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VOLUME 37 NUMBER 2
South African Literary Journal Volume 37, No 2, Winter 2009
Published in association with the Centre for Creative Writing, UCT
Edited by HA Hodge
Special Literary Patron
Dr Z Pallo Jordan, Minister of Arts & Culture
André Brink, JM Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, Dan Jacobson
Michael Cope, Geoffrey Haresnape, Michael King, Paul Mills, Stephen Watson
Prof Rosemary Gray (University of Pretoria), HA Hodge, Prof Craig MacKenzie (University of Johannesburg), Prof David Medalie (University of Pretoria), Prof Stephen Watson (University of Cape Town) New Contrast is a peer-reviewed journal published by the South African Literary Journal, a non-profit company limited by guarantee.
ISSN-8: 1017-5415 ISSN-13: 977-1017-54100-8
Business Manager Sonja Wilker Cover painting: ‘Man with Pink Hat’ by Thandi Sliepen DTP by User Friendly Printed and bound by Tandym Print Publication date June 2009
We thank the following patrons and benefactors for their continuing support for the South African Literary Journal: RN Curry, Keith Gottschalk, Roy MacNab, I McGregor, D van Niekerk, Peter Visser, Mrs CA Wood and others who wish to remain anonymous.
and provided the photographs taken by family and friends. This issue contains new voices and familiar. particularly if you are a contributor. We’ve had some success in that over the last two years subscriber numbers have nearly doubled. By kind permission of Shirley Maclennan. whether individual or institution. I hope within this year. I hope you find as great a pleasure in the reading as I have in selecting these examples of current writing. who has written with warmth and affection of Don. that you do subscribe and if possible encourage others to. Quite soon. The scanning of the full set of the journal. Look up and down the road. also be possible. I hope. We turn around And go back inside. Buster Petersen *** . a close friend of Don and his family. both Contrast and New Contrast. we bring you unpublished poems by Don from Dress Rehearsal. bar the current year’s issues. The campaign to recruit subscribers continues. I hope. that we have published in the last nearly 50 years. we will make available on-line everything. We are making progress but are not yet close to our objectives which would go a long way towards assuring the financial health of the journal. reproduced here. Additional ‘seats’ for on-line access by the general public will. Small minds We walk to the front gate. I am indebted to Douglas Skinner. is nearly complete at UCT. This resource will become available to every subscriber. and too late to prepare an appropriate tribute. That is now remedied.Notes The death of Don Maclennan last February came as the journal was due to go to print.
net. I will edit it. Send me a brief biography: it can be as formal or not as you like.net or to the business manager business@newcontrast. Make sure your name.new contrast Please send me electronic copies of your work. making space for a replacement. At this stage. When a piece is published it is removed ‘from stock’. such as Notepad. of course. or send me an RTF. or any other text writer. The New Contrast blog is live at http://newcontrast. If you have no access to a PC at an Internet café. openoffice. I cannot pay you beyond the two free copies of the magazine every contributor should receive. Send me a separate document for each piece of work: I want five documents if you send me five poems: zip them together. If you would like to write a review.co.book. Hugh . let me know. FEEDBACK: send me a letter by email or snail.org/). I never have time to transcribe from paper to MS Word. but preferably the former. I will still read your stuff.za. Make sure you complete the Properties tab in the document. postal address. REVIEWERS: I receive books for review regularly. I am introducing a small change to the way I manage contributions. And. If you have no access to MS Word. By extension I am reviewing all contributions ‘in stock’ and asking writers to reduce the number of those items to six. I now store each piece on Google Docs where we can collaborate easily and quickly. email address and telephone number are on every page of the document: use the footer in MS Word to record the information. I monitor conversations there regularly. use Open Office (which is free – http://www. Interesting comments or suggestions I will publish. you can send email to the editor ed@newcontrast. but your chances of being published are significantly reduced.
new contrast Contents Orpheus Voyeur Gödel Dress rehearsal Douglas Skinner Lemon Verbena. Die Natte En Die Bobaas Voete Chris Eugene Canter I’ll go to South Africa Don Maclennan 7 8 9 10 11 15 25 30 30 31 32 33 34 36 36 37 37 37 38 39 40 40 41 42 43 44 46 47 49 . Cricket and Henry Miller: in memoriam Don Maclennan (1929–2009) Rosemund Handler Extract from Tsamma Season Joan Metelerkamp Twee Rivieren Kevin Dean Hollinshead Unexpected News Jane Bruwer Couch Potato Laura Kirsten my rym I Thandi Sliepen art again Andries Samuel … Genna Gardini Horses Heads: Kobus Moolman The Mountain Grace Kim Poetry Inadequate Acting male Damian Garside The Ontogenesis of Porn Consuelo Roland Against Appointments Deborah Steinmair Chance encounter Dream weaver Bulelwa Basse My Lyrical SASS Barry Wallenstein Pandemonium Drastic Dislocations Norman Morrissey Like a San Maiden Allan Kolski Horwitz The Bread Of The Dutch Is Death Charl-Pierre Naudé Rekonstruksie Mari Mocke Die Sappe.
Ohio Kelwyn Sole Poem of earth and fire Poems of air and water Ken Barris In Grahamstown Clive Lawrance Cape Cobra Mark Swift At Hadrian’s Wall Elizabeth Joss The Lie of Your Land Mark Swift Exile at Home Clive Lawrance Writing Their Lives John Simon Kindertotenlieder in Seville Contributors 50 56 61 65 65 66 68 68 77 86 87 88 88 96 97 98 99 100 108 109 111 112 112 113 114 116 117 118 119 120 121 121 122 . 2008 Gus Ferguson Haikoids Our Charlize Adam Wiedewitsch Gorée Sam Manty The MD Tiah Marie Beautement A Melktert Day Louis Greenberg Origami Jonty Driver Sad Song Sumeera Dawood Acceptance Being a woman Marcia Leveson The Wedding Jane Bruwer Dawid Kramer Heidi Marques My Dompas Jacques Coetzee What Is Real Richard Bunch Looking for Home Lisa Lazarus Boom Doug Downie Bill’s Bumper John Simon Death at Noon Michael Bernard Shadows Rustum Kozain Depression Bowling Green. November 4.Doug Scott The Un-Wars of Tarzan’s Oyster ‘Reality’ Redefined As Beating A Woman Obama Day.
© Shirley Maclennan. 2009 Don and Shirley. summer sunlight and the elms reflected in the toaster. By kind permission of Shirley Maclennan. You brushed your hair 7 . our own sheets drying on the line.new contrast Don Maclennan Four poems selected by Douglas Skinner from Dress Rehearsal. a collection of poems unpublished at the time of Don’s death. we sat at breakfast. 1957 Orpheus We began together moving stones away to make a garden. Married.
The sky is black with strife and I have become opaque even to myself. the sky a suffocating black. bayonets glinting in the guilty light. At home in December 2005 8 . Voyeur Had I been there with Goya on that third of May.new contrast at the window. I could not help myself. pleased with being you. longing to see you as you were when first we met. But I lost you by looking back. I have been dragged along on the bloody tide of history. You opened your arms and cried my name as darkness swallowed you again. I would have watched the execution of insurgents in the eerie lantern glow. After years I went to look for you. the hill behind them blocking their escape.
that’s time. A break from climbing rock faces at Bloukrans River 9 . We invent it to explain why it is we die. like today. But when we die. Sometimes what he says feels true. otherwise. it makes me feel like Sisyphus pushing his boulder up a never-ending hill. the termination of a lineal stretch from birth to final silence. The weightlessness of time is like the memory of a hand that touched you just a moment ago.new contrast Gödel Gödel says there’s no such thing as time. it has no weight or force. a hint of thistledown.
10 . a drip fixed to her skeletal hand. ‘This is not a dress rehearsal.new contrast Ben Maclennan scattering his father’s ashes on Compassberg Dress rehearsal A blown dandelion. Whispering like the wind down an empty hallway she said. The whirlpool of her eyes saw through our discomfiture. she was tucked into a tidy hospital bed.’ She looked at us as though we’d wasted so much life waiting for it to gather meaning.
he met Shirley May Knapp of Cleveland. none of us. he returned to post-WW2 Britain to study at Edinburgh University. After matriculating. graduating with an MA in Philosophy. graduating with an MA in English. In 2005. they celebrated that increasingly rare achievement. I walked into my first tutorial in the old English Department at Rhodes University and started a conversation with Don Maclennan that was to continue for the next forty-one years.new contrast The sister drew the curtains against the fierce sun. They moved to South Africa. In Edinburgh. but all of those he touched—for we are. They married in 1955 and their eldest son. ooo Don Maclennan was born in England in 1929. As a boy. where he and Shirley had three more children: Joe. Douglas Skinner Lemon Verbena. until his family moved to South Africa in 1938 and settled in the then Transvaal. he attended The Greycoat School in Victoria. London. In the grounds outside peacocks screamed. Ben. a mind alone. Cricket and Henry Miller: in memoriam Don Maclennan (1929-2009) On a bright summer morning in early 1968. The ending of that conversation leaves me so much less than I was. fifty years of marriage. Ohio. was born in Edinburgh in 1956. and not just me. and for so many of us it has been a profound luxury to have been enriched by the overlapping of his mind with ours. David and Susan. 11 . before returning to study at Wits.
new contrast Don lectured at Wits and UCT before being persuaded by Guy Butler to join the English Department at Rhodes University in 1966. 1981. Many think of Don primarily as a writer. also. he had a stroke and died after a brief period in hospital in Port Elizabeth. By this. but rather to that of the still-living. whereas death brings sharply into focus—regardless of all the assertions presented by society’s The family in the back garden. as noted by Rhodes. (Not in photo: Susan) 12 . retiring in 1994. who must navigate that most difficult of passages. the period after someone loved has died and they are left with nothing but loss. an ‘inspirational teacher …[who]… continued to give weekly seminars on a voluntary basis for ten years after his retirement …’ In February. I refer not to the supposed immaterial alternative existences of those whose life has come to an end. but this is not the whole truth. where he taught for the next thirty-eight years. ooo It is in the life after death where the most difficult puzzles are unwound. for he was. The many and varied smaller insults to the body heal with time.
Grahamstown: whole afternoons idled away in laughter and intensely played cricket matches on the lawn. Dan Wylie. slices of fresh white bread smeared with butter and honey from the wild At a reading in 2007 with (L-R) Chris Mann. John Forbis. He constantly mined his own memories. making supple and surprising poems from an amalgam of closely observed details—touchstones such as figs. ooo Don was quintessentially a humanist and metaphysician of the senses. blossoms. honey—and insightful philosophical thinking. Farouk Asvat and Robert Berold (front) 13 . sunlight. searching for an understanding of what it means to be a person. lemons. Stephen Gray.new contrast many cultural beliefs—questions that remain unanswered. I wonder. are we to accommodate the loss of such a singular voice? I don’t know. mulberries. ooo Some of my most important early memories involve the Maclennan house and garden on Frances Street. wood smoke. voices. pebbles. music. So it is with the passing of Don Maclennan. How. soap.
taking turns. I think. a handful of poems that are among the most important of our tradition. listening to him read from In Memoriam Oskar Wolberheim. once it can be seen in context with the luxury of some hindsight. after supper had been eaten and the dishes cleared. sitting around the Queen Anne stove in the living room on a winter’s evening with friends from near and far. almost all. 1975 14 . Henry Miller’s Colossus of Maroussi or Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. making salad for lunch in a large wooden bowl. the smell of the lemon verbena close to the steps. to write to or receive letters from. heavy stones. Thankfully we have his writing. to read aloud from. his internal autobiography. is all that’s left. In that body of work there are. Thanks to family and friends for the photographs Back garden cricket. will be understood to be central to South African letters.new contrast bees in a hollow tree trunk in the back garden. the original unreliable narrator. ooo But now he is no longer there to visit or call. say. helping him build a set of steps between the lawn and flower beds out of rough. I am glad to be able to keep turning to them and finding there strong echoes of the priceless conversation I was privileged to have. Don’s legacy of poems is an immense contribution. an afternoon in his cool study. and memory. Well. one whose importance. raking and burning leaves in autumn.
