Tuesday, October 29, 2013


© 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 sadness
            Within the smoke of childhood.

Now there is
The 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

[] Acknowledgements:

Smoke was previously published in:

                The Wind Still Sings Sad Songs (piquant publications, p31, 2006).

© farouk asvat.  All rights reserved.

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farouk asvat can be contacted at:                                  farouk.asvat@gmail.com

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