Talk the Walk. 


Freshly showered aromas of cheap parfumerie 

Filtering out from rotund Black faced White teethed men,

Bulging out of the Melville B&B strip, 

Holding predictably poised wheeled black baggage.


Breathe deeper red rose bushes, lining the wall.

Tainted with the fumes of petrol, 

A river of vehicles affronting all senses.

The kotch-green merc that carries the face of the man who smiles at me,

His stony-faced “staff” that he will lean on all day, alongside him.  

And the brown bus-driver, who also smiled on that day, 

Trafficking Jozi all-sorts to their daily destinations  


People blackberry-breakfasting in the stale rusk, corner café

Bob Dylan has taken centre stage in the bookshop window

A4 telling all book readers of Monday night scrabble at Nuno's

Funky waitress adverts at the newly renovated, anticipated Fifa-fans bar

Everyone trying to ride the Melville sub-station Gautrain band-wagon.


I am back to the world of found objects, 

Using them to spell survive the suffering of numerous losses 

A silver ghoen, full of shine underneath its grimy surface 

Yellow and pink sunflower sun-seed tin, rusted with untold stories

Dr Long’s long-lasting satisfying love – No Smell Chinese Brush. 

Black bins line the street as though waiting for those who

Rummage through other people’s classified debris. 

Dogs with barbed teeth and vicious barks

If they cannot roam free why should you?


I walk on, mindful of my personal gps, which re-maps the route

Where I unwittingly painted a bloodied self portrait on canvassed tar, With a finely selected sharply stoned save your life paintbrush 

No-one can rob me of these ground-swell, sound-smells  -


Spelling, scrabbling, shrieking, scintillating, Ayoba Jozi Sync-chroni-City. 




©Suzy Bernstein


May 2010.


To the Boys We Grow

From the wombtide waters which held them, to the new and exciting depths they now dive in
From the holding of the screaming child, to the listening of one whose inner and outer voice

breaks into its own as he strings words together, and the poems that he emits.

From the comfort of the suckling babe, to the release of a boy that learns to look for nourishment
From the personal geography they are born into, that allows them to ground themselves

To the complex mazes they used to love drawing,  that will resemble the journey’s ahead
From the child who needs the distinction between boy and girl, to the man they learn to wear amongst women
From the clothes they will dress themselves in , that will give them the ability to bare all
From the child-like finger-paints, to the palette of colours they choose to make pictures with
From the games they played with dinky toys to the vehicles they will drive
From the toy guitars they strummed to the music they now make
From the master’s voice they learnt from and the boxed voice they use to speak to the world
From the boys who think they are men, and the men who behave like boys
These are the boys we grow

From the bones they have broken and fixed as they build their skeletal backbone within which they hold themselves
To the Osgood Schlatters disease they wear with ease, as they grow their inner marrow
From the heights they will reach and what they will do with their vision
To the clouds and formations they notice in the skies
From the mothers that take their pictures and the history they capture therein
To the brothers they have and the sisters they don’t
From the use of their personal history for and not against
To the ties and threads that bind
These are the boys we grow

From the beaded balls they learn to produce
To the people they seek out and listen to
From the strangers they talk to and hear
To the 67 minutes they learn to contribute
And the cherished grandparents that are always there to cheer

From the signs of gentleness they choose to wear and not shed
From the food that nourishes, to the meals they help to cook when they move from couch to potato
From the synchronicities they open themselves to, to the messages they take from life
From the bad that helps them see the good, to the broken that helps them fix
These are they boys we grow

From the tools they use to win a smile, and those they learn to communicate to and with,
To the ability to distinguish friends from acquaintances
To the physical and personal way they touch the world around them
To the spiritual physical and emotional strength they learn on the roads they travel and re-travel, never seeing the dead ends.
These are the Men we grow.

Self Portrait On That Friday

Tightly tied licorice shoelaces
Wearing black shoes
And white socked sheep
That walk the quad at whites only right angles

Velveteen vinyls reflecting Good looking
Album covers teaching us
How to live LIVE rock and roll

Hymns and hymens broken as voices crack
Equus speaks volumes
Hush hush ihashi

Squat-copped cars fed doped cookies
Dead Pere Lachaise man draws a crowd
Men who smile as I draw their image into my frame

Time frozen granny grey meatballs and red jelly
The broth of diverticulated ex-husband chicken soup
Marinated in papino, avocado and brittle peanut

Know myself/yourself – your self, my self
Rear-ended child raising
Teach -learn life lessons
Wake up
And smell the mix!

©Suzy Bernstein October 2011

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