antoine de kom

ah tamanrasset southwards oh death

Poem by antoine de kom

ah tamanrasset southwards oh death
quite absurd ubuntu living through the other your death
has here at tamanrasset lobbed its big feet in the sand
and scabby too I see a great big wart. what's more I can report
that death snores loudly. he can't help it: till far into the night
he was emailing and now countless survivors plague him
who fear him sleepless in their sahara

little sister of death is a desert which sometimes and gradually sahel
grows somewhat greener so that your feet seen from above here or there
are slightly wet when on the shore of a lake or more river.
there's mist, and you expect him any minute, how will you recognise
him? what is his sign or decree so he can get to you?
his sister's silent. you remember death has an ugly mug
and maybe what's cape in cape town
now death becomes a tourist who can turn any colour

it was very busy among the fishes and very warm when the pilot suddenly
said: that ship is sinking! it sank and he descended further to the harbour
further on. we flew round table mountain observed the density of the
townships. after the immaculate landing we looked truth in the face.
no commission can recreate it: this is a grieving land
where fellow-humans scatter like frightened birds when
death like my white of this page comes too close

shall we do something with an egg? the female host asks
death who sits visibly tired out at breakfast death looks outside
sees the ocean glistening in sunlight is annoyed at the harsh hot wind
(the cape doctor) which means the house must be closed. and stuffy. there
sits death among antiques and porcelain and longs for the swimming pool
full of leaves. soon he'll drive to stellenbosch with his
complaining chauffeur who will explain to death again that
tourism townships and the arms industry are splashing reminders
brothers in a supermarket trolley or letters on a mountain

death at the sea in sea point thelema chardonnay white
commotion around him and then suddenly the rainbow rather self-satisfied
above the ocean and as big as a nation. rainbow (asks death) rainbow
where is the white in your colours? in everything dead together! rainbow
turns round and death says: just do it and rainbow white.
rainbow rainbow where is your black? Now rainbow slyly
to death: death - black is absent white light! aha! says
death. you have a problem. let's do business

a little later death is surrounded
by porn stars from joburg they lay his weary head
on a wooden dream machine among their luxuriant hair
while they fill themselves with vodka grasp their
breasts in both hands ready
for the camera of which death is suddenly
afraid he had to promise them
that in the distant future they will be able to die
in harness

if death were to enter the grave with a satisfied feeling and then the
paradyskloof before his time far beyond the reeking township
where it stinks the cardboard houses hell crooked here and there made a little
sturdier with sheets of zinc but always lopsided
the fronts made of rubbish that decorates the street
nicely down the middle. who can't come too: the many women
that death leaves behind his barber with hovel the containers
full of flowers of tin and his youngest son that still
longs for his knees and rolling through the bare dry sand disappears

death is itself a dream machine a small construct of time and space
also a xhosa poet who with animal skins
on his tall cap shyly clearing his throat wants to tell an old story
and with his staff bangs on to parents of parents' parents' parents' and so on.
the mountain in the distance ends in a lion's head
today on the motorway at the exit to the airport
a blue swimming pool escaped from its lorry
it hid itself in grass far off on the edge
of the estate where the cheetahs are nervous of it.
death is ready for under water. time and space bide their time
a small
construct the emptiness that an almost-asleep
young cheetah could fill unnoticed.
once in the glistening water death finds
the black patches on his light-coloured skin suddenly tasteful

in their bright yellow bare cocktail dresses they surround and defend death
who sits rather shyly lying about his status and achievements.
this is the zulabar: a red
floor and on it light-coloured white youth and then music to … for
death bewitched by her and her: death embraces her brown and her creamy
bosom which make a man like death thirst for more.
they silently read him their poem
these 1-night women they surround him with their radio voices
and they protected him those dying one-poem poetesses

where the atlantic and the indian ocean meet guards stand ready with an
answer that is armed. It tastes a little of salt here and beyond that of nothing.
silver-coloured cars and black men from the security service.
we have explored the limits and apart from that we have disappeared
behind the mascara called south africa.
we: shabbir noch omé violetta napo ruben changa
and without yours truly. We were absent when the sky
spoke of its own accord. we forgot ourselves in a northerly direction.
lead us take us by the nose o death: we are the last ones
poets the last
late ones

(cape town: february 2008)

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 5, 2018