Thursday, May 20, 2010

Word Woman

If all you could know of me was this
Written down
A woman of word
Then so be it
As only paper and time can speak it
As truth
And knowledge
As a book
Wide open
A spine
Skin white like alabaster
Constructed of invisible flesh
Words like sinew and vein tied to you
Impossible flesh
Transcribed on skin
In ink
Then so be it
A woman of word
A woman in paper and ink
A woman she shall be
Eyes brown
A scar on her right knee
The curve of her breast like a comma
Her nipple a full stop
Further still it will be written in bone
In pen
Fingertips searching the key pad of your light
Further down
Excavating sentences
Constructed in heat and moisture
Beating out their rhythm
Not unlike a heart
Not unlike a pulse
Then so be it
If all you are to know of me
Are words
And I am born of those words
Of their silken syllables
Their sex
Their longing
Words sprung forth
Deep wellsprings of desire
That fold into me
That fly from me
Like origami birds
Into the flame of your poetry
Then so be it
If this is all I can be
A word woman
A construction of a woman
A paper leaf on your burning tree

Confessions of a self-proclaimed Suicidal Nihilist (Note to Nietzsche)

I have died a thousand times already
You will have lost me a hundred more
Before you even wake up.

A small suicide lives on the edge of my right side brain
He wears a red velvet jacket and pink ballet slippers
He has no teeth
His tongue stretches till Tuesday
He juggles razor blades.

Some people plan Birthday parties and weddings
I plan the number of pills I need to not wake up.

You’re either in or you’re out
Half-lives are a waste of space.

There is performance in Death

We live on borrowed time that we never pay back.

There is nothing to mourn here
So wish me well and have a drink.

I want it to be quick and clean
I want them to think I fell into a deep sleep
There is no dignity
In having someone else wipe your brains off the carpet.

I have accepted my mortality –
It just hasn’t accepted me.

It was a comedy –
That no one found particularly funny.

At least I feel something –
It may not be what you want me to feel but at least I’m not numb.
At least I am present wading through it like some swamp thing
Lying to myself that it will get better.

The saddest people I have ever known
Are the ones laughing the loudest,
The life and soul of the party
Telling jokes, smiling
As if to convince themselves they aren’t already dead.

I want you to know this is for the best
I want you to know that you can’t kill someone who is already dead.

You offer to help me find salvation in a pill.

Not even Nietzsche could make me feel better

I imagine there is nothing after this
I imagine infinite silence
I guess that in itself would be something tolerable.

I don’t want to wake up every day feeling like something is missing
I’m tired of searching to find nothing
I have forgotten what it is to be happy
I think it must have all been some silly dream.

Holocaust victims are climbing through my walls
I hear their bones rattling
They stare at me through the pavement cracks
They say ‘What the fuck are you still doing here?’

The caller you have dialed is unavailable. Please try again later.

I dreamt I was walking on water – I could see the fish swimming beneath me – I could see the sun on the horizon. I felt like Jesus – ignored and irrelevant.

Stop making martyrs of yourselves – believe me there is no fucking point.

I don’t remember myself the way you do.

I wanted to be an original but someone beat me to it.

Keep your beliefs. I have no use for them.
I’d sooner choke on my own vomit than humour you.

The only truth is to be found in a lie.

There is performance in life
But I can’t act for shit.

You’re as unique as they’ll let you be

And what of the dead?

I have given it some thought.
There is no purpose to this poem.

Take it from me – I don’t believe a word I said



Growing up white
in stark contrast
Feeling my privilege like a tumor on my heart
Coming to know you
Like I never knew you
As if I had watched the lie of my childhood
In the old bioscope
With 3D glasses on
Through the lens of a telescope searching for stars
Through my mother’s lace curtains
From beneath those starched white sheets
Swaddled on the back of black
Like so many white children
Orphans to those women who raised them
Who left the townships
And cleaned our homes
Polishing the silver
Washing the clothes
Eating off enamel plates on the back stoep
In pretty pastel uniforms
Doeks on their heads
*Dom pas in their bra’s
While we sat happy
In our safe white city
And on the news* Die Groot Krokodil
Waved his finger like a tyrant
And everyone knew
That this was just survival
Best get them before they get you
If it wasn’t* Die Swart gevaar
It was the red one
Communists on the periphery
Every black man a *‘skelm’
Waiting to murder you in your warm bed
Waiting to rape your daughters
Waiting to steal from you
My Cuntry
My home
Torn from you
My whiteness like blight
Like an ulcer
This shameful skin
Scrubbed red
Surely bone will not betray me?
And still you find a way to hold me
In your broken arms
In your vast cradle
When others say you are not of this place
Go back to where you come from
*‘wit ou’
You have no volk
You have no clan
You have no right

*Dumb pass – the identity document carried by black people during apartheid
*Die Groot Krokodil – The great Crocodile – Nickname for South African Apartheid president PW Botha
*Die Swart Gevaar – The Black Threat
*skelm – Afrikaans slang word for Villain, criminal.
*wit ou – white person (Afrikaans slang)


On the day I was born
Umkhonto we Sizwe
Blew up New Canada railway line in Soweto
‘The year of the Spear’
I was dumb before a single word had passed my lips
I was unconscious
A cup for your complication
A womb for your legacy


To quarrel with the one you love
Is to cross a boundary
The words despite their potency are irrelevant
There is only subtext

It is to push a boulder across an imagined line
It asks a question
Not because it does not know the answer
But because it wants its truth to be confirmed

In these moments
We dispense of our ammunition
We reach down into a base instinct
Love becomes a word for war

We will strike for the tender place
We will find the Achilles heel
We are so close
We have no choice but to invite distance
Distance will preserve us
Retreat to protect

I quarreled with my lover this morning
I felt his heart in my hand
And I squeezed it tight
In the absence of touch
I reached into him
Found a vein to inject the poison
Crossed the border
Declared myself at my best
The very worst

I can’t help but think that in that moment
Through the salt of my tears
That it was not to be unkind or cause harm
It was to be heard and be seen
And to say
Will you love me nevertheless?


