en skaamteloos soos ‘n woestyn
Het ek geraamteloos verdwyn
Agter jou hunkerende oe
En voel teselletyd
Hoe die holte en die oorloop
Van ‘n leeftyd se hoop en verlang
Jou skielik vang
En ek raak verloore
Tussen die miriade woorde wat jy nie verby
Jou lippe kan kry


Om na jou woorde te luister
Voel soos die sagte fluister
Van ‘n somerrok se satyn
Teen my verlangende vel


‘n Eggo van jou naam
Vibreer in my geraamte
As ek my arms om my vou
Of an die binneste van my wang begin kou


Jou glimlag sit nog vas an my mou
En jou woorde basyn soos ‘n luiende kerk klok deur my borskas
‘n Fragment van jou fluister sit nog vas tussen my tone


Toe ek vir die eerste keer sien
Hoe die maanlig in jou oë skyn
Het die dogtertjie in my se vrese verdwyn


Sal ek virewig ‘n bloeisel bly in jou geue
Tot jy die dag besluit om my gesig
Uit jou lewens gedig uit te vee?


Jy vlek my in stemme van ‘n kinder koor
En verf my die kleur van ‘n engel se vlerk
Jy het jou merk in my murg gelos


Hoe is ek ver onderstel om jou te vergeet?
Ek het per ongeluk ‘n paar van jou sinne geslik
En het klaar an meeste van jou woorde begin kou
En an jou leuns begin verstik


Die swaartekrag in jou oë
Skep golwe in my trane
Die weer klink van jou woede word vasgevang
In die dimpel op my regter wang