The Bench


On the park bench I sit and watch the lovers stroll hand in hand.

The Hadedas sit on the lawns and squeal as though

Caesar’s been stabbed all over again.

I came here for silence.

I came to listen to the whisper of the grass blades and

To see the birds waltz mid-air in the skirts of the trees.


Someone has left a piece of the half eaten sandwich that Florence

Prepared with such dedication and pride but forgot to trim off the crust.

The Egyptian Geese don’t seem to care as they rugby tackle each other for it,

Making the ants that are feasting on it hold on for dear existence.

Behind me in the swampy reservoir I am sure I see a family of cane rats

That look as though they have stepped out of “Wind in the Willows”.


My face must tell a story as every stroller seems to study it closely

As they walk past.

Some smile at me and some look away as though I am about to ask

For some loose change from their pockets.

In the distance I hear giggles from school girls looking through some notebooks.


At 5 O’clock sharp, Nomsa and the three Scottish Terriers

Zoom right past me all panting as if trying to invent storm winds.

She is in her 80’s and her maids’ uniform could easily bind her three times over.

I feel like asking her to take my place on the bench so I can run with the dogs.

My voice remains caged in my throat.

I watch her pick up dog shit in a clear plastic back when “Skittie” lays a

 Steamy, brown one on the lawn.

Then a mosquito stabs me on my ankle.

I have overstayed my welcome.

I pick up my plastic bags and cardboard and loose change from corner

Main and  Chester Street to find my place near the bridge

At the railway line.

What a day I have had.

Ah, the life in a suburban park!

Quieter than a jungle but certainly not tame.


Frank Malaba © 2013


Published by: Frank Malaba

Frank Malaba is an actor, playwright and a published poet. He was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and currently resides in Cape Town, South Africa. He has performed on stage and television in both countries. He has a passion for using poetry, storytelling and theatre as a method of healing for both himself and others. His poetry has been presented both at home and abroad. Frank is currently developing a two-man play entitled “Broken Pathways” which will be touring internationally. In 2014 Frank was recognised by Mail & Guardian's 200 Young South Africans as an Achiever in the category of Arts & Culture.

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