On his maintenance round for SHOE SHOP, Johannes found this Mighty Cockroach. Using only three of his six legs, it had pulled one of Emmanuel Daou's photograph's half off the wall at the base of the Hillbrow Tower.


Just a block away, the same cockroach was seen relieving himself on the wall at Cambridge Food, before it sauntered off with one of Jodi Bieber's images.


Abandoned on the floor, Johannes noticed that some fair damsel had, perhaps in haste, left her slippers behind. This preoccupied him.


Returning the next day to see if he could find the feet that would fit those shoes, for they too had sauntered somewhat through his dreams, Johannes found this. Apparently the very same cockroach had a cousin, with his own posters and a sound system to go with his buy this new thing fandango, and he had stuck his own posters right over Jodi's images to advertise a new Mighty Cockroach Potion.


Distressed at his own powerlessness in the face of the city's ebb and flow, and gutted too to find no damsel, he took those very same shoes and used them as weapons to fight, singlehandedly, with the great beast. It was a dirty fight until it ended with a satisfying splat.


Later, after checking his most favourite Thabiso Sekgala's work at the bus stop opposite Woolies in Parktown North, Johannes made sure the little creep's infestation of friends would never be able to find him. When he reported in I gave him this short poem by Ann Sexton because it was her, perhaps, that left the slippers.




Roach, foulest of creatures,

who attacks with yellow teeth

and an army of cousins big as shoes,

you are lumps of coal that are mechanized

and when I turn on the light you scuttle

into the corners and there is this hiss upon the land.

Yet I know you are only the common angel

turned into, by way of enchantment, the ugliest.

Your uncle was made into an apple.

Your aunt was made into a Siamese cat,

all the rest were made into butterflies

but because you lied to God outrightly-

told him that all things on earth were in order-

He turned his wrath upon you and said,

I will make you the most loathsome,

I will make you into God's lie,

and never will a little girl fondle you

or hold your dark wings cupped in her palm.


But that was not true. Once in New Orleans

with a group of students a roach fled across

the floor and I shrieked and she picked it up

in her hands and held it from my fear for one hour.

And held it like a diamond ring that should not escape.

These days even the devil is getting overturned

and held up to the light like a glass of water.

Last modified on Thursday, 17 May 2012 11:56