Gert Strydom

Gold Star - 29,864 Points (03 April 1964 / Johannesburg, South Africa)

Racing To Another World - Poem by Gert Strydom

One afternoon in Bedfordview, Johannesburg
we were leaving to go to a restaurant
and were in the parking lot at work,
when a black man on a bicycle
came down the hill
in Kirkby avenue,
pedalling as if possessed
and racing to another world.

He passed the motorbike
of a Links Pharmacy delivery man
and went as fast
as a racing bicycle could go
and at the t-junction
with oxford street
took a forty five degree turn
at great speed.

The man had a blazer on
and was still pedalling
as he took the turn
and the jacket opened
on his sides like wings,
before he hit the
stone edge of the road
and went straight
into a sign warning
about a stop street up ahead.

With arms spread out
like a human scarecrow,
or a shop mannequin,
he hanged with the jacket
on the sign,
as if dead
while the bicycle somersaulted
before landing against
some white stemmed blue gum trees.

Kids playing in the park were astounded
and and the people with me
and I laughed,
while he stayed motionless
hanging in the air
and other people gathered there.

Within minutes an ambulance stopped
and I started feeling guilty about laughing
while they laid him down,
tried to help him in vain,
pulled a grey blanket over his body and head
and took the bicycle along
on the ride to the morgue.

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, December 27, 2009

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