Monday, October 20, 2008

the human state of lonely

emily dickinson's voluntary term of prolonged loneliness not only led to notable creative expression but also influenced the subject matter of her poems.

however, many of us are not lonely by choice.

a very human state, and a conscious one at that, it may seclude and isolate one from contact with other people. so you see, a very human state though it may be, it is the very device of separating one's soul from connection with the rest of the world.

unbearable. profound level. there's a difference between prolonged solitude for spiritual clarification and an unholy manifestation of emptiness and grief. yes, grief, because one grieves this severance of connection between minds and souls.

frequently occurs in populated cities. we feel cut off, empty, alone; and though crowds of faceless figures pass us in the street each day they remind us of our apparent misanthropy, an ailment from which we all seem to suffer - perhaps not wittingly.

i know that my heart moves in my chest, because i heard its persistent beating through a stethoscope. is that not enough proof? she recoils at physical touch, except for a surgeon's hands, keeps her distance, this mistrusting one. physiological symptoms: chest pain, nausea, sweats and overactivity of sympathetic nervous system.

existentially, loneliness is the essence of being human - part of the human condition. we are birthed, alone, and in the final hours we die alone. it is the puzzle of being contained within a body, a soul seen through veined eyes, an imagination enclosed (and perhaps restrained) by bone and skull.
she feels disengaged, no longer part of a perpetual universe...clinical loneliness? as a form of torture? solitary confinement, in a crowded room.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

scrabble (peaces)

pieces of world peace?

portrait of my mother

this is a portrait of my mother.

a roman nose, she says.

i just know that i didn't
inherit that particular feature of my mother's profile.

i find beauty in any old imperfection. after all, whose skin really is flawless, without a fold or wrinkle, blemish or disgrace? portrait photographs should expose these imperfections, without shame. in this way, the camera does not lie. never be afraid of your photograph. i believe we should all accept our portraits without complaint, as the lens sees fit.

mother of people, mother of earth, womb and seed and birth-giver, life-offerer; the carrier of the divine-formed bud, deliverer of humanity, she gives us safe passage into a foreign oxygen-rich place, oh, how could i forget, she ensures my first breath of air?

she is the bearer of unborn life, appointed woman, keeper of chastity.

the severance of the umbilical cord cuts their blood-bond, but her blood still runs in his veins (in his veins). from this moment she'd die for him.

she'd rather go hungry to save the child.

rather, she'd die to let him live.

mother, madonna, your grace is my fortitude.



mural painting project, harbour, hout bay - August 2008

give us a bit of blank wall, some thinners and a little prime and paint, and let us colour it for you. so that the children (god bless them) may find cheer and sustenance in our one good turn.

let them be reminded of their youth, as we were reminded of ours. me, in my old painting clothes with fingers and feelings alike, a paintbrush in one hand, my soul in the other.

remember that you can always paint on the walls, whenever you feel the need for knocking them down. it is better to paint together and forget your grey skies, yes, and paint your blue skies.

so, to conclude: this was my good turn; let there be many more to come.

warwick avenue

when i get to warwick avenue/ i'll tell you baby that we're through/ i'm leaving you for the last time baby/ you think you're loving but you don't love me/i've been confused outta my mind lately.

we could talk for an hour but no more than two.

i'm at the entrance of the tube. too late for talking baby. we could've talked a little more, but that was before i was late for this train.

when i get to warwick avenue, fall will be outside my window, october months are red and gold and burning orange. i'll be walking down the avenue, spread wide my arms and scarves in the wind, scatter leaves across the avenue. the past upon the avenue.

i didn't want the train to come/now it's departed, i'm broken-hearted/all the days spent together, when i wish for better/and i didn't want this train to come.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

the green objective

i think i'll be barefooted. no shoes today.
this is my pledge to environmental consciousness. although i said before that i never gave a damn about the weather, perhaps i should correct myself. i do not give a damn about conversational weather . however, when global warming is mentioned, i start to sweat. we're feeling the heat. this it may just be all our fault. sustainability? just use it all, take it all, exhaust me, exhaust our planet. burn, combust, pick at the earth; clear away ancient forests and drive away the birds. what happened to the responsibility God gave to Adam at the beginning of spiritual time? what happened to the beasts and the birds and the insects, and the names he gave them? the Garden of Eden is a wasteland.

