Poems by Gabriel Hoosain Khan

Untitled (September 2013)

Elsewhere I shiver in the Atlantic breeze.
Sea sand fractured under feet, his house burrowed
Beneath the mountain in Tamboerskloof. Night silent,
White wine – chilled and hard – as ocean breath.
The dimple on his right cheek, a beautiful crevice
Overflowing with darkness. Body smooth firm, bed small,
I hold on tight, I’m afraid of falling

It starts as a pin prick, a moment distilled. In the site
Where atoms meet, cells scrape and imprint remains.
A tender rolling fog, lips touch, tentatively at first.
Then crash and bite, pin prick gives birth to exponential
Expansion. A tessellate geometry of body and desire,
Explosion brings forth rhythm, the ebb and flow of two beating
Bodies, as soothing as the universe asleep after immense deluge

I was young on signal hill, that place used to warn blind
Vessels before they collide in darkness, that place alive with
Couples permeable in love, their skin sopping up
Pink and orange cloudy sunsets. Guitar stroking air,
I follow the sound, boy behind bush sitting on grass,
The city in heat, the ocean an ice cube in a glass of gin
Eyes meet, a complex geometry emerges between us

 

Patrice Lumumba

Don’t expect me to forget –
How we were lined up, backs to smooth
Book cover acacia trees, stars
Shedding some little tears through treetops
Soot black and petrified –
Each of us
Shot,
One
By
One.

Don’t expect me to forget, the gesuip fathers
And sjambok firm mothers. The quiet
Blossoming
Of blue flowers on scarve hidden skin –
The dissipation
Of our dream and desire
Like the sawed up body of a beautiful,
Bespectacled African gentlemen,
Dispelled
In concentrated sulphuric acid.

Do not expect me to forget, the bullets
Plucked
From our skull,
Now smooth from a life
In your pocket. Something red
Lingers in the soil,
From the burning
Metallic smell in the evening air
Of January 17th ’61,
To where that blood fell,

I remember, something slowly rising
There,
At first it looked like a broken mirror
Shaped like a black gash,
Then a rubbish dump city, with our children
Huddled
Around a fire drum,
But the hot ash flies up, their gaze follows,
Through the tree tops
To night sky.

 

The boy I kissed at the greenhouse

The tender aloe is aflame, veld fire at night
Across a hilltop ever moving, a line of light
On a moonless night

It starts with a scurrying sound,
The rodents are moving,
I feel them around my feet,

That sweet smell, of burnt dry leaves, grass and trees,
A revolution, in plumes of swirling black smoke,
The smell of singed flesh and fur.

I kissed him against the gate of the greenhouse
We were alone, his lips pink, his
Mouth an open and inviting chasm.

The veld fire across the hilltop
At night time. A smooth curved line of light,
In the distance, ever encroaching,

Eating life, turning it into soot. The smoke now
Unseen, at first gives me a sultry, gentle choke,
And then with violence, our camp is surrounded

Another boy I too kissed, against the wall
Of an abandoned farmhouse, the house is now in flames,
We were young, he started this fire

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