Economics, Literature and Scepticism

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I am a PhD student in Economics. I am originally from South Africa and plan to return there after my PhD. I completed my M. Comm in Economics and my MA In Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of Cape Town, where I worked as a lecturer before starting my PhD.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Cunning Contumelious Compositions

Posted by Simon Halliday | Friday, September 09, 2005 | Category: |

It's almost been two months since I updated this. I had a few complaints about the delay. Sorry guys, I've been lecturing and concentrating on other things. Nonetheless, here they all are some of them in their glory and others in their mundanity, but still all about the joy I derive from writing.

73. 28.07.05

I don’t speak ‘You’.
I have not been trained from
an early enough age,
the intonations of it
are strange, more than foreign,
beyond the grasp of most
interesting patois.

It is an alien cuneiform
that makes ‘You’ up
unreadable and (equally)
unwriteable for this

I lament my inability to
Learn, but notice that
this lack is what draws you
to me
in my primeval incomprehension
lies that which has been
dormant in you

learning ‘Me’ is what you’d
rather do.

79. 28.07.05

echoing voices
a patina of browns and whites
overheard colours
escaping from our speech

a fallen autumn oak leaf on
bright snow

83. 30.07.05

It is a tragic paradox
that claims the academic
we are, by nature, sceptical –
the doubting,

the process and upholding
of the existence of
truth, yet seeking
and advocating some

profound science. The claim
of its non-Art astounds
and the absurdity of it
doubly resounds within my head

that again is our nature.
And how sad that in
the Pursuit of truth we can
never acknowledge its existence.

opaque clarity 30.07.05

labyrinthine – twisting turning
no centre blaring
these emotions, these calculated
non-reactions to

that which you shot
into me, a flare of
information its bursting
impact clean

but a gory legacy.
This body stands
hands clutched tight
around a holed abdomen

shrouded with pale
lights and far too raucous
noises, these are the echoes,
these are the sounds

of my pain, and the heritage
of my distrust

scraped 30.07.05

push me into the wrinkles of
my own skin
further than I’ve went
yet still closer than I would
have expected

fist tight clenching
at this

this is not
wood of my grain
direction crashing

fuckit scream KGAA
(feel the phlegm mounted
in your palate)
angular yet
unlessly rounded

Ménage a moi 30.07.05

ça sera chaque moi(s)
chaque type de nous
mais si on pense a nos
petit Victoires de Pyrrhos
ils ne serons jamais avec
des pensées ‘belle’
ou ‘jolie’

moi, je pense a l’odeur du
sang, mon sang :
le notre
et il tombe
sur ça

le cœur de notre
sans la beauté
c’est navrante

des mots en sang
dans un lis
du neige

sous laquelle
du brun

A Lifetime 03.08.05

Were I to die
I would prefer it be

Possibly a stabbing, or
something equally

I want my guts wrenched
out, pulled to the floor

The experience necessarily
sensual, a culmination in

A silent or painless death
would not become my

Pain, and its sudden end,
would be far more

The Man of the House 03.08.05

“My dear Sir, please Correct me if I’m wrong
But I can no longer view your Courage
As the symbol of something strong”

And there the death of the Gentleman goes
In a delighted critique
By its bellicose foes

“And maybe I should enlighten you too,
Why Loyalty should die similarly,
While I cry out Honour’s poor doom.”

And thus High Nobility falls apart
So laughed and jeered at
By those without heart

“This Code that they live by, strange vanity:
A self-righteous plague by Disciplined boys -
These men of so-called Quality.”

Long may they rue it, their call down on us
The few who remain
Those who you can trust.