oh carnivorous beings ! devestate the fields, oh! and your machines. Man, your greed is overwhelming the Earth. I'll swear that God is weeping. please, O LORD, weep rain upon these devestated lands. give us something to believe in, because it seems that our faith is lost. noise and disquiet, the rattle and snarl of our factories, fires of industry, computed destruction, plastic ambition...oh i don't believe any of it.

since it's sunny out there (after i drew the curtains to let in the light) i supposed i should do some gardening. the grass seems far too long and overgrown. the spiders have spun webs all winter. the wind has torn through my tousled garden and ravaged its last-spring splendour.

now, let's see.
i'll plant new seedlings and bring the birds back. they'd forgotton my garden,
yes, forgotton the time it was once in bloom.
i believe the birds will return, one day when my garden is again in bloom.

hmm crouching under the shade of my sugarbush, toiling the sleeping soil with my trough, not afraid, not afraid of getting a little dirty. i make friendly conversation with the small ladybirds and Christmas beetles (the ones that fly onto our bathroom window-sill around the festive months - come to think of it, they should be here soon), gently taming the feral places, pulling up the wicked weeds, once choking up the good ones (for want of space and sunlight for the young ones).

you know you're better than this

i don't believe any of it. I know you've been hiding. you're always posted at your station. waiting for the bombs, artillery, gunfire in your head. i'm the girl with the bomb. you're the boy with the grey eyes. you're selfish partialities. your stubborn tenacities. you make me mad, and loving is madness. is it too late to start? headstones, headlocks, you're still on about the day you should have won that fight. i thought i knew you better than this. turns out i didn't know you at all.

i have no intentions, just to throw a stranger an unexpected smile and carry on walking (without a care in the world) down the street and between traffic. just keeping in time.

"Distant flickerings, It's greener scenery,This weather's bringing it all back again.Great adventures,This isn't in condensation,I'm going outside to take it all in.Is it too late to start got your heart in a headlock,I don't believe any of it.Is it too late to start with your heart in a headlock,You know you're better than this.Wear a different pair,Just something out of stead,Throw a stranger an unexpected smile.With big intention, Still posted at your station,Always on about the day it should have flied.Is it too late to start got your heart in a headlock,I don't believe any of it.Is it too late to start with your heart in a headlock,You know you're better than this.(how can you lose?) Afraid to start, got your heart in a headlock, I don't believe any of it.Is it too late to start with your heart in a headlock,You know you're better than this.You've been walking,You've been hiding, And you look half dead half the time.Monitoring you, like machines do,You've still got it I'm just keeping an eye. You know you're better than thisCan't make a start, got your heart in a headlock,but I don't believe any of it.Is it too late to start, with your heart in a headlock,You know you're better than this.(how can you lose?) Afraid to start, got your heart in a headlock,I don't believe any of it.Is it too late to start, with your heart in a headlock,You know you're better than this. "

-Imogen Heap

i'm waiting on your signal

i'd let my guard down for you, nobody but you.

but when will you let me in? when will you lose the chase? i know it's one of those days. but could you just let me come in? i know there are walls, but have you got it in you?

i'll take your hands from your weary eyes and place them on my heart.

maybe you'll let me love you. there's no hurry. don't be afraid, i feel your fears, i feel your despair, though you try to hide. could you be anymore blue? guarded child, hurt child, damaged. i thought i was damaged, though now i see that i only carry my safety vest in hestitancy, in my doubt. but you, oh offended you, broken lover, take cover.

i'm waiting on you. i'll be waiting. just please don't refuse me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

dear lucy alice (stop).

lucy alice,

your news is like manna (from heaven)
here is my telegram in reply, and thank you for the stamps. my personal collection is growing.

winter here, too much rain, umbrellas everywhere. stop. is it warm there? is it sunshine there? stop. hope you are well. stop. we miss you every day, especially sophie-lee. she watches from the window every evening before bed. stop. lucy alice, heartbraked though you may have been when you left, do not lose your faith. stop.

so here's to you, lu. milk and honey.

regards and much love.

ana jane

never gave a damn about the weather/no it never gave a damn about me

i wonder, have you got it in you?
how well is your mind

no, i never cared much for the weather, or conversations thereof.
this is where my heart and my head are in a headlock.

i thought i knew her better than that, but it seems all she feels nowadays is bitterness and surreptitious anger.
angry-faced, angered heart . this is a restless anger, like something alive in my chest.