and a view of scrub and dunes so arid that it seemed no living thing could possibly survive there. she pleaded. he said. the view was endless. and there were flat areas where they could grow mealies and a few vegetables. well-drained kraals for the sheep. The wind blew ceaselessly. but where was she to find a window to look through? Water. Mother’s heart was not comforted. a sweet thorn. which was much further than it had looked from the wagon. 15 . We will not need it yet. in the distance. long abandoned. exulted father. It broke before Kobie and father could get the wagon up the hill. This is a well. father was capering around her. The sheep clustered together as rain lashed down. what of water? Father took her hand again and led her some way down the scrubby hillside. jubilantly pointing out the advantages of the site. there were three thorns and black thorns. there was plenty of room for spacious. Look at the view from your window. even acacia karoo. It sloped gently. elevated above the surrounding area and above the high watermark of flash flooding of the Auob. looking around despondently. there were hornbills and shrikes. she asked.new contrast Rosemund Handler Extract from Tsamma Season Mother climbed the crest of the hill. The site. There were kameeldorings and shepherd’s trees. and looked around her. Here. And indeed. Father led her by the hand to the top of the rise. was even better than he remembered. to a flat area surrounded by stones. Meanwhile. drenching everything within minutes. a storm is coming. Where will we build our home. But I am convinced we will quickly find water here again. a borehole. Best of all. long abandoned. We must put out the barrels. She saw nothing but a poor rock-strewn ruin. she had to clutch onto her hat with one hand while pinning down her skirts with the other. goshawks and rollers. He looked up at the sky.
said mother. It was a sight he never thought to see after such a downpour: the dunes blushing beneath the enormous golden eye of the rising sun. smelt as if the entire flock of wet sheep had bedded down with them. Kobie. Father was up at dawn. The sun was swiftly sucking up the moisture. While Kobie 16 . though the sky by then was brilliantly blue and the sand glowing in sunlight. and was forced to take shelter inside. who usually slept beneath the wagon or beside the fire. he and Kobie used some of them to mark out the first kraal. and Kobie succeeded in getting a fire going. The interior. or chalk stone. and thought about the words of the Boer woman. the rain gone and the riverbed still awash with pools of receding floodwaters. There were rocks strewn about which father thought to be of a great age. The only one who slept the night through was Kobie. was almost swept away by a mudslide. perhaps borne to the spot from some distance away. by what means he could not imagine. and a wondrous dawn it was. they slept on damp bedding as even the strong canvas covering of the wagon became weighed down beneath torrents of rain. to mark the site of the dwelling. That night. father dispatched Kobie with an axe to cut branches of kameeldoring trees alongside the riverbed to form the rafters of the roof. laying out the calcrete. All night the wagon groaned beneath the brutal beating of the rain. wondered if her husband had lost his mind. He attacked the work with vigour before he had even breakfasted. She sat on a chunk of chalk stone in the mud. and a rainbow of such radiance climbing the sky that he viewed it as a blessing from the desert gods on the home they would begin building that very day. the damp of the night still in her bones. her hat streaming water. stung by drops of rain the size of pebbles. on a gentle slope some distance from the site selected for the dwelling. Mother prepared the porridge. She decided she had never been more miserable in her life. In the afternoon. the two men completed the foundation of the dwelling that very day. Barely halting their labours to eat. a mini waterfall in itself. and wetness seeped unpleasantly into every dry thing inside it.new contrast Mother.
the mud and daub walls were smooth and dry. Meanwhile the wind blew. after that. and the chimney of stone above it. and the rafters prepared for roofing. Chummy and May began barking frantically. for which she wore old leather gloves that soon became dirty and torn. were built painstakingly by Kobie. and muddy to well above the ankles. The day came at last when the floor was laid. and to make extra saddles for the two horses. but protected her hands and fingers from deep lacerations.new contrast was busy. The sheep. They had purchased hides of gemsbok and red hartebeest in Upington. Keeping a sharp eye out for snakes. He dug for mud. In the days following. Gradually the pile of branches. father would hunt gemsbok and hartebeest. were left in the care of the dogs. On a night when the moon seemed the width of an eyelash above a black eyeball of sky. The fireplace in the kitchen. in the fireplace. and spread it in the sun to dry. and stacked it in piles with calcrete stone and any other stones he could find for reinforcement of the walls. Though the rain barrels were still fairly full from the downpour. where all three of them slept as if dead. the rafters of the dwelling shook. they began collecting dune reed for thatching. grew. When the tan-pit was ready. this was mother’s particular job. and morning dew dampened the dune reeds which. sagged limp as wet rags. father and mother walked down to the pools in the riverbed. with a hole at the top for a grid or a pot. roughly penned behind branches in their new kraal. and the process of tanning the essential hides could begin. the tan-pit. Thick cakes of dung made a good hearth. neatly laid by father above blocks of dried-out dung. neatly chopped to various lengths. a priority was to dig the well. More hides were needed to be cut into strips for binding. The tone 17 . Each day. but they soon found that there were not nearly enough to line the walls and ceilings and for the floorboards. he piled up stones in a neat square. Kobie gathered dung of wildebeest and gemsbok in the riverbed and surrounds. without hides to line them. The dune reeds dried out and were bound in sheaves with string. they worked from first light until the heat forced them to seek shade beneath a kameeldoring.
the 18 . Father lit two flares and gave one to Kobie. when an honest if unsolicited barter had taken place. May. had vanished into the night and did not respond to father’s repeated calls. father was almost convinced it was a baboon. thinking to surprise a leopard. barking incessantly. They started up. was in the vicinity of the sheep pen. stopped and began growling instead. he could not discern even a single branch. Kobie was already outside. and Kobie was worried. with their inferior night vision. Chummy. Kobie raised the flare still higher. who had been standing beside father. as they are easily seen by their prey. Something moved in the lower limbs of the tree: knobbly and dark. The dogs had not calmed. Kobie raised the flare. May bounded towards the trees. father held May by the scruff of her neck to silence her. In the thick dark. Kobie cast his flare in the direction of the branches of two large kameeldorings not far ahead of them. still barking. barking furiously. May exploded from the blackness. Drawing closer. but try though he might. it seemed part of it. a lion or a hyena. built at an angle some way below the home for good drainage. a dense clump against the sky. Father’s first thought was for the sheep. and dangerous for men. The growls grew in volume. usually so sensible.new contrast was different from any my parents had heard from them before. even though he knew there were no baboons in the Kalahari. In Kobie’s mind. her nose pointing up at the larger tree. there was little enough difference between a baboon and a Bushman. Crouching behind a large branch in a desperate bid to evade the light was their intruder. Father strained to see what the dog clearly could. a node of a branch trembling in the wind. She crouched down on her front legs in front of father. Kobie’s loud click of disgust told him otherwise. yet seemed free of agitation. He hefted the rifle and the two made for the main kraal. A bright moon discourages predators. His only experience of Bushmen in the Kalahari had been the single incident on his first visit to the desert. thinking a predator. That night. the faint sickle of moon made it dark enough to be a perfect opportunity for lions to hunt. to be hunting them. Father and Kobie cast their flares about in all directions. The sheep stirred.
From his reading. Kobie. a ‘tsk. in no such dilemma. he understood something of the communication. Kobie. With the light of the flare full on him. He put out a hand and Kobie stopped talking. His head still bent. and have legendary appetites: two Bushmen can devour an entire carcass in a night of gorging. He shrunk back beneath the onslaught of the Hottentot’s aggressive gobbledegook: Woza jou***/// *#****voetsek!**#!!** brak hond! Listening to Kobie’s abuse. soft and sharp pops of the tongue against the palate. father knew the true motive for this gorging. then a click that resembled the clucking sound Kobie used with the sheep. father thought he might have been gibbering in fear. powerful legs. in height he barely reached father’s chest. In the ensuing silence. The sounds were a variety of clicks: a sucking action of the tongue. Slight. Without looking up. To father’s astonishment. But the farmers in Upington had warned him that Bushmen are notorious thieves who will steal a sheep as easily as a drink of water. and second.new contrast Bushmen helping themselves to two springbok and leaving tsamma melons in exchange. he might yet have melted into the night. tsk’. explained that the man was speaking in his own language. addressed him again. the two men inspected the Bushman. less ignorant. holding tightly to the captive’s arm. After listening for a moment. the Bushman answered in a firmer voice. or because the little men seldom had enough food to fill their bellies: as nomads. While father debated what to do with the Bushman. prattled away at him. two thoughts came to father: first. Kobie. Finding this individual could only mean that he wanted to be found: in spite of his shy. and thus are in the habit of devouring their kills on the spot. As the little 19 . they are simply not equipped to carry quantities of food with them. that neither white nor black man was friend to the Bushmen. with sinewy arms and shapely. Had not Kobie reached out and grabbed him by the torn hide that girded his loins. he turned his head away from the flare. mumbling to himself. since a few of the words were in Afrikaans. they are renowned also for their ability to vanish into thin air. or father for urging on his horse. the Bushman had turned up for a reason. fearful behaviour. the little man in the tree unfolded his small quaking form and shimmied down the trunk. Father wondered what that reason could be. It is not merely owing to greed.
In the weeks following his arrival. father said to Kobie. Once there. There was much pointing of fingers. Judging by that organ’s flatness. aspirated and glottal clicks – his Bushman name – made little impression on father’s bewilderment. He is hungry. Perhaps something of father’s skill as a raconteur has crept in. had been practical rather than charitable: he was in dire need of extra hands on the farm. Brandbooi was a storyteller of note. he has eaten only ants-in-the-mountain. untouched by the white man’s ways. When he was still a young boy. It is good to shoot this baboon. As his story unspooled beneath my pen. the Boer name he offered when he saw that a hail of nasal. puzzled. he would approve. I began to feel more and more confident that if he could read it. even the squirrels. replied Kobie. Brandbooi told father his story. The Bushman was. and he reasoned that if the man worked well and was given food in exchange for his labours. A significant figure in my life from the time I was a toddler. which went into his mouth and prodded repeatedly at his lean hard stomach. they were persecuted and pursued by all the peoples whose lands they 20 . our Brandbooi. and he will eat up all your sheep. but he say the rain chase away the animals. baas. Though born in the Kalahari. but not quite as simply as father had envisaged. his family and certain members of their clan had made the decision to split off from the main body and migrate to South West Africa. It is no wonder then that he is hungry. making copious use of an evocative patois. he explained to me. Ja. The plan worked. surely he can hunt. He will steal from you. both parties would benefit. Yet he bears a bow and arrows on his back. Kobie nodded and pointed to father’s rifle. Brandbooi was no primitive Bushman. of course. but I have attempted as faithfully as possible to render on paper the cadence of the Bushman’s picturesque speech and mannerisms. it had not been filled in some days.new contrast man’s voice rose slightly in volume. Termites. he shook off Kobie’s grip and began using both hands freely. and he has not been able to catch and eat meat for four days. So why did father risk taking in a refugee of such ill-repute? The decision.
The game herds were spread thinly over hundreds of miles. the men muttered in perplexity to one another for long sleepless hours. prodded under stones for scorpions. Ovambo. wandering into the farthest wilderness in search of water. and kept a sharp eye out for centipedes and caterpillars sometimes used in the making of poison for their arrows. were foraging in the riverbed as usual. and to the wives and children of other members of his clan. a great flash flood boiled up from out of nowhere. the remaining members sought refuge in Damaraland. Human and animal figures were sketched in minute detail. What dread insult had the clan committed. After Brandbooi’s parents died in Damaraland – his father stampeded to death by an angry elephant bull. Shocked and grieving. On their way home. He described the events to father with few words. The river was still high and dangerous. Not long after returning to the Kalahari. to stave off starvation. around them. against the spirits? How else to explain such a fearsome punishment? 21 . where they sought the eggs of sandgrouse. the clan thieved at every opportunity from white men and black in remote villages and farms. When two men of the clan were found shot to death. When they returned from the hunt. much rapid finger signing and many drawings in the sand. and it struck them that while they had been thinking only of their stomachs and a good cooking fire.new contrast traversed: white farmers. His wife and two children. and six other women and their children. Nama and other tribes. trying but failing to come up with a single one of the small clan’s beliefs that had been transgressed. albeit unwittingly. their families had been stolen from them by the waters. he strewed little mounds of broken reeds and grasses. something happened to Brandbooi’s wife and children. the Herero. where the drought finally broke in a series of torrential thunderstorms. Brandbooi and the other men found that their wives and children had vanished. his mother of a sickness of the stomach – he decided to return with his clan to the Kalahari. While Brandbooi was out hunting one day with the other men. and survival for desert dwellers had become a struggle. and from travellers and pedlars. There had been a drought. lizards and snakes.
