© Farouk Asvat
Smoke swirls up in nostalgia:Fragile cinder collapsing in my palm
As I light the first furtive cigarette;
The faithful coalstove choking us
In the sour haze of the old kitchen;
The watchman rubbing his hands together
To keep the brazier warm;
The brilliant orange of a veldfire
Leaving a crunchy scrub of remorse:
Somehow there is an aura of sadnessWithin the smoke of childhood.
Now there isThe acrid smell of tyres burning
The singeing bubbles of flesh smouldering
The screaming rhythms of grotesque dancing
The bursting flowers of teargas blossoming
The swirling gloom of smoke rising
from blazing shanties
The spectral haze of mothers hurrying
through the smoggy dusk
The lightning flashes of zealous comrades burning
witches in adobe huts
That is now the clear smoke of growing up
© farouk asvat
composed: 23.06.86 [Alexandra, Johannesburg, South Africa under apartheid]
for Lionel Abrahams in Alexandra Township
Smoke was previously published in:
The Wind Still Sings Sad Songs (piquant publications, p31, 2006).
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