Archives for September 2011

Second seats and empty languages

So, I am in one of those cheap domestic flights, destination Jozi.

The aisle sit is mine, the middle sit empty, a nice mama has the window seat. I, following an example set by Usihlwele, a character in a short story, have constructed a porous but ‘imaginary’ wall around myself. I am sure Asiphe-a-psychologist, would say this ‘imaginary’ wall is created out of fear.

A first language speaker comes in all hurried and, to be fair, no time for self-awareness in relation to others. Or perhaps she had no time to perform self-awareness?

Since she is no African dictator in a post-colonial narrative, the kind that wins literary prizes for truth and daring, we will pursue this line of thinking no further.

The first language speaker, still several paces away, says to me, “You are in my seat.”

Now, dear reader, there is absolutely no a priori reason why she could not have been right. If the seat had been assigned her, and not me, and she had correctly matched her assigned seat to the actual seat, and I had incorrectly matched mine, and I were sitting in her seat, and…I am sure you see why in some possible world she is right, and therefore not a priori wrong.

My response was to stand up, move aside, so that she can take the empty middle seat. It was, I declare, a perfect example of a second language response. I sought to get her seated first so that I could whisper to her how wrong she is. Even when you know you are absolutely right, you recognize the right of the other person to be wrong. As such the fact that they are wrong is absolutely no reason to respond to that first. They will, once they realize it, have a choice to persist in their wrong or repent. Either one of those is a real choice, nothing about choices mean they should be right. Still, the first step is always to recognize umntu. The wrong or right might never even arise.

But the mama in the window seat, structured in a first language, had no time for my sensibilities or the sensitivity to stay out of it. Having helped me locate my seat earlier, she assured the first language speaker that she is wrong.

There, just like that, another second language response bit the dust.

musik flowin in me stream of blood

The beats, beating thumping stomping rhythm into pieces
Trumpets, bellowing throwing pungent notes bloating
Drum kits, belching pulses pulsating hope
Bodies, moving tortured tormentors mentors bending fendors
Cutting melody highs, laser knives, through eardrums wet with pleasure
Shrill fingers trill valves in halves cuffed
Feet tap-tap, like a boxer winding his left-left, no right hook
Pop-pop-pop, it goes musical popcorn adorning adoration
Feeling from left to right, right to left in clefting flights in sects
Stylish mid tempo suits, ties swigging swinging swagging and,
Waving madams away this way to oblivious frivolous royalties
back to ties lies, here lies church hymns joy with celebration
Rhyming in incantations coronated like a peacocked dictator
Sit back, rock your mind and listen.

4 the i’s bride

note to the i’s bride
where ever she hides
if you do not read what i write
whats the point?
you will never get me
even if
you open ya eyes wide

Loved Lost

So, a loved one left us to go join the ancestors.

He was murdered, brutally and with unswerving intent. By the time the medics got to him he was brain dead.

It happened in an informal settlement, in a township. By the time medical help got to him he had been bleeding through his nose and mouth for well over an hour. Because of the tarred roads his blood had pooled around his head. It had not soaked into the ground, umhlaba.
Should we hope that his brain had been working such that he was capable still of great suffering, but ‘had the paramedics got there earlier they would have saved him’? Or should we hope that his brain went dead quite early on in his murder, and that even had the paramedics been as prompt as if he had been in the suburbs it would not have changed the outcome? Even our alternative worlds leave us anguished in the actual.

My loved one was murdered by an (South) African: young, male and by all accounts (certainly I, a black conscious theorist, must not escape this conclusion) a victim of his conditions. Where, oh where, is a clear and unambiguous villain when you need it most?

So, what am I dealing with here? This question is the conclusion I come to time and again. What, beyond the pain that constructs my reality, am I dealing with here?

Now, I am trained enough in formal logic to know that a conclusion is an element of an argument. All the elements of an argument are articulated in propositions. Questions, insofar as they are articulated to an argument, sometimes provide an occasion for advancing the elements of an argument, and therefore the argument. But questions are not, qua questions, elements of arguments. I should not, therefore, arrive at a conclusion stated in question form. I am, of course, permitted to restate my conclusion in proposition form.