After erecting a neat monument of quills to its spirit in the very circle where its blood dyed the sand red. That night. as is often the case. feasting on young warthogs. Before he could snatch it back. steenbok. mongooses. Brandbooi plucked the plump animal. too. and with this increase in his girth. for the first time since the spirits had seen fit to frown so cruelly upon him. and ate it in its entirety. springbok. killing it with a large stone. bordered by porcupine quills. Looking around. Mighty wings launched him high into the cloudless sky. His shuddering limbs changed shape as he lay helpless: beak and feathers sprouted. wings and claws. and Brandbooi became a Bushman again. that 22 . he slept soundly on unknown sand whose soft warmth retained the heat of the day. He rose onto horny feet with stabbing claws. his eyes turned yellow and sharp as thorns. in a clearing he swept clean with his hands. This message told him that the Boer was aware that a Bushman was trespassing on his lands. growing larger and larger until it burst from his chest like a hawk from its nest. A day came when the wind bore him a message. Once there. his heart returned to its rightful place in his chest. grasp it tightly in his hands and replace it where it belonged behind his ribs. the hawk shed its feathers. he began building himself a shelter. He found himself standing on his own strong legs in a place utterly unfamiliar to him. This path took him to the lands of the white man. carefully tended fire. must leave that place of death. his body began agitating and contorting without his volition. Brandbooi understood with a terrible finality that he would not see his children again until it was time for the spirits to take him also. In the icy dawn. cooked it on a small. During the weeks that followed. Feeling much refreshed. he spotted a deep thick bush.new contrast At dawn. His head filled up with an agonising pain and his heart swelled until it pressed against his ribs. He knew then that he. his spirit grew lazy. from which he skilfully evicted an angry porcupine. snakes and lizards. where he followed the clear path of his fleeing heart. Brandbooi drank from the white man’s pans and ate the white man’s sheep and whatever else he could catch. It did not take long for his body to grow plump. squirrels. all of which abounded on the white man’s lands. it took to the sky and flew away from him.
He felt his energy grow from a tiny flame to a conflagration and understood. never forgotten to leave an offering in thanksgiving to the spirit of the animal. and his own safety in this one. on a day with no cloud or redeeming breeze to temper the hot sun bleeding into a wan sky. some locusts if he did not. He was coming with firesticks to hunt him down: to take the life of the thief in payment for the killing and eating of sheep and game that did not belong to him and for the drinking of water from the Boer’s pans. He had fully intended to perform the amputation rites on his return from that last ill-fated hunting trip. it might have been his reward for the strict adherence to his clan’s beliefs while he feasted on the fat of the white man’s lands. he understood. This time. had even selected the knife-edged stone. he had propitiated the spirit of that water with a piece of dried meat if he had it. sometimes.new contrast the Boer knew where that Bushman dwelt and was deeply offended by his presence. But by then it was too late: the greedy floodwaters had swallowed her. with lightness in his heart. or even. Again. he thought. and before he dug for water or drank it. the reason: he had not amputated the first joint of the baby finger of the left hand of his one-year-old daughter before the waters had taken her. 23 . an arrow hewn from a driedoring. he flew above the tops of the trees. Faster than the flying sand. Had he done this in its right time. In spite of Brandbooi’s diligence and vigilance. Owing to this violation. Or perhaps. Even as events were overtaking him. watching over him in recompense for the loss of his children. The enraged Boer sought his trespasser in vain. he decided he owed his safety to the intervention of the god of the wilderness. But Brandbooi was unafraid. and he rose on currents of air. he would have secured a life of feasting and pleasure for her in the next world. that the spirits had taken pity on him once more. with a fearful sinking of his heart. the white man finally ran his quarry to ground. the god of the wilderness abandoned him. He was certain he had never once violated those beliefs: never let his shadow fall upon an animal he had killed. when Brandbooi came back to himself. feathers and wings sprouted in place of his limbs. looking down at vultures’ nests taking fire from the late afternoon sun.
new contrast Early that morning. The Bushman recognised that the serpent-shadow was the dark spirit that guided the white man in his evil deeds. behind which stood the white man. head as heavy and black as a lion’s. His throat felt painfully dry. shivering in shock. Pain caused Brandbooi to sweat water that he did not have to spare. seized Brandbooi’s thigh between jaws foaming with rivers of drool. Brandbooi. 24 . saw that the length of the firestick aimed at him by the white man was almost the length of the man himself. his firestick or the bloody-fanged dog. a voice spoke loudly in his head. This voice did not emanate from the white man’s throat. he blinked a few times. Later. the latter wrenching at his leg as if about to tear it from his body. Brandbooi had consumed almost all of it in a single hour. The bright afternoon turned dim. Instead. a young warthog had lingered too long behind its speedy family and had fallen to one of his arrows. he realised it was this thirst that made him unusually careless. even a growl – this unnatural beast. his blood spilling into the sand. it came from the shadow itself. he woke from sleep with a great thirst. Without a sound – a bark. and fear ran through him like a torrent of arrows. passing by. wondering if an irate porcupine. He had scarcely offered up the scorpion he had killed to the spirit of the pan when an ancestral enemy. his dread of the shadow greater by far than his fear of the Boer. he touched it gingerly. had speared it with a quill. Far worse than the lion dog was what reared above him: a serpentshadow of monstrous size. had erupted from behind a tree. a terrifying shape-shifter in the form of a white man’s dog. In the afternoon. but the light did not return. Brandbooi closed his eyes and waited for the crack of the firestick that would water the land with Bushman blood.
up over the Bokkeveld berge into obliterating rain past Calvinia. 51. and we laughed and we laughed and laughed and laughed LAUGHED n laughed n laughed n laughed. Brandvlei. where did it start we asked ourselves a number of times where it always starts. hot as Geelhoutvlei’s boiler. Clanwilliam. and we laughed. immense bodies’ effort that last night at Twee Rivieren so intense the pushed-together beds rift like the Auob and Nossob we laughed. laughlaughlaughlaughlaugh and still it wasn’t enough so we laughed and LAAAUGHED some more. stinking of cat piss.new contrast Joan Metelerkamp Twee Rivieren Citrusdal. in February. why feel compelled to do this: all those reasons not to want to I don’t know but I do can I help it second guessing meaninglessness 50. 25 . dog shit and mud carried into the car as we got out of there – thought there couldn’t be a more depressing hotelier – but past Verneukpan and on to the next proprietor so lief vir die Here – we knew she wanted to save us but from what – on our way anyway: transfrontier – Kgalagadi. uncertainly why here. 52 in the shade the heat immeasurable. travelling.
brown snake. booted. two veins. two nights before. tawny.new contrast And now I remember some of the talk before. immature bateleur. black harrier. 26 . hiding. I was crying. weeping our various despairs (and the first part of the Nossob closed because of deep pools and sticky patches after the rain the road turned in parts to almost river here and there again and then they opened it so we didn’t have to go up the Auob again and across the dunes after all) two courses of anxiety and strength family and work and your family – which is mine – which made me cry again – and your family – which is not mine – and your work – and mine – trying to understand and crying again – and our challenge at the confluence words for the feeling for the thought for the confluence the intensity of every night every day each event every day’s sight on hot sand and on mud and in kameeldoring shade and in flight yellow-billed kite who isn’t here any more now you are black. kings of the birds. golden really. black-chested. scanning. black kite. sandy. skimming really preying. hunching. queens.
at Nossob. I’m sure I confuse you – that afternoon. I’m unsure.new contrast forgive me. chest on one bed heels on the other suspended under the fan heat daze brick hot outside I thought when you see me like this without any clothes and call me beautiful really you are seeing yourself or is it the other way round 51 in the shade I close my eyes I realise it’s something as simple as this if I don’t see what you see I am shutting you off from yourself At Urikaruus we woke to continue our conflict but this time in whispers so quiet I can’t recall what we said except I said: don’t wake me but as I rolled over you were whispering wake up! at the waterhole three lions and a cub in the morning bronze and the breeze and it seemed like only a moment but when we looked it was possibly an hour up and into the dunes That was the morning after the afternoon before I spread wet towels over ourselves I want to say to make it easy 27 .
but deranged even in the aftermath like na-dors, headache, I can still speak only in grunts – (Afterwards, after these travels, I imagine when I wake two poor people riding their cart back somewhere along the homeward track outside Prieska, no shade, so they eat under their cart and lie down on an old spread mat – and that’s when it starts sometimes I see them doing it somewhere in the back of an old station wagon under the mountain fringes in the sun’s rest at Beaufort West) aftermath for days headache inertia even when we come home I could lie like that lion rolling onto the almost falling into the road, smothered with butterflies we wondered if he was sick – I want to do it but maybe I can’t do the whole journey in one day maybe that’s just animus, possessed, hubris maybe it’s time to take myself for a walk – always at the beginning and afterwards this questioning like the travel itself the destination – why here, in February – we asked ourselves though I can’t remember the words themselves
but you kept telling me: already there, to come back when I needed – ‘you’ are the other person yr vr lvng hsbnd in the text – (Jesus, why is this so slow – I’m so slow I can tell you I can’t even speak – slow change perhaps that change of life keeps taking me ways I don’t expect ) tender, skin of ground after rain, sore, tender in places too many ecstatic animals like the two hartebeeste, heart horns locked, down on their knees, penises erect, thumping and butting but butterflies butterflies over every muddy puddle opened closed brushed pushed pressed convulsed at this conjunction even when we are finished, dry, dead as two river beds
Kevin Dean Hollinshead
Unexpected News You can never entirely enter my silent world of darkness and confusion … where continuity escapes me like an incorrigible child and where immediate feelings and experiences are gone in five minutes … never to be recorded in the library of my mind which exists as a vacant parking lot.
Couch Potato ek is so eendimensioneel soos ’n kersfeeskaart so nice met liefdegroete beste wense van Helen Steiner Rice ek woon waar grys gebiede ontbreek alles is óf swart óf wit en ek myself nooit konfronteer met bitter twyfel en konflik
soos om vir die eerste keer ’n nuwe pad te ry en geensins jou rigting met kaart of oog kan kry.new contrast ek is ’n marshmallow sag en soet en pienk en wit jy soek vergeefs by my die weerstand van ’n harde pit ek leef flegmaties sonder opstand die ene sagte soete candyfloss die wind die waai my waar hy wil substansieloos en windlig soos die tollebos daagliks voor die televisie. 31 . so is dit met die skryf om amorfies in gedagtenis te dryf verlore en kwaad as die eindpunt nie kom met vingers krom en tong so stom. verslaaf was mý tog nie die kop oorversadig knuppeldik en tot die dood verveeld vreet ek vir soetkoek alles op Laura Kirsten my rym I wat kan ek skryf wat kind-dig sal rym en my stukkie aard-papier net vir my sal afkleim? hierdie papier onder my oog en hand is myne so ook al die lyne en al die kwaad-tryne.
my woord en lyf smag na rigting dit is vir my ’n obsessionele verpligting. tog, wil ek in geeneen se spoor dwaal ek sal eerder die paadjie self wil verkaal. ken jy daai gevoel om voor te loop en alleen die ruigtes oop te stroop? dis wat hulle bedoel met ’n baanbreker: my lus is so geinklineer verseker om die eerste een te wees op ’n plek niemand anders behalwe ek!
art again what are you in these fragmented times but a cracked mirror in the halls of confusion i came to the city to share my wares but found the market shut came to sell my goods but found only the penniless turned to look i came to the city and found sprawled bodies i came to talk about art but found life bleeding in the streets
below the dream bubble i found a city under the spell of its people cordoned by the city limits table mountain hovered overhead fijnbos clung to its slopes while the sky soared like a movie set i came to town to show but found my works hung behind a wall that you could not look through i tried to paint life but it painted me
… there are demons that live in newlands forest in the trees right by the highway to be exact and if you haven’t seen them that’s because they’re mine they congregate there stealthily hiding themselves carefully as i pass on my way south to you knowing as they do that eventually i’ll return this way then they’ll be there when i’ve been sufficiently unsettled by the first sludging traffic through bishop’s court
after the whooping straits of the open road then they pounce baying like a crowd at a paedophile’s trial one late and rainy night i was so afraid of encountering them that i spun my truck off the road but the worst demon of them all waits further down the road living in the trees at u.c.t. outside the architecture studios it waits until i think i’ve regained my senses that i will survive my trip home where i live without you when i’ve composed myself into the obedient servant of my aspirations then it jumps silently onto the back of my truck as i pass dark with the essence of what i found as a student and never comprehended and that which lies in my future and i perilously ignore
Horses Heads: Try sit me by the Afrikaans boy, match our stretchmarks with tongues, and watch, we will only learn to love each other rud-fisted, phonetically.
wild in our acre. settling out and up. then. even in economy looking the way they always did to you: like money on a farm) or stay in the tickertape dentist’s office that was her Harare. monkeys. so we didn’t move back to the old country (which it really was. Please don’t chastise me for having read my olive-skin off like you think if I aired all my sun’d-linen I’d be any less of a white. instead. the plane-full of your Zias. who kept a china-plate in place of her palate but. either. she couldn’t follow all the implied italics in the harp-dipped mountains.new contrast My mother didn’t understand the teacher. 35 . and Michele. gold-rimmed and permanent.
