and on a train
two bags beside him,
all his belongings; his life
stuffed into it
Sitting across from me
35 and he’s lost
He holds his face away;
no grace in it, he smokes
a pack a day
even more, if he’s pockets are full
Where are you heading young sir?
He asks me, when I am not watching
but staring into my phone
The next stop is my stop, I respond
Don’t know, he says amused
35 and lost, still
There; then, when the train stops
He gets off
He asks my age, 21;
I tell him; and you sir?
We’re the same age then,
Winner of America.
Paper tigers ghosts.
Beast in the kitchen –
Drowned thing with her rosary.
At war with the roast.
Throne. Ghost. Leaf. All guests.
Pale. Ancestral bloodlines – a clever-experiment
Beach life. A green-ish plate.
Swimming towards velvet rays-of-light.
A child’s-laugh (bees). Sea mist.
Jasmine passion – reel.
Flowers in a lonely mind.
Illness for breakfast.
Alleys. Streets. Wolves. Sheep.
The shores-of-Johannesburg do not smell like anything-like-Malibu.
It’s primitive living-for-sale.
To the lighthouse soul.
To Sappho, Antigone’s divine-ceremony.
Go fishing in rifts.
Something is damaged –
There is a richness in dust – mother-tongue.
Post-apartheid things. Compasses.
You are a typhoon –
Waves in the folds of daylight.
Childhood stars are past.
The end of violence –
The world’s feast is not my home.
Celestial routes. Fruits.
First of all LIFE is difficult, that is the general fact that I have come to be acquainted with but am struggling to embrace because when it gets tough you just cannot imagine that another person is going through worse than what you are going through. Life’s hardest moments present us with answers after the tears have streamed down our faces. Different kinds of tears representing different kinds of problems. Let me also clarify that tears are not a sign of existing problems but that the tears also come to represent joy. A kind of joy that reminds us of the pain we have left behind, a kind of joy that represents the opposite of what pain is.
As I write this, I am going through a difficult time in my life, the pain that shakes the core of my being. The present tears are the kind that explains everything even before anyone asks. At different times they come in different forms representing the current emotions and thought patterns. But even as these tears stream down my face I can picture the aftermath.
I fear crying, in a weird way that I do not understand myself; I fear crying even when I’m on my own. I feel stupid for crying over anything and I quickly remind myself to get back to my senses. In a way this is what destroys me but today I’m trying to fight back these tears and I cannot this time. The problem at this time has taken its toll on me and I cannot act tough anymore. The tears have been held in for a long time and if they are not released I might be at breaking point beyond repair. This is an example of the tears that we often try to fight back maybe because we have not received an opportune time and moment to release them. The tears that suddenly stream down in a silent manner when you least expect them to, these tears represent the pain we feel deep down in our souls, they stream down involuntarily as you are sitting there replaying that pain in your head. No sound, no sobbing, no twitching just warm water streaming down and if you happen to open your mouth to wipe them off you can taste the saltiness. I believe the saltiness comes from the bitterness we feel deep within at the moment in time.
When you are going through so much pain it might be even hard to think that the light at the end of that tunnel is going to show. It is hard to believe in the knowledge that all that hurt instructs. Our life is generally centered upon: GOD, the self, family, our work, our friends, our romantic interests. At least that is how I understand the interconnectedness of these parts to travel in this journey called life. This is not a generalization for everyone but to those that can relate,[God is stated above in referring to my own personal belief in this higher power in the way that I have been conditioned to understand him and have actively chosen to believe in, as it seems to work for me].
Pain is unavoidable, it instructs, it brings growth, it does not knock before entering, it simple introduces itself at any time in our lives and seeks to take control and overcome. Pain comes in the form of problems that we face in our day to day life but it can only be measured subjectively because what may feel like pinch to one its heartache to another. The pain ranges from little to medium to so much pain. Tears follow but all dependent on how each individual deals with their own small or enormous struggle. I for one am very emotional but tears take much time to stream out because I do not allow them to.
In my pain I often get the answers that I need to overcome this pain from prayer and directive thought. Directive thought however can be achieved only when you have reached the level of self consciousness that places you at the ‘VICTOR’ category than the ‘VICTIM’ category. Only when you understand that you need to discipline yourself, accept responsibility for your own LIFE and wellbeing are you able to overcome pain. As tears stream down they show you this clear view, the release of deep seated painful emotions provides one with a clearer view of what is on the other side. Unfortunately when it comes to pain not many people make it out as ‘victor’, life’s problems take control and cause them to remain victims waiting on someone/something else to save them. In this life no one can save you from pain, no one can protect you, the only probably cause for our living is how we deal with this pain, let the tears flow and be thankful for the tears because the aftermath introduces us to a positive view.
When painful situations arise and as the tears fall…let them fall…you need them…they lead you to a better path…they set us free., we need to ask ourselves questions of control:, how much control do you have over this current situation, how much indirect control do I have and if possible do I even have control?… These questions help us as grievers in particular moments to identify the steps we need to take to be victor and grow from the pain. Too many times we stress over things we cannot control and depress ourselves.
