A house on a hill

I once took a picture of a house on a hill
A house on a hill
A house on a hill
With a red roof and a wooden door
Bright green grass
Like the pictures kids draw
I longed to go back to the house on the hill
The house on the hill
The house on the hill
To remember the trees and flowers
The feelings I felt
In a more naïve hour
At my bedside sat the house on the hill
The house on the hill
The house on the hill
As a door my daydreams could enter through
So that somehow older beliefs
Could be magically renewed
In today’s paper I saw the house on the hill
The house on the hill
The house on the hill
Reconstructed and transformed
Unrecognizable from
The nostalgic world my memories had formed
All that’s left is my picture of the house on the hill
The house on the hill
The house on the hill
Held together by my heart’s frame
My mind’s filter
And the day’s shame


* According to Wikipedia “Columbia is the female national personification of the United States.”

Within the extra-fortified walls of yet another Broadacres townhouse estate, Columbia rides her merchant bicycle, selling her wares. She gives the impenetrable security guard her usual friendly universal smile, as he escorts her in, interrogating her, seemingly knowledgeably, on her state of affairs.

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On Asset Management

There is the biblical narrative of Yossef, a man sold into slavery by his brothers, eventually finding himself as a prisoner in Egypt. As time goes by, the monarch of Egypt, the Pharaoh, has a perplexing dream, and is unable to understand its meaning. After hearing the dream, Yossef helps the king understand that a time of plenty and abundance is expected within his realm of authority, proceeded by a time of famine and drought. The recommendation of Yossef in light of this foretelling was to store up in the time of plenty, so that there will be sustenance in the time of lack.

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Debt Comes To Fourways

As the red sun sets over the Northern Suburb hills, and signals the call of the moon over the darkening night’s sky, the spirit known as Debt begins its ward rounds within the plush suburbs of Fourways:

The night is young
But I’m of old
Looking for more to embrace
In my choking hold

Beginning her regular routine of visiting the temples built to satiate her with living sacrifice, she starts off at Lonehill Shopping Centre. As dusk draws and commerce begins to rest its head, she sees James and Ayanda walking tensely to their car with a full trolley from Woolworths.

“But you know with the school fees and home loan, we can’t afford a new car”, says Ayanda to James.

“Yes, I know, but clients don’t take me seriously with this Polo. I can feel that I’m on the cusp of something good, and if I can score a few more contracts, we’ll live the comfortable life we’ve always wanted” explained James.

“You said that about the school and its supposed networks. You said that about the house and its supposed community. Now we find ourselves here living month to month, just getting by, forever on the ‘cusp of something good’” said Ayanda.

But why is she stubborn
Why all the prudence
Maybe a much longed for holiday
May be just the influence

In the car on their short trip home, Ayanda gets a WhatsApp from Tracey. She’s suggesting their families do a short holiday during the upcoming long weekend to Bela Bela.

“It’s been a really long year, and my soul needs this” thinks Ayanda to herself. “But James will never say yes to this after I said he can’t get a new car”

Sheepishly, Ayanda says to James, “maybe I do need to support you better in fulfilling your dreams. We can move a few items in our budget around and consider getting the car I guess”.

Oh, but this one
Was way too easy
Surely there’s a challenge
That’s more worthy

So up Debt goes into the darkening skies, hovering through the light breeze blowing against unsuspecting homes. Approaching Dainfern Square, he sees two friends, Ayodele and Oluwafemi entering a restaurant to sit down.

“It’s now been 30 years since leaving home” remembers Ayodele. “My children know very little of their history and where they come from”

“Why didn’t you ever go back?” asks Oluwafemi.

“We were so disillusioned when the promise of a prosperous Nigeria became a nightmare” replies Ayodele. “I don’t think I had the capacity to endure the thought of going through that again”

“When that oil price was good, man, it was good.” reminisces Oluwafemi. “But when those stupid IMF fools came and brought those foolish so-called ‘structural adjustments’ with their loans, man, things became bad bad.”

“Promised us dreams of prosperity. Left our country forever broken” depresses Ayodele. “And our children forever lost” adds Oluwafemi.

What a glorious reminisce
Of my beautiful craft
The shattered societies
My work of art

The night is young
And I’m of old
Let me find more to embrace
My choking hold

Fast-Fashion Store-Front Mannequin

It’s spring time now
And the early morning birds tweet
Songs of optimism and hope
Marching into the dawn with beautiful feet

My store-front window has dated
With winter’s fashion trends
The time of protest, anger and distrust
Seemed to have come to an (un)expected end

Let me dress up my mannequins
With the colours of neighbouring outlets
For my patrons have stopped paying with clicks
Opting for next door’s sonnets

Let me drape its head with quotes
Appropriated from contexts generally unseen
Maybe it will give an appearance nouveau
And get the world to notice me

Let me give its lips a smile and song
Something that may now be hard to do
Because I’d learnt the winter dance and songs so well
And now once again I have to become something new

Yet if I don’t dress it up in seasonal vogue
They may not come inside to see
The apparel sewn by the deepest parts
The doubts and fears and hurts in polychromatic tapestry

But the more my offering changes
To match the song of the birds
The less space left inside the store
To display the original song my heart once heard

The song of freedom and beauty
The melody of glorious things unseen
The secret things that have remained hidden
Because I’ve buried them within

So let me finish dressing my mannequin
To cash in on cryptic social currency
Before it’s time to learn summer’s song
In another escape from social redundancy