Such prayers 03.08.05

A votive for ugliness:
that which would have
me love it, but which
I could so easily deny

I wish momentarily you were ugly
that seeing you wrapped around
me, while I bury myself in you
could disgust me

Your hair trailing its
path over my skin
and the pebbled
softness of you cheeks

They make disgust
the furthest thing
from my limited mind
falling to me to

lament limitations
corrupted by
your beauty to
revel in my agency’s

execution, it
is only here where
I am no longer I
here where pale-hairy

me meets this soil of you –
planting myself
in you would be
the glory of all past and

present seeds,
but its denial,
its denial
makes us all the more

one and another,
of this latent strength
and the palpable
irrelevance of power

latched and fallen,
grossly tumbling keys
slotted yet traced out
beyond this blend of us

clean 03.08.05

friction – the heat of
my fingertips, their pull on
your skin, oil-rapture
high scent of you

odour of sharp
deserts my feet slipping
into the sands of the dunes
this your body

89. 03.08.05

the languor of you
lying atop me

the perch and outspread
wings of a possessive

Libertine 04.08.05

I would you were not
by history
the hysteresis of each
scarring act

I see him above you
a fury and you lost
freedom in those moments
slowly and by degrees
yet inevitable

Now, this is your way
of regaining that lost
and I rail against the
reality of it, against its

I had seen us dancing
barefoot and tightly-pressed
sunlight and cobble stones
but you require manifest

97. 04.08.05

freedom as skin
is too constraining
too full of passed
images – past

these lines of ice on
my skin, deep crevasses
of meaning, white moles
buried throughout me

closeted (up) not (free)
yet wanted, desirous of
everything out there, now out
all I wanted was in

skin once boundaried me
plugged me tightly into
this time held on, held
regularly stopping beating

freedom me alone without
you, you, You, but love
god love in all and falling
but falling is lawbound

“I cannot deal with the dishonesty
Of it, but will myself to be constrained
And finally, admittedly, free”.

101. 07.08.05

Conscious of a hearkening
of a process that is

archaic, words unused
relevant in

from this idea in
me to gift you with

vowels creeping around
the tails of harder sounds

words are unsound
their presence some

attempt at immortality,
Me, I would rather be

103. 07.08.05

It is my hope
that we are not Victims
of Circumstance
that our coming together
is not predetermined

Chance is elaborate
and that we could
give in to its insistence
means much more
than Pre-destinations

107. 18.08.05

caught in the midst
of some words
hemmed in on
all sides by logic
and grammar and
concord and every
single agreement

these walls of words
of construction permeate
and in their permeation

i would i were
rather lost than
caught between
by language
and none

109. 27.08.05

Do we have to have
a reason? When has
reasonableness ever
entered into such games?

It is not that my movements
are untrue, or that they could be
dishonest, it is simply that
they are insufficient.

Perfection is useless unless it
achieves something, but your
wants do not coincide with mine.
My perfection shines still

ebullient in these grey environs
voices echo off of it unchallenged,
unscrupulous in their attempts to
undermine it's glory.

They will not have their way.

113. 27.08.05

you are blurred
so close to me

you are water-laden clouds
choking out rain
hurting my eyes
with your agitation

the lack of distance between
us disorients me

the sky and earth are no
longer polar, they blend and
I am lost in their forlorn
attempts to join

lips tightly brush my forehead
and eyelids, firm adieux

since God is not here and
neither do I wish to bother Him
with my tithes, I wonder whether
it is time for polarity once more

this fire we lit 27.08.05

cinders floating on
thermals - the hawks
of my thoughts my

but burnt ashes are
there joyous airplay:

dreadful in their
sincere attempts to
portray that which
they are not

Kali's frustration 28.08.05

i have impaled myself
upon your death
my several arms
flailing for control

these, my fangs, more
dangerous to me than
you, and, as always, I
am dark and it is

the blood on my skin
imperceptible, but the
sacrifices to me, the flowing
of them compensate

I do not cry, my evil self,
my female essence denies
its will to cry, it and I will not
that would betray the faith

yours and mine

The Journey of Jonah 29.08.05

I see these odd water
creatures flowing
about me, this place
where I should be not.

This containment seems
inescapable, damaging
me, my claustrophobia
tightening in.

But muscles move about
me, thrusting me away
from these acids and
half-rotten bodies;

and yet this place is familiar
clearer, but as filled with a
foreign world of many-legged
animals and bulbous eyes

as that in which I was lost.
People I missed, but the places
where I was not, they made
me believe all the more.

