Archives for May 2014

The Song of Cooking

The sword of hunger
snips the squeak of the intestine
which is like a cry of a new born baby.

Cho! Chop!
All shefs!
To cook! To cook!
You must go!

Cutlery jumps,
stoves burn,
veggies fear.

I open the cupboard
with the robustness of an elephant
as I inspected what will be on the menu,
and flipped the recipe book like a pastor
who just lost his verse.


Beneath these dark waters rested my past
Proteus calming the ocean’s barks at night,
Every animal screaming from Noah’s Ark;
Mate us how, when it’s only one kind of us?

In these present times, cannot swim no more
To surfaces where stiff corpses turned pale,
Thrown out the ship, relatives on board gone
Voyage underwater is travelled with no permit.

Black yellow and brown was the colour shot,
Unjust laws enforced, human right fought for
In 1994, thought to be mourned and thought of
Statues of slaves installed in concentrated Malls.

Presently, one should not proclaim to herd pigs
A group of gods consented to slay eaters of pork,
My hands stretched, horns growing under armpits
Pain piecing my skin was another Apartheid born.



He felt the fresh Atlantic brine breeze creeping over his scarred face like hairy legs of a minute invisible hobgoblin. His heart bubbled with flooding gushes of delight as the thought of spending the lucre flashed and burst into his wicked mind. He loved the sensation the thought yielded into every part of his body. It was as if an evil forbidden magical bean had suddenly burst into bloom. “Venezuela here I come!” He shouted and crazily guffawed, scratching his greedy belly. The television before them blinked the 8 o’clock news and totally deceived the world as per planned. The reporter had already taken his dash. “Well done my son .Well done Joe”, the old man patted him on the shoulder and drained a glass of expensive wine, Petrus Pomerol 1945. The sound of the old man’s voice made him feel indestructible. He loved it and refilled their glasses.

After robbing Gold and Cash Bank, Joe lurched towards his silver glistening Dodge Tomahawk bike, casting furtive glances in all directions. He wore a black scary mask, so firmly plastered on his face, creating a false illusion of his facial features. That without a very close investigative eye, one would be deceived to conclude that it was his real face. Clad in tight jeans, black Cowboy shoes and a huge vestal black leather overcoat, he looked like some tough guy ready to perform in a movie. He jumped onto his bike and evoked the starter, the engine roared and growled fiercely like some unearthly formidable beast. “Come on the Viper, speed demon the game is now on “, he smiled as he heard police sirens wailing a few yards away.
He cleared away from the scene as if it contained a deadly contagious virus. The fat bag of cash glued on his back, appearing like a rare overgrown shapeless and pimpled tumor. The moment police vehicles arrived at the crime scene, the loud roars of Joe’s bike could be heard falling into faint little scattered vanishing echoes.

The police dared the chase but to no avail. They had no chance worse of all they only discovered that they had carried rubber bullets while their suspect had live deadly ones, sputtering and pelting from a new automatic folded butt AK 47. There was a three -ring circus in Cape Town CBD, as witnesses scattered away. Shops closed and vendors vanished from their sites. Some screamed, some fell as two police vehicles suddenly burst into angry devouring flames. Breaks squealed, tyres screeched and burned, horns blurred as their operators panicked. Inside the bank Joe left two dead and four extremely wounded. Journalists soon showed up on the scene like voracious vultures, with staggering camera men laden with instruments of work.

Around 7:30 pm Joe parked his bike in a very secretive place on a farm. He then drove his Z4 BMW to Bantry Bay to meet the old man, the captain. The old man’s mansion stood just a few meters away from the Atlantic Ocean, the fresh breeze gently blew into the old man’s well -ventilated longue, playfully caressing his floral curtains. The old man sat in a very comfortable leather sofa treating himself to a glass of wine, anticipating the sudden arrival of his accomplice though sometimes he regarded him as a cat’s paw. Soon his intercom rang and the usual voice he expected spoke “I am here Madala, “Joe said, the old man waddled to the door and opened for his son.”Well done my boy. Well done my son. We did it again “, the old man’s voice boomed with delight.”The Captain never fails. We are the blind coal- we burn but do not emit smoke. We sting so unexpectedly.” The old man sat down and took another swig from his glass.