36 . The mountain is the memory of a face departed. So I write. cold and blank. the mist of remembering. day’s hard blade of blue. the swelling sound a voice makes through the mist of longing.new contrast Kobus Moolman The Mountain At night the mountain is a sky. washed out from the loud drum of day. At night the mountain is a silence hunkered between absence and feeling. The mountain is a sky. Grace Kim Poetry I do not read long poems for they are too long and short poems too shrt. a memory. a voice climbing out from the black air. silence.
smothering with kisses her lips. her mouth. I feel obliged to charge around the aisles without directions Damian Garside The Ontogenesis of Porn How he loved the likeness he had created.new contrast Inadequate Your expectations hang off my tiny frame Acting male Going to buy nails at the local hardware store is such a manly thing to do. her eyes. Nor were his hands stationary during this exercise 37 . Cold though they were.
My belly will be as soft and undemanding as if I’ve made time to make love on an ordinary. At the very least there should be whole days at a time one can just ignore. the 38 . had her leap into his arms as if alive. puritanical pleasure of blank days. I could gain a whole year by refusing to meet anybody at any given time. I shall resist all urges to write anything in it. an absolute Pygmalion of himself until the immortal gods.new contrast deftly probing a surface he knew too well yet that could not give touching with the sensitivity of one blind from birth making. That way I’ll miss appointments and not know it. That way I’ll re-find the fierce. Days when one doesn’t want words to bind one to others. I’ll stumble over fragments and random lines that trip me up like imponderable pebbles beneath the loneliness of clouds. Consuelo Roland Against Appointments I think I shall buy a diary which I shall keep virginal. irresistible day. took pity. in short. crippled with laughter. as unfailingly as any woman would to take her first Svengali. Nothing will happen of any importance on those days.
let friends drift away.new contrast way bandages on a geisha’s foot remind her who she is. watch the starlings bomb the doves. let the house fall apart. Deborah Steinmair Chance encounter We are loose change Clanging in the pockets of night We are coins in the fist of regret A friend called me intrepid I told her I had nine lives And she pronounced herself delighted to be in one of them I am brave because your naked eyes embolden me I am beholden My days bask in your gaze I’m a tadpole in the shallows Not yet inhabiting land I swim to your hand 39 . let the garden go wild. I’ll sit at my rough bench and contemplate blankevity. Let nature take its course. take my gardening cat onto my lap. take time and stretch it against my skin without impediment or impeachment.
my brother? Why do ‘Come-hither’ rhythms echo from its cylindrically curvaceous surface. like a vibrated Africa drum to its ancestors? 40 .new contrast Dream weaver I’ve been bleeding for a week deep in the night I watch you sleep in the first shiver of winter I walk the street with loose parts my mind a memory card head crowded as a cupboard the pope has died and wet leaves decompose in your garden late at night I memorise you like a prayer at the kitchen counter with your cd collection scattered like loose change on the carpet at the tail end of April with twigs. twine and twill I renovate my heart for you hoping. oh hoping it will do Bulelwa Basse My Lyrical SASS Why does it take a smack for you to change your tune about my SASS.
towards your four-legged mind. that rumble before the joists gave and the bleeding call to the world. and the box became famous for its nightclub/late nighttime release and later worse. opened the box and out everything jumped. Barry Wallenstein Pandemonium They. with its imagination.new contrast Why does it howl whistles of lust. fluorescent and fearsome. driven by doubt and a whim. but the world wasn’t listening with its nations pinpoint pressed to the wall. to change your tune. But I do think it takes a smack. meandering through the back door? Am I to ululate to its perverted composition? Is my SASS to dance to its ill-inspired melodies? I think not. my brother. to my Lyrical SASS. 41 .
and has drawn the world to wonder: Who goes there? What’s the look? TV crews. they say. The mystery of his flight and landing is taking attention off the war. even sighing out of his twisted parts and drastic dislocations. set up camp. 42 . but barely. out of nowhere. for us all – No blood. long having forgotten the box and its many tongues of flame.new contrast the nations’ armies slouch in lassitude and fog while the generals speed to their offices to measure out the scores of blame. the fall from space was a long way down and the sound of the impact astounding. – he sighs. It’s a miracle really to see/hear him breathing. Drastic Dislocations He’s alive. while this fellow. circle the amazement. enough to take our minds off the boxes stacking. food and drink are flown in. enough to keep us full and salty for a year. foreign and domestic. extenuates his sighing.
thrown it away or treasured it in her hand so her hunter knew her heart in one ritual gesture. shot his Cupid’s dart – and she’d have taken the tiny.new contrast Norman Morrissey Like a San Maiden The Bushmen were romantic folk: a young hunter once found the foot-print of a maiden in the sand – and he. trimmed a tube from an old motorbike. cock-sharp barb. sacred query. shaped a bit of a tanned hide to make you this crude boyhood catty: 43 . I can’t make you a bow in one day so I’ve cut a fork of yellow-wood. small as the span of my palm (there’s one in my boyhood town’s museum): crafted an arrow like a tooth-pick trimmed-feather flights. a tracker who could tell an antelope’s mood from its spoor knew her and loved her before ever he saw her. carved of choice bone. he’d have made a tiny bow. all. perfect. Then he’d have stalked her. and when he found and courted her. waited till she was alone.
new contrast if ever you want me again sling me this river-pebble I found in a Xhosa Wars fort’s wall: I will cherish it. ready to do your whim like a San maiden. Neptunis van Bima age 20 we. Joumat van Ternaten Age 40 44 . Cupido van Batavia Age 30 I. bondsmen of the former burgher councilor Nicholas Oortmans I. Tromp van Madagascar Age 20 I. Jeroen van de Malijste Cust Age 24 I. Allan Kolski Horwitz The Bread Of The Dutch Is Death Found poem We will never eat the bread of the Dutch again We will eat our bread buttered with blood We will never eat the bread of the Dutch again I. Titus van de Caab Age 22 I.
at the tip of Africa We seized guns and flour and made our escape 45 . Thomas van Bengalen Age 30 I. Sieur Johannes Swellengrebel I. Confessed and admitted That the first prisoner. Or even the least threat of these. bondsmen. Who has been shot dead. of irons. With Hanibal. alias knap een Deuntjie. slaves of the farmer Christoffel Esterhuijs Have willingly. Did not scruple nor hesitate To incite many slaves to flee That we conferred with one another And agreed never to return again To our masters And to head for the land of the Portuguese Never again will we eat the bread of the Dutch Never again will we bow our heads Never again will we smile for mercy We. Pasqual van Spaanse Wes Indies Age 30 We. without torture or threat of bonds. Anthonij van Mallebaar Age 40 we. slaves Held at the Cape. bondsmen of dispencier.new contrast I. Tromp.
Die premier se medelye: innig. Nie volgens kwota nie. maar weens ons sonderlinge situasie. In ’n stad wat nog gaan oopvou. Die lyke had horlosies. en met wie? Ons doen ons bes met ’n nuwe stelsel. In ’n buurt. wel. Twee moorde. 46 . in ’n straat sonder naam. maar in die verkeerde tydsone. Is almal van ons nie maar immigrante nie? Tussen twee lande. vlae wind. Blykbaar was hulle immigrante. Twee moorde? Ja. wat nog nie klaar ontwerp is nie. Ons is in die proses. in dié geval. Die nuwe verdeling. Ooggetuies? Geen. In ’n niemandsland gebeur. wagtend op die nuwe. pas uitgelê. maar nog nie gedoop nie. bestaan geen leidrade (sien hier bo). Die uur van sterfte: óók onbekend.new contrast Charl-Pierre Naudé Rekonstruksie Van ’n moord. Sonder papiere. ’n Idilliese omgewing nogal. Waar. sonder identiteit. tussen provinsies – weens die oorsonering. Slagoffers. as ons die boek kan vind. geprojekteer teen die mure … Vlae wind. Dood gevind. Die golwende grondwet.
het dit nog nie gebeur nie. want F. Dit sal wel nog registreer. En tot alles klaar is.new contrast in die proses. 2006) Ek is gebore uit die Sappe – ken die happe van die Natte (én die Sappe) ook die latte van hul tonge – beide kante het hul uitgeslape katte – al die ditte en die datte en die hate van dié gatte … Adam is ’n bruine. soos ek sê.W. hulle en hul kinders spog met grade hulle stemme tel diamante in hul sakke.” (Die Burger 9 Sept. Die Natte En Die Bobaas Voete “Hy (Adriaan Vlok) was nie die vader van apartheid nie. Verstaan tog. Mari Mocke Die Sappe. maar hy het aan apartheid geglo. en Nelson ruil hul harte – hulle baan die weg vir alle landgenote: almal bid dat dou sal drup oor kole van die Natte uit die swart verlede. Thabo is ’n swarte. 47 .
new contrast (Maar ag) die slotte sluit steeds harte van elke kleur – en bose magte smeer swart bloed aan kosyne van gewone burgers wat die skroewe en die boude uit die byle trek en dit begrawe … waar’s die visie. die name van ons stede te verander en vernaam te sê: “Suid-Afrika. elke hand. woema. jou skaterende strale het my mond gekus – nou is jy ook myne…” “Myne…? Myne…?” Wie se stemme breek soos harte – vallend oor die vele voete? – Voete… voete… 48 . die antenna tel die talle vrae van almal wat ontvang is om te lewe en te delwe in ’n stukkie sonnige aarde. Vele voete veg om bobaas hawe te bekom. soeka wêna! vrede …? Aikôna! côs why? – vrede issie sonde! Nogtans. Zuma. elke voet het ’n kop. elke kop is ’n antenna. kyk – die spyt wit opponente was nou die nuwe bobaas voete – dis swart op wit – sensasie in koerante … is dit die water wat die sleutelgate van ’n toekoms sal vermurwe – skoon hande. skoon voete om Golgotha …? Elke voet het ’n hand. waar’s die vrede? ghoema.
new contrast Chris Eugene Canter I’ll go to South Africa I’ll go to South Africa Where there’s no one like me And seek out the arid veld Where I can breathe They’re fleeing to England To Australia as well I’ll flee to Keiskammahoek With the stragglers to dwell The papers are bursting With stories of war I’m bursting with love Which I need to cast far My uncles are greying My grandparents dead The story of our family Is a skin being shed I’ll go to the limit To Riviersonderend My life to forget And my death to spend 49 .
