Imaginary places


~ because it’s the time of the year (on this side of the world) when the city slows down and the streets go hazy and summer calls everyone elsewhere…

~ because it’s the time of the year (on the other side of the world) when winter starts speaking of loneliness and longing and you dream of being someone somewhere else…

* This postcard is part of my ‘imaginary places’ series: the places one wants to go that exist only in the region of the heart’s imaginings – boa viagem/ voorspoedige reis! ~ deidre m.


Untranslatable #1


{Living in Portugal, I’ve often found myself in (Portuguese) conversations where at some point something or other (an expression, a joke) would be described as “untranslatable”.  The speaker would look at me apologetically, but also in a slightly gratified way, and shrug: “Sorry, this is untranslatable.”  At first I felt bewildered at my sudden, almost accidental exclusion.  But I’ve come to accept the untranslatable, to ponder and marvel over my own “untranslatable” experiences t/here, and to explore their naming and the inexorable openings in interpretation…}


Where I’m calling from (still)

I’ve been living in Porto for eight years, and yet I only recently heard of the garden where old fountains go to retire.  I promised myself that I would go there (it is in my “new” neighbourhood) as soon as the rain let up.  It rained for a long time this year.  Today the sky was fresh linen hung to dry, and so I went to Jardim de Nova Sintra, and discovered…


amidst moss and eucalyptus trees


the sound of birds, the wind and a passing train


fountains that have no need for wishes

avemariathey have been around for a long time


they have always been




Portuguese discoveries



dreams are unlikely maps

graffiti (on) art

graffiti (on) art

lately at night

i’ve been dreaming

of waking up

in a different city

of here and there inverted

of de-tours and re-turns

on these rambling sojourns

i stop not to ask for directions

instead i try

to spell out my name

to strangers


8 years

Today, it’s been eight years since I’ve moved from South Africa to Portugal.
I don’t quite know what to make of that number –

such a wobbly figure, and if it falls over, it’s an eternity.

(If made to stand again, it’s an empty hourglass.)

Two small globes, one on top of the other: my world here; my world there.
The O of surprise and the O of sighing that mark a migrant life.
A precarious balance, sliding mercurial balls holding each other in tension.
But holding each other, still.

And so I hold on too,

the ones I love on both sides,

the endless longing,

the story of two rings and two adventurous hearts

kept and woven into 8’s cross-armed embrace.