The 8 pm news bulletin flashed on the flat LED Smart TV and the journalist reported as the old man had instructed him. “Today there was a disaster in Cape Town CBD; an unknown armed robber attacked and robbed Gold and Cash Bank today, and however he was soon arrested before he escaped. However, he burned the cash upon realizing that he had been caught.” A few policemen appeared on the crime scene holding the recovered fire arm and some ashes of the burnt money.


For the future that awaits me
Bright as sunlight and dark as the pit
I give homage to all of life’s experiences
For my crafting

In the face of melancholy and terror
I have not lost hope nor succumbed to pity
Under the dire circumstances of age
My vision is blurry but untainted

Beyond this place of utter misery and anguish
Appears but the nightmare of a dream in ruins
And yet the consequences of the decisions and traditions of my ancestors
Finds, and shall find, my audacity unmoved

It matters not how challenging life gets
How unfavorable the situations
I am the author of my destiny
I am the concluder of my kismet

“Hidden” International Call For Writers by ArtAscent – Deadline June 30, 2014

The call theme is “Hidden.” Unseen, unknown, mysterious, cryptic, masked, clouded, puzzling, esoteric. Show us what hidden means to you.

Eligible Submissions
Entries may include fiction, poetry, short stories and other written explorations (up to 900 words). Previously published or unpublished are eligible. Submissions must be the original work of the applicant(s).

The Gold writer will be featured in the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal complete with an artist profile review written by our art writer. From three to seven writers in total will be published in ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal including links to artists websites, promotion on ArtAscent website artist directory, and exposure in ArtAscent social media.

About ArtAscent
The mission of ArtAscent is to promote artists of images and words, and connect them with art lovers. This is accomplished by calls for artists and writers, artist profiling, art magazine publication, and artist and writer online showcasing. Each call is theme based, with the intent to showcase diverse creative explorations of that theme via various media.

Contact Information

Sylvia Plath’s Lady Lazarus

This image
Is just an image
Lines from a poem
That I have

Come to know
To love so well
In sickness
And in health

There is no greater
Love than the flight
From madness
Of sacrifice

A lament,
A hospital bed
And so I come
To her London experience

Her Ted Hughes
It was Sylvia I reckon
In the end
Who was Lady Lazarus

When you’re hallucinating
Reality is a snake park
There aren’t any ducks
I’m afraid

You can’t make
Lemonade out of lemons
There’s a show
And you’re the star

The spotlight
Is shining on you
You become Hiroshima
A kroeskop duchess

You become
A mountain lion
You become famous
Known for psychosis

And then overnight
You become a stranger
Nobody calls anymore.

David Foster Wallace

The cornfields
of Illinois are pretty
Where David Foster Wallace
grew up

His childhood
was made up of
bonfire anecdotes
Shark teeth

Infinite jest
He was the pale king
Sitting on an earth-throne
The so-called psychotic

Bewitched by libraries
by the halls of Amherst
The Midwest where of-all-things
Genocide took place

Murder and speeches
His dream songs
They came from space
He gripped his pen

Left behind
An alphabet
of vowels and consonants
Supernova writing

There were monsters
hiding in the closet
Monsters under the bed
The room is smaller

Than he remembers
When he returns home
From Amherst water
and lobsters pouring out

of him as he evaporates
America offers shelter for some
Worms, holes, the dark, maniacs
Hooks already programming him.

Ted Hughes (eight haiku)

Weave your poetry – shamanic-wisdom
And not by accident it will prosper long-after-you-are-dead.
For-all-the-raw cutting edge of-the-world-to-see.

She slipped – she didn’t fall-like-a-body-or-wreck
Could have been a striking pageant-beauty-queen-in-a-magazine.
Then an-anonymous-connection-with-men. Bewitched them.

Flame. Troubled. Gossamer-hair. Flawed-and-most-powerful.
Saint. Perhaps-she-didn’t-know she possessed daydreamer wings.
The tunnel-though-was-infinite – a contract.

