because words kill more people than murder

I love it when men call me
hoping to wound
already licking their lips

don’t they know
that my friends call me bitch?
say, bitch I love you
say bitch you’re beautiful

don’t they know
that what bitch really means
is nothing you can take from us
hasn’t already been given
it means try take a little more,
see what happens

don’t they know
that their mothers are bitches?
that the men who spat bitch
are their fathers
not mine?
that they were whelped
on damp newspaper
with headlines of rape
that they drank all their cells
from her teats?

don’t they know
that their grandmothers were bitches too
breathed through walls
and ate dust to survive?

and don’t they know
that survival takes more than a heartbeat?

can’t they feel that thud in their chests?


first day of a new job
and a female colleague
warns me:
the boss’s much harder on us
than the men
and I smile
because the last boss I had
called me sweetie
said, where’s your boyfriend?
maybe he was hoping
to fuck me less qualified
than him
(after I got a post-graduate
I got called little lady
was told I’m a feisty one)

guess I should be grateful
he only patted my head

a friend told me how he’s felt
objectified before
turned into meat
by a woman
I asked him, were you ever afraid?
he said no
looked at me like I’m crazy

the only girl in the mosh-pit
I fell hard to the floor and a guy
hauled me up
exclaimed a chick in the pit!
I knew he expected a smile
so I kept my mouth closed
wouldn’t tell him my name

my older cousin
sly-eyed and bald-headed
left scorch marks
all over my body
left two smoking hands
in the places he pawed me
the night he was hungry
as a dog at my door

(I’m starting to worry
I smell a little too sweet)


hear that hiss?
that’s the sound a door makes
when it opens
and you’re not home to close it
we’re the cats you thought

and haven’t all your wishes been granted?
can’t you feel our teeth at your throat?










White Guilt

A boyfriend’s dad complained
the fucking maid spilt bleach
over everything
I thought
maybe she was trying to show us
how much our colour hurts


Small fawns jostle and crowd,
bolder in gatherings.
A tentative hoof at the earth
tempts a tremor
or a call –

nobody’s listening.
Sweet fawns
inherit the morning.

I know they’re here
from the way the light bends –
from the true pull of air
in their direction –

smooth as milk.
First bones signal an era

a circle of stone.


Photo cred: Paul Naudé 





At an age between joy and desertion
(soaring stomach-jolt joy
                                                cold wind-whistling grey)
we propped up as dummies and talked.

You talked and talked.
I leaned, bald and empty as deserts
watching you move and roar as waves roar.
The sounds you made flew out like fists.

                                                   (only the wind could sing like this)



Eyebrow darkened with kohl
pockets laden with stones
blonde head in the oven
lungs eating Cape water
tyres melting with screams
fists banging out a voice
on the face
of the minister’s door –

is this all?

The apron strings will smoke,
the rings on the fingers
will melt in our fire.