Sunday, 10 February 2013

Poem: the influence of Whitney Houston

The late Whitney Houston, who died on 11 February 2012, has gone down in the record books as the most-awarded female artist of all time. This poem refers to her incredible talent and highlights her role in popular culture. It further alludes to the impact of popular culture in under-resourced communities, inner cities and popular neighbourhoods. Voice is taken from my book Connexions, released in 2012.


voice sinewy, voice bird-skin tough
voice that journeys
& turns
& pirouettes
on boardwalks

in the lane, between the flats
in the location
or in the flattest Cape
present, in the thirteen-year-old
that sings herself beyond her limits
beyond uneven fences
beyond the wasteland

whitney, roaming the land
one foot in a hotel bath
another on a stage
a smile, breaking through the make-up
another day
best-friend real

voice elongates
as it wanders
the cosmos fields
down lanes
over streams
between the homesteads
voice that burns the fields, orange flames

in the gorges
between high buildings
at the all-night shop
at the troyeville garage
by the alex hairdresser

& the internet shop with its old computers
beyond the bars
beyond the soullessness

in nights of elegance
voice canters on, covers ground

whirls & wheels
dips back
to caress
the grubby streets

Frank Meintjies