When You Leave South Africa

When you leave South AfricaI will sit in the fruit-laden streets in the brightly painted cafés in the maze-like bookshops and play once more with the stories we created

I will throw your laughter high into the pine trees as I drive the same roads without you

I will send you postcards of Sunday morning Africa with its Gospel voices and street-corner gossip through richly patterned curtains

But I know that all these are scenes you may well find in other cities

And so I will wish with other things

The energy of men dipping and soaring with outstretched arms down Lily Avenue as children drum their laughter on municipal dustbins and hope chants from flat windows and balconies after each World Cup soccer qualifier

And perhaps these images of pride and love and strength will draw you back 


I wrote this poem in 1996, fourteen years ago. Halcyon days.

(This poem is from a volume of poetry entitled the The Child Machine)