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I run uphill for some way,
mostly on an easy pavement,
and partially on a jarring dirt track,
I resentfully enjoy a route
against which I am free to struggle.
The path gradually starts to flatten out,
I breathe heavily with relief,
strain not regretted.
I think of the houses I run past,
or of the squatter camps
too painful to see.
I think of the towering slum,
once a magnificent tyrant,
now usurped and left for dead
by a tyrant of the restless new world
not twenty miles to the north.
I reach the halfway point and turn.
I run downhill, back the way I came,
my legs work with a lesser rebellion,
the morning becomes brighter
and the evening less spiteful.
I enter the last straight line,
more or less flat
for a couple of hundred yards,
I stretch my legs and open my stride,
my muscles burn, achingly free,
for a moment I cannot be caught.
Still, running into the morning
and away from the night,
my ankles remain idiotically shackled
and for some reason I cannot outrun
Johannesburg's hard earned pain.
13th November 2018
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