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.

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Saturday, February 04, 2006

Irascible 'I'

Posted by Simon Halliday | Saturday, February 04, 2006 | Category: |

Ok, so here are some more recent writings from me. I apologise for the possible limitations in terms of subject matter, but it is something that I have been thinking about. Not that I want any of you to worry, in my writing I am a multiplicity of people, not simply 'Simon Halliday' (whoever that person really is). Nonetheless, 'I' have written these pieces and you are welcome to indulge in them.

Clouds and Sun 20.01.06

The sun is running up, out and through the top

of the gutters on the side of the buildings

liberated from the plastics in the return, the

homecoming of sky and clouds: running

stalking their way across the skies of

Cape Town bashing their way past signal

hill and attempting the climb of Table

Mountain. Fatigued they limp their return

to the sea, briefly blocking the sky and

managing a brief dalliance with the

Table Bay coastline. The echoes of their

intermittent passing felt in the wetness

of faces, the damp ground momentarily

more fertile, the nascent dreams of plants,

grass and the ever growing and diminishing

clouds entreating the water to return to the sky.

Turned Hands 22.01.06

Instead of your upturned

hands in supplication, in

mute demands of me

your hands would

be better poised

turned downwards

wrists together

Although your movement

is free, the imprisonment

you feel is far

more stringent

and encapsulating:

your hands, turned down,

would indicate this.

The Mute 22.01.06

Are so made by

unhearing ears and

sightless eyes, blind

to requests for

money or employment

by the grace of

someone else's god

If I could offer

words of revival

or advice unwanted

as they may be,

I do not know

whether they would

be deciphered:

From my mouth

would come the moaning

attempts at speech

of the unendowed

the unvoiced and the

indiscriminate nonsense

of poverty

Clouds in my room 22.01.06

On occasion, I wish that fog were stronger, that it could make pause

the realities we so easily construct in our domesticity. A fog that

could penetrate through the open doors and windows of my home

and make these spaces unfamiliar, darken them with dampness and

opaqueness – clouds in my living room, my study, my each and every

private space invaded by the waters of alien spaces, penetrated by

air almost drinkable in its thickness.

It would take a strong movement for me to open my mouth and

begin quaffing it down, imbibing this invasion, taking it into me,

swallowing it down and ingesting it – the process of both alienation

and familiarisation with that in which I have lived, in which I have

made myself present and unforgivable. Having taken them in, I would

remove myself, I would spew the contents of my feasting out into

the streets, into the city, out.

Out of my body, how I hope that the process of being lost in the

familiar could liberate me, and that in my ingestion and in its

pursuant liberation, I would be free of memory.

Those Nights 24.01.06

It is those nights

when what feels

like need

burns from the

bottom-most bones of

my feet through and up

my deep set spine

it is those dark nights,

those nights when the wind

clamours against my windows

and doors, sounding like

your voice calling from

the depths of need

a need that only I could


that it is the most difficult

Those nights, replaced by

breeze-easy days

silent and well-lit

and I am made dumb

by this censure of days

on those my nights

Untaught 04.02.06

Love is not learnt

it is not thought

or contemplated

or written

it is obliviousness

of the world around me

faded pastels and unkempt

greys searching for the

injection of what a moment's

experience of this could provide

it is the anger and the bursting

consumption of my fleshy body

the browns and whites thrown

about blown apart from an

inadequate sense of attachment

to the part of me that is here

and it is immature and old the

fossilised body of a hominid child

cowering and clinging yet held

forever in stasis forever in perfection

forever in that moment, that instant and

held held held constant because it cannot be

you did not learn me and neither did

I ever think of learning you but

the moments of love were perfect

and engrossing in recollection and

worthy of every tear that I have shed and

now that love is not there, I will learn you.

It was not learnt

it has been thought,

contemplated and

so tragically written.

Forgiving separation 04.02.06

I am not good at letting go, at least not

in the moment in which it has to be done

and I detach and rationalise in hindsight

in the measured and practised defences of

one at comfort with disconnection

But that is far from accurate, in any sense

far too intellectually driven and unemotional

(although you could claim I am so disposed)

but all of the grammar, all of the correct

spelling and the efficiently placed words

are such clichéd approximations of separation

such an imitation of politesse for one in

suffering, one unable to wear hearts on sleeves

or collars for fear of their consumption and

their bloodied remains strewn across starched shirts.

It is thus with you, and I forgive myself daily for

those subjects undiscussed, the compliments ungiven

and the wonders I beheld at every moment watching

you walk through scratch-grass veld but which remained

interminably unshared. I forgive myself.

But I will not damn myself by asking for yours.

Currently have 1 comments:

  1. I wish you would not issue apologies, explanations and qualifications to precede your poetry. I feel they only get in the way; your poetry is sufficient and would be more beautiful without them. You don't in any case need to apologise, explain or qualify yourself - you are the agent, you belong, and the world must deal.

    There is nothing to excuse: no-one can accept your apologies. Only accept and be yourself, and the entire world will accept you.