It’s a neo-conservative Pentagon war Where the Vice-President shoots his friend in the face. Wesson and Colt Kill more Americans than any foreigner. In Texas they banned the Dixie Chicks from brave country radio. Doesn’t matter the Iraqis had nothing to do with 9/11. Bomb somebody. One more Texan who can’t shoot straight. For talking back to a president who lied us Into an un-winnable war.new contrast Doug Scott The Un-Wars of Tarzan’s Oyster 1 It’s a neo-conservative Pentagon war In a far-away place – do you care anymore? Where the cities have names But who knows where they are? It’s a neo-conservative Pentagon war You can see us winning on CNN And see what we’ve lost on Jazeera. kill somebody Any body Doesn’t matter who it is. 50 . shoot somebody. While Smith. In Texas they scream ‘terrorist’ At the mention of a foreign sounding name.
2 They’ve just bombed Syria And they can’t wait to bomb bomb bomb Iran.new contrast Bomb somebody. 51 . After the 9/11 attacks Some Arizona cowboy blamed a Sikh And shot him. kill somebody Any body Doesn’t matter who it is. ‘Democracy’ Someone should tell George Bush The world isn’t Tarzan’s oyster anymore … Isn’t your Cathedral of Consumption anymore. Isn’t your comic book views and your TV heroes. We’re bombing Pakistan To completely destabilize the place. Do you remember the picture of the terrified little Vietnamese girl Running away from a napalm strike? Are their minds so trapped In amputated comic books of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ They can call a child’s screams. We’re bombing Afghanistan. they can’t win a single one. If a dog bites 5 people We know it has rabies – America is led by a gun club with rabies. Five wars they want to fight at once And yet. shoot somebody.
Someone should tell your comic book views and your TV heroes That when an American soldier urinated on a prisoner And the prisoner’s Qur’an at Guantanamo. academic historian Who believes in our Vietnam. ‘Stop this. Was in making their own Comedy-horror-porn for the Web. For our young soldiers.new contrast You show a Botox face to the world. Others see the wrinkles. 52 . We are pouring gasoline on the fire of Moslem anger against us. Iraq. Can you find a single. decent and moral Are only words to them – Touch screen deep – They’re Internet Thin. this is wrong? 3 The ‘joke’ at Abu Ghraib. They’re Wi-Fi and Blu-ray and GPS. They’re Googled and knowing and network the world. reputable. We lost the war for the hearts and minds of Islam. But Human. Afghan un-winnable wars? We are pouring gasoline … It’s a neo-conservative Pentagon war We lost it at Abu Ghraib In the weirdest scenes of psycho-sexual abuse – Porn Torture – Do you ever wonder why no one said.
With Republican leaders calling for more.new contrast How many Americans feel Any human sympathy and concern For what happens later? How will those men live on The rest of their lives With the shame and humiliation Of our public Porn torture? It’s a neo-conservative Pentagon war Where everyone smiles a collateral smile And the friends of the White House get rich. Do you really understand? They took the money … It’s over … 4 It’s a neo-conservative. America in meltdown. 53 . But after the Wall Street bail-out Someone’s gonna have to tell the nation: We can’t actually afford to fight Five un-winnable wars And go on buying all that Chinese stuff at Wal-Mart. Wall Street greed and the ‘banksters’ Sold a mountain of bad credit. gave you the debt. Pentagon war. Kept the money. While George Bush slept The sleep of the dumb in the White House.
I have known this reality all my 60 years and no one I know has so effectively described it in such. shoot somebody. The Secret War in Laos. or overthrow with the CIA.M. 54 . I grew up in the Republican gun club. I had the childhood of a poster boy for the National Riﬂe Association. ‘Bomb somebody. kill somebody.’ This is Vietnam.new contrast While no sons or daughters of theirs Do the fighting. It’s a deep poem deﬁning an enduring American reality for Americans and for everyone else we bomb.D. Afghanistan. Iraq … and will go on being the heart of the Republican party as long as there is a Republican Party. sell arms to. It’s a neo-conservative Pentagon war In a far-away place – do you care anymore? Where the cities have names But who knows where they are? Dear Hugh. It’s a neo-conservative Pentagon war And we’ll never be able to leave For the killing is always more and more. Anybody doesn’t matter who it is. Un-War is not a topical piece that dates quickly like a moment of Saturday Night satire. short. vivid phrases. The Bombing of Cambodia. When a W can’t find his W.
’ I also can hardly believe that you think ‘All points now well exposed. Un-Wars is the deﬁning American poem of my generation.zw> Doug. And a thousand professional image makers who will simply rebrand them for the next round. They are prisoners of Hollywood movies. They will use every nasty trick of public imagery they can come up with to sink American idealism and return to the bombs and farting in the darkness with Nixon. long term struggle here? The struggle is not one election in 2008. The stuggle is a perpetual contest between the American idealism of Thoreau.’ to a small. Kissinger … There are a thousand more George Bushes waiting in the wings. fourth of July speeches and third rate educations who have never travelled abroad and need all the help they can get to learn to see themselves as others do and to rediscover the real values of American idealism. well-read.com> To: Doug Scott <@mango. elite – yes – but ordinary Americans do not see themselves that way. Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points against the reality and cruelty of American power and cynicism … ‘The only good Indian is a dead Indian’ … ‘Bomb ’em back to the stone age. Immediate response to *The Un-Wars of Tarzan’s Oyster*: do you think it will still have impact this presidency – all points 55 . literate.new contrast And the Republican bombers will not be nice about it and go away just because they lost one election. Surely someone who has lived through the South African history of the last ﬁfty years can understand the deeper. Doug Scott From: Hugh <@gmail.
And. Kick a rib in if they can. They beat her so badly you wouldn’t believe it. one time. ‘Zimbabwe is a normal country. Hugh ‘Reality’ Redefined As Beating A Woman It’s a stolen African democracy Redefined as beating people up. of course. one vote. Pull their hair and knock ’em down. One man. They beat Beatrice Mtetwa in a police station. When they threatened to beat her up in Parliament. MP Margret Dongo Once had to be escorted out of the Zimbabwe Parliament. Trudi Stevenson.’ 56 . They beat women lawyers in Zimbabwe. Then beat the women … Where ‘reality’ is redefined by men As a woman who can be beaten into submission. no policeman was arrested For the crime they had committed.new contrast now well exposed and the N-conservatives thoroughly discredited? About 6 months too late to publish? Best. They beat Gugulethu Moyo in a police station. While The Minister for Justice Coos in African Smooth. They bounce ’em ’round the cop shop Make ’em bleed and bruised all over. They beat the woman MP who represents where I live.
Not one Zimbabwean journalist Dared to track her down. Not one Zimbabwean journalist interviewed A single eyewitness. 57 . Not one Zimbabwean journalist Took a picture of her face where he hit her. Get her side of the story. one vote. One man. grandmother of 64. Tried to stop her leaving the country To show the world. They beat Sekai Holland. broke her arm.new contrast Was the tone for this set years ago? After a minor traffic accident in downtown Harare When a political heavy named Zvobgo Beat a woman in front of a hundred onlookers. The woman was too afraid to charge him – She fled the country. Broke her leg. His armed bodyguards Prevented anyone interfering. one time. he wasn’t arrested For the crime he had committed. A stolen African democracy Redefined as beating people up. Then beat the women … Where ‘reality’ is redefined by men As a woman who can be beaten into submission. And. of course.
And ﬂexible deﬁnitions of poetry. ‘Ah. Zimbabwe is a woman Held down and raped in a public square.’ Dear Hugh. I don’t just go back and forth.new contrast Sekai … Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs in the opposition party … Doctors counted 80 bruises Men hit her 80 times. The African Union heard the screams and said. And yet the crowd still stands To applaud and cheer when The President Responsible Appears at an international conference. I move all over. these are the screams of white farmers Who’ve lost their farms. but it does have to have rhythm.’ 58 . skinny guy who loves to dance. ‘A poem doesn’t have to rhyme. What is wrong with men? I think the well is poisoned here. I also have a ﬂexible mind that moves all over and goes everywhere. and all my dance instructors tell me I have unusually ﬂexible hips for a male. carry on. In an earlier poem in the same collection I say. we’re all for it. I am a tall. This is good.
The last 100 years has been the fastest moving age of transitional politics – nationalism. elite poetry audience. The main reason why most people don’t pay any attention to poetry is because so little of it ‘deﬁnes’ important and crucial understandings in a way that’s clear to everyone.new contrast ‘Reality Redeﬁned as Beating a Woman. who will deﬁne ‘Reality’ as a signiﬁcant poem 59 . I have never seen any other piece of writing or poetry that puts the beating of all these women together in a gathering sense of outrage. I’m ultimately after more than a small. That is where the action is and ‘Reality’ plants the whole collection in the heart of it. gender and social class – in all of history. cosy. and speciﬁcally women. race. It’s also more written for women than for men. A poem should deﬁne. Show me any other piece of poetry or writing … that short … that deﬁnes the unique character of Mugabe’s Bully War of Beating? Imagine the impact of that poem introduced as having ﬁrst been published in ‘New Contrast’ and then read and discussed on the Oprah Winfrey Show. I’m ultimately after the world and the world.’ has a memorable rhythm and an imagery that sticks in the mind.
All emotional. stir and bring to the surface our deeper emotions. I might even deﬁne it as ‘Human Rights Rhetorical Poetry’ A deﬁnition which I could easily defend against anyone in a formal. too rhetorical. turn them on. to anti-war activist. There are a million poems no one would dispute technically as poems. 60 . To tell a continuous story from childhood in the Republican gun club. Further … I would actually like to send you the whole collection so that you can see what I’m trying to do. The prime purpose of poetry. In a reading. like music. ﬁnd. You could choose other poems if you think they would be more appropriate. all poetic. but they stir nothing deeply so they slip away where few pay attention. to African canoe safari. ‘Reality’ will stir an audience.new contrast because it is too short. and too image punchy to be an essay. is to reach inside us. though I think I’ve given you a good selection for this time. literary debate. and ignite emotion. bird watcher. all stirring. From self-absorption to compassion nd Human Rights.
He unites two worlds and triumphs over The irresponsible in both of them. Doug Scott From: Hugh <@gmail. November 4. light of the world Shining in faces along the street. even if we disagree.new contrast And thank you for your consideration. Hugh Obama Day. Son of an immature white woman who couldn’t care for him. 2008 1 The city on the hill is back. light of the world Shining in faces along the street.zw> Doug.com> To: Doug Scott <@mango. Another – Reality Redeﬁned – that is difﬁcult. Best. 61 . but is it good poetry (whatever that is) and is this the right journal for it? I need your view. America is preaching Barack Obama in the pulpit. Son of a useless African father never there. The city on the hill is back. I am not concerned about publishing the contents.
That they will not allow the opposition candidate.new contrast America is preaching. 2 When he does win. America once again Holds the imagination of the world. America … the idea of the world. In Zimbabwe. The only country Where the world Comes together in one country. Morgan Tsvangirai. They refuse to announce results For two months 62 .’ We do not see much of that In Africa where I live. And the gracious acceptance of the losing John McCain Who calls Barack Obama. Crowds in waves of huge emotion Following the dignity and restraint of the new President-Elect. they hide the ballots At police headquarters Where only the rats can count them. The generals who run the army and police Announce to the press. Barack Obama in the pulpit. In scenes of the most intense global theater. To become President Even if he wins the ballot. ‘My President.
To the beating of Morgan Tsvangirai. Years ago they tried to throw Morgan Tsvangirai out the tenth floor of the Chester Building When he was a trade union leader. Instead. New African Magazine Names Robert Mugabe. torture And burn the opposition down. The Third Greatest African of All Time. In Africa there is no reaction When members of the Zimbabwe Parliament.new contrast While they kidnap.’ Then they murdered the photographer Who took the pictures. In Africa there is no reaction To the stolen elections. ‘He deserved it. Are beaten and tortured. In Africa the poorest people live on the richest continent Because of the worst governments in the world 63 . murder. The President Responsible said. Can you imagine the reaction If this happened in America? If the police beat Barack Obama In public view? In Africa there is no reaction. Last year they beat him in public view A policeman split his scalp open.
