Economics, Literature and Scepticism

Powered by Blogger.

About Me

My photo
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.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Posted by Simon Halliday | Thursday, May 04, 2006 | Category: |

Father 17.04.06

You rail at my

inability to talk

to you

Not understanding

the child's voice

in me

two and ten and

sixteen years old

howling at the

three times departed:

returned figure

claiming to be

my father

for I am still the

children that

I was

and unforgiving and

uncomprehending as

they were

I still am

Communication 24.04.06


Would it be all right for me

to cry on your shoulder

and for you to look

the other way

while I do it?

Would you mind

clasping my wet hands

in yours,

but not asking why

when I do it?


It's not so much the measured way I laugh

as you do what you can to insult me,

Nor the times I did my best to listen

as a trail of your tears marked your passing.

Now all I demand is the solitude

of being alone, of the silencing,

of the lost, the measured, the quieting:

the weighting of the words that muted me.


cold cape winter darkness

shone in the moonlight

captured by the moon

caught by the stars

clasped in raindrop reflections

shining darkness!

luminous alive darkness!

i am so enamoured

you are quiet forgiving

and do not need my

requited affections


There will be time for us to talk

when this is all over and done

I will no longer hold her then

her markings on me will have gone.

We will laugh and I'll be joyous

so please don't lament for me now

The steel's in the knowledge of love,

not its give, its take, or its how.

The collector 30.04.06

is an old man

stooped in his speech

but restless in a body

prematurely aged

(at least so he considers)

he places me on the wall

next to him:

smiling, made

content in collection

he wanders around us

the collected, the

claimed. He smiles

and he laughs

as much as he collects

us we are that which

collects him, gathering him

placing him upright

(the redressing of age)

he is weakly lined now

his speech is lighter

and his hearing clear

of memories

for they are unnecessary

in our presence we

are his fleshed memories

we are his bodied moments

and in us he meets himself

again and again and again

retreating into the collections

of his past, his immaturing body

(at least so he considered)

Grand 01.05.06

My father won't hear any

question whether his mother

was a great woman, an angel,

or whether she was

mean or moody

he talks of her as he

would of a luminary,

a truly great person

“A woman of integrity

and such kindness”

when all I recall of her

is a hunched woman

closed navy blue shoes

a strange rank air

an other woman not

my mother

Nana would scold me for my

childish ways of too much noise

and too few manners

though most had thought me

a silent, polite child

I am told that the woman

I recall is not her, his mother,

but some other creature:

age and disease had

possessed the woman I met

it all makes me unsure whether

his memory or mine is

the realer and, if I was once

an angel to him, what

does that make me now?

Mbizo1 28.04.06

Have I been named

and I live up

to calling

In naming you:

Would I be a traitor?

Would I be cheating

on what called us?

Or would it be

fateful, even


For me to so renege

on our honest deceptions?

For they were

and they are the

unguilty constructs

of those unfamiliar.

And so I don't believe

myself traitorous,

simply unwise.

I name you.

I call you.

Neither of us shamed.

Distinct 28.04.06

Yes you are attractive

Yes, I like you.

Yes, you are sexy.

And all of that is good

But No, I have not

fallen in love

And No, I will not


But that doesn't

mean that my bed

does not desire you

nor that we should wait

for perfect moments

or timed romantics

in the absence of love

we can still grow

and move beyond

its vicious timings

for I am not re-prepared

for it, we are not

permanent and I shall

not be here long. Choose.

Stomping prawns 04.05.06

As a child,

less disobedient than

I am now, we would,

each summer,

make a mission of

our fishing in the mouth

of the Keurboom River

it was not without preparation:

our feet were the missionaries

into the prawns' homes

coercing them out of the

mud beneath our feet

nudging them from

quieter existences

into our neatly muddied


When learning to cast the rod

to which I had tied

my prawn, my feet

were cold and I didn't

dare say it. I was a big boy.

I didn't really like stomping

prawns, although you'd

thought me enamoured of

it in the gameplaying and

laughter that you made of it.

I never had the knack for

catching them. I was far more

interested in seeing how they

got away and every one

I caught was a moment lost,

an escape to which I was not

made witness.

Lookout2 04.05.06

It is a late night sea

that stirs before me

my feet in the turmoil

of its grip, slipping

through the sand and

waters covering my feet.

I am thirteen years old

and I am quiet on this

dark beach the lonely

waves curling their

way above my knees

my knuckles bony and my

windsheeter slapping my neck.

I am tall at fifteen

and the sea grips my

heart in its cold, wet

hands reminding me

that my standing here

is a lonely affair: the wait

between the water's kisses.

And it is a winter of

another birthday loading

the sea, the sand – the water

always lurking in my

in my mind guiding me

towards it, towards child memories:

The sea was the house

of my youth's innocence

stored there yearly and

returned summer-strong

the hot days and cold

blustering nights of

fishing, pansy shells

and the recollection

of moments of the

sea's love for me, its

unconditional acceptance,

its giving tides.

1A Xhosa name, given to me, meaning 'the one who calls'.

2Lookout Beach is a beach in the Plettenberg Bay area.

Currently have 0 comments: