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Ballade of the entrepreneur


On the way to the office
Jacaranda trees are flowering,
here and there some people stop me

asking for a cigarette,
some want a Rand or two
and the day is very bright after the night of pleasure.

There are smoke fumes curling into the air at Iscor,
a train passes groaning on the track,
while machines are whining unendingly.

The girl at reception smiles at me
and bend over so that I see her well-proportioned breasts
before she blushes,

men with white helmets and white coats
rush into my office
and quickly I give attention to figures and sketches

until everything around us suddenly goes silent,
a thunderous bang whips somewhere in the factory
and somebody screams hysterical

and I run quickly
to where smoke clouds are rising,
where people in confusion are talking.


A worker has been killed, has been shocked dead
by a machine of which I had drawn up the plans
and other employees are seperated from him.

Fear cuts right through me
that a medical doctor will have to come
and that I will have to avoid him.

Immediately I make corrections to the machine,
that nobody can lay a finger on me,
before he gets attention and I am calmer

and to his wife I will say that he was stupid,
had gone against guidelines,
did not want to fit into the company’s plans.

The employees are astounded from shock
where they are standing talking
but work on, separated from each other

while ambulance men take the body away
and the doctor and I have a conversation
about negligence and he does not raise any more questions.

That afternoon I drown my worries
at the local pub
and feel weak and tired.


The days rush past
while the factory is running well
but in the evenings the killed employee haunts me

until I cannot take it anymore
hear voices, see faces and cut my own wrists
and see blood splashing in all directions.

Where I come to my sense in a mental institution,
people with white jackets gather around me
with their faces hidden behind masks

and other patients are separated from me
where I am tied down to a bed,
before a doctor pushes a lever and I am shocked by electricity

and fear now goes right through me
when some more medical personnel and doctors appear
and I want to avoid them

but get some more electric shocks
and yesterday, the day before that and the other day all evaporate
and I am free of all my worries

and my soul is stripped away,
I scarcely know who and what I am,
when somebody tries to talk to me.

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