Young. And we walk barefoot and naked in the garden In delight Inside the first rain of the season … The longed-for. The Zimbabwe College of Music Performs a joyous 64 . To carry the hope of a new world: Barack Obama. cool and competent. I answer the phone. here comes a fresh and striking image.new contrast 3 But. Barack Obama in the pulpit. On the glorious fifth of November. The following Saturday. Light of the world Shining in faces along the street. The city on the hill is back. The measure of the hope he arouses Is the measure of the despair We have been living In Africa and America. prayed-for rain … Washing everything clear and clean again Bringing the birds And bright magic back to our garden. ‘Happy Obama Day!’ My lover and I celebrate in bed. America is preaching.
Gus Ferguson Haikoids The voice of the dead on the answering machine should end at yahrzeit. A perfect match of science and faith: a prayer-mat with a compass. Our Charlize Peace ambassador promoting gambling: Icon? Hayi khona! 65 .new contrast Duke Ellington ‘Sacred Concert’ For jazz band and chorus: Six songs in ‘The Freedom Suite’ ‘Praise God and Dance.’ For Obama Day.
the yawning stone arches frame yet another sunset they’ve seen before. and in the intrusive streetlamp’s ivory your picture grins like it knows something I don’t. Night A blue mirror eye-lid a limbless clock a sleepwalking theater We no longer pretend what’s-what nor we’ve separate beds no the music has begun In a wrinkly t-shirt you and your slender hips everywhere You take down your hair roll a stocking from your thigh splashing a black so black it’s blue 66 .new contrast Adam Wiedewitsch Gorée for Sarah Dusk The same restaurant on the sea unaware of the potency of its balm.
new contrast Dawn Foxy Cleopatra in boy-shorts tousled and wild you don’t move a lip but whisper come So I do I do and under liquid sheets and moons we fuck like we’ve forty devils under our skin and not one knows where they’re going or where they’ve been If I wake with your smell still on me the ink of a last-night book on my shirt I’ll only open my eyes to close them again Day A hand-broom sweeps along with a muezzin’s call for more coffee and a thousand rounds of tea (I should steal that boat) while waiting and waiting for a continent while reading the garden aloud sounds good I’d rather have dinner (I can’t wait for dinner) 67 .
‘You’re not supposed to kill the snakes. Bang! The snake exploded into the air. While hugging his son tight. bearing the respectable name Alan Gregory Stamps. ‘Stay still. as the bright yellow snake flared its hood. Gregory Lee Stamps. The boy’s father. The boy froze. Gregory informed his mother.new contrast Sam Manty The MD Are the surest externally All threadbare internally? It might not seem But I am a timid thing Holding a weighty life Which I have chosen Tiah Marie Beautement A Melktert Day Mabel Lee-Anne Stamps was standing on the stoep of the granny flat watching her grandson play in the woodpile when the young boy. boy!’ his grandmother hollered.’ 68 . Alan’s nanny fled. ran out of the home office to see his startled five-year-old son staring opened mouthed at the woodpile while Mabel lowered a shotgun – a shotgun Gregory was not aware she owned. came face to face with his very first Cape cobra.
Please take me 2 town. ‘Matthew. they may have to do just that. The very granny flat specifically built for Mabel as per the instructions of her son and his wife. and his English was excellent – a point not to take lightly out here in greater Paarl.) The very flat she wasn’t supposed to clean because. He had no doubt she was telling the truth. Besides. in a few years.’ ‘Don’t you try to make me not driving into some sort of civic duty. ‘We have people who do that. Come to think of it. Ouma?’ Matthew asked Mabel with a grin. she kept her last name. Petra E.’ But Gregory wouldn’t budge. ‘What’d ya want me to do with it. sing it a lullaby?’ Then she turned on her heel and marched back into the granny flat. of the van Heerden’s.’ They had people for everything over here. young man. Near expected somebody to be assigned to wipe her ass. ‘You not scared. As soon as Gregory had disappeared Mabel picked up her cell phone and SMS’d Matthew Mokgadi. By the time Matthew met up with Mabel he had already heard the news from three different people on the vineyard that Alan’s Ouma had shot a snake. tractors.’ Gregory tried to soothe. At least Matthew was a nice young man.’ ‘Mother. (Yes. I see no difference between that and your Cape cobra – both cranky sons-of-bitches. next. ‘They drive on the other side of the road here. I shot plenty of rattlers in my day.new contrast ‘Well. Mabel had been less than impressed when she was informed she wasn’t allowed to drive in this country. and at your age there really isn’t any point in getting a new license. she wouldn’t tell anybody what the ‘E’ stood for. Matthew needs a job. as she had been told repeatedly over the past three months. whose last name she still could not pronounce. ‘I have driven trucks. so she was stuck. shiiiiiiit. it provides somebody with a job. He’d never met a white woman like her: hands as rough as any of the labourers 69 . van Heerden.’ Matthew chuckled. I ain’t playing Driving Miss Daisy. and no. and you’re providing him with one. combine harvesters and eighteen-wheelers and you’re telling me I have to use a driver? Bullshit.’ his mother spat.
‘Didn’t you want to find a new husband. I realized that I was better at being a widow than being a wife. Yet despite all this. she felt it had been good enough. that was a bit much. however.’ Mabel had once snapped. But no. or was it BMA? Never could keep those letters straight. But apparently. he had thrown the baby out with the bathwater: ‘I am not going back to that closed minded country. you have to understand that song in its cultural context. after I had a taste of marriage. but the Lord knows best.’ 70 . Matthew. like they were best friends. or you didn’t. Pants. Besides. so she must have done something right. which she had run on her own after Mr Stamps died of a heart-attack when Gregory was nine months old. yet she held the Lord in high regard. It made no sense. Not that I ever wished Mr. Even minored in Business! What was that? You either ran a business. ‘Frankly. but it was unfair to base your thinking of an entire country on one person. She did concede. ‘Mother. you can minor in it without actually ever doing business. Apparently it was different if the farm grew grapes.’ It had not been an easy life. rather than alfalfa. And really. Gregory always said he didn’t want the farm life.’ he informed her. ‘At least no politician in America sings a song demanding to be handed a machine-gun. he still needed those letters. Even so. Her son had been accepted to Princeton. He could have simply said that he preferred to help his wife run the vineyard she’d inherited. that the wine was very nice. What the hell was the matter with his degree with Chemistry. even if he was an elected leader. and that’s a fact. As they drove around in the air-conditioned Land Rover she would tell him tales about her farm in Eastern Oregon. only to end up marring Miz Fance E. Bush was gone now. Then he got that fancy degree.new contrast and she spoke nasty language. mind you. She had been too embarrassed to tell her friends. no. Ouma?’ Matthew had once asked. Now she understood that Bush had not always come across as the most enlightened individual. rather than bring her out to run an alfalfa farm. But no. but all things considered. Gregory refused to step foot on American soil. he didn’t have to renounce America. Stamps dead. MBA. she never understood.
‘I don’t know how much that is in your kilometres. ‘Matthew. but somehow didn’t think he should tell Mabel that. she came from a long line of hard. That was definitely not the type of thing to tell Mabel. ‘Oh. ‘About thirty-two hundred. but he had a feeling it was a melktert day. when she finished her list she turned to Matthew and said. American politicians don’t need to demand a machine gun. ‘How’s your wife doing?’ Mabel asked Matthew. she’s fine. Matthew joined her. that sounds fine.’ Matthew had gone and asked Mr Stamps. where her friends were dropping like flies. strong women.new contrast Gregory had explained in a voice that made her feel like a five year old. But. Petra had been slightly horrified when she first heard.’ Matthew replied.’ So there you were. Gregory suspected that his mother was somehow behind it. ‘Besides. and they headed to her favourite little restaurant. Sure enough. she could either live on one side of the earth. or immigrate to a new country at the age of 79 and live near her grandson. I do fancy a cup of coffee and a bit of sweetness on the side. ‘No. five?’ ‘Four. ‘How many more weeks is it. Great-grandmother Brooks had given birth on the Oregon Trail and managed to get up the very next day and keep walking the rest of the fifteen hundred miles of that two thousand mile journey. When they got to town Mabel had a short list of errands.’ Matthew replied with a grin.’ she told Matthew. Care to join me?’ ‘Ouma. but then when 71 . It did seem late in life to be starting again. had a smoke and caught up on the local gossip. Could have gone out to the taxi rank. He was correct. Doing fine. they’ve already stuck theirs in the rest of the world’s face. He was hoping for a boy. After three months of this the locals no longer raised an eyebrow at the sight of the slightly crazed elderly American white woman and her black driver still in his labourer blues sitting down to cups of coffee and melktert. but it’s a lot. why?’ Matthew shrugged and smiled.’ Matthew answered. He did not have to.
It was Matthew who explained all the differences between black. But whatever.’ Mabel considered this. Mabel had yet to request a second lesson.’ Mabel began after taking her first bite of melktert. and that was all that mattered. two large slices of melktert were placed on the table along with two steaming cups of coffee. ‘do you plan at being at the birth of your baby?’ ‘No. being coloured was just fine. did not extend to rooibos. given she couldn’t speak a word of Afrikaans. you couldn’t argue with that. They didn’t use the term ‘African-American’ here. Her husband had waited outside when she gave birth to Gregory. She had one lesson with Matthew where he began by trying to teach her to say. Although now saying coloured in America was rude. In no time. Mabel and Matthew sat down at their usual table and gave their usual order. but frankly. Matthew could tell by the local chatter in the background that word had already reached town about Mabel and the snake. I just take her to the hospital and wait. shame. But here. white and coloured. ‘Tell me. ‘Matthew.’ ‘I didn’t make the rules. ‘Ag. Ouma. The woman drove her insane. Matthew had a whole different rulebook. Gregory had picked it up easily enough. Heck. Originally she planned to learn. She was not a racist. This love. Although being Xhosa. Or so Matthew explained. By the time Matthew and Mabel returned to the vineyard the news 72 . and Matthew nicely suggested that they try again some other day. This had embarrassed Petra greatly. it was now the modern thing for fathers to be at the birth. Matthew. you really were supposed to call some people coloured. the whole thing has become ridiculous.’ But Mabel sounded like she was being strangled to death. it kept Gregory’s mother out of her hair.’ Well.new contrast she thought about it couldn’t say why. Mabel found it fascinating. Mabel thought melktert was one of the best things about South Africa. It simply hadn’t seemed right. however. It wasn’t racism. which she had loudly proclaimed to taste like ‘cat’s piss’. And yes. Mabel had no idea what people were saying. I think you all have split hairs so many times. But then again. and not the same as black. just like they did back in 1950s in America. I beg your pardon. Ouma.