Integrals 29.08.05
“Girl, you'll be a woman soon”

To what end do I
remain constant,
do I maintain some
semblance of consistency?

These 'virtues' seem damned
by a pledge against
their requirement, by some
dislocation from their need.

Although arrogant, I do
not claim to understand
nor be aware of all that
plagues you. But I am

disturbed. By your
fickle nature, by your
mercurial insistence
the euphemism of

what you become, the
clouds and water of
too long a winter. I
am the furrows that remain.

Interchange 30.08.05

I am these winter gutters
of Cape Town
at once overflowing
at once overlaid with
the throwaways:

pallid brown leaves
clog my flow, the discarded
skins of oranges a sharp
orange against my
moribund greys.

The waters flowing
over me are as impure
as any thought I
may've once conceived
making me at once

immediately imperfect
at once bared beautiful.
My flooding is the temptation,
the clarity held by the discarded's
shared allegiance.

127. 16.08.05

I am resistant
the tautness
of my skin

pushing out
urging the tension
within me

to explode
but its containment
is paramount

shored up between
Me and I, the external
and internal

intensity of
this gamble

131. 16.08.05


(hands) together
clap clashing

that glimpsed air-speck
was once me
against a backdrop
of fertile clouds

the sun struggles to
get through, but its
cutting glory
makes (right) sense

presence, this
feathered me
flying around and unsure
of where I should (if
I could) land

ultimata 27.08.05

Would I were a man
of ultimatums.

Is it at all possible that they
would change the present
if any future?

What action would it
require from me? A final
romantic action?

Evidence would suggest
I should rather damage these
women, maybe that would
result in their devotion.

It seems to have done so
for others.

we worked 21.08.05

with large loud drillbits have I eaten into these walls
i still feel the vibrations in my fingers, in the
muscles of the palms of my hands

we tried to tie handkerchiefs over our mouths
the dust had been getting into them
into our clothes and noses

my awkward attempts to hold them
while i breathed, while the bricks fell about
me in that vicious rhythm

i was not listening well, my hearing was
damaged by those days of demolition
i feel the tinnitus return on a whim

challenging me to break down the walls that
are here once more, it was odd to be so much
stronger than you, but its predictability

was the more damaging, that i worked for
longer, that you were sad when I would work no
longer, tired as I was of the dust and cement

137. 17.08.05

this is where i


regretted on a
dark table

maybe this
is it, the place
where i begin


sunlight falling
your breathing
placing me
white sheets and us


fingers interlocked
(chain(ge)ing us)

hands mussing my hair
(dis-connect re-connect)

(perhaps not)

i cannot find a
beginning i am
a mess of moments

N'Orlans 05.09.05

There was once a mountain
and above it circled the
whitest dove in

It had rained so long,
had stormed so mercilessly
that we had come to

But retain faith we did.
It is strange how I wish
that now there were a mountain,
that it had rained for 40 nights

that would make it all the
better. Instead it took one night
to destroy all I had... built?
But I am not allowed to

question the intent of God. Instead
I parade myself on the flat roof
of this flooded building searching
for a whitest dove and an

olive branch to grant me
salvation. If only it were that
easy. I await the vrrt-vrrt of an
easier rescue.

Namaqualand Flowers 05.09.05
“We do not love white women... We kill them.”[1]

This is a rite by which I assert
my authority. I am the king,
the ruler, by this blood ritual
you will come to accept me.

Bearing a number grants me
power, access to all you would
have denied me. Outside the
world exists, in here it is ruled.

But kingship has its costs, although
I am no Hamlet I yet see blood
soaking my prison-issue clothing
even though I was not wearing these

then. My butter knife seems sharper
somehow larger, and about me is
scattered the gore of my leadership.
It is not difficult. That which I had

once denied has come and closed
its wretched claws around my heart.
They have had their vengeance, they
have called me out, called my number.

[1]Doggy Dog, member of the Flower Gang, as recounted in the testimony of Laston Chavulla.

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