Archive for November, 2008

… nomvula?

Posted in Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 by moderngatsby

Have you ever been at a loss for words? When no matter how hard you try you feel you can’t say anything? Or better yet have so much to say that you’re struck dumb because of them? I feel like that right now. For two weeks the words have been gathering like the storm clouds on the horizon of a hot, lazy Highveld afternoon.

I want to be selfish for a little while and enjoy this secret tryst. I’m not sure if it’s his boyish looks, his natural charm or his unassuming self-confidence or the fact that he excites me on every level imaginable – physically, mentally and sexually but there we have it. He does.

This is a secret that I want to keep. I want to keep feeling like this for as long as I can – without the outside world peeking in. In the absence of being able to voice the change within, I turn to words written by someone else that captures everything I want to say, but cannot articulate. Everything I feel, but cannot express. Everything I want, but cannot yet envisage.

For the first time in 31-yrs, I have experienced myself through the expression of someone else in the way he looks at me, the way he touches me, the way that he doesn’t have to try because his natural expression is true – but the two words that can make it up and out are simply: thank-you.


… stomp the yard?

Posted in Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 by moderngatsby

 Having never been a great fan of a certain radio station or their annual cycle race, I was even less amused when every road leading towards my ultimate destination had been blocked off. Randomly navigating through the streets of the suburbs of the north, I miraculously stumbled onto the right road 35-minutes later and accelerated towards the familiar complex in the distance that promised a cool beer and infamous company on this hot and lazy Sunday afternoon.


While you don’t often get the see your friends as often as you would like, the last time I was at his house it was for another birthday party – that of his gorgeous girlfriend – who somehow had managed to transform my friend from a typical bachelor to the respectable gentleman he is. In the blink of an eye, 8yrs had passed since we first met on a paint-ball field and through the ups and downs of life, relationships and break-ups few have ever had such a lasting impact on my outlook than he.


As the usual suspects gathered under the umbrellas and awnings, the various platters of food and ice-boxes of beers distracted the crowd from the imminent danger of the nearby plunge pool. Despite its warm, velvety texture being thrown in fully clothed didn’t appeal to most and many tried to steer clear and remain dry. For the unlucky few who didn’t, water-guns were the order of the day as well as a few bruised noses and egos.


As conversations merged and groups became amorphous, revellers became more boisterous as the drinking games picked up momentum, and the beer started being poured by the ‘yard’. While I’d not played this game since honouree-membership at Wits Rugby, my time recorded wasn’t the worst for the day and I did manage to keep my dignity intact despite a few running for the nearest dustbin. With a camera phone always at the ready, someone managed to provide entertainment that South African’s will soon be downloading to email around.


Before we realised it, the midday sun had crept behind the gathering clouds and as we stood on the grass licking our vanilla ice-cream cones, the pale pinks and blues overhead framed a perfect afternoon. I have to admit that during the day, there were pockets of loneliness that intruded on the fun. I guess that it doesn’t matter how much I try and fool myself, when they call it heartache I thought it was figurative, a metaphor. I didn’t realise that it could still feel like this even after only a few weeks.



… sic volvere parcas?

Posted in Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 by moderngatsby


Like a rusted scythe ready to strike out into the midnight air the crescent moon heralds a warm wind, heavy with wild jasmine and unfulfilled promises of a life half-lived. Overwhelmed, I fall to my knees as if struck to prayer, but in truth merely deaf and dumb in the realisation that it would take longer to fall out of love than it had to fall in love. And there, prostrating to no particular deity I cried out as my eunuch heart shattered once again and the memories of a failed love pierced my corporeal body like shrapnel. Wracking sobs lost in the vastness of the desert as my mouth fills with rivulets of arid loam that chokes the senses.

I dream of rain/I dream of gardens in the desert sand/I wake in vain/I dream of love as time runs through my hand/I dream of fire/Those dreams are tied to a horse that will never tire/And in the flames/The shadows play in the shape of a man’s desire/This desert rose/Each of his veils, a secret promise/This desert flower/No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this.


The night is always darkest before the dawn,” I whispered to him as we lay in the early light that last morning. Our bodies, still wet and breathing heavy from a laboured love that would reveal itself like a shard of glass drawn slowly across a pale wrist stretched out. A child’s innocent belief in the man he loved. What once was a fount of hope now squats barren like the well in the courtyard just over the knoll ahead. Mute, in the midday sun I stare at the prehistoric reptilian that shares the blistering heat that singes my corneas and offers a dulled reprieve from the shrapnel within that moves steadily towards a fractured cavity. There are no more words for the betrayed heart knowingly deceived and corrupted.

