Archives for November 2011

Turning on the Lights

“Helllloooo! Is anyone there?”

“Hi. Yes, I’m here.”

“Thank goodness! This is all very confusing. Where are we and why is it so dark?”

“You mean to say that you don’t know? Why, you’re in you, my friend.”

“Wait … what? That makes no sense! What are you talking about? Please quit with the funny business. I’m quite frightened and wouldn’t mind some real answers.”

“Ha ha! Yes, wouldn’t we all like that? But, I’m being quite serious. We’re in your mind and, unless you’re willing to accept that, I doubt there’s much more for us to talk about.”

“Listen here, man! I’m about to panic and that’s unlikely to end well for either of us. I can hear that you’re quite close. Now … please … tell me what the hell is going on!”

“Well, if you’re unwilling to listen to what I’m telling you, then panic … go ahead. It’ll be no skin off my back. We can talk once you’re done with your little rant. Do it … now.”

“Why you slimy bastard! Come here! I’m gonna ring your neck like a goose … aaaaahhhh … oomph … where the hell are you? If I get my bloody hands on you …”

“Are you done?”

“No! Wait! How did you get there?”

“I’m everywhere.”

“Damnit! You really are full of it, you know that? Is this some sort of sick joke? Am I being held for ransom?”

“In a sense, yes. But, you’re holding yourself.”


“Yup … this is all your own doing. The sooner that you grasp that concept, the sooner you can get us out of this rut.”

“Us? What do you mean? Why would I want to help you?”

“You might not want to. But, it’s an inevitable consequence of you helping yourself.”

“Who do you think you are, huh?”

“Who do you think I am?”

“I have no idea who you are. But, full of crap is WHAT you are! … Listen. I’m asking you nicely … please stop playing this silly game. I have friends, family … they’ll be worried about me. I need to get back to them. How do I do that?”

“Oh, don’t you worry about that. They have no idea that you’re even gone. This process can last as long or as short as you’d like it to, without it having an influence on them.”

“Process? What process? Wait! I asked you who you are! Stop with all the cryptic answers! This is serious business!”

“I didn’t say that it wasn’t serious. I’ve given you answers … but, you’ve refused to accept them. I’ve told you before that, unless you accept what I tell you, there’s no point discussing this any further.”

“Sigh … okay, you bastard. Let’s play your bloody game. Please, tell me everything.”

“It’s not a game.”

“Okay! Okay … fine. It’s not a game. Just tell me what’s going on.”

“Better. Okay. Like I said, you’re in your own head and you’ve put yourself here and …”

“Nonsense! Why would I have put myself here?”

“Listen, chump! If you keep interrupting me and telling me that I’m talking nonsense, then I’m likely to get quite bored of you and possibly leave you to figure this all out by yourself.”

“I’m sorry. I don’t get it though … what do you mean you’ll leave? Where will you go? Can’t I come with?”

“Never you mind where I’ll go. I have my places! It’s doubtful that you could follow, without compromising us both.”

“Okay … what do you mean by us both being compromised? What’s special about me … this place … these places … your places? Why can you go and not me?”

“Technically, by me going there, you go there … in a way. But, we can’t both go at the same time. It’s already bad enough that we’re speaking.”

“Huh?! Did you not undertake to stop with the cryptic answers?”

“Well … yes. But, it’s not entirely cryptic. Pay attention, boyo … they’re not my places. They’re our places. If you’re there, there’s some of me there, but, in the background, without you being aware of it. We can’t start going together openly! That would mess up the whole system!”

“System? What system? What are these places? For that matter, who are you and what is it about the system that prevents us from going together? You’re not doing a great job of explaining this all to me.”

“The system … the places … you … me … all the same thing. You’re an aspect of me and I’m an aspect of you, just like the places are aspects of us and the system is one overarching aspect of how we all work together. We probably could go together, but that’s never how it’s worked before. It would be risky. I’m not sure what would happen. But, I’m reliant on you and I’m not willing to risk it.”

“Okay, stop right there. This is getting quite ridiculous. Let me start from the beginning … you said that I’m in my own head and I put myself here, yes?”


“Why would I put myself here? For that matter, how did I put myself here.”

“You knew that you needed to be here. So, I brought you here.”

“Aha! So you did do this!”

“No. You did this.”

“But, you just said that …”

“You’re not paying attention, are you?”

