a poem by Conrad Kruger van den Bergh, South Africa - poetry writer, author, poet

Mazzy, my neighbour from across the hallway,
found herself a new job.
She just started this week,
three minutes’ walk down the street
at the local video and DVD rental shop.

It was better than working at the supermarket
which was far away,
where she had to take a bus
and travel about forty minutes
to sit from seven thirty to five,
behind a cash register
and then travel forty minutes back home again.

Now she worked from eleven in the morning
until seven in the evening.

The wage was the same,
paid fortnightly;
and the job was more or less the same too;
she worked the cash register,
did the shelves,
with a bit of admin work on the side,
and now she could cut out on the bus fares.

She got an hour break,
from three to four in the afternoon,
which meant she could walk back home,
take a rest
and be back at the store in good time,
and most of all,

she got to take a DVD back home every night
for free.

Mazzy doesn’t like Hollywood movies.
She never did.
She finds them all to be more or less the same,
with a few formulas being circulated over and over again:
same actors, over and over again;
same plots and story lines, over and over again;
same digital effects, same filming locations, same genres,
over and over again;
the same vampires, monsters, zombies, action and war heroes, comedians, jokers, villains and baddies, desperados and rogues, cops and robbers, catch lines, clichés and phrases, love stories, sex scenes, relationship problems, love triangles, moral issues, political dilemmas, warped history, guns and swords, evil empires, space stories, superheroes and antiheroes, pirates and airplanes, et cetera, et cetera…
…over and over again.
I couldn’t agree with her more…

She's into movies from all other places;
South Africa, Japan, Bollywood, South Korea, France,
and especially the ones which come in from United Kingdom.
It wasn’t only because her folks immigrated to South Africa
during the 1960’s and that she was essentially from good British stock,
and felt some sort of affinity with the United Kingdom,
but because the plots and story lines were more imaginative
and on the whole, just quite different than the Hollywood stuff.

She was fond of actor Ray Winstone.
She liked the way he talked,
the way he slapped people around,
and the way he killed people.

So this evening, when I went over to her place,
I found her there in front of the TV,
with the DVD machine balancing on top of it,
her fingers turning a lock of hair above her ear,
watching Ray Winstone sitting in a speeding car
dodging through caravans and trailers;
bullets, car parts and panels,
flying all over place.

“What are you watching?” I asked her.
“The Sweeny…” she said.
“It’s ‘Sweeny’…”

“What’s it about?” I asked again.
“It’s about this policeman and bank robbers…”

Despite all the idiot boyfriends,
bad days,
horrible diet,
little money,
streaks of depression,
too much cigarettes and alcohol,
I watched Mazzy
sitting there in front of the TV;
her fingers turning slowly through her hair;
with a gentle smile;
for the very first time
in months….

…watching Ray Winstone wrecking cars in a caravan park and shooting up people.

Conrad Kruger van den Bergh (2015, Copyright)

All about Mazzy

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