10 July 2017

Housing targets, a poem by Kelwyn Sole

Somewhere in our past
we believed in the future

that a better world
would discover foundation
under our feet, and we
would be forever singing,
in its kitchen.

Bricks pile up in a field.
Whether they will be enough
no one knows. How
they fit together
is anybody’s guess.

Men with darkened skins
scribbled on by weather
wait for their instructions.

From time to time
limousines miraculously appear:
there is always a somebody
in a suit willing to smile
and shake their hands

who lays the first stone.

Then the camera lights
and racing engines
turn around, shrink back
from where they came.

Those left behind
stare at their own hands
afterwards, puzzled
at precisely what
has been transacted, why
they are still being offered
between gnarled fingers
pace out the hopeful distances:
- there will be a flower bowl.
- my bed is going here.

As for now the doorknobs
have no doors.

Their windows peer out
at no sky.

Kelwyn Sole is a poet and critic, well known for his work on black South African poetics. He teaches in the Department of English at the University of Cape Town. Among his work are the collections, Projections in the Past Tense (Ravan Press), Love that is Night (Gecko Poetry), and The Blood of Our Silence (Ravan Press).

Kelwyn Sole
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