Friday, August 15, 2008


They've always been a mystery to me.
Young, in-between or old,
hot towards me, indifferent, or cold.
I could never see
exactly what it is that I see
in women. Always
a mystery. A holy
mystery; a puzzle,
conundrum, enigma,
curiosity that I could not avoid
even if I had wanted to.
We all, after all, have mothers.

But the others,
the thin, svelte, broad, tall, fat,
What to do about those?
As a boy
I discovered they were everywhere;
as a man
I wanted everywhere to discover them.
An excitement, a stimulant, an enticement, a drug.
My present future and my present past.
Love me, love you;
like me, like you;
we all love to be loved
and we like to be liked;
and we men
like women;
we men love women.
We can't understand them,
but that's all right. In fact, I think that's best.
A holy mystery. That's a fact.
The sacred enigma.
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bar Women

There are three kinds of women
you can find in a bar.
The first kind are
there by mistake
so we'll pretend they aren't there.

That leaves the other two,
the PPDs and bo-tinkhundla.
They know you,
'cos they've been watching;
they've got a plan
that they've been hatching;
they know what to do
and you're target number one.

PPDs are there for the night
and it's all about being tight:
tight jeans
tight tops
and drinking from dusk till dawn.
Like a Hoover
this mover
will suck money from your pockets
before you even know it's gone.
It's all in their game,
hence their name:
the Professional Pocket Drainers.

They're strictly no-brainers,
but you won't resist
you can't resist
you don't want to resist.

The bo-tinkhundla, though, are
in for the long haul;
they look for a car,
a credit card,
a home
and at least two phones to call.

They'll pretend for a while,
that's their style;
they'll woo you
to win you
then hook you
and screw you
with bills to pay
school fees
transport, lunches and groceries.

So be forewarned and forearmed;
and if you visit a bar
hit the ground running.
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Men--Two Poems


When I was young, I used to
Watch behind the curtains
As men walked up and down the street. Wino men, old men.
Young men sharp as mustard.
See them. Men are always
Going somewhere.
They knew I was there. Fifteen
Years old and starving for them.
Under my window, they would pause,
Their shoulders high like the
Breasts of a young girl,
Jacket tails slapping over
Those behinds,

One day they hold you in the
Palms of their hands, gentle, as if you
Were the last raw egg in the world. Then
They tighten up. Just a little. The
First squeeze is nice. A quick hug.
Soft into your defenselessness. A little
More. The hurt begins. Wrench out a
Smile that slides around the fear. When the
Air disappears,
Your mind pops, exploding fiercely, briefly,
Like the head of a kitchen match. Shattered.
It is your juice
That runs down their legs. Staining their shoes.
When the earth rights itself again,
And taste tries to return to the tongue,
Your body has slammed shut. Forever.
No keys exist.

Then the window draws full upon
Your mind. There, just beyond
The sway of curtains, men walk.
Knowing something.
Going someplace.
But this time, I will simply
Stand and watch.


[Maya Angelou]

Bloody men

Bloody men are like bloody buses
You wait for about a year
And as soon as one approaches your stop
Two or three others appear.

You look at them flashing their indicators,
Offering you a ride.
You're trying to read the destinations,
You haven't much time to decide.

If you make a mistake, there is no turning back.
Jump off, and you'll stand there and gaze
While the cars and the taxis and lorries go by
And the minutes, the hours, the days.

[Wendy Cope]

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Foolish wit?

Foolish wit or witty fool?
Sometimes it's not wise
to give your all; a fool
for love
will often fall
for love
rather than the man or lady;
it's the love, you see,
not who you see
that hooks you in;
in short (or tall
or fat or thin),
love of this all-embracing kind
is a kind of malady,
a madness
most exquisite
but a madness sure enough.

For what's a lover?
What does he devise
from the fume of sighs?
A sonnet or rap
or foolish crap
he writes, inspired
by a lady's eyes.

What's a lover?
What is wit?
You pay your money
and make your choice:
choose madman, saint,
or fool.
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Friday, August 8, 2008

Machine Music

Most people these days realise that much of what passes for pop music is machine-made: synthesisers, drum-machines, and so on; there is nothing wrong with this, for machine music is still music... 8~) But how many realise that modern rhythms are so often the rhythms of machines--that is, the music is machine music in more than one sense.
   Music has always mimicked the environment of its creators: in the early 18th Century, composers like Vivaldi used violins to imitate birdsong; Beethoven wrote a 'pastoral' symphony that included the sound of rivers; in the age of steam, the music changed to reflect the new sounds; the coming of the train is all over Jazz, Blues, and Rock, and there are thousands of train songs.
   Now we have machine music. This morning, during a school assembly, some students played a House-derived track on a computer, and I was struck by the similarity between the sound of that track and the sound I first heard many years ago inside a large factory in what was then England's Industrial North (Blake's "Dark Satanic mills"). Ten minutes later, I was in the school's staff-room and I heard that exact sound again coming from a photocopier earnestly running off a hundred copies of an exam on A4 paper. Machine Music.
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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Quotable quote

"Crimes against womanhood are as old as sin. From the day that the serpent beguiled Eve by his craftiness until now, there have been few days or nights when some daughter of Eve has not been deceived or forced into an evil life by some serpent or other."

from 'Fighting the Traffic in Young Girls', a Project Gutenberg eBook
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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Everyone finds someone

It is an intriguing thing, but always, despite prevailing body fashions, everyone seems able eventually to find someone to love. If we only went by the figures and faces that adorn magazine covers and parade on fashion and beauty-contest walkways, then a large part of common humanity would be guaranteed to lose out on the game of love and never achieve a dream of happiness; but it isn't so: everyone finds someone.

Hymn 17

'All things bright and beautiful
all creatures slim and tall
all things wide and booty-full
the Lord God made them all.'

from The Boys' High School Hymnal, revised edition

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