THE NIGHT IS AN OLD FRIEND

Illustrations by Tendai Msimang.

 

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an old friend

Nights like those were seldom at my age. As I strolled along the coast of Tegal Besar, the black sand sliding off my feet as if coated with marble I thought, See More

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a prayer

I walked through a park with an old respectable man. He talked about the breeze, about the tiny droplets of rain. “Shall we sit a while,” he asked, See More

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portrait

It’s fascinating, the things we do to keep ourselves amused. I had a Russian man take my photograph. I touched my body and arched my back. See More

BRANDS OF LOVE 

 

I’ve seen the way men look at me. For a moment it’s as if they are found. Like they’ve found something rare and gentle. Like I were their only hope. But what I love is the grip of their hands around my neck, I love it when I’m overpowered. When I feel as though I have no choice and I’m moaning and they won’t stop. I wonder what it would take for him to hear me. Must I bite his ears and scratch him?Must I scream with my voice that won’t carry, until I finally have the guts not to speak?

 

It’s taken a while for me to arrive at this, to admit that I’m so willing to be destroyed. It contradicts my posture and my love of literature. Though I may marvel at a twig in a stream or take pre-caution with my skirt through a breeze, there is no grace in my desire. There is no art in how I love.

 

So before you fix your burning eyes on me or imagine my body bathed in milk, understand that I am not a gentle thing. I am intense and vulgar. I rolled in the mud as a child and I was forced to take a shower.

 

It doesn’t take much to know a person. A small effort would be enough. And it’s not fair to ask to be understood by someone you’ve never tried to understand. Men do this all the time, when they think that you are beautiful. They see all sorts of things, even the future, but not you.

 

ITS LIKE THAT WHERE I’M FROM, NOT A BONE IN MY BODY ACHES

 

THE OSTEOPATH

The osteopath tells me my intestines are in knots because I miss my father, because there is a hole in my heart. It has crippled the right side of my body she says, and I laugh as she speaks. She is quaint and petite, she looks like a black bird with the spirit of june.

Except I’m thinking about my lecturer, about my basketball coach, about that croaked old man with his watch and his toys. She’s wrong, I tell myself, I haven’t seen my father in years. It’s like that where I’m from, not a bone in my body aches.

-How’s your balance? she asks
-I always trip on my right foot, It’s like that in my family, my mother does the same.

She fiddles with my hip bone, with my head and my toes. When she’s done she says I stand better, that both my feet are steady on the ground. I supposed she saw my heart when she was looking at my posture. She said my back hurt from a pain in my womb, that our lives are inscribed on the surface of our minds. But does she know I killed my child, or of the time I almost died when I couldn’t see the traffic cause the sun was in my eyes. Does she know I tried to write? in a small attempt at flight, before my mentor said I ought to feel the ground beneath my feet...get a note pad, he said document concrete expressions...then write some more, and I wrote some more just as I was told.

I think his hairline was receding. I noticed that then, when I thought to rip his heart from his wife and from his child.

 

 

You may marvel at an eagles flight or envy its autonomy. But amazement leaves you fixed in wonder, while envy makes you ponder”
— The Lost Flamingo
 

ONE GOLDEN DAY

Photographed by blackChenn.

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ONE GOLDEN DAY

It's another one of those golden days, the dead leaves layer the pavement, the sun colours us red. Read more                                           

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DEALER ON THE ROAD 

I paid three hundred and twelve Euro's to see a musician on his last tour. Read more

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ANOTHER WALK

The old man and I walked side by side, respectably— slow as discipline. Read more

 

TALES OF THE ORANGE TIME OF DAY

 

On the north coast of Indonesia, just east of Lovina, the Lambert's built their villa near an old monastery which housed blind orphans. The French–English family moved to Singaraja five years ago, and their decision to relocate remained somewhat of an enigma. Mrs. Lambert, often described as something of a floating spirit, had since taken it upon herself to educate her son Leo and daughter Celine.