“But …”

“No buts! I’ve just explained that it’s all the same thing in here … you and I included. What I have done and what you have done is not worth discussion. Ultimately, you’ve done this to yourself. Are you capable of accepting that?”

“Uhhhmmmm …”

“Good! Now let’s carry on …”

“Wait! I didn’t say that I accepted it!”

“But you did accept it.”

“No I didn’t!”

“Yes you did.”

“Okay, maybe I did, but, how did you … ah.”

“You’re catching on! I always suspected that you were smart!”


“Can we move on?”

“Yes, go ahead.”

“As I was saying, you brought yourself here. You have a problem and you need my help to sort it out.”

“Why do I need your help? I thought that we were the same thing … why can’t I just sort this out myself?”

“That’s what you’re doing, Einstein.”

“But, why you? Why not just me, without you? Why here?”

“Here is a good place to chat. It’s quiet. It’s dark. No distractions. I find that you’ve been ignoring me lately. It’s clear that you’re not coping on your own. You need me. So, I brought you here.”

“I think I see what you’re saying, but, I’m unsure. By you helping me, I’m helping me, because me trying to help me, without reference to you, was not solving my problem?”

“Something like that.”

“So, what do you propose that we do?”

“Now, that’s the big question, isn’t it? I’m not sure that I have the answer yet. Any suggestions?”

“Wait! What’s the point of all of this, if you’ve got nothing constructive to say?!”

“Calm down. You’re deluding yourself if you think that anything will be achieved by fighting with me. We’ve got to make this work together.”

“You’re right. It’s just all very frustrating.”

“Yeah, I get that.”

“Of course you do. So, what to do … listen, you’ve thrown all of this at me very suddenly. Do you think that you could let me go for a bit? I’ll mull things over and maybe we can chat about it when I’ve had some time to clear my thoughts.”

“Oh come on! You’re not going to fool me. You’ve been avoiding this confrontation for years. If you’d dealt with this up front, there would have been no reason for it to get to this. You’re here now. We’re resolving this. I’m not letting you go until we’ve worked through this. Anyway, you know that’s what you really want.”

“Is it?”


“Okay … yes.”

“And nobody else will know that this is all happening?”

“Why should they? It’s none of their business. You brought yourself here, remember?”

“I did.”

“Now that you’ve calmed down a bit, do you think that I could turn up the lights, just a smidgen?”

“Wait. Do I want to see what’s around me? Do I want to see you?”

“It’s nothing that you’ve not seen before. You may just have tried to forget. Anyway, it’s all your own doing, so, you should be able to cope with it.”

“Okay. Do it.”

“There! That’s better, isn’t it?”

“I suppose … it’s still very dark … I can’t see much.”

“One step at a time. Your eyes just need time to adjust. We’ve been in the dark for quite a bit.”

“You’re … you really are … me.”

“Did you think that I was fibbing?”

“One can always hope …”

“Funny guy. Is it better with the lights on?”

“Yes … a bit. I’m not so frightened any more. Why did you not turn the lights on in the first place?”

“Why didn’t you?”

“I … I didn’t know that I … yes, I should have.”

“Bygones. So, what’s bugging you?”

“It’s this problem. You know, as well as I do, that it’s been going on for years. I just want it to stop.”

“Okay. Do we agree that we’d not be having this chat, if you had not already accepted that it is a problem for us to resolve? Do you accept that this is nobody else’s doing and that it is not up to them to fix it?”

“Of course, but I wouldn’t mind some help.”

“From who, exactly? This is a problem of your own creation. Who better qualified than you to solve it? Who else better to identify the causes and ways forward?”

“I know you’re right. It’s just … difficult.”

“Well, of course. You’ve allowed this thing to firmly establish itself, so, it’s going to be harder to uproot. Is that a reason to quit?”

“Maybe …”

“No, it’s not! Do you not remember what it was like before this came along? Were you not much happier?”


“Would you not like to be in that space again?”

“Yes, but …”

“I said no buts! Gosh! Imagine everyone in the world had that attitude! Nothing of value would ever have been achieved. Man up, boyo! There’s some rough sailing ahead, but, we’re still within reach of land. Or, would you prefer to carry on floating about here, indefinitely?”

“Land? Rough sailing? What are you on about now?”

