Not the dentist’s
is my response
to the question asked
out SASSA-Athlone way

Not as bad as
Not as bad-assed
as your proverbial
dentist up your street

out SASSA-Athlone way
where there is a go slow
on the go though some might
remark who’d have guessed

(what with the oxymoron
of public servants and
public service and the
nightmare of Home Affairs)

Not the dentist’s
I say to the SASSA agent
(she who calls me uncle)
as we chit-chat away
quite pleasantly

she not your usual
officious official
petty and bureaucratic
that one comes to dread
and wish upon others

into poetry she is
I am enchanted to hear
(might it be an escape
from the daily grind)

and I make a note
to tell Athlone-local bard
Doctor James Matthews
he who is now listed
in the A-Z of African Writers

Not the dentist’s
though we do queue
in the winter-dark

I amuse myself, out SASSA Athlone way, the stretched morning of 25 July 2018.

Standing in the dark

Standing in the dark
soft targets we are
we grey-heads who
have made it to

the winter-dark it is
thankfully no rain
(our dams can wait
for those non-SASSA hours)

waiting in line
(toeing the line)
we know our place
in the food chain
of South African life

(this in the glaring absence
of role models we do
the I-me-mine me-first
in the feeding queue
in freedom’s name)

Standing in the dark
(are we waiting in vain)
waiting for The Man
for a hand-out
or a hand-me-down

equality on paper
enshrined in our constitution
(Batho Pele People First)

equal on paper
we all are though
some are more

Standing in the dark
(do politicians queue)
our old people are
our libraries we are told
founts of wisdom

Is this our New Dawn

Not yet Uhuru it is

An early morning, outside of the SASSA Athlone office, 25 July 2018.

(I) go slow(ly)

I go slow(ly)
slower even
by the time
I am first in line

(due not to age
but to the stretch
I have sat (and sat)
(this without stretching)

A go slow we hear
is on the go
(though some might
reckon they can’t see)

(the oxymoron
of public servants
have been at it)

So here I am
as never seen before
applying for a state pension
down Athlone-SASSA way

at the crack of dawn
we wrinklies queue outside
(is that not elder abuse)
and then sit and while away
our non-productive hours

There are all sorts here
know-it-alls and clever-dicks
town and court jesters too

perchance it is a devious plot
to get different folks to associate
with each other as they queue

(standing or sitting
subliminally unintentionally
as we lament about queues
to a white-haired companion)

go slow(ly)
might be a metaphor
for the state we’re in

A not-too-disagreeable morn spent at the SASSA Athlone office, 25 July 2018.