Child-lost-forever-in-time she never grew-up.
She must have heard them screaming-badly-to-this-day-even-in-her-coffin.
Frieda-and-Nicky Kilimanjaro-and-Everest-forever playing hide-and-seek.

Little-Buddha-eating-cheese-on-toast. Eye-on-the-cauldron. Ill. Ill. Ill.
Rest your head, a bird’s nest, tomorrow-you-will-go-on-living-in-another-realm.
You have missed out on-nothing-of-significance.

I do not have gills-but-I-wish-that-I-did.
Like fish at-the-end-of-their journey in their-river-of-convenience.
There were slits and God.

Profit, lily, soul.
Purse, emptiness, hard-boiled egg.
So-do-Eden’s flowers wilt.

Weakened. Frozen. Sight-hurts-and-can-sometimes-be-most-earth-shattering.
My wonder, my lamb, my forget-me-not-and-my-yesterday-today-and-tomorrow
There is a great deal-of-envy-in-flesh.

The hallucination of North American poet Sylvia Plath’s Lady Lazarus

This image
Is just an image
Lines from a poem
That I have

Come to know,
To love so well
In sickness
And in health

There is no greater
Love than the flight
From madness,
Of sacrifice

A lament
A hospital bed.
And so I come
To her London experience

Her Ted Hughes
It was Sylvia I reckon
In the end
Who was Lady Lazarus

When you’re hallucinating
Reality is a snake park
There aren’t any ducks
I’m afraid

You can’t make
Lemonade out of lemons
There’s a show
And you’re the star

The spotlight
Is shining on you
You become Hiroshima
A kroeskop duchess

You become
A mountain lion
You become famous
Known for psychosis

You become
the doppelganger
of all ghosts
then overnight

In the snake park
You become a stranger
in your own hometown
Nobody calls anymore.

Young woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown

Pain, the lines of beauty on the face of a lonely girl and her kindly cell, that furious secret place of depression, frustration, suicidal illness, (having otherworldly beauty was not enough for her, mouthing foggy love poems, progeny at her hip, North American prairies and beaches, Paris, her younger brother Warren the Exeter and Harvard man, New York, obsessively-written sonnets and short stories, Otto, Otto, Otto, the Nazi-lover, all the beekeeping villagers have been ripped from memory. The perfect love of parties, the tumbling into and of cocktail parties has gone too. Oh ghost, oh ghosts she was much too nice this empress, much too honest and dignified, she was much too pure, and where was the justice for this scholar, this thinker, this intellectual? How will she be remembered? Oh, just in dozens of books written by other starry-eyed scholars, thinkers and intellectuals and of course her poetry. She warned me, she warned me, she warned me with her words, with the force of her intellect, with her vocabulary, her mind’s eye’s perspective. No witch, atheist, pagan was she just a beautiful memory stuffed with a diary, notebooks, letters home filled with sadness. Did she pray, did she meditate when she was soaking up the sun on the beach?
And then she was thirty in a flat in London with two small children and composing Ariel, her masterpiece. Where was Ted Hughes? What was her last memory of Edward Hughes? In whose arms was he when she was looking for linen and sheets? Who was he sleeping with? What was the measure of the man? Was he extraordinarily gifted? Yes. Was he brilliant? Yes but did he know how to love, wasn’t he impulsive, wasn’t he a creative genius, wasn’t he a cheat? Didn’t he kill people, push and engulf women in sweetness or was it the woman who said kill me Ted, take me to bed? So he wasn’t a murderer, he was a poet, a broken man who suffered, what did he give up?

Men are cruel. Beautiful men are cruel. Intelligent men are cruel. And if girls reject them how on earth will they become transformed into women, transplanted into queens with kisses, how will they see the inside of a church in a wedding dress or a kitchen wearing an apron, perfect roast in the oven. How will they get that ring on their finger if they do not fall in love?