“You! Us! When I let you out of here, do you want to stick it out in the middle of a meaningless ocean, hoping that someone will rescue you, or, do you want to help yourself?”

“No. Let’s go for the land. I’m tired of floating about.”

“Good! Now, look around you. Did you notice that everything just got a bit brighter in here?”

“Why, yes! Look at that! It’s not actually so bad in here. Hey, you’re quite a good-looking chap!


“Ha ha! So, which way to land?”

“I’m not so sure anymore. It’s been a long time that we’ve been floating about. Any ideas?”

“No … but we can’t just set sail in any old direction. What if we go around in circles and never find where we’re looking for?”

“What if? What if? Well, what if we do? Surely, it’s worth the risk? If we stay here, we lose the game by default. If we just go for it, maybe we find land. What do you say?”

“Maybe … but, what if we land somewhere unfamiliar that’s not where we wanted to go?”

“Again with the what ifs! Stop it! Surely, any land is better than no land? From there, presuming it’s not entirely ideal, we’ll be able to better gather our thoughts, build up our strengths and then make another shot for where we want to be.”

“You make sense, you know that?”

“Yes, I do. You do realise that you just reached that conclusion yourself, right?”

“I suppose, yes … but I could never have done it without you.”

“I’m very glad to have been of assistance. You know, I feel quite good about us. You’re a much nicer guy than I originally thought.”

“Ha ha! You’ve grown on me yourself! Now what?”

“Well, you’re welcome to leave if you’d like.”

“Really? I’m free to go?”

“You always have been. Good luck with the sailing!”

“Thanks, I think … but, if I get lost again, will you bring me back for a chat?”

“Sure! I’m always here.”

“Can we start with the lights on next time?”

“Now that you’re used to this place, I see no reason why not.”

“That makes me feel much better about revisiting. You’re the best!”

“Yes, I am.”

Commonwealth Book and Short Story Prize

Commonwealth Writers final call for entries:

Last few weeks remaining to enter the new Commonwealth Book Prize and Commonwealth Short Story Prize. The prizes are part of a new initiative, Commonwealth Writers, an online hub to inspire, inform and create a community of writers from all over the world. Together with the prizes, Commonwealth Writers unearths, develops and promotes the best new fiction from across the Commonwealth.

Commonwealth Short Story Prize: Wednesday 30 November 2011 (5pm GMT)
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction in English (2000-5000 words). Regional winners receive £1,000 and the overall winner receives £5,000.

Commonwealth Book Prize: Friday 9 December 2011 (5pm GMT)
Awarded for best first book, the Commonwealth Book Prize is open to writers who have had their first novel (full length work of fiction in English) published between 1 January and 31 December 2011. Regional winners receive £2,500 and the overall winner receives £10,000.

Enter online at


So many people walk through life, with the idea in their heads,
that someone else is responsible for their success and daily breads.
They praise his name and blank their thoughts, on occasions when they win
and when they lose, it’s not their fault, “it must be worldly sin”.

No doubt, it must be comforting, to have him control your life;
he picks you up, when you are down and carries you through strife.
Late at night, all alone, someone knows your thoughts.
Believe enough, you’ll have your way, on healing, peace, all-sorts!

“But, is he there,” we people ask, “bestowing on us glory?”
“Or, have they just filled in the blanks, with nothing but a story?”
To us, it seems, minds applied, there’s simply not enough,
to suggest that the universe comprises more than stuff.

We live our lives, in our own minds and earn our daily bread,
and when we don’t, we do not blame a holy page, unread.
Our failure’s ours, but, then again, so is our success.
We never need relinquish it to some ‘being’ who did bless.

When you see that it’s you, who steers your worldly path,
then you’re the judge, the man in charge, the one who hands down wrath.
For, in your dreams, you will be judged by your subconscious mind
and it’s this alter-ego, who knows of your unkind.

And so, you see, it’s not the struggle to sit on a cloud,
but, rather, to reach end of days, looking back, feeling proud.
We need not search through books about divine morality,
when we can be the persons, with whom friends we’d want to be.

In the end, should we find that we wooled-over our own eyes,
we’ve had an answer for some time, it may come as surprise.
For, if, one day, we find we’re asked why we disbelieved,
we’ll tell Bertie’s God, “non-evidence is what had us all deceived!”