no i never gave a damn about the weather, because the weather never gave a damn about me.

turn me off, turn me on. my voice through a harmonizer/just synchronize me with sonic joy.

it just gets me right here, and then i don't quite know what to do. don't bother capitalizing. don't shower me with your prayers. don't try to call my phone, i've given up on late night persuasions. just leave me be and let me be, because it's one of those days. one of those days, and don't push me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

are you afraid of heights? just tell me everything you feel.

scene 1:

night-time, after eight, drunken laughter from dimly lit downtown saloon

she sees him on a friday outside some run down saloon. he is smoking a cigarette, leaning against wall thinking about someone who had left much too soon.

she said "hey boy, don't you cry tonight, let me take you out on this town. "
she wants to know, 'tell me everything, everything you feel,' and she takes his hand in the dark, in the dark, with all his fears.

scene 2:

up some stairs and they're on a rooftop above the city

she takes him to a rooftop.
"are you afraid of heights?"
the boy replies no i am not, so they dance on the roof, under a sky where only stars can witness this strange serendipity of a meeting. there is no music, but they do not need any. the moon hangs over Soho and she counts some sixteen stars. he points at the brightest one and says, 'now that one's ours.'

scene 3

a rainy Union Square, midnight, after some years have passed.

down in Union Square she sees him walking all alone. Skipping puddles she walks a little slower just so she remains unknown. he meets someone on 17th, and he knows her all too well. she watches as he takes her hand under the midnight clock and then they walk away.

she realizes she wouldnt see her boy after today.

the day she lost the fight

sand through her fingers, sand in her hair, seaspray on her face, sunset in the waves.

sunburnt shoulders, white crush, like i was born only yesterday. the sea, the same for tri-million years, yet changing all the time with each new tide and each waxing of the moon.

nothing unusual, nothing strange, just a little older that's all. saw a space ship/fly by your window. did you see it disappear?

holding hands in the surf, taking pictures without him knowing, jumping waves, toasting champagne: cheers to the sunset and all things golden before us. here's to the horizon, and here's to excellent weather, a hot long summer and a tempestuous romance.

you know when you've found it/there's something i've learned/cause you feel it when they take it away

and so out comes the panic light, holding on with fingers and feelings alike/ she wants to be like


and can you still love me when you can't see me anymore?


i am tired of excuses. i am tired of harsh words without time to think. right now, i'd rather be alone and fortunate, not among a crowd of faces without a name, feeling sinister and complicated and avoided. don't try to reason with me. it's me and my own reality, and you won't change it. let me see it how i want, even if i am wrong, or mad, or over the edge.

oh, but our graduation class!

dear graduation class of two-thousand-and-eight
years have passed us by since we first met/ i remember the younger days/ of sticks and stones and high school blues.
i have often wondered when i’ll see you again/ in decade or two/ perhaps after a world tour or two/ when shall we look back again/ and think of those years when we made it count.
thank you for the laughs, thank you for the tears, thank you for the clashing, thank you for the loving/ i’ll have to leave you all, but reluctantly/it’ll be grey but you must know/ i’ll keep two-thousand-and-eight near my heart/ near my heart wherever i go.

(now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
-e e cummings

la vida es una colección de recuerdos

One Wednesday afternoon in September I visited a seaside fishing village (named Kalk Bay by the locals) in Cape Town, South Africa. In search of memories, I might add. But where should one start when searching for a memory? A memory is intangible, transient yet strangely permanent, finding rebirth in a strangely familiar smell, touch, sight, or sound. It is as if a memory were an old forgotten object stowed high away on a dusty shelf, without existence until one day somebody remembers, and takes it down to have a closer look. I find memory to be a personal recollection of thoughts, thoughts that were once strewn apart like newspapers during the South-Easter, which then suddenly come together again and form rhyming words. Memories are things that look good in shop windows. Souvenirs of our past, memoirs and traditions and courtesies and curiosities and small children in 50s bathing suits, all tucked neatly away in a box marked ‘memories of old’ in black ink. Memory is only made by the passing of time, and so a watch, a broken watch-face, stilled in time, frozen in its very essence, is a memory in itself. A memory of a moment that will never happen again.

