by Tania van Schalkwyk
The mountain is
smoking dope, puffing out smoke and starting fires. A troubled hooligan.
Or maybe a freedom fighting terrorist. Or just a crazy bored house wife circa 1954.
As the sun sets, the clouds turn to pomegranate juice trickling
down her sides. The city is hazed by a menarche game of pyromania
as dusk drips with veld fire. Arson toys with self immolation
like playing doctors and nurses at a new age self help conference for addicts:
Tell me where it hurts.
my eyes itch.
Is it the light or the smoke?
I want to wear binoculars and a microscope at the same time so I can get closer
to the mountain. See inside. Journey to the centre like Jules Verne
and maybe discover understanding of what lies beneath this unmoving rock.
Feels so fluid. Following me everywhere in the city
like a moon does on all hi-ways of this earth.
Making you feel special. Cared for. Chosen. Thy will be done.
And yet the mountain burns just like the moon eclipses sometimes. So solid
and yet tonight it could disappear
like villages in a tsunami.
And continents in an ice age
and a body in cancer.
I am reminded of my grandmother’s death bed
and how her blood feeds mine, just like juice.
Just like the sweet sticky air clings to my thighs and cakes me in red.
A strawberry tart prowling the streets, protected by her mother’s anger,
maybe wanting to be eaten by wolves- but killing them first.
And blanketing them up in the catacombs of matriarchal soil,
beneath the night fog that beds our city as the wind sirens a panic howl.
Not a cocoon preparing for birth, but a burial chamber mummifying.
The black widow has spun her tale of revenge. She has kissed and made it better.
The mountain is dark and grey now, tinged by cloud echoing electricity
like the silver of my succubus eyeballs.
Screams die as more lights are switched on and dinners cooked.
After sex there is always silence. And sleep.
Tomorrow, if the mountain has vanished before my waking sight
it will still be there in the morning’s dew.
Clouds will gather and suck up water from the earth and form precipitation.
Tears will fall. Lives are lived. And juice is drunk.
Like a Mayan blood ritual to appease the fire gods,
we build pyramids out of our lives
in an attempt to survive. Sacrifice ourselves to the altar
when all there is
is a playground.