It is monstrous when bipolar leaves you numb, broken. There was always a quickness to it. How it enveloped her, how it enshrouded me. How did bipolar depression leave Sylvia Plath numb, clutching at straws, it left her with avocados in a suitcase in the The Bell Jar? There’s nothing dignified about it and the end of love. It is not just the end of fireworks but also that romance is an eternal curve. What’s love anyway when you can write, when you can write poetry? Sylvia in a hospital bed. Sylvia and Anne. Anne Sexton. Sylvia receiving therapy. Sylvia writing. Writing poetry.

Speak. Speak. Speak. The pain felt sharp. It burned. And I felt burdened. The pain felt like a knife. Pain is poison, a silent feast for some, for the vampires camping out in the woods, a winter guest writing a poem.

Ashtrays and cigarettes fill his house, papers, verses, correspondence. His mother is dying in Yorkshire. He has brought his lover with him. His father won’t sit at the kitchen table with her. He takes his meals in his bedroom. This is domestic bliss, golden living matter. The sex is medieval. His hands smell like a butcher’s. He is Satan. He destroyed her and she destroyed him, the dreamer in him, the father in him, and the husband in him. He had knowledge of lovemaking, taught her everything he knew with his frozen skill, his soul’s map, his wide-eyed country of transformations, his white picket fence,
They are swimming in this dark room together, soft dolls with delicate cores surfing over their wounds, touching the surface tension of the interior, wrapped up in the knowledge of the grace of the physical, the mental glare is no longer there. No more anguish. No more Sylvia.
Look at them. We are glimmering, gulping, our flesh and blood is dwelling, shining, illuminating the world around us.

He anointed her. The physical body sinks into another physical body, gnaws at it, its eaten magic, and its sum, its language as they exchange fluids and there is nothing and everything logical about it. There is a story here. Is it love? Does it need to be told? She is here to stay. She needs belief. The exotic, alluring Assia Wevill. She is a killer. A convicted murderous, Ted Hughes’s housekeeper, Sylvia Plath’s rival, a lover, a wife, and a mother too. Will she be another German Jew survivor?

