Sunday, July 18, 2010


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Two South Africa Poems

1. In Westcliff Flats

In Westcliff Flats,
a poor township,
I found, at last,
a quiet, peaceful sleep,
hard to come by
in Fortress South Africa.
Perhaps, the dogs
had all been eaten.

2. The Poor Live Off Our Garbage.

In New York,
they collect empties,
—and bottle—
a nickel a pop.

In South Africa,
young men glide up
to stopped cars,
bearing garbage bags,
sagging, wrinkled,
all the air let out.

In the mendicant position,
“Half a rand,”
they ask (seven cents),
“a quarter, anything.”

If you have no trash
(or prefer to litter),
“Half a buck, please, Sir,
for bread? I beg.”

[“Buck” is Sousth African slang for “rand.” I wrote these poems after spending seven weeks in Botswana and South Africa.]

Copyright © 2010 by Ron Singer.

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