Shelf Life

All is gravely quiet
The silence of the ghosts
Of lives captured between the covers
Ashes to ashes
The stories hold fast the hopes
And dreams of millions of souls
I pick up an ancient tome
Dust to dust
What cowardly secrets or noble deeds
Are forever locked in black ink
On your yellow, crinkled paper-skin?
I bury you
Back in your shelf

Shock and Awe

Twisting bomb fragments rupture the rickety rafters
Of my leaky roofed, home for seven, ramshackle shack
Nails and wood chips rain down like dates
Shaken from a palm by a hot and violent wind
The searing shockwave explodes my lungs

I am in stasis
Looking up into the boiling Baghdad sky
As America flies past

Hello America!
Thank you for the freedom!
Please come again!

The Lurking Bombs of France

Dark and rusted fruits of the Great War
Still lie buried like poisonous potatoes
Every year farmers collect these
Unexploded shells and ordinances
In what is known as the Iron Harvest

The trenched swamp of the Western Front
Is the grocery aisle of harboured death
A ploughshare ripping the earth
Adds another name to the wall of remembrance

One out of four
Is the estimate
Of shells dropped by the Germans
On France that did not explode

For every square metre
Reaching up from the coast to the Swiss front
A ton of bombs rained down
Sending men to oblivion

The scythe of history
Cuts still
In France

And yet

Morning Rain

It began like drizzled oil
The stomach grumblings of the low nebula
Heralding its pitter patter arrival
While dogs bolted for warm kennels and birds frolicked
Happy for some
Others lurking troll-like under sheltering bridges
People-shapes scattering with plastic over heads
Playing dice with screeching cars
The contrails of red lights leaving smears
On the puddled iron-lung freeway
While cars and trucks and taxis sway
And jiggle in a deathly rain-dance
Clearing away into a dust-free haze of mist
Clean and fresh and good tra-la-la
The heaven-soap rumbles along to water
Farmers lands and parched cattle

One would hope…

The Memory of Water

Can you remember?

Each drowning sailor’s final prayer
Quartz rock singing against your molecules
The flames of Pompeii as the lava hissed against you
Nero fiddling as he drunkenly engulfed you

The wooden buckets while London burned away
Noah on deck with his face held up to the rain
The soft caress of ink as Confucius wrote the Analects
Bubbling in vain against the deathly rods of Chernobyl

Cooling Stalin’s sweaty forehead on the balcony
Dripping deliciously from Eve’s sweet apple
Christening each Russian rocket before take off
A mammoth’s scream at the breaking of ice

Can you forget?

Cooking Under Pressure

This weekend I celebrated the earning of eBucks on my credit card by using them to buy a pressure cooker at Makro. The Russell Hobbs 6 litre stainless steel pressure cooker does exactly what it says on the tin – it cooks food quickly under pressure. Last night Gina cooked us a very, very tasty ox-tail stew and thankfully there were enough left-overs for supper tonight.

Pressure cooking makes sense if you are in a hurry and want to cook a soup or stew quickly. I’m a huge fan of getting the most food possible for as little money as I can, and cooking dry lentils or dry chickpeas in a pressure cooker seems like a brilliant, money-saving idea.

cooking under pressure

Important tips:

  • Don’t fill the pressure cooker to more than half capacity
  • Wash the pressure cooker immediately after cooking
  • Put the hot pressure cooker into the sink and turn on the cold water tap to release pressure quickly

russell hobbs pressure cooker

Running away from my problems

I recently turned 40. It’s one of those strange birthdays where you don’t feel like an old man but at the same time you know you’re not 17 anymore. I had a couple of checkups and everything pointed to losing weight, dropping my cholesterol and getting fit.

So I went to a dietician and joined the gym. The visit to the dietician was the best thing that happened so far: 5 kilos lost just because I stopped eating crap and watching portion sizes, and more to lose on the way to my target weight and body fat percentage.

I also started a weight lifting program to lift 5 days a week, and on the rest days I walk. Luckily I live close to the Braamfontein spruit so it means traffic-free walking as I work my way up to running. I did a ParkRun recently and that rocked.

Road races are next, followed by warrior runs and trail running. I’m not planning to do the Comrades. I just want to feel better and be able to move. So in a way I am running away from my problems, but in a good way.