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Jozi

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

Copyright © | Year Posted 2018




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Date: 5/31/2020 5:23:00 AM
Lawrence, I am so glad you shared this, about our common country & its famed city JOZI. I wonder where these multitudes in jondolos/ slums were hidden before: "I think of the houses I run past, or of the squatter camps too painful to see." No doubt, so many of us miss the "cleanliness & order" we had under apartheid. Maybe democracy is messy, imperfect, but the best we have right now (Churchill said so??)
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Lawrence Sharp
Date: 5/31/2020 9:48:00 AM
Thanks for visit and comment, Anil. I can't say I miss anything from the Apartheid era, because it was a brutal, nasty business. What I do long for is that which might have been accomplished, but wasn't, after democracy was established.
Date: 11/18/2018 5:32:00 AM
Ouch, that run hurts. I did not know that your are living in Jozi. My wife and I are in the process of relocating from there to Spain. Kai
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Lawrence Sharp
Date: 11/19/2018 6:15:00 AM
Sounds like a major change, which is usually a good thing. Enjoy.
Date: 11/17/2018 9:53:00 AM
My dear friend, your verses cast a spell upon me as I read. They have such depth, insight and imagery as to compel the reader to read over again to try to absorb their beauty and their evidence of such great creativity and emotional depths . A fav..
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Lawrence Sharp
Date: 11/17/2018 2:15:00 PM
Thanks Robert, your encouragement is always very deeply appreciated.
Date: 11/15/2018 10:38:00 PM
Powerful poetry, Lawrence! It moves the spirit, and breathes w/vitality. Such an inspired write. Great poetry, my dear friend. Love and more love always.
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Lawrence Sharp
Date: 11/16/2018 7:18:00 AM
Thank you, RomWar, greatly appreciated, as always.
Date: 11/14/2018 11:48:00 AM
Life can be at torturous place of no reprieve. I believe only stamina of heart can take us far beyond this cruel place we call earth. You poetry brings a ache and a spark of hope all in one. Have a great day, thank you for sharing dear poet.
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Lawrence Sharp
Date: 11/14/2018 12:03:00 PM
Thank you so much Pix, very pleased that you enjoyed.
Date: 11/14/2018 5:58:00 AM
I see so much about humanity's struggle to stay on top of decay, both external, in the paradox of city life , and an inner battle against the crumbling modern world that tyrannizes us. To run is a means of staying fitter. Yet in a city that is falling down in areas, and provides no relief it seems virtually impossible to " get away from it all.." " My muscles burn, achingly free...for a moment I cannot be caught.." So often we exist, but do not truly live as we were meant to. Desperate write.
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Lawrence Sharp
Date: 11/14/2018 9:49:00 AM
Thanks for read and comment, AM; your perceptions are right on the money, our cities are brutish masters.
Date: 11/13/2018 2:03:00 PM
This poem feels really special, Lawrence..indicative of the ups and downs your country faced I assume. You tackled a difficult theme extremely well..enjoyed reading your poem.
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Lawrence Sharp
Date: 11/14/2018 9:45:00 AM
Thanks, Vijay, I'm glad you enjoyed; I suppose any large city has very similar conflict and turmoil, but yes, a lot about the conflicts and turmoil experienced in my own homeland and adopted hometown.
Date: 11/13/2018 10:30:00 AM
What a fine poetic metaphor apparently of Johannesburg's journey!
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Lawrence Sharp
Date: 11/14/2018 9:41:00 AM
Thanks, SW, glad you like it. Yes, Johannesburg, like most large cities, something I can't outrun.