SCENE ONE: MORNING
We’re crisply pressed and neatly ironed
our shoes tap-tapping, gleaming black,
sitting, scrubbed, earnestly fidgeting
we’ve woken this morning
as we have for a month
to the cries of God
Through the mouth of a holy man
sonorously calling to our homes through our sleep
that prayer is better than rest
and God is Great
(all I feel is coercion)
his call pulls me to my father’s car
where I sink into leather smells
and religious doctrine
the mosque is full
of smiles and suits
and shoes cluttering the doorway
SCENE TWO: AFTERNOON
Lunchtime, and today is compulsory
so are old people’s kisses,
puckered lips and stale perfume.
I want to shrink from their wrinkled embraces,
but find their grip is stronger than their heartbeats
they cling to me as though
I am life, whispering
toothlessly about God and goodness
cries and questions, ‘eat-this-not-that,
Tables groan, remembering a more Spartan time
framed pictures of the Ka’aba and
butterflies pinned to their graves.
Auntie Farieda sits in the corner
too fat to move, and too tired to live;
Uncle Omar is holding court
he has three more pains
and a new walking stick.
He is older than Moses
and more important. He spits
in a bucket and drinks his tea in a saucer.
His wife moves softly silently
she lives softly, silently,
his mother nods, forming sounds of interest
while I sit in a chair
with white fringed scarves
and embroidered silk
watching my talkative mime.
SCENE THREE: EVENING
Magriep and Hallelujah!
Sleek in Armani
(check my shoes for Fabiani)
I’ve got my father’s Merc
and his cellphone on my belt.
We used to skit to K.C.
but now it’s to the Waterfront
where we’ll tawaaf around the banisters
greeting our brasse at every turn.
A lean at forty-five degrees
is a double prerequisite
for my phone and my keys
to be at ultimate exposure.
A race towards the bathroom
(while maintaining my designer roll)
reveals a crowd around the mirror
on a mission to check their gel:
Slaamat my broe (my hand on my heart)
where’s Psycho and Malles?
I didn’t get them today –
still in Rylands?
Oh… more money that way
The kinders are looking lekker
short skirts and nogal scarves
Jenni Button and Donna Karan
gold jewellery on their arms.
Lamming it uit met my brasse
I know that I belong
they style like no other
I got to join the throng…
~ Taken from Lovely Beyong Any Singing, Landcapes in South African Writing, an anthology compiled by Helen Moffett