I’ve had me a long day. and the nanny whisked Alan back inside. What if she mistook one of the labourers for a criminal and blew his head off next? 73 . hey there Petra. oblivious to his mother’s mood. they’ll be happy to help. trying to hold in her rage.new contrast had reached Petra. Love that boy like he was my own. ‘Hello. ‘I really don’t think …’ ‘Well. Having some old woman shooting a shotgun off at the slightest provocation would not do. ‘My point is simply that I don’t feel a woman of your age …’ ‘At my age.’ Petra began again. and now let’s all try to keep him safe – okay now?’ ‘Look. who was waiting for them out on the stoep of the big house. Mabel looked Petra right in the eye. ‘Did’ja hear about your son’s morning adventures? Think you should rethink that woodpile so close to the house. losing her patience. you should not have a gun on my property. Petra barked something out. no. Matthew took one look at Petra and made his excuses. but you argued with his grandmother about owning a shotgun? A shotgun she is perfectly capable of using.’ Petra bellowed. ‘Mrs Stamps. but Alan has to learn …’ ‘What? That any old fool in this country can own a gun and stick it in somebody’s face. I’ll see you at dinner. leaving Petra to fume. you are welcome. But I’m sure if you ask one of those nice men you’ve got working for you to lend you a hand. don’t you?’ ‘Mrs Stamps.” And by the way. thank you very much.’ With that Mabel turned on her heel and made her way back to the granny flat. ‘The thing to say Petra is.’ Mabel broke in.’ he called out cheerfully. I probably shouldn’t move the woodpile.’ she began. Mabel was the most overbearing mother-inlaw anybody could be cursed with. Petra watched Mabel stomp off and had a childish impulse to throw something at her. You’ve got yourself a good one. Ouma. “Thank you. Well … provided you give them a tough pair of gloves. I am not trying to say I am ungrateful.’ ‘Mrs Stamps. Alan bounded out of the house. Now Petra.
he’d win in the end. but just like the driving. scolded. She hadn’t noticed any. and all he did now was treat her like a useless burden. I hear you. Come out to be with her grandson and they still felt 74 . but didn’t say much to anyone. Like some child that needs to be looked after. you don’t need to mend Alan’s pants.’ ‘Waste not. mother.’ Mabel chided.new contrast But she was right about the woodpile. ‘You’ve come to discuss the shotgun.’ Mabel hadn’t considered that. without looking up from her work. Mabel sat out on the stoep of the granny flat rocking in her rocking chair. doesn’t know her place. We buy him plenty of clothes. pulling up a chair. and then plunged the needle down. it was too close to the house. She could drag this out for as long as she’d like. and now everybody knows you’ve got one stashed in the granny flat. people were more jumpy about these things. Could always hand the pants over to one of the workers later. And with Alan going in and out of here. But round here. ‘Mother. ‘Hello.’ ‘We just worry. It has nothing to do with you. Raised that boy all by herself. Folks were always mumbling about crime. By lunchtime. son. Back in Eastern Oregon people drove around in their pickup trucks with the gun on the rack. Gregory watched her for a moment. Gregory came to join her on the stoep. haven’t you?’ Mabel said. He glanced down.’ Gregory began. ‘Mother?’ ‘Yes. She didn’t understand her place ’round here. she’d only been here three months. ‘Hello. we really don’t feel it’s appropriate. In her hands was what looked to be a pair of Alan’s pants. Gregory decided it was best to leave it. well … what if he got a hold of it?’ Mabel looked down at her sewing. ‘Mother. surveying events. they never had to mortgage the farm. but then again. The next day some men did begin to warily move the wood to a location far from where Alan played. But there have been problems of people breaking in and taking guns around here. want not. Well.’ Mabel smiled. on that account he would be right. She stayed there all morning while doing various bits of this and that.
Something about her body language made Gregory feel he’d won the battle. but it had cost him something precious. Men. and in a croaky voice answered.’ Mabel was suddenly wide-awake. a cook and all this army of help. Mabel had her dinner in her flat for the next few days. I don’t think there is time.’ Mabel didn’t look up.’ Gregory was surprised she gave in so quickly. well. let alone had her number. you come get me right this minute. She tried not to make a habit of it. all you were doing was waiting for the Lord to call you home. three more friends had gone to meet their maker. ‘Ouma. Mabel spent a lot of time wondering if she should just pack her ass back to the States. Just don’t shoot your foot off on your way out. ‘Um. This wasn’t the Ouma he knew.’ Been years since she attended the birth of a baby. Since she’d left. ‘Fine. Didn’t make sense. ‘Hello?’ ‘Ouma?’ Matthew? What the hell did he want at this hour? ‘What?’ she finally spat out.m. we need help. Matthew even swung by asking if she might like to go somewhere. the moment life gets a bit exciting they lose their heads and panic.’ ‘Then get that wife of yours to the hospital!’ she bellowed. mother.new contrast the need to have a nanny. ‘Matthew. things happened. rocking chair in some townhouse in Eastern Oregon … didn’t really matter. Matthew was concerned. either way. Rocking chair in Africa. She fumbled around till she found it. As he stepped off the stoep holding the shotgun he looked back. Hardly anybody knew she even had the phone. You 75 . ‘Ouma. she was fine thank you.’ she muttered. But she had already sold the farm. It was 2 a. Ouma. But no. ‘Take the shotgun if it means that much to you. unsure what else to say. I think the baby is coming. while she fumbled around a bit more for the light switch and her glasses. thanks. Kept telling people she was tired. they’re all the same. But out in Eastern Oregon. when Mabel’s cell phone rang.
and doctor couldn’t always get to you. A small head with dark hair was crowning. so present on earth as she did in this moment. 76 .’ Trembling. Oh. swollen belly. Matthew crept back closer to the doorway and gently told his wife that Mabel was here to help. so moved. He knew that any woman who could nail a snake between the eyes could surely safely deliver him a son. When his wife began to bear down. The news found its way to the oddest of places and peeked more than a few people’s interests. ‘Come on baby. ‘Get up. lying on her back with a few other ladies clucking over her.’ Mabel barked back towards the door. ‘You’ve got a beautiful boy. but you better be near the door so you can tell that wife of yours what I’m saying. you come to Mabel. ‘Sweet Jesus.new contrast couldn’t always get to hospital. sweet Jesus. Never dropped one of your kind yet. he released himself from his mother’s womb as the tired mama gave one final almighty push. Word spread like a bush fire that the crazy white American had done it again. Mabel eyed her and barked out. ‘Matthew. Come on baby. my old hands are right here. Just the way life is out in rural America. what a beautiful boy you are. Going to kill yourself trying to have a baby like that. Outside. here. She had not felt so alive. And now it looked like that was the way life could be out here. and she needed to try to get up. Mabel lowered her old bones to the floor. so she could see. in the dim light of the early morning.’ Matthew’s wife had no idea what this crazy old white woman was saying.’ Mabel crowed as she cradled the wailing babe. Matthew scampered around. And so she did. this time she delivered her driver’s baby boy.’ Tears slipped down her old wrinkly cheeks as she gingerly placed the babe on his mother’s chest. woman. ‘You don’t have to be in this room. Matthew was grinning from ear to ear. When Matthew brought her to the threshold of his little two room white stone cottage she could hardly see through the dim light. But as she entered she could make out his pretty little wife. too. The women took hold of the labouring mama and helped her walk the length of the cottage and back while Mabel barked a few more orders to Matthew.’ And as if the baby could hear her old croaky voice. grateful to have something to do.
Botha began to laugh and laugh. to sit at their usual table. looked Mabel right in the eye and before she could even say ‘hello’ he had declared.’ says Saskia. I 77 . as she passes my door. ‘Juffrou. and to give their usual order. He strode over to their table. yes?’ Pulling up a chair. ‘You do like melktert.’ Glancing back at the man she said. Roberta. ‘How’s the paper-folding going?’ Last week. Louis Greenberg Origami ‘Hi. ‘not every day I hear that. Matthew shook his head and grinned while he popped another bite of melktert into his mouth. Matthew and Mabel were only half way through their slices of melktert when the man in particular decided he could watch them no longer without introducing himself. another cup of coffee and a slice of melktert. they were being watched with unusual interest. they had another thing coming. I made a new horse.new contrast Thus.’ Then she turned to the counter and in a hearty voice called out. If Mr Stamps and Mrs van Heerden thought Ouma had come to South Africa to die. ‘Waiter.G. the next time the mismatched pair made their way to town to the usual place. One man in particular had been coming for a week hoping to catch a glimpse of this woman who people claimed could shoot a snake between the eyes one minute and call a baby from its mother’s womb the next. Mabel joined in.’ laughed Mabel. Mr K. you are exactly the woman I’ve been looking for.’ ‘Well. based on a very tricky design. the new young Junior Lecturer. shit. A woman who buried her husband and raised a boy on her own without becoming too bitter to enjoy the sweetness of a slice of melktert. This Ouma was alive.
I am custodian for my students. If it were up to the teachers. and when they’ll get it back. a phone number. So when I see the students. to know who is on leave and when they’ll return. arraying the little birds and horses and unicorns and pixies along my window ledge. brightening up this brown-grey office and the concrete. breathed to life by my hands. of its proud. I am the person who unites all the individual parts of this department into some workable organization. who will moderate and who will examine. They see themselves as serious artists. I keep the lists of marks coherent. those columns of numbers would be blown away. The teachers repay me with their scorn and their snappish demands. They are not jaded yet. When the department needs pens. I loved how its essential horseness had developed out of nothing but a flat piece of paper.new contrast spent days on it. apart from her refusal to use the term ‘origami’. And it’s for the students I’m here. how the repeated folding in of something shapeless and conventional became alive. print jobs. vulnerable. after I’ve corrected her a number of times already. who’ve made the marvellous success of actually getting here. they come to me. often comment. what has been marked. I don’t detect any mocking in Saskia’s tone. and made sure they receive every credit that is due to them. Not to pick up after the staff. serious art critics. But I continue to bring them in. and I got little encouragement growing up. or more particularly. paper. and congratulate me on the new ones. I open my door and my heart to them. skitter around lost under the couches and carpets in their offices. I never got into a university course. The students seem to like them. unique. yet somehow weary bearing. As departmental secretary. and handcraft is lower than the lowest form of art. I offer 78 . I was pleased with the way the edges had matched up so neatly. I covered the horse with a fine spiral design. But I am here for the students. I keep their essays bound and their portfolios safe. and it looked to me like a Japanese rendition of an ancient Greek sculpture. crying to me and to each other outside my office about the destructive comments and the meanness of the teachers. as if it had just succeeded in a long run. Some of the senior teachers in the department don’t make much of an effort to hide their derision of me and the things I do. When students need answers. dustand-pigeon-poo-coated courtyard outside.
Kagiso. Weren’t those papers marked two weeks ago?’ ‘Yes. Don’t rub your eyes. He reaches out his hand. Just wash your hands.’ I say. I unlock Mrs Bean’s door across the hall and open the filing cabinet. He sneezes and wipes his nose on the back of his hand. for which I see he got 65. I see. ‘You know how you can avoid a cold? It’s simple.’ He says thanks and hurries down the corridor. ‘Well done. He’ll remember what I said.new contrast them advice.’ I hand him his paper. but I think now is a good time to impart some advice he could use.’ He snorts back some phlegm. 79 .’ I collect the master keys from the drawer. ‘I think they are in Mrs Bean’s files by now. out to work at the crack of dawn. I find the paper. You just have to wash your hands as often as you can. Kagiso. Even if they don’t take me seriously. ‘Hello.’ Kagiso’s smile dims and his hand wavers but stays outstretched.’ Kagiso stands in the doorway as I try to squeeze past him without catching his cold.’ ‘Doctor Cohen. I’m sure Kagiso’s mother was just too busy to teach him all about hygiene. Kagiso sniffs and snorts outside. ‘Colds are not about your diet or vitamins or anything like that. And don’t bite your nails. and I haven’t had a cold for years. It’s about other people’s germs. back only at night. a rather lost second-year student. You come into contact with so many foreign germs every day. I know I’ve done some good. Let’s go across and look. His fingers curl in on themselves slightly. I wash my hands often. sneezing onto his essay. and so many people at any given time have got a cold. I’ve been sick. Especially after you go to the toilet.’ I say. Doctor Cohen … let’s see. Poor woman. try to do just a little thing to counteract the negativity they have to face. Uh. ‘What can I do for you. ‘Still not recovered. ‘Um. knocks on my open door and shuffles there on the threshold. lock the cabinet and Mrs Bean’s door. I was wondering if you have my essay from Miss Cohen’s tut class.
