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Tag: pain

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.

Narcissus & Echo

Oh, it was beautiful

When I had but you to fill

When I was one part shadow

Two parts echo

A gecko on the walls of your heart

Through your halls I roamed

Silent from the start

Quiet till the end

I called you home

I called you friend


I was hauntingly unaware

Of my own hapless hollowing

My life spent in following

Your trace element


And so it went

You violence defined me

Your voice redefined me


I was always behind

Bewilderedly blind

I moved to your music

Unconsciously, deliciously, un-nutritiously, and viciously confined

Masochistly misaligned


I was happy to be

For all eternity

Empty infinitely

Forever and ever




The impact of a heartbeat’s echo

In an empty chest

Is hard to ignore


Too prominent to dominate

Too consistently insistent

Hard to quieten


It made me feel twice as alive

And infinitely more aware

Of my undeniable mortality


While your anger pulled me

Hither and thither

It un-fooled me


You’d failed to consider

That in hollowness

Sound is not swallowed

But amplified

Impossible to hide


You had me so empty

And so miniscule

That I almost drowned

In the glorious sound

Of a majestic echo


In the limitless possibilities of my own big bang

I rang and resounded

I sang, unbounded

My freedom new-founded

And I lost sight of your face

Within that sepulchral space

I ceased calling you friend

I stopped living for you


Because I never knew I didn’t end…

But now I do.

I wrote a poem for you

I wrote a poem for you
The day before I met you

When I didn’t yet know a soul can be shipwrecked
Or that the sun can have secrets
When I hadn’t yet learned to look for symptoms
Or dreamed you could become my weakness

You entered me like a sickness
From your first ‘hello’
You whispered my world red
And smiled it yellow

You came to me; a sonnet
A decorated soldier
Dressed in sentences and statements
With which to catch a schoolgirl
In succulent surprise

Your eyes kissed me
Long before your lips did
And under the spectrum of your splendor
My heart bloomed a blushing orchid

I was a slave to my sweet-tooth
You, a dulcit daydream
That knew just how to turn me
From still life into story
And in so doing, you cast me –
A shapeless statue –
Into your private purgatory

You created a planet
With just us living on it
And a snakepit, a sinkhole
With which to swallow me whole

I wrote this poem for you
The day after I met you
I thought it worth to mention
Why I started to regret you

So please pay close attention
(As I’m trying to forget you):

My innocence
Though far from inner sense
Was no less common
Than the unoriginality
Of your sugarcoated sin

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.


Hold me like a promise;

Break me like a vow.

For today I am as fragile as the secrets of a child,

And as desperate as a dream dressed in dust.

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?


Jou lag
Weef ‘n lied
Deur jou liggam.

Jou glimlag
Skryf ‘n gedig
Op jou gesig.

Jou trane
Teken ‘n toekoms
Op jou wange.

Jou hart
Klop ‘n ritme
Van verlange.

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

Waarhede en naarhede

Die skok veroorsaak
Dat ek jou skielike skuld erkenning in asem
En agter my tande betrap
En tussen my wange vasvang

Ek het mos vroeg geleer
Om die tekens te ignoreer
En jou leuens te glo
Ek was vir te lank geneig
Om an jou valsheid soos ‘n stokkielekker te suig

Jou bloeiende, blootstellende geheim
Begin teen my tong en my tande vas te roes
So taai soos toffie, bitter soos moerkoffie
Bind dit my antwoord an my verhemelte vas

Die spoeg op my lippe
Is besmet met jou verraad
En jou patetiese verskonings
Van “so jammer” en “te min praat”

Terwyl jy ‘n tree terug trap
En voor jy my oë kan vergeet
Vat ek ‘n laaste hap
Ek sluk ons geskiedenis in

Met my kop tussen my knee
En die smaak van gal in my keel
Val die naarheid my oor

My braking onderbreek die stilte
En die teerpad word verkleur
Met ons verrotende liefde