And as he turns/This way he moves in the logic of all my dreams/This fire burns/I realise that nothing’s as it seems/I dream of rain/I dream of gardens in the desert sand/I wake in vain/I dream of love as time runs through my hand/I dream of rain/I lift my gaze to empty skies above/I close my eyes/This rare perfume is the sweet intoxication of his love.


Hushed whispers in the room beyond, its time to move again as the weeks meld into hours. There is scurrying as arrangements are made and things are packed. Forceful hands that are not unkind guide me to a leather cocoon shielded by blackened glass of the vehicle that will take me away. The little Suisse miracle numbs the vivid reality of the landscape that blurs into a mirage as the wheels gain traction and clamour towards an unspecified destination. As the sun-chariot recedes in the overhanging panoply of fallen Heroes, the smell of wild jasmine and almond oil momentarily confuses the mind in the wind that burns my face.

I dream of rain/I dream of gardens in the desert sand/I wake in vain/I dream of love as time runs through my hand/Sweet desert rose/Each of his veils, a secret promise/This desert flower/No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this/Sweet desert rose/This memory of Eden haunts us all/This desert flower/This rare perfume, is the sweet intoxication of the fall.


In the distance, a small mammal is lanced in a hawks’ talon. Struggling valiantly, it resigns itself to its fate and goes limp as it climbs higher and higher into the dying day. In that moment I refused to accept mine so easily.  For there is one who spins the thread, one who measures it out, and one who cuts it when the it is time. The flat arid land gives way to a fathomless ocean that encircles the shore. Blackened by the pale moon light, the devil waits to dance a macabre tango in memory of a man that usurped the place of a demi-god in my heart. I am not healed, but on the path towards something else.

… when is bespoken, not spoken for?

Posted in Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 by moderngatsby

 As the season seems to start earlier and earlier, the anxiety that I always tend to feel around this time of year has started to spill over like a dry vodka martini into other parts of my life. And with no solution in sight, I find myself dreading what should be the most festive and joyous of occasions: the engagement and wedding parties of some of my closest friends.

When it comes time for table arrangements, everyone knows a ‘someone’ who would be perfect for me to date, but few of these actually materialise into a tangible experience which seems less like a job interview with cocktails and more like ‘an affair to remember.’ Then when you at least expect it you find yourself ordering coffee, taking off your bespoke jacket and enjoying the company of an erudite demi-god in the warm summer’s sun … all just for the hell of it!

For the first time, in a very long while it felt good to be measured up and even better yet wanting to be wanted. I’m getting used to being alone again as time with friends slowly recede as they find their hearts occupied with lovers of their own. The reality between the haves and have-nots widens the void as you lose a lover you never really had and your closest friends all at the same time.

And so, this past Sunday as I sat reading the paper I was reminded that in Jo’burg you’re always looking for a job, a townhouse or a boyfriend. So let’s say that you have two out of three – and they’re incredible – why do we let the one thing we don’t have affect how we feel about all the things we do have? I had to wonder: why does one minus a plus one feel like it adds up to zero?

Anyone that has gone through a break-up can attest the first thing that goes isn’t your dignity – but rather your sense of self-worth. No matter how successful you are, intelligent or humorous the first question that you sob in the early hours of the morning is “what’s wrong with me?” rather than ask “what’s wrong with him?” It’s when a friend grabs you by the hand and kidnaps you for a day of tree shopping that you realise the happy ending that this will turn out to be.

It’s then that you know people may come and go in your life, after all that’s just the way it is, but there are a few who will always be there. The boozy swirling parties, the lingering lunches at your favourite sushi bar and the dinner/theatre with drinks afterwards with a certain green-eyed saxophonist are what happen in between. Life may not be perfect, but it’s the only one we have to live.

And after all, living well is what I do best.

… fade to black?

Posted in Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 by moderngatsby

 Fade in. Fast edits of me out and about town in bespoke charcoal-grey suits, crisp cotton shirts, thick silk tie folded just so at my neck. Young pretty things in various settings around the city, a hotel ballroom, a restaurant. Always a glass of something in my hand, occasionally a cigarette or cigar given to me by a stranger. Close-ups of me appreciating a bouquet, sipping a chilled cocktail with a sliver of lemon, downing a half-empty bottle of imported beer. A flash of a face in profile, looking in my direction. No words spoken, plenty said. The end always the same. I wake up in the middle of the night, quickly get dressed. As I open the door on my way out, a thin ray of light pierces through the darkness. A quick flash of a man’s face deep in sleep. He’s handsome, I leave. The hours and pages of a calendar peel away as footage of my life runs underneath. You see me in my bedroom. I’m texting the Sales Guy but get no answer. Flashing lights of a nightclub, I’m in a room just beyond the velvet ropes watching the crowd. A quick shot of me on a date. Cute guy, nice restaurant. Then just as he signals the waiter to come over, you catch me sneaking a peek at my watch. I’m walking towards a waiting car, idling at the curb or parked nearby. Now I’m back in my study working hard. I bury myself in more and more projects. A couple of parties that end in good but entirely unmemorable sex. The weeks of August, September and October peel away. More work, more parties, more sex. There is a flash of sky-diving, pony lines at a polo field, practicing kendo in a dojo, racing on a mountain bike, sailing in a regatta. In a boxing ring being pummelled by my trainer. Darkness falls and I’m in front of a computer. I’m scared to be alone, not trusting my intuition anymore. Close up of the screen. It’s blank. I shut down my laptop. I’ve tried writing but nothing comes easily. As though the past few months of living expectantly have left me bone dry. When they called it ‘heartache’ I thought it was figurative, a metaphor. No one told me my Eunuch heart would feel like this. I turn off the lights. Fade to black.

