facebook1 twitter1 sllm2a

witslogo1 17

Joseph Claassen

Joseph Claassen

I have discovered I prefer to walk with it tucked safely

beneath my descending aorta –

to me, it is the last bit of comfort a dying man will see.


Some avoid it at every cost and I – like them –

lock doors, pay insurance,

stop at red lights most times.


Every chance it gets, it punches me into its satnav

and with claws out cruises like one lost,

finds me like one sent –


I would have tried to hide

in the days before my voice broke, but now


I take it in daily doses, keep it on the nightstand

like one who suffers chronic mediocrity –


It watches me still my daughter as she wakes,

hovers while I offer morning prayers

so I’ll remember to drive slowly like a person,

reeling in those moments not caught on the Internet.


Sunday, 16 October 2016 21:25

Joseph: Starlin

Joseph: Starlin


He rolls up on me while I’m whatsapping

calls softly from the side to not scare me

out here in the city’s dukderm

a man can die for trying to help

or for being the wolf that laps the blood

of the tender-hearted


I don’t know

maybe I look like one who has money

my wife gets me these ties that say

‘I own something’

maybe he sees ‘father krismis’

written somewhere under my

tucked in tied down buttoned up façade


Whatever it is

he says his name and I say – Stalin? That’s your first name?

like S-T-A-L-I-N?

            – ‘No’ he chuckles and spells S-t-a-r-l-i-n


Breakfast and lunch are folded in my top pocket

it was gonna be magwinyas now

Wacky Wednesday this afternoon

but these Madiba faces are burning my chest

next thing I know we marching out the kiosk

at the Total across Thorpe street

loaf brown nestling on his forearm

my tongue thickening to introduction

– by the way, my name is Joseph


He’s up from Pinetown looking for span

left his ma and bru them back home



says he’s been sleeping at a shelter up on Jeppe Street

wants to waai back pozzie now

says this place is not… tears throttle the rest of his sentence

light fades again

on the killing floor of his hazed irises


All I can do now

is leave him with God   

at home I have a wife

a new baby

and maybe tonight