“We are fortunate enough to be impractical” she'd often say jestingly, in an attempt to justify her digressions when teaching. It therefore came as no surprise that her first born Leo, sharp as he was, seemed to lack basic algebraic skills, though at the age of twenty-one he'd mastered the art of antique restoration and ceramics. He soon developed an unmatched passion for mythology, and I arrived to find him persuading his mother to invest in a library, arguing it would benefit the community. See More

 

 
 
THE LOST FLAMINGO

THE LOST FLAMINGO 

coming soon...

When he asked that I tell him the colour of sunset or the fickle hours of mild heat and temperate winds, I said it was the orange time of day”
— Tales of The Orange Time of Day

 

CHINA AFRICA RELATIONS 

 

Some men have an obsession with being profound. Ever notice that? The formality in their tone? Sure, they are often profound. But that’s not really sexy. I would hate to be profoundly unclothed. Find myself profoundly naked. I would hate to feature the weight of the world with the weight of a man on my body. And then this talk of China Africa relations. Why that’s not sexy at all. Of late, several occasions have forced me to consider such a thing; and I find myself feeling small and inarticulate. It’s not so much that I don’t know, but that I should have known. I should have known about the economic recession of 2008 or the geographic location of my judicial capital. 

 

It’s just sometimes I’ll see something beautiful and it becomes my only concern; like a fruit fly in the company of these profound men, I’ll see a flock of birds take flight from the branches of an apple tree in winter, and I’ll imagine that its leaves are falling up. And of course, such a thing can’t come up in conversation. I can’t even mention it in bed. Instead I’ll scrape my mind for a subject of substance and hope that he wont probe deeper.

 

I’m not sure how I got involved with this guy. What happened was, he looked very good and the other people didn’t, and somewhere along the way I found there was a mind in there and I was flattered by his liking of me. I tell him, “I know a lot, but nothing that matters,” he reassures that “there are many ways to be wise.” And suddenly it matters a little less if I am a writer, and I am more concerned as to whether that’s profound. I’m wondering when I forgot to place my feet on the ground, or when I started hovering on this cloud. 

 

That’s the thing with these men of certainty, they make you feel as though there is certainty on the ground. They’ll have you watching the news and coveting newspapers, and trying very hard to be profound. But then somewhere in the gaze you couldn’t hold, your tone, the little things; those things add up. Caused him to ask himself; when did all these feelings grow? or wonder if they are feelings at all, whether it is simply because you are beautiful, and if that’s all one needs to feel a certain way. 

 

 

PEOPLE OF THE SUN

Paintings by Mikka Kabugo 

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Simplicity

"Hedge hogs are not Porcupines and lizards are not crocodiles simply because they look alike" Read more                                           

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Cause 

The tired Beggar in the metro sings redemptions songs each time I pass him by. Read more

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Golden Coffee

There are many men that could sweep me off my feet, but I've never met a man who could fly Read more

TUNNEL VISION 

 

When is it okay to leave? I’ve always done it prematurely. I promised myself I wouldn’t behave this way again, but with you, from the very start I was afraid. 

 

You looked so much like the kind of man who would leave me. You spoke like him, walked with that same indifference. That cold demeanor which gradually reduces me. And I tried, I fought the urge so many times, but each time I never heard from you I felt I simply have to leave you. 

 

You are one of many stories which ended just the same. But I did what I could to maintain my sanity. I simply could not give you the power to raise my spirit, not If I could afford it on my own. 

 

And though it is hard to be alone, its far worse when it’s not your choice; when you are banished from a very simple truth: That solitude might be the only lasting pleasure. It is almost as reliable as pain. 

 

 

Sorrow and solitude, these are the precious things and the only words that are worth remembering”
— Towns Van Zandt

 

 

 

 

THE DEATH OF A POET

Photographed by Tendai Msimang.