True to myself
The dog dances circles in pursuit of its tale
And the bride on your wedding cake ran away
This won’t be the end of it
Far from the point of no return
The prodigal son
Waits for the siren
To sing him off the rocks
3.43 am I sound the alarm of my own oblivion
Beyond the shipwreck of sheets
Tuesday is a symphony for a deaf man
And you have limpets for feet
It’s not that I don’t love you
Lesser men have died from such shrapnel
It’s just that in the loving
I lost a piece of myself
A part I liked and I want it back
We could have been great
Had the world not been such a bitch
You say it like you mean it
As you turn to go
And I can’t call your bluff
Because you aren’t bluffing
I’ve tired of salt and sweat
Days in the sun
For the pearl in your oyster
This game wears itself like a scarf
Easy come easy go
You say
Your heart
Locked like a tomb
And your eyes on backwards
I preferred it that way
The game and the glory
The heart quickening
Pulse racing
Promise of you
Without hope of definition
Worthy of poems
And Tulips
You’d say
Worthy of sweeping statements
And freshly ironed shirts
I have forgotten how to colour in the lines
Lipstick oozes out of the crease of my mouth
I bleed out
Lack depth
Float like seaweed
On the scar of your surface
We must be heading for some sort of grace
A crack in the skylight
A drop in the ocean
We must be
Raked smooth
Like Zen gardens
Feed off our own irony
Perish like plums
At nuances we fail to grasp
At innuendo at its best
At words that live their lives unformed
In mute mouths
In their Sunday best
So it shall be said
Before the disaster
Knocks the wind
Your sails.

(he)Art Work

You are a work of he(art)
Twice today
I have lost myself to space
The gaping wounds of valleys
The hematite hills
That breathe their dust upon me
And felt
That had you been here
I could have held you within me
Beyond blue
Beyond cloud
Further still
My kiss unstuck
Searches the steady incline of your mouth
Nestling like a swallow
Sipping at your stem
Reaching further still
The horizon pulls the sun from slumber
And wakes the fields with soft caresses
How easily the landscape learns your name
How tirelessly it searches you out
Beyond fields of corn
Beyond the rushing river
Beyond the moist cool forest
This deliciously dipped desire
That knows only the unknowing
The undoing
The undone.

Mind's Eye

I find myself
In this interior
Laced with forgotten roses
Come full bloom
And archived
Books of childhood
Left open
To time and its mistresses
Calls for blood to make it sing
And familiar footsteps
Tread the boards of attachment
Light of foot
Fair of face
Here the bones bleached white rattle like wind chimes
And skin
Undone by nerve
Replenishes itself
With light elixir
And the promise of touch
A beacon on the horizon
Tissue and sinew absolved
Tear from muscle
And swim the current of desire
Beyond all reason
Impulses like demi gods
Throng through veins
To finger tips
That know only
Cerebral longing
Pupils dilated in fractured light
Spin resin and colour
Like Ferris wheels
And the tongue fallen mute
Sips the air
Like a serpent
Seeking knowledge beyond its shortcoming
Seeking out
An ally
In this reality
This border town
Of perception and plenty
That lives for logic
That ejaculates idealism
That spouts morals like a leaking tap
That swims in its own filth
But the mind holds court
In its viscous chamber
Where time floats
And thought swims
The latch

Shards of broken glass
7 years bad luck
Your face running back to me
Through a maze
Of mind fucks
And burnt out promises
Spaces so dark
The light is afraid to travel
Buried so deep
The archeologist gave up
Fossil relics of old lovers
Dance with skeleton keys
Around necks that jiggle
Like sagging breasts
And unbirthed children
Laugh in silence
At repentant kisses
On a dead man’s cheek
Still cut up, shut up
Still the path of least resistance
We spit in fury
At the devastating decay beyond us
That rots
Turning further in on itself
Some scavenging rabid mole
Infecting the ground and all who walk on it
Swallowing summer swallows

In its aching glory
Stands at the gate
She is a wretched thing
With her heart on backwards
She plays a violin made from your ribcage
The bow grates against it
Air gasping for a lack of lung
Her stopwatch has run out of time
Her hair white down the length of her back
She has become fluid
She has become a tadpole
She swims like sperm up the creek of our desire
Burying her face and fortune
Like pirate treasure in the sand

We hover above the cloudscape
Time zones
60 minutes ahead and behind
My autumn calls to your spring
These divergent seasons
Yearn for some kind of belonging
Phototrophic plants turn their faces to the sun
Their cheeks burnt black
Their eyes like embers
I have known you a thousand years
I recognize your face
Transitioning across our transition

My hands are cold
I threw my gloves in the river
You watch me from your perch
A majestic hawk on the horizon
We are travelling beyond distance
We are unraveling like thread
We have become the paths we hoped to take
Laced with bread crumbs and love letters
We grow into this becuming
Lovers made loved
We are walking towards the coalface
We are feeding the flames
We are tilting towards something greater than our collective understanding
I have abandoned my fears
I have unhooked the clasps of chastity
I am opening like a flower
I am a summer orchid
Heady with perfume
Stamen ready
Ripe fruition
There is no sting in this tale