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Tag: loss

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.

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 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.


She spun a cocoon
The colour of a silent moon
Around what remained
Of her lost and un-gained.

She bound bone to bone
Stitched smile to song
And calmly coloured her cries
In the shades of reason gone wrong.

But when she saw
That her loss was a learning curve
And her being
Not a noun, but a verb —

She shed her silken armour
Turned her body to the sun
And remembered the shape of a hug in her arms
In time to embrace her battle undone.

Silwer seisoen

Jy was ‘n silwer seisoen
Versier met groen verassings
Ek was natuur se weduwee
Winter-kaal en kleurloos.

Jy kon duidelik sien
My siel was was vas betrap
In ‘n gebreekte grafsteen.

En ek het niks geweet
Van roomys drome, wilger bome
Of die heiligheid van somer reën.

Ek sal nooit vergeet
Hoe, in die sterlig
Jy my naam verander het
Na ‘n gedig.

En in jou vrugbare voetspore
Was ek van voor af gebore
Terwyl jy, in die sonsopkoms van my toekoms
Vir my ‘n sandkasteel bou.

I’m sorry

I’m sorry I beheld you like a painting
I’m sorry I never held you like a person
I’m sorry I couldn’t complete the story you started writing as a boy
About the child inside a whale

I’m sorry I couldn’t finish your tale
About the girl cradled in an orange rind
I’m sorry I could not be the story
Of your woman of glory…

I just failed to find
Where you ended and I began
So I ran…


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

I wanted to love you

I wanted to love you
But I didn’t know how
Or when or where
To start.

I couldn’t find a space
Between the abrasions on your heart
On which to lay my head.

I tread softly between
The tearing tissue
As you bled.

But I couldn’t find a place
To build my happiness
From your unhappiness.

I tried to find a lily pad
On the surface of that red river
On which to float.

I swam in vain
In search of a smile
On the bottom of that plasma pool.

So I honoured the voice inside my head
I let you go, kissed you and said,
“I wish I’d never met you.”

I caressed you one last time
To separate your pain from mine.

I don’t even think you noticed
Me skipping down the street
And how I left that heap of despair
On the floor
Between your feet.

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