Tears I have realized help, I love tears because after they have dried up I am left with feelings of gratitude. Let us embrace our tears because the aftermath of our tears delivers the silver lining. This is my story, I don’t know about your story but I hope you can relate.
She sent him a message …
A message of her undying love….upon a cloud
The cloud full of passion and love….embraced his soul
The silky white cloud resembled the purity of the love
That no force could ever separate
A love that stood the test of time
has reached the heavens!
Once a boy was hatched.
Born with sonnet wings most heaven-sent –
Eased into planting.
Appalled by the world’s stage.
Tooth – radar splitting the hunt
Courage is exposed.
Brilliant inner sea –
His cry glides across the moon.
This mother tongue comforts me.
Ghost of a vision.
Every finger a stem –
Leaves antiques, tears sap.
Winter’s bone – a party’s birthday balloon
Summoning earth’s ripening –
Blades of pleasant grass.
Aloes from Bethelsdorp –
The green world’s-majority is not my home.
Only Goethe’s throne.
Mum’s June wedding lace.
Dad’s glove was lost at the church.
His Mrs. Dalloway.
There were her roses.
Granadilla hands in earth.
Ice lungs frozen. Night.
Dolls in childhood – dead
Things. Once attached to slippers.
Church. Girlhood friendships.
Origins of wives –
Daughters, girls. A dramatic gulf.
Ruined geraniums. Roasts.
And so I come to the lady in the water, the sinner (but in the end aren’t we all sinners). Virginia Woolf in the flesh, that death of the drowning visitor. Her brain cells turned into the cemented atonement of dead moths. Deaths that can be accounted for. Physical bodies that can’t be spirited away, mended only souls torn from the material. Absolutely nothing escaped Virginia. The glory of love (she had that white wedding, the gift of love, she knew it, she knew of it, defended it graciously, she was no failure. I am that failure). Nothing escaped her passionate seeing eyes, her liberty, her meditations on nature, her platelets, mitochondria and bilateral symmetry no more. Only the grit, the brick walls, the mysterious interiors of the mansions of her work remained. Left behind. Granite. Diaries left behind for apprentices. Her intuition, breath and vitality has left this damned for an eternity to hell corpse. What does she have to do with the parenting skills of my distant manic depressive father and my elegant and cold mother, my cool mental illness that needed a room of its own to coexist with my brother’s cigarette smoke, his fatherhood, and his triumph where I had failed and then I voyaged inwards. River Ouse captivated me. I am a woman who writes. Virginia Woolf was a woman who was a wife, a lover and woman who wrote. My ordinary madness became a thing of beauty to me. Me an empty vessel who found bright stars in women, in their husbands and children, in flowers in a vase, in the fabric of the universe at night. I am Orlando. I am Lady Lazarus. I have lived vicariously through Hiroshima, Jean Rhys the demimonde and artist’s model and the feminist Sylvia Plath’s cutting-edged authentic words signalling warning, communicating threads of wisdom, and protest poetry. I needed to understand the London scene, Ted Hughes, Assia Wevill, and the child from that union, Shura. I’m afraid of modernism because it’s not modernism that is taking over the world. It’s writing. The interpretations of an inner life, innerness, marriage, creativity and madness.
Vita and Virginia sitting in a tree. K-i-s-s-i-n-g. Don’t ‘look’ at me. Look at ‘me’. Our intimacy is something special. Something golden. Your skin is a fabric I could drown in. I can do without religion but I cannot do without you. You have given me the highest form of art, and that is inspiration. How can I ever repay you? Come to me you elegant creature with all of the hopes that you have for yourself. Your goals have become mine. Your dreams my own. Beautiful, elegant Vita. My Orlando. When I read your work I am filled with a clarity of vision, astute perfection, and I feel as if I am your sole possession to have, to have, to have. Can I borrow some of your inhibitory nature, your anticipatory nostalgia, your poetic descriptions, your sky, and the sky in your eyes, your flowers, the flowers that you meditate upon in your garden, your compass that navigates you across the passages of London and Europe? And I want to share something else with you if you will let me. I have come to care very deeply about you. Understand this. Understand that I don’t want to own you, claim you for my own as I am sure others have wanted to do in the past, and I do not want to possess you, and enter your world as a lover and leave as an interloper. When we are together like this, you reading my words (because there are parts of me that want to be completely honest with you about how safe I feel with the charming and seductive you). When we sit together there is still a veil of privacy, an idea of privacy on my part. I am sure the same goes for you too. You’ve become my obsession and I can think of no one else’s company that I want to be in. When I’m with you I can feel electricity. I find your poetry, your humility, your abandonment, your inhibitory current stunning, Vita. You are the second love of my life. You are all the dimensions of my world. I find you clever, so artistic, your work is electric, so imaginative and Vita.
