Sunday, December 11, 2005

Christmas In Africa


The church is breathless and full.
Sweat drizzles down between my legs
as bodies press in on all sides.
We ooze and drip quietly
in time to the music
trying to concentrate on the words of the songs
giving up eventually as the African resonance
makes a mockery of Westerners’ pipings.
Damp armpits blossom
staining bright clothes.
The priest intones his message limply…

We pray

For a breath of fresh air.


In the white heat of the
Post Office
Christmas trees
with tinsel
look out of place
and wrong -
their brightness
upstaged by the
African sun.


Smells of turkey
in Suffocating
Soggy paper
oozing with salad
collapse and

People who shouldn’t -
wear shorts.
Cellulite dimples
out of tightly-
drawn cotton
which damply
as the heat

Christmas trees
with the exhaustion
of holding up
glittering balls.
“Not in this heat,”
they groan
and their limbs drop
even lower.

The decorations
look falsely
bright -
against the backdrop of
Hydrangeas and Hibiscus.
Bougainvillaea outshine
the baubles
with wedding gown white
and passionate purple.
Like primadonnas
they take all the glory,
shaking their proud
Spanish Dancers’ skirts
in disgust,
the shop-bought


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