 

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THE DEATH OF A POET 

I want to blame my ruin on the people. They came too near and stole my art. Read More

 

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THE SOCIALITE

In all my efforts to keep them near, I'm still trying, very hard to be sincere. Read More

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THE PRICE OF YOUTH 

Blood clots the size of a babies fist stain the carpet, block the toilets and color the bedsheets red.Read More

God give us men. A time like this demands strong minds,
great hearts, true faith and ready hands...
— J.G. Holland

 

 

LOVE IN THAT SUNKEN PLACE 

 

From as far back as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be in love. To me love was to speak softly, to have long silky hair. Love never wanted to fuck you from behind. Love carried you, looked you in the eyes. Love was between an man named Ridge and a girl named Taylor. love was a soundtrack over their laughter, it was a confession, a quiet understanding. It was your begging, my neglecting, and our reconciliation. To my mind I was strong, when you where always on your knee’s. Thats what love was to me, its the way I’ve always imagined it. Making love in the shower, reading a book as it rained. 

 

 

 

All the things she didn’t want.
She considered the lilies of the field
— Vita Sachville West

 

 

GRACE 

The moon is a big round ball in the sky. The sun is an orange, the world is a field. The old man saw simply so as to  better understand things or better reenact things, I never could decide. As a child he’d joined the theatre , I’m told that he could dance, and many mistook his silence for some lacking or in-expression. “Introverts simply need an outlet” they’d say with all the calm a practice of such enthusiasm could muster. The director was a starved musician with creative passion he felt best expressed through theatre. Yet in all of his enthusiasm it had never occurred to him that an introvert might simply prefer the right to be contained, and unknowingly he’d disturbed the young mans placidity, having him believe it more pleasant to be on one’s feet, to move, to speak, to jump around in vexing activity. Now the old man’s steady pace, his grace could almost spit on him. “I finally suit myself” he said, and he walked slow, very slow.

YOU WERE RIGHT TO BE AFRAID 

Photographed by Cesare Bedogne

 

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Fear

They all think someone terribly important lives in there. Someone important but rather cruel. See More

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Be yourself

Call it selfish if you must. But I believe every choice must bring you closer to yourself. See More

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Selfish 

I've only noticed the things I've run into, the things which caused me to pause or change course.  See More

Still the sun was hot, still one got over things,
still life had a way of adding day to day
— Virginia Woolf

 

TO SIMPLIFY WHAT IS COMPLICATED

 

If I didn’t come here, I might not have changed. I might have seemed tall and illusive. I might have met a man equally tall and illusive. And we would live that way, enigmatic and unknown.  But I can’t shake that fact or feeling now, that the sky sits very close to the ground, that our world is suddenly bipolar, that we are in a crucial place, at a crucial time. 

 

Meanwhile I am writing poetry, I’m reading fantasy, I cant articulate the change thats taking place beneath me. By the time I place my feet on the ground I’ll have no concept of whats around. 

 

This is what I feel when I hear you. When I become afraid of you all. When you speak of things I can’t understand to an audience that seems to understand. It sounds like the language of the current world, the subject of China Africa Relations. You are all so perfectly suited to this world, and you’ll never know shame, and I can feel it. 

 

But I will carry on convincing myself that there is some significance in being an artist. That there is importance in my book club meetings, that there may be relevance in my trickery and words. 

 

I don’t mean to express my inadequacy. I’m only competent enough to submit-- that I’m an artist, I am a poet, and I can only use my art to say something more. 

WHAT IT IS TO BE LOVED 

Paintings by James Sserwadda

 

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WHAT it is to be loved

I call him a horticulturalist because he mows the lawn and waters his weeds, because he loves to read in his garden. Read more

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Dear Vincent

A man in dark brown pointed shoes, a hat and turquoise scarf, is staring at your dead sunflowers and saying, "They're full of life." Read more

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Careworn

I saw a tall dark haired man, (or should I say a boy), smoking a cigarette out in the cold, talking to a fine young ginger, waving his hands in speech    like he meant something. Read more