‘Assia, my beautiful wren.’ He says, his hands on her shoulders, the nape of her neck, brushing away strands of her beautiful dark hair. ‘So exotic, so alluring. There is so much I want to say. This space is a proverb, this shape just here beneath your collar bone I like it best. You burn so bright. Writing is my little addiction. It is the life and death of me. So what do you think of my work.’
‘Admirable. Intelligent. Impressive. What do you think of my work?’
‘Admirable. Intelligent. Impressive. Clever. Very, very clever.’
‘Why are women always clever and men intelligent, fierce beasts, admired? I don’t think it’s an accident we met. It was simply meant to happen. Am I a good mother Ted?’
‘Yes. What a strange question?’
‘I want to be a good mother, a good wife, a good life-partner for you. I think we’re perfect together. Don’t you? I was a beautiful child and then I grew up and I wanted to see the world. And of course men saw my looks first but it always made me feel self-conscious, the interloper. Making love. I was always good at doing that. Falling out of love, falling in love, getting married. Let’s get married. Do, let’s. I love you. You’re the man for me. Think of all the adventures we’d have together, the places we’d go. You love me. We’ll have this picture-perfect family. Beautiful children.’
‘Wrists so fragile. Thighs and breasts so pale. Grey eyes. Wrap your legs around me. Are you warm? I want to feel you beneath me. Your breath is like vapour. What was it like on that train when you were a child? Were there really SS Officers walking up and down.’
‘It was cold, that’s all I remember. I was leaving the only home I had ever known. I don’t want to talk about it.’
‘Come here. Then we won’t talk about it. We’ll think pleasant, happy thoughts. Nothing will ever scar you ever again. I will diminish your fears, all the difficulties that you have, and erase them. I will unlock the gates to that nest that you call your brain. I will love you come rain or shine, come the madhouse of the heightened sky, I am rowing towards the sea in your eyes, swallowing all the hurt and humiliation that you have ever felt in this world.’
‘Ted Hughes I think you are the most profound man I’ve ever met. All of this will become history, craft, and ritual. Past is past is it not? Hell is behind us, that terrifying hammer and whatever has tormented me.’
‘There’s a self-portrait there Assia. Well, there’s really one in everything.’
‘You see poetry in everything. I need you Ted. I need you. Can’t you see that? I will give up everything for you.’
‘Don’t talk now. Hush. Pleasant, happy thoughts remember. Try and get some sleep now. If you’re not tired yet read a book, write something or read something that I’ve written. I’m too tired to talk now, to have this conversation.’
‘We can raise the children together. We can build a family, a real family-life away from the prying eyes of London, of your London friends, of your family. I know what they think of me, that I’m to blame for everything, for what happened to Sylvia, that I live in her house, sleep in her bed, and have stolen her husband and children, Sylvia Plath’s family. I am not responsible. I am not the traitor that everyone is making me out to be. Ted, I can’t go on living in that ghost house. I don’t care what people think. I tell you I don’t care what people think anymore of me, of you. Us. It’s done nothing to your reputation as a poet. People talk. People will always talk. Idle gossip. All lies. You are still you. You are still Ted Hughes.’
‘Assia, enough. I’m tired.’
‘I’m sorry. I just get so worked up sometimes. I’m trying Ted. Can’t you see that? Maybe I’m just insecure but I’m in love with you. I’ve never felt this way before. I’ve been married three times and I’ve never felt this way before for anyone else in my life until you came along. I’m trying for us. I had the abortion for us. I know now we can have other children. I’ve always been maternal, had that instinct within me. I live in her house for us. I take care of the children for us. I’m just excited about our new life together. You’re the best man I’ve ever met. The best lover I’ve ever had.’
‘Beautiful Assia Wevill. I will never, never hurt you.’ And then he kissed her forehead damp with perspiration, kissed her neck, stroked the arch of her back and caressed her arms. ‘Have men hurt you before? Made promises to you before that they didn’t keep?’
‘I don’t know. I don’t want to remember those times, the person that I was then, I’m different now, I don’t want to remember the past, and there were so many men. I told you this before. I was a pretty child who grew up to become a beautiful adult, but an insecure woman but do you promise Ted? Do you promise Ted Hughes that one day I will be your wife?’
‘Yes, yes, yes. I promise.’ Edward Hughes cradled Assia Wevill in his arms that night like he had never cradled another woman in his arms before. He held her until he felt her fall asleep in his arms and he knew her dream would never be. It had come to an end whatever ‘it’ had been. Allure she had, she could put men in a trance, attract them, hold them down in bed, reject them, make them go kaput but did she know how to love? She was a sex object.

And now we come to me. Clothed, unclothed, shamed, and unashamed for now you are mine.
Sylvia Plath, Assia Wevill, the daughter Shura, Edward Hughes are six feet under, pushing up daisies, dead to the world but not to the world’s imagination. There is a knot of silence pulled tight in my throat, and I am pushed to naming home. Love for me is not home. It will never be home, mean home to me. I wither, men wither, and stories wither.

It is a mystery to me why he did not, could not love me. There was no tenderness there, no constant craving. I could not understand my infertility. The knowing of pain comes after sleeping, after waking from his touch.

I cannot remember lust. I remain unmarked by it. I hurt. You have hurt me. Energy has left me. Humility is like a cloud in the sky with a silver lining. I will not behave. I will not sit still and behave. I will fidget like a lunatic until you say that you love me, until you say that you will not leave me, leave me for her. I am in the garden of fire, of the dead and the living. I am dumb. What do I know about love? I know this. I want to feel your skin, read your bones with my fingertips, bath in your bath as you stroke my back, turn your world upside down, and harvest your moon. I am a mess but I am not your mess. If I was your mess you would stroke my face and ask me gently why I am crying. And I would say please stay with me, don’t go. Tell me that you like me.

Suicides have no glory when they die, they do not go to the last resting place up in the sky. They are driftwood.

The women have no sun, cure, dress, heels, pot of rouge, no furniture to move around, no laughter to speak of, and their family is ghost protocol.

There is a gun, a piece of rope, a fur coat, a car left running, and a bridge, a running leap.

Smile or you’re dead. And then there was nothing. There was silence in the kitchen, children sleeping in the bedroom, milk and bread untouched and gas. There is no longer any breath, any oxygen in her throat. She is deader than most.