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18th September – On This Day In History

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Born:

1971 Lance Armstrong (cyclist – won Tour de France seven times, but got banned for using drugs)

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Died:

1970 Jimi Hendrix (guitarist – Purple Haze)

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On This Day:

2017 Hurricane Maria destroys 90% of the structures in the Dominica and kills 27 people

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Have a good Tuesday, 18th September

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New York, September 12, 2001

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‘Then it went dark. Real dark. Like snow.’
—words of a survivor

will the hand endure moving over this paper
will any poem have enough weight
to leave a line of flight above the desolate landscape
ever enough face to lift against death’s dark silence
who will tell today

the huge anthill of people remains quiet
somber and bright but obscure
as if the brown effluvium of sputtering towers
sweeps still the skyline with a filthy flag
who will weep today

today images wail for voice behind the eyes
planes as bombs stuffed with shrapnel of soft bodies
then the fire inferno flame-flowers from skyscrapers
human flares like falling angels from the highest floor
down, down all along shimmering buildings of glass and steel
fluted in abandoned beauty and fluttering
weightless and willowy and flame-winged to streamline
fleeting reflections in the fugitive language of forgetting
the hellhound of destruction has a red tongue of laughter

who will tell and who will count
gouged eyes do not understand the blue of sky
through a dismal and chilly nuclear winter
people stumble people shuffle
stumble-people shuffle-people worm-white-people

where lie the faces
old before their end or their wedding
grayed in ashes from head to toe
as if clothed in coats of the snowing knowing of ages

beneath rummage and debris rosy corpses move and mumble
and in East River confidential files and folders float
with shreds and feathers lacerated human meat
scorched confetti for the dog’s feast
who will tell tomorrow tomorrow

where are the faces
will the tongue still think
still pulse its dark lair
with flamed memory of bliss
will words still drink oblivion
will any poem some day ever carry sufficient weight
to leave the script of scraps recalling fall and forgetting

will death remain quivering in the paper

 

– Breyten Breytenbach

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17th September – On This Day In History

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Born:

1929 Stirling Moss (racing car driver)

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Died:

2000 Paula Yates (TV Presenter)

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On This Day:

1900 Commonwealth of Australia is proclaimed

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Have a good Monday, 17th September

Goya

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Francisco de Goya y Lucientes
with candles on the brim of his hat
straddles the rim of a dark century dark horses
my beloved
mouth-blind and the scream of terror
a dead stone in the head the head
of a dog squinting over earth’s hump

and inscribes his black paintings
on plaster of house walls the house
of the deaf masks under a rotten
rolling moon
my beloved

black as blood
black as bread
black as murder
black as chaos
black as execution
white like the fire flashing from the muzzle
of the gun
the bull smothers in his own blood
life is quicklime muffling the bones

from dark heaven arises a carnival
of cripples condemned ones a flare
of ghosts his hand remembers
does the hand still remember
the fawning of idiot king and retarded princesses
the bayonet in the freedom fighter’s gut
the crowning of the sardine remember
still the slender outline
the pale flesh and the dark fleece
of Maria del Pilar Teresa Cayetana
de Silva Alvarez de Toledo
la Duquesa de Alba
my beloved

his maja in red and black and gold
dark horses in the night the night
a populacho in procession
black like insomnia
our god is a mule
a muted blinding cry
a wall of darker fire

it is said poetry completes
what history leaves out
black like death
my beloved
my beloved

I’m so glad we live in peaceful times

 

– Breyten Breytenbach

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16th September – On This Day In History

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Born:

1952 Micky Rourke (actor)

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Died:

2016 Edward Albee (playwright – Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolfe?)

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On This Day:

1857 Mexico adopts its constitution 

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Have a good Sunday, 16th September

There Is No Time

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there is no time
time is man’s skin
it cracks and crackles and shrinks
in life’s passing-by
in the fire of being
telling the hours
then letting them be
in the ever reverberating
moment of silence

in the smoking dance
of the evening star and the midnight sun
in the curl of the leaf
in the dove’s swiftly
graceful and fluttered
gesture of dying

there is no time
time is the shooting
comet of recall
strewing heaven with the sparks
of stories no one will ever hear again

time’s my love for you
the lizard movements
in your body that come and go
to fill the hollows
with the fire of telling
those many faces of departure

there is no time
just the pulse of the heart
as pain under eye-shells

just the emptied tell-skin
of this poem
splotched and measured
by cancer words of forgetting
like lizard shit

 

– Breyten Breytenbach

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15th September – On This Day In History

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Born:

1984 Prince Harry (second son of Prince Charles and Lady Diana)

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Died:

1859 Isambard Kingdom Brunel (engineer)

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On This Day:

1981 Vanuatu becomes a member of the United Nations

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Have a good Saturday, 15th September