And she wrote and she wrote and she wrote
Having just finished exams, I once again have a batch of short poetry and even shorter prose fragments, which arose mostly during long and tedious study sessions in the library or at my desk in digs. Most of it deals with my inner world, sometimes moving to the rhythm of external influences such as the Romantic poetry I was studying, or the American Modernist dancers I read about. It is mostly raw, completely unedited, and each took no longer than 10 minutes to write. Every exam period (every six months since I was in Grade 8, 2003) I not only compile my poetry, but I also like to look back and see what I was thinking 6 months before.
So here is “First-name basis” dated 2 November 2008:
I will write your name all over this place
I will coat the tables with your initials
And my pages will have you as footnotes.
I will write in capitals, “I Love You”
And in illegible cursive your surname
So that no one will ever be sure
Who I wrote it for.
I will pull off the dictionaries from their shelves
Flip to the right page
And engrave your name
In blue ink
With my definition of you.
Only to tear that page out and regret,
For if there’s one thing I like about you,
It’s your impossibility to be defined.
I will wage war against grammar,
Placing illegal first person possessive pronouns
In front of your name,
Just to have poetic license
To call you mine.
I will hide this poem among piles of scrap paper,
Or in between library books,
with the childish hope that should you ever find it,
You would know at once
And here is my June Poetry & Prose for 2009:
31 May 2009
I decided to turn off my music, to listen to the natural sounds of night-time; wild winds and shaking trees. And just as I withheld my breath to listen, my housemate’s voice bellowed through the cold, old house, as he imitated the cry of a seal.
06 June 2009
Into the same pattern
I think I can almost number the stages now
Maybe, even count the shakes that precede the twitches
And the days before I make a move.
Now, is the time in which I hold my breath.
In my own hands
And say nothing
But brutal, incoherent s c r e a m s.
(I wrote this with a tune in it, something Regina Spektor would sing, maybe)
Like a noodle with the grooves in it
And no pasta sauce to fill it with.
Hi babe how are you?
Well, I stopped in the middle of the road for you
And got hit by a blue Tazz in my side
Cos I was thinking of you…
I got a free ride to the hospital unit
They said, sorry lady we gonna have to cut it…
So I’m great, I’m fine, I’m dandy, I’m dying
‘Cause I was thinking of you
Yeh, you filled my grooves, innit?
“If all else fails, at least You will be there to watch over me.”
I think I was afraid of being alone, then, I think the thought of being inexorably – I like that word, “inexorably” – alone… It gave me the chills. The thought of my parents dying, of not having a boyfriend, of being hours and hours away from my best friends… Of seeing the sun set and rise and turn red and pink and gold – all without a person to say this to – it scared me to paralysis. What kept me from falling over the edge was the thought that GOD would always be there. He had always been there, he had held me back by the neck of my shirt, stopped many leaps before.
(inspired by hours spent studying Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner)
We set out to sea that morning. Seven a.m., the sun was just rising. Little did we know that the next time we would see a planet or a star, we would be mere metres from them. Little did we think, as we stepped onto that fated deck, that we would come home broken, stunned, star struck…
In the presence of actors,
ARTISTES EN GÉNÉRAL:
I tend to lean in
When they speak
I watch the muscles in their necks tense
I watch the lines under their eyes when
The magic happens
That rhythm steals in
I could stand up backstage and applaud you even now
Just because your rhythm was worth dancing to.
You take it from the top once more with feeling –
That look in your eyes gets me every time.
A presence on this stage and in my mind.
(Finally, a good day)
There’s something magical about this
Duncan, Fuller, Shaw and Sophiatown.
The bare feet
The props list
I don’t think I could feel any stronger
If I was high.
Call it heresy-
But I feel like a fervent believer,
Rediscovering the ancient Scriptures.
Duncan, Fuller, Shaw and Sophiatown.
Take me, take me, take me.
T h i s is what I want,
T h i s is the world I choose.
In fear, and in hope,
I want this.
You did it again, sun.
It was a foggy grey dawn
But you pushed through
And now a soft blue sky hangs,
And you ray on.
You’ve seen these buildings fade and crumble
The plaster peeling, the students grumble,
You’ve watched men hacked to pieces
And you’ve sent rays of light to their sordid graves.
You’ve reflected light off windows in a hospital room
Where a mother cradled her new gift
And another held her empty self, bereft.
You’ve seen me arrive and you’ll watch my life set.
And you’ll keep rising and falling without effort,
Watching men hacked to pieces,
Hacking the earth you carefully warm
Hacking the faces you stroke with light
Hacking at the light you bring, turning away
Burying their heads in the ground
Where they cannot see you
Where you cannot reach them
And then, you will carry on.