… guilty of lust and sin?

Posted in Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 by moderngatsby

 In the darkness, I can hear the soft chimes of the clock in the hallway. The coldness outside has crept silently within despite the deep carpeting at my feet and thick curtains at the window. Trapped by the four walls it slithers, like Gollum towards me. In a moment of hesitation I wrap the coldness around my shoulders – welcoming the biting sensation as a distraction. Stripped naked by my vanity the shame in realising that it was a dream warns me against comforting words and comforting actions.


In the darkness, I am momentarily distracted by mismanaged expectations, as a shroud of solitude slowly slips over me despite a weekend past of frivolous parties, stolen moments under the moon with my bête noir and confirmation of lifelong friendships. The cycle of a waning moon suggests otherwise, but a need for something corporeal taunts my soul and I am left a beggar beside a wide river bellowing for alms as the barge of merriment floats on by.


In the darkness, the silence that pervades my thoughts haunts my need to reach out towards a wounded heart, for he loves my heart for once it was his own. I fear that someday the silence will fill up all the conversations that we never had as we go on pretending that we did and in this fear my heart beats so much faster from the many shadows illuminated by the blazing insecurities that stalk the corridors of rationality when you are not here with me.


In the darkness, a black square box wrapped with hand stitched orange ribbon sits on the edge of a desk, mocking me. A reminder of a naïve moment of weakness when in a frenzy I imagined that actions spoke louder than words and I could make everything right what the world had made wrong. Inside is a soul’s contentment, waiting to be uncovered and savoured. Like the many layers that make up the walls which scale the most precious gifts we have.


In the darkness, the night is always darkest before the coming dawn. And yet, as the sun god draws his carriage near the horizon flecked with spittle of deep red, burnt oranges, and tangerine yellows the coldness has given way to something else. A restlessness that comes with knowing that somewhere out there someone like you searching for someone like me as you stand across a phantom gate; I cannot break with my Eunuch dreams.

… what did the pot say to the kettle?

Posted in Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 by moderngatsby


I felt just like a fat kid gorging himself on an ice-cream on a hot spring day, juices running down his chin and face covered while noisily slurping away beyond the reality of his situation. The more I tasted the more I wanted and with abandon I kept going and going stuffing my face with his very essence. Every now and again, I would stretch out my arm towards the latte that stood nearby and then return to devouring the unfurling life story in my hands.


Page after page, his intricately written prose satisfied the hunger that had consumed my every waking moment for the past few days and changed the landscape of self-discovery. It triggered something so perverse that it took me a while to identify the fickle need within me – a need for flashing lights, ear splitting thumping music, near naked gyrating men sweaty and me … a little drunk, plenty horny and oh-so-cute and oh so your lottery ticket for the night!


I’m okay with the labels that come with one night stands … a carnal knowledge gained with special intimacy you can only have with a total stranger whose name you don’t know and face you will never see again. If this were a movie script, it would be perfectly executed by someone like Rupert (Everett not Murdoch) and the montage of various scenes would have an OST by Alanis or Linkin Park or Missy E. Something funky, a little lyrically dirty and with plenty of bass. Something to get your freak on!


So my night out on the town didn’t quite end up as originally planned. It started off as planned … but that’s where it ended. Instead of the nightclub there was a private house. Instead of the gyrating bodies there were only three of us. And then afterwards, I headed off to my favourite pizzeria when despite being closed some hours before, they unlocked their doors, and he welcomed me in. Two hours passed and before I realised it – it was 4am and I went searching for some fast-food after some fast-love.


Stumbling in just before the dawn, after an unsatisfying night without what I was really looking for, I curled up under the blankets and tried to sleep. But it eluded me, as my body craved the warmth and caress of the sale’s guy, and instead I fought my natural instincts and forced myself to a place I didn’t want to go to. Knowing where he is, having experienced it some 12-mnths before, the comfort that having someone there to ease the pain is what I needed. And what he needs too.