I’ve always been curious of married life. I thought I would be surround by the walls of a prison and then I married, became a wife but did not have those children and I discovered how far from the truth that was. Marriage frees you in a sense in so many wonderful and illuminating ways. I wanted Leonard. I wanted love but not necessarily a husband because I didn’t think that love came with having a husband. Love comes with having a likeminded companion. You, Vita, are that likeminded companion. You come with love, with passion.
Observe the adjustments in my personality carefully whenever I am with you, study, and evaluate my dying in your arms. Learn my half-truths and white lies as I do yours Vita. I only have to hear your voice and I thrive. I achieve a new intelligence, a new acting, a new materialism, and a new language in that dry season. It should be as obvious to you now as it is to me that I am utterly besotted, smitten by you. I am in love with you. Let’s set up house together. Get away together if that’s impossible. And when I am without you I am a winter guest in a cold storm. I want to tell you that there is something luxurious and soothing about your skin. My Vita. I am at your mercy. Your perfume fills my head. And when I begin to live vicariously through you, self-consciously or consciously my sadness has a complex wavelength. Brutal accomplishments threading my humanity. I have longed for them my whole life. The gratitude I have for you being a part of my life has become educational. They did not think of the extraordinary consequences of the gift of their relationship. They did not think. Period. They lived for love like other women did for being regarded as sex objects, parties, men, the London scene and flowers. Instead they are transformed.
The lovers whisper to themselves. They don’t want to part. The grass was a dream. And they were both brides rushing to the end of adolescence, the English summer weather, its immediacy of sustaining both women’s ideas of silence in the complexity of detachment. Here in the countryside, shielded by multitudes of simplistic chores, sharing the routine of waking up to their literary work, neither woman could untangle herself from their ‘marriage’. These elegant English heroines, English novelists whose writings were hypnotic were oblivious to reality, the outside world, and men were rendered insignificant, invisible. Men became others and humanity, the female of the species existed in a time and space that became known as the unknown future.
After the dust, the sexual disclosure, the impulsivity of the lesbian love affair between Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West no sentence could shame the both of them, their writing process, their divine prowess. Woolf gave Sackville-West authority over her physical body, and in return Sackville-West did the same. Gaps, flashbacks, embarrassing regret should come with the territory of an affair that comes to an end. The silence is textured with what is not being said, the acute longing, and the despair of loneliness, of a seductive theory identifying the beginning of this lifelong romance, the mutual admiration committee between these two gifted English women.
I know what it is to suffer. To live with the face of enduring love shining upon my frozen countenance, love realigning my psychological frame, my sexual pace. Your power stifles me, a thing. And a woman alone.
At first it’s a glance framing reality, a sensual anticipation and so the landscape’s feast becomes symbolic of what will come after this inconvenient love.
Photographs survive. Historical events, knowledge, actors but not manic depressives, the mentally ill, people who have an absence of order in their lives. The living do not survive.
In our world morals are made of shrinking ice. Our love is fingered apocalyptic bliss. The detailed built foundations of the sublime. To hurt someone else is an inconvenience. To be hurt in return embroiders negative patterns in your thoughts for an unseen lifetime, it cheapens secrets, weaving, slaughtering the golden, the sensual image of the physical body.
There is nothing that can be a replacement for the latter.
Virginia Woolf. Was she still that molested child? Hurt, confused, yet her mind still cool and pure, cleansed of any illness, elements of fantasy, climate change, global warning, world poverty, trafficking did not coexist in her field of vision yet. She delayed the information. The bridges to the onslaught of mental illness. All she wanted was freedom. And this she found with Vita Sackville-West.
And as an adult did she not want children, a whole screaming tribe of them of her own, a child so that she could mend all the wrongs of the past.
Already she had a plan while writing in her diary Virginia, ‘I know I’ll never love this way again.’ And then the River Ouse was upon her like a lake. And there it was. She wanted to die. She wanted to waste away. Find a wilderness of her own making. She wanted to beg to the gods. The unwritten freedom which had been her church, and like a religion to her had left her angelic perspective. The dead end the shortcut to a hellish parade, the seducer. The hook of injustice was in her heart. She lived (it was but a pale gesture) but in death she lives extraordinarily.
Social media – flux.
Lunch. History wilderness.
Broken hinges. Spice.
Post-apartheid child underfoot –
There is footstomping-traffic in my house.
Toy guns. Cowboy hats.
I am the June guest –
Greedy for ritual. Sonnets.
Orlando’s river –
Habits of tsunamis past.
What remains is life.
I read as a child –
In books, there are valleys. Hills.
Worlds were within reach.
I seek not to alter the fabric of space
To unwind time irreversible
What I seek, is the voice
The voice that stands firm,
Sets paths unchanged,
Moves mountains untrailed,
Sets fire unquenched,
Builds brigdes connected,
Calms seas untamed,
A beacon to weary souls,
Water to the parched heart,
Solace to the unembraced,
I seek the voice everlasting,
The voice pending,
The voice infinite,
The voice sustaining,
My voice an echo unchanging.