and the wind cried mary

Forty years after his passing Jimi Hendricks lives. Jimi was a dirty uncle, one who crooned “Foxy Lady” to a girl 6 years old in a house filled with adults slurring expletives of the extra terrestrial kind.

I had no idea what he meant or who he was talking to. As plain as the lyrics are, the censorious nature of the song, at least for a six year old, were lost to me. What made the song special, what earned Hendrix a place in my heart like no other musician was the way he whispers ‘foxy’ at the beginning of the song and expression itself.

What got me going was imagining that he couldn’t go to sleep without his piece close by, that he wanted it like he wanted that ‘foxy lady’. I was and am still convinced that when he sung that song it was dedicated to an elusive riff, that itched at the tip of his fingers refusing to connect heart string to guitar string.

With that conclusion I had cured a palate for a music crediting Fishbone, TV on the Radio and other punk/rockers of the charcoal kind. Jimi was a dirty uncle, who synthed me to sleep, set me jumping on furniture and earned me much punishment- you don’t just hop around on rent-to-own property.

RIP Jimi.

First posted at Pan African Space Station.

waving goodbye for hello

today we buy time
we find a pin
for the sun
to hold it up longer
in the sky
we fool an entire population
that it is still midday
when she has long departed
we purchase that hour past
and do nothing in it
but sleep
and dream of more days to sleep and sleep and sleep and sleep and sleep and sleep and sleep
nuzzling her forever
in that sleep
forever in that sleep.

pamella dlungwana – sweets for thohoyandou

I was seven and she was six. She had came to visit, spend time with her big sister. I was too busy to spend all my days with her. She loved to play outside, roam the rivers and catch frogs and fireflies like she did at home with our sister and brother but that wasn’t my scene. She tried to teach me games, skipping rope, umagalobha and amatshe but I sucked at every one. I always wanted to be inside, alone. I felt bad, not being able to join in on her fun and so everyday I’d come home with a sherbet, a lollipop, something she could squeeze from a wrapper and eat in the dark. Ayanda would rush to the gate to greet me in the afternoon or I’d find her at the bus stop waiting to walk me home, her arms open for a hug. I thought at first that she was after the sweeties in my jumper but discovered that she was excited to have me back. This devotion was new to me. I didn’t know how to hug her back or say simple things like, “I’ll miss you” or “I love you too.”

In the evenings as she washed getting into her nightie I would tell my sister stories. I would lie to her and she would laugh. When I was attacked by a waif of a girl who took me for everything, I told my sister I had met a giant on my way home. I told her he had fangs. I said I’d fought him till he broke down and told me he had a sick child and so I decided to give him everything I had. She thought that I was brave, that I was kind. She told me this as she pressed toothpaste onto the brush, I stopped her before she could wet the brush, reached into the front pocket of my jumper and pressed two socks of sherbet into her wet palm. I leaned in and kissed someone else, for the first time in my life.

Today my sister is at the dentist. I can imagine her panic and fear but I’m glad she’s old enough to brave it on her own.

pamella dlungwana – kapstadt: no lights, fast moving cars, hawkers, cti(finishtheacronymyourdamnselfyouenablingpieceofcityscum)

It’s a piece of turd
On the corner of Plein
And Spin
It lounges there
having steamed once
When it was fresh.
Now, it’s a curly lump
Of brown
With corn flecks
Just a’ chilling on the sidewalk.

Whose shit is this?
In the middle of town?
Who shat here and left?
What did they wipe their ass with?
Who will clean this shit?
What will they eat after?
How many piles of city shit will they clean in their lifetime?
Who will honor them with an award?
Who gets the award, ‘most shitty city turds evicted’?
Who gives the award?
Who sits on the crappy panel judging who deserves the accolade?
What is the criteria?
How do those who do not get the award feel?
I should have run after more shitty city turds and made my family proud?
What runs through the winners’ mind?
“I’d like to thank my mother, God, my teachers for never letting me forget
that all I’d ever be worth was a pile of shit?”

see the winner shitty shuffle off stage
shame the winner for taking home,
a fecal-fashioned piece of wood.