Fear Of Flight

When was the last time you felt
a visceral shudder through your chest,
much like the one you got
when you realised
the worst thing you’ve ever realised?

It starts on the left
and spreads to the nether regions like contagion
Then grips, then squeezes, then arrests
It steals the peace from your mind,
before it recoils lightly

-like a man jokingly pinching meat
from his wife’s simmering pot,
before she swats his hand away.
And they laugh like old friends.

That’s what it does,
that fear of flight,
the fear of death.
Descends on an unsuspecting January night,
then goes away just as quickly,
Driven off by the same old defense mechanism,
“I don’t have to think about this now.”

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Copyright © 2021 Tebogo Ndlovu

Letter To A Long Lost Friend

Time: 23.57hrs, 10 August 2020

Late Letter To A Long Lost Friend (As Posted On A Chat Online)

I’ll never say I miss you. Because you are the kind which remains in the heart so that I can never unmeet you, forget you or even miss you. The memory of your presence hangs too heavy around us all. I will say, however, that you always saw me in the best possible light. I will say that I miss how kind you were to the people around you and yet always gave yourself the best treatment of all. I will say I realise I didn’t have much faith in humanity, until I met you. I didn’t see much good in myself and that reflected in the people who were drawn to me. But you came into my life and showed me that the world could be beautiful if I gave myself a chance to show it my own beauty.

I thought about you this morning, looked you up on the “Interweb” – as you used to call it. Farewells and teary messages greeted me instead of happy pictures of you on holiday somewhere in Namibia. I was a week too late. The best ones are the first to go and my timing proves – as usual – off by a few.

Goodbye, friend. Thank you for teaching me how to be a rebel with a cause. I was lucky to have your guidance. Even if you had never done anything for me, I would still have been lucky to simply exist in your presence even for that little while. I hope you knew how much I appreciated you – even if we were no longer in touch (high school makes you feel like nothing will ever end, then once endings start to happen they do so definitely) – and that you learned something from me as well.

Rest in peace in the shadow of your crazy legacy.



Time: 14.17hrs, 11 August 2020

Response From A Long Lost Friend,

I saw your letter. Meet me in Windhoek at the hideout near our favourite spot on 31 December at noon. [Redacted] And of course, this is the biggest secret you’ll ever keep. You know what not to do. [Redacted]

Your Long Lost Friend,


NB: Names of places and linguistic ‘mannerisms’ have been changed to maintain privacy.


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Copyright © 2011 – 2020 Tebogo Ndlovu

Life Inanimate

The life of a sheet so white it’s blue
Is but a human generation times two
Begins with weaving at the loom
After harvest and puring full
Then the nurturing begins anew
Blood-drenched like tomato puree on snow
When excruciating pangs strike, new life emerging aglow
Greeting visitors travelled from far, near, unknown
to see the brand new prince here only days ago
Soaking up the sweat when another one is made
‘mongst eager hunger throes and creaking-bed woes

Listening to moans of lust, pleasure, compromise
Hearing cries on sleepless nights,
broken hearts, dying dreams.
Begging for mercy as essence takes leave of
dilapidated skeletons, flesh hanging free,
heart murmuring in a collapsing cage
The hope, the loss, the chaos, the beginning again
From one being to the next, over and over
Until threads grow apart, and fingers poke
through fiber, memories, laughter,
forever, almost, once upon a time.


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Copyright © 2011 – 2020 Tebogo Ndlovu