I made a fascinating discovery at the Kalk Bay Trading Post while hunting for age-old ‘souvenirs’ – that is, the memories of people who had lived, but are no longer known, yet their black and white prints, wedding photographs, military badges and greeting letters (stamped sufficiently) from holiday places somehow found their way into a penny box for strangers to delve through at a trading post (we buy and sell). It was a piece of sheet music for a song called ‘Among my Souvenirs,’ which reminded me of memories, so I bought it and took it home. Only later did I see that it had been signed by the original composer, Horatio Nicholls, 1927.

When I think of memories I am reminded of a son’s return home from war, alive and well, in uniform, and with his appropriate decorations and aviator shades. I think of the waving goodbye of a thousand passengers on the maiden voyage of a Liverpool ocean liner, bound for a journey across the Atlantic. I think of stamps, well-travelled all around the world to bring news safely to the envelope’s addressee. I think of sheet music, forgotten for decades, and found, like I found it, in a dusty box and suddenly the dust is shaken off and the music resurrected when the notes are played once again. I think of a still life, an arrangement of objects in a shop window, displayed like pieces of memory. Memory. It means that old book smell, the musty yellowing old pages of a grandfather’s Bible. Perhaps a postcard from a Briton beach holiday or family anecdotes from past generations. Perhaps memory begins in the most human of condition, in a mother’s womb at the beginning of life’s anatomy. A memory may be past eras, bioscope dates and dinner invitations, discos, railways and sepia tone loving. It may be seen in the eyes of a family portrait, or in burnt out cigarettes, letters from a soldier to his love, or in oily marks that appear on walls, where pleasure moments hung before, Tom Waits lyrics (‘note the rain washes memories from the sidewalks’?). I may have memories of cracking crème brulee with a teaspoon, of washing lines, film negatives, foreign language poetry and taking photographs in photobooths. I have memories of wreckage, of abundance, of abandonment, breaking down walls and remembering pleasure moments, because now I’m going to gather all the courage I have, knives and brushes and hands and eyes, and just paint paint paint !

dirty pretty things

why conversation dissapates over coffee meetings, and why i am afraid to trust, afraid to love, because love is not something even i can define.
i thought love would be the cure, crack my ribs and repair this broken heart, but to my dismay i realized the heart, broken, was the very result of love. so you see, perhaps love is a losing game?
now i find myself tearing out the sutures.

[this is when she says 'it's not you, it's me,' and then she walks away. ]

i think i've see too many turned backs, too many exoduses, too many impossibilities.

i would for once, like to believe that i am ready for acceptance. I would only be at peace, it's all i want; but my soul is restless yet, pieces instead of peace. i have no sanctity, no sanity, none of that, nothing like silence. i have never known a quiet mind. I have only known noise, colourful noise, dynamism, nervous, rapid-electric noise, in my eyes and ears and throat.

and now, all i want is closure. so close me up, close up the wounds, call a surgeon and repair this broken heart and let me be.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

project summer "two thousand and eight"

now I'll have you know that summer was never my favourite time of the year. I know that in America summer makes the romance, the new friends, emerging bands and road trips. That sounds rather fantastical, because summer's never been quite the American dream for me. Yet I have decided to expose my skin to the sun, naked I feel, but what, a little vitamin d?

in South Africa, December is sunny and warm and bright. We don't build snowmen; instead we visit the beach and eat and eat and wait for New Years Eve. I have myself a new haircut, shorter, let go, cut it all off, and watch cuttings of conformity litter the floor around you. Chop it all off and tease it and make it all shaggy.

so you see, i am feeling rather trapped at the moment. I'm feeling so last summer, wanting to be free of this, clean of this, yet the rock and the hard place are still yet to come. I wake up with the day, and end with the day, as if nothing's chnaged, as if i haven't moved in a forwardly direction. as if i haven't taken enough photographs to satisfy my love of the lens, as if my reality is somewhat blurred and misfocused, as if my friends are fading without word or a letter in the post, as though every project i wake up with is without birth by the time i go to bed. I would like to have some kind of liberation, without constraints of the part of the System i have to fight, without torturance of my own mind. I suppose i've got to break out before i break (by break, i mean fall apart) because nothing seems right, nothing is good, enough, and as i've protested before, 'enough' is never the ultimatum.
i would like to contain myself-because i think too much and that is my vice as well as my birth-gift-perhaps within poetry and words, when brushstrokes are enough, and i never go to sleep feeling dissatisfied and empty, as if i were not filled to the brim, but merely draining away lifeblood that is creativity.
please don't let me break.

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