JOZI (3)

by Elaine Edwards

Interlude at Chartwell

The speckled hen, fenced by seven chicks, pecks and scratches
on the lawn; near her the cock struts, burnished feathers gleaming.
Among the leaves of a paperbark I see the flash of feathers:
yellow weavers, purple starlings. A southern boubou calls.
Dappled by sunlight, in a distant meadow, three cows wander.
Black swans glide, doubled in the waters of the dam.

The excrescence beyond, funded by a well-known politician,
(three stories-and climbing- of concrete and steel)
is hidden now by weeping willows.
The wind is blowing from the west;
we can’t hear the traffic snarling
or smell the smoke from Diepsloot.

The speckled hen clucks to her chicks.
We must be sure to close their hok tonight,
and save them from the mongoose.

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Jozi, Jozi City, Jozi (1)

by Elaine Edwards

Northern suburbs – May

This way I salute you
my gold credit card flashes in the Malls:
Sandton City, Fourways, Rosebank.

Streets of my childhood transposed
into walkways of glass, marble, granite.
An oval skylight diffuses the sun.

Black Diamonds sparkle

hairpieces flowing,

gold jewelry glistening,

skinny-hipped

                              high-

high-

heeled,

shopping at Bilancioni, Eboka, Zany Dolls, Banana Moon, Sowearto Kids.

We eat at Tasha’s – eggplant and caviar,
lemon, ginger and apple juice freshly squeezed.
Nothing like the pink fluid I used to rinse my bloody mouth,
here, fifty years ago.

On the roads belligerent 4X4s jostle,
drivers on cell phones wind up deals,
discuss styles with their hairdressers.

Overhead graceful pin oaks
glow with reds, orange, gold.
Go ‘way birds bicker in the foliage.

Next to a gracious Bryanston home
the Cellini mansion looms,
scaffolded, concreted, bare-earthed.

As we reach our gate
I find my pass: my life, my love.
Jozi, with a brassy smile,
welcomes me home.

Jozi, Jozi City, Jozi (2)

by Elaine Edwards

Western Suburbs – July

My hand goes to my eyes to wipe away the soot
from veld fires whose acrid smoke has smeared the sky.
The black ground still smolders.

Protestors from Zandspruit are throwing stones
on Beyers Naude.
To reach Pretoria – no – Tshwane
we must drive along Christiaan de Wet,
avoid Hans Schoeman
and get onto Hendrik Potgieter.
The traffic facing us will not reach Sandton Randburg Kempton Park Bedford View Jozi Central in time for any vital meeting today.

Little boxes line the highway
(all made of ticky tacky
in the Tuscan style.)
Magnificent entrance pillars proclaim
“The Thatchery”.
Barren veld stretches towards Little Falls.

Jozi, you are dry like death.

But listen when I tell you my friends,
my friends in Jozi
have smiles like the morning sun
and there’s fun in parties and Denise’s vegetable garden
on the pavement
supplies moroko, spinach, radishes, granadillas, and rhubarb
and no one takes it all
and everyone leaves some
for their brothers and their sisters.

And when Rob confronts seven burglars in his home
and is shot
Jan is never alone
has food and transport and child minding
and everyone murmurs, “He’s going to be OK. He’s lucky.”

And even though the toll road and the electricity (lack of)
and the pot holes and freezing bloody winter
are mentioned, it’s all forgotten
over the bottle of good red we open
next to Richard’s fiery hearth
and we laugh till we’re sick remembering the story
of Godfrey
and
the
cat.

Holding pattern

by Elizabeth Trew

London – Johannesburg
 

Once more I visit out of season
turn my web on London grass
and walk through cones of primrose light
by sheds of water opening the drowned canal.
I find you in the river’s bow
stringing flags to welcome me.
On the bridge you pass me by on roller blades
turning shoes with tiny keys.
On the stairs you brush my coat with lemon stars.
Sipping every voice of you
I drench my boots with snowdrop lids
let my litmus lift and turn the wheel
across our world, my leaving you.

My exiled days return to you,
nudge my certain landing rush
towards your open cosmos eye
through gold-reef doorways city deep.
Under the bridge I touch your scars and broken lips.
On the hill my trumpet vines
reveal the ruby blare of you.
I tap the mourning earth
replace my roots,
I line my river paths with river feet
the spirit flow of you,
return my bedrock dance to you,
my coming home.