If, as many thinkers think, we all cease to exist,
as a fairly decent way to go, it cannot be dismissed.
In not existing, even though good times will not be had,
we will not be experiencing it, so, it cannot be that bad.

Don’t you cry girl

Don’t cry girl, don’t cry
Life is beautiful for those
Who choose to smile all the times
It hurts, I know
But please don’t cry
Wasted tears are wasted times
Time you can choose to be happy
Happiness is all around you; just listen to the song of birds, falling rain and blooming flower they all are singing for you
You are too precious to waste your tears for the things not in your hand my girl, so please stop crying..
Life is beautiful for those who choose to be happy
Time is tough, life is mess, I know but still I will say don’t you cry girl don’t you cry.
Life is too short to waste with tears.
Noting is worth for your tears so save them my girl, and please don’t cry..
Don’t you cry girl, please don’t cry.

I gona be my own sunshine

Tunnel is calling me again, tunnel of sorrow and pain,
I don’t wana go down that line again, there is nothing but sorrow and pain
I am not going in that deep dark tunnel again
Tunnel is too dark and deep
Each time when I go there I am lost
I can’t hear my own heart beat
Tunnel kills me each time but I keep falling there
I am not going down in the tunnel again
I heard people saying there is light at the end
My tunnel is too deep and dark
I see no light there
My legs are sour and my eyes hurt with the pain
I am not going there again
That tunnel lives in me for so long that it hard to let it go
But it’s time to leave and be my own sunshine
So I am not going there again
I am leaving my tunnel and all the sorrow and pain behind
My legs are aching and my heart is crying
I am no way going in the tunnel again
I gona be my own sunshine
I am leaving my tunnel behind

Would You Mind?

I may be kind but not blind,
Through thick and thin, I’ve been there,
Now, would you care to share to be fair?
Love,Trust together with honesty- I dare…
Woul you mind?

If I could, I would…

If I could have all the money,
I would feed all the hungry,
Make life easier for the needy,
Replace all the shacks and RDPs

If I could have all the power,
I would make every CEO work every hour,
to reduce the office drama-
within the taxpayers towers.

If I could have all the will,
I would assist my wife with the chicken grill,
for her heart needs to heal
…and to show my goodwill

If I could have all the love,
I would be proud and patient with every all the kids,
Unconditionally appreciate with every heart beat
If I could, I would Passionately give all of the above.

what liver

So, I am is’febe. At least I have been called that.
Once, dear reader, when we were much younger, a cousin of mine used that word: is’febe. Part of what it is to be as young as we were is learning to use language. Many times you get the structure right only to stumble over the particulars.
Having just slaughtered a goat or something else equally slaughterable, the men gave the older boys the intestines and the liver. Modeled on the existing dominant structures, white male dominance, the older boys’ responsibilities over the resources automatically extended over the younger boys. The older boys, perhaps testing their power, perhaps just salivating over the prospect of braai liver, dangled the meat in front of the younger boys. They, perhaps responding to that power, perhaps excited in their own right, extended their hands to touch the treasures of intestines and liver. My cousin, impressed by the weight and texture of the liver (and by how far it had travelled down the power structure to get to him?) said, “yho, sis’febe!”
Our mastery of language has since then progressed. That description is not, given a choice, one he would use to capture that moment. Nor, if it is at all up to him, would he now utter that word as loud as he did then. Then, caught in a moment that is eternal, the piece of liver suffered the indignity of being described as is’febe.
Perhaps I deceive myself, but I had not thought that there is anything substantially similar between a piece of liver and myself. If, then, I have been described as is’febe, and the piece of liver has also been described as is’febe, exactly what makes both the liver and I fit the description?
We could, of course, draw out an implicit assumption. We could argue that the word has been used incorrectly in either or both above cases. If incorrect in one of the cases, and we favor my young cousin with the error, then we could withhold this favor from the shadows. They, we could argue, understood and used the word as it was meant to. In this case I, but not the liver, come out is’febe.
If incorrect in both cases, both the liver and I are misfits to the description. In this case, more starkly than the first, we are left wondering who or what fits the description is’febe?

after midnight

in the heart of the night
whilst the world is in repose
and sleep shuns me
i play

leering through the seams
of this nocturnal occurrence
i am witness to a different realm
i play write

my soul dances to this nightly purgatory
channeling visions to those lost in slumber

i playwright dreams

by ayob vania ©