But there it is, an element of a black consciousness: a conclusion stated in question form.
Released from sentences and propositions, with their drive towards clarity, symbolized by the full stop, my pain blurs at the edges. At the centre it remains sharply defined: I am bereaved and victim, the African male, by contrast, a villain and morally despicable. But at the peripheries, where my loved one has always resided (even in death he remains there) the pain requires active input from me to retain its character.

Raw Pain

You’re so bad for me, but just can’t let you go.
You’re killing me inside, but I still need you so.
Your words pierce deep into my chest, penetrating my heart.
Your love is your cruel, sadistic art.
My love for you started pure but now its tainted
I try to hide my emotions. cover it, paint it.
I’m not like you, I feel my emotions intensely
The pain I feel, I feel immensely.
Before you, I lived a sheltered life
Before you, I dreamt of being a wife.
I feel like you’ve shattered my last dream.
I feel maybe I need to be strong enough to start clean.
Everyone else can depend on you but why cant I?
Why is one I love making me feel like I should die?
I don’t feel your love, I don’t feel your affection.
I feel like were slowly losing any pre-existing love connection.
The negative emotions you fill me with, slowly suffocate me.
I don’t know who or what it is that you want me to be.
I wish I was an orphan, so I could end it all without hurting those who may really care.
The pain that runs thru my veins I can no longer bare.
I’m slowly losing my mind, I’m slowly going insane.
All my efforts have been in vain.
I need to stop it, I’ll do whatever it takes.
I need to stop it, even if my heart once more breaks.

Such is life

Some days, I just want to die,
I am hurt and only way to escape is my death..
I know you loved me once, but I am nothing what you thought I am
and the pain in your eyes each time when u look at me
hurts me, its killing me slowly,.
your eyes says it all that this is not you always wanted,
I don’t know how to end what we started,
Only way to escape is death..
Becoz, we said once till death do us apart,
I feel it’s the time when we apart,
As for you I am just a bounce check,
a failure promise I am nothing what you wanted,
but you carrying on with me as you are too sweet to say it all,
but I can see it in your eyes.
so I wana die..slowly and slowly.
you will get the life you wish..
you will have the happiness and I will love u always
and we both be happy again in our own free word…

Dog Walk Diaries

I’m sick of my own opinions so let me tell you about the best part of my day, which is taking Sprite to the park. We can’t do this at the moment because the car is at the panel beaters, so let’s have an imaginary dog walk.

Into the car, tail wagging. Sprite’s barks grow sharper and I have to avoid her taking the wheel or indicating for me. Reach the park and she’s out before I have got one leg on the ground, and into the grass and air.

Greetings to Phillip, the bead and wire sculptor, currently at work on a monster gecko. Greetings to Gin and Tonic, the kind car guard who looks after lost dogs and children. Greetings to Valeria and the basket ladies from Swaziland, who tell me who is already in the park, don’t I want to buy my 10th laundry basket at a discounted price and will I give them a lift home afterwards? And then I obey the intense fox/wolf command of my border collie and start throwing the ball.

The park is like a clockwork village: you meet the same people at the same time at the same place.

Here’s Adam for instance, big, tall and tottering, wearing two hats, carrying a knobkerrie and hailing us. Straight away we are in his last current of conversation. Adam once studied to be a rabbi and he would have been a brilliant one, because he doesn’t judge, does listen and tells very good, evil-blasting jokes.

Like the time we were walking behind my friend and her doctor husband Karl, and were joined by a loud man who while talking about his recovery from a serious accident blurted out that he wished he was a German because Germans feel no pain. I had been concentrating on my ball throwing duties but started at that and Adam felt my start. “Let’s ask Karl” said Adam and so with perfect aim made loud mouth quiet, me laugh and nasty smell in air disappear. I like German jokes, said Adam the beatific, meet Herr Dresser.

Another time: walking with Digger the tough and wonderful Australian cattle dog and (after thought) his owner Peter. On our circuit meet a Popeye type, T-shirt sleeves rolled up to allow his biceps to expand. Popeye pulls on his dog’s lead and eyes Digger with aggression. “Your dog always goes for mine” he hisses. Adam, in mid-sentence turns, looks over his glasses and says “Must be personal then.” Popeye goes red and snorts and Adam sails on serene.

[NB All human names have been changed to protect their dogs from embarrassment]