She went to The Abbey last month with her friends. Professor Edwards glances at Saskia and grunts in greeting as he checks his pigeonhole for mail. She was a bursary student last year. finishing her Masters. smoking and laughing. He bends first. polished slate cooling her palm as the sun slow-bakes the back of her hand. she’s one year older. It’s so odd. He might think she’s still a student on bursar duties. She wouldn’t know how to refuse. She’d be mortified if he asked her to do some photocopying for him. pondering the ethics of something and doing it are two very 80 . next to which five students lean in the shade. and watches a guy struggling to unlock his bike. teaching now. The bed used to be a pond with a fountain and lilies when she started studying here. is it? She’s only 25. She’s not supposed to be looking at students like that anymore. and she’s supposed to be a changed woman. A small white van from the catering department. Like that’s one thing that’s supposed to have changed overnight. That’s not fair. and she watches his butt in his jeans and the bare space on his back as his sweatshirt rides up. She places her hand on the windowsill. earning a salary. when it’s all she’s been doing for the last six years. A statue of three abstract people stand in a flower bed. planted with scrubby shrubs and daisy bushes with bright orange flowers.new contrast Saskia stands in the department’s staff room. peering out of the window instead of making herself useful. Suddenly. feeling the cold. She’d probably do it. Further to her left. The staff room door slams open against a book shelf – its stiff pneumatic closer has been broken for three weeks now but none of the teachers remember as they customarily shove their way inside. behave differently. its licence plate number painted in large black characters on its roof. and wondered whether she was now ethically obliged to stop going out to clubs. three bikes are chained to a cycle rack. squeezes its way along the path and the students must press themselves against the wall as it passes. Anyway. She was in an Honours class of five with Edwards two years ago but she’s not sure if he knows who she is. and she recognised a couple of students there. holding back the dusty vertical blinds with one hand and staring out of the window to the concrete thoroughfare below. She’s supposed to feel different. She looks down at the pathway again. then squats down. although she’s officially been on the faculty for a quarter.
new contrast different things. and me feeling useful. But now … Christ. Nobody greets Saskia. as if he can feel he’s being watched. at any rate. and she’s always keen to talk about what she is going through. Marissa. When all she is doing wrong is falling for the wrong boys. saying what I think would sound right. if they find out. her unburdening. but sometimes it looks like she’ll spend her whole life wondering where it is that she’s going wrong. Marissa is an Honours student and her bursar duties include helping me with admin on two afternoons a week. it will be reflecting off the windows outside. She’s been crying again. slam into the room. pretty eyes and painted lips burning out of a luminous face. and I’m always keen to listen and offer a response. Rather than some student she was molesting. She’s got everything it takes to get herself the right man. she laughs to herself. For months I’ve seen her changing moods. It works for us both. He’s a student doing his Drama Honours. depending on her moods. some counselling and a lot of hearing Marissa gossip.’ says Vermeulen to Edwards. She met a guy there and they snogged in the middle of the dancefloor. will she be out of a job? Whose business is it. Quentin mumbles. What do I know of heartache? That she’ll understand. You can see her pulse beating in the very top 81 . and twitchy. who’s generally quite nice to her. ‘Morning. Quentin Schirmer and Frank Vermeulen.’ I say. We’ve settled into a routine which involves a little bit of work. ‘What?’ she asks. Mondays and Thursdays. trying. ‘You’ve got to get over him. ‘I wish they’d fix this fucking thing. to become someone they wanted. anyway? Below. and Jill fills the coffee-maker. The people at the club could just have easily thought he was her boyfriend. smiling brightly. went to her place and since then have seen each other a few times. changing. Prof.’ All three check for mail. the guy steps onto his bike and rides off. wearing a scarf for some reason. so it’s really no big deal. looking up. He’s not worth it. Saskia doesn’t think he can see her: the way the sun is coming in. I’m rearranging the origami as Marissa comes in and dumps her bag under the work table. She’s an intense girl. Jill Rogers. I point out her running mascara and she seems amazed that her eyes were recently wet. Or it shouldn’t be. only two years younger than she is.
deflating. terminally. and Janice apparently hates him. and meanwhile Jimbo was getting all like a dog watching this but just knew that Janice was going to keep him waiting. in front of Janice!. 82 .’ she takes a running leap. Hey.’ – Roofy used to go out with Sandra. Here. you know.’ I try to mend her mood. but then it got like much hotter than anyone expected – you know this is Roofy and Sandra we’re talking about. Roberta.’ She’s got this bright chirp in her voice. We need to get moving with the admin.’ she says. they’re so finished with each other – but their hands were all over each other and in their hair and that and I wouldn’t be surprised if Roofy went to whack off in the toilet afterwards. so I think it’s safe. you know you can’t just do something like that in public. Roofy is like phoning Sandra all morning and saying You shouldn’t have done that. ‘and was showing it off to all the guys at Bombshell. She frowns and an angry shadow passes her brow. and Sandra is all like I don’t know what you’re talking about. but what if he’s still really into her. a little bit forced. I can’t remember anything. ‘Thanks. ‘So Sandra got a tongue ring. he looked so lustdrugged.’ I say. I had too many tequilas. ‘It’s really funny. It started out as just an ex revenge sort of thing.new contrast layer of her skin. it’s really interesting. and then she goes up to Roofy. who’s Janice’s sister. but then she starts laughing. like you know to prove how much she doesn’t care. then she’s going to deny everything. By now I feel I know her friends as my own – ‘and says. But then she phones me to ask whether I think Roofy has still got the hots for her.’ ‘No. like what are people going to think. That’s what I’m here for. I love to hear about your friends. you want to feel it? and snogs Roofy right there. Marissa realises that I’m trying to prevent the onslaught of any further weekend news. ‘I suppose I do go on a bit. and smiles.’ Marissa runs out of breath and pauses. a little bit high-pitched. but let’s get some work done.’ ‘But then the next day. ‘I’ll watch this space for an update. You have a very interesting life!’ She smiles and says. ‘Ha ha. because of course she remembers but she doesn’t want to say so because Roofy’s really taking it too seriously and she was just messing around. She slumps down in the visitors’ chair across the desk from mine.
Marissa.’ I say. I try not to do that. ‘You know. though I don’t really. But we’ve got to do some work as well.’ I say. and then we’ll double-check the marks on the sheets and enter them on the system. ‘You know that?’ ‘Yes. I don’t know when I’m supposed to do them all. great. and there’s so much to do. and she doesn’t feel like 83 . ‘I’m so sorry. and apologise. ‘You know. I’ve worked with Marissa for three months now. Friends can work together also. ‘Don’t worry. and so much to read.new contrast ‘Okay.’ she tells me. I appreciate it. ‘I’m not angry with you. I’m always working here. It’s my fault. I really hate myself sometimes …’ she says and prepares to start crying again.’ ‘I know.’ I say. ‘They push you so hard here. We’ve got quite a lot to do today. But she’ll be back in five minutes. please. It’s nearly lunchtime. She takes the pile of papers and the mark sheet from my desk and sits in front of them at the worktable. knocks at my open door. I know what it’s like. I’m just trying to be your friend. wishing I could put my hand on her shoulder at least. and you get very little reward. The other teachers finish making their coffee – each of them has their own mug – and settle in to their corral of beige vinyl chairs around a lime-green table. Okay?’ ‘You know. Five minutes later she reappears. I pull some tissues out of my box and pass them to her and ask her have a seat. but under so much pressure. Saskia pours coffee into one of the polystyrene cups stacked on the shelf and moves towards an empty corner. wiping at her face with the back of her hand. I’m never angry with you.’ but her anger is already at a rolling boil.’ speaking softly. ‘I need you to alphabetise these first-year essays for me. ‘and so many fucking paintings to make. I’m so sorry. and I know she’s moody. Roberta. I just misjudged the timing. crackling around the edges. and we get to work. and we’ll get these marks entered. trying to calm herself down. Please don’t cry. Roberta. give me a fucking break!’ she screams and runs out of the office. can’t they?’ But she’s already muttering to herself. and her voice gets higher.’ I gather piles of graded papers from my desk. I knew that I shouldn’t have pressed her too hard. and she’s got a class after lunch.
Professor Edwards appears territorially behind her. Schirmer restarts the conversation. There I was. but she’s obliged. She sits.’ Edwards says.’ Frank Vermeulen. flanked by these men. Just as she’s sitting. Jill. ‘Pleased to meet you. ‘That’s Miss Delport. 84 .’ Frank looks at Saskia and stops. Saskia’s not sure whether he’s asking her or himself or who. Saskia sits down and Jill Rogers calls over.’ ‘I. ‘Who’s this young woman?’ he asks. having to behave professionally. is the youngest of the trio. Quentin …. we all have certain little sirens in our classes.’ ‘Ah. though it’s warm in this room.’ she says. Now suddenly I was in the concrete jungle. She was planning just to sit here and read quietly until her class. in their tight jeans and with their bare midriffs.’ Jill Rogers says. apparently lost in a thought.’ Edwards wanders out. ‘Come and join us.’ Schirmer calls across. let’s be honest here. er …. pulling the door too hard so that a vase on the shelf almost falls over with the impact. but we always manage to keep it in our pants…’ ‘Not always. even though there are three other vacant ones around the table. Saskia. Glass houses. What do they know? Are they putting on this show for her benefit? ‘Did you manage?’ asks Jill. in his mid-thirties. but the three teachers are talking and joking loudly. knowing full well that they make it difficult for us. ‘I know I found it hard when I started teaching. still with his scarf on. He clenches his jaw and shoots a spiteful look across at her … ‘Very funny. extending his hand so Saskia must squat down further to put the coffee on the floor and then stand up fully and shake his hand. Saskia says nothing. ‘God. Vermeulen and Schirmer shift away from each other and make a show of inserting a chair between them. awkwardly holding her coffee. fresh out of Durban. in a half-squat with a cup of coffee in one hand and an old copy of ArtNews in the other. ‘She’s our new Junior Lecturer.new contrast walking all the way to the cafeteria and back. half-lifting the magazine. used to hanging out on the beach after classes and flirting with all the halfdressed girls.
’ I watch the colour come up in her face. it’s not even that he slept with someone else. and that it’s all his fault. And now I’m in one of her classes. ‘discretion goes a long way. I’m relieved when she puts it down. What else do we need to do this afternoon?’ I’m relieved at the change of tone. blah blah blah … But it hurts. ‘I hear a lot of things here. when of course everyone will say there’s nothing wrong with me. but soon she picks it up again. I feel so stupid even to have to ask myself what’s wrong with me. I did. ‘Oh.’ she sighs. 85 . and go to my desk to gather the next pile of papers. aren’t I? My record is unblemished. I feel flattered. but as we all know. But I did … I expected more … I expected him to not want to be with anyone else. It’s just that I expected more from him. She acts all nice but she’s such a bitch. ‘Did you know who it was?’ she asks.’ ‘Ah.’ When we’re into a rhythm of ordering the first-year papers by class and by name. and as if I’m doing some good. ‘I feel like such a fool. It makes red smudges on her cheeks and I start worrying about the horse. To be jealous about that makes me sound like such a schoolgirl. I’m better off without him. He’s never promised me anything. and checking the numbers against the mark lists. ‘You’re right. I expected him to … want me. ‘You know.’ I just shake my head. It’s really embarrassing. calming down.’ says Schirmer. I did everything I could to make him happy. that she can tell me things that she will never tell anyone else.’ ‘I’m still here. She stands up and wanders to the windowsill and picks up the new horse. her hands agitated. You know. to do things like that. Marissa starts talking again. I was probably the last person in the whole world to hear about it. Two weeks before Marissa found out. I don’t know how to tell her to put it down and not to touch it. putting the horse down on the desk in front of her. Sometimes I felt like a priest or a therapist. And again.new contrast ‘Manage what?’ ‘To behave professionally. well.’ I say. the Monday after it happened. without even caring who she hurts. And you start to wonder whether they can be right.
God! I’m so sorry. folk songs are called “sad tunes” …’ Red Dust.new contrast ‘But I feel like the last eight months were such a waste of time. Jonty Driver Sad Song ‘In Shaanxi. Oh God. Then silence and a gasp. ‘Trust in what you felt. Saskia walks out and past Roberta’s office and sees that strange Marissa girl crawling on the floor and crying. ‘I wonder if he cared for me at all in that time.’ I hear her say behind my back. searching for a misplaced mark sheet. I turn to see her peeling the crushed horse from the side of her hand. ‘Oh. My girl goes dancing Like wind down the beach. So lightly glancing. So sprightly prancing.’ she whimpers.’ I hear her breath shallow and I know she’s crying. Ma Jian The wind is my song. Still sings me that song. my back turned. Oh God.’ I say. easterly. struggling to hold it in. 86 . Roberta. She wonders what she’s done this time. ‘Fucker!’ she suddenly snaps and bangs her fist on the table. My song is the wind – Sea-breeze.’ ‘You can’t really judge a relationship by its ending.
new contrast ‘My heart’s in tatters.’ As wind scatters sand: A song to the wind. she dances.’ She sings. Sumeera Dawood Acceptance She gives in to the glorious pull of water: An avocado drops to the ground. she dances: Wind blows bitterly And the sand scatters. ‘He’s done me much wrong. bewitch …) She patterns the beach. Though falling apart – So shyly glances (Bewilder. She sings. 87 . The wind in her song. ‘He’s broken my heart – He’s done me much hurt …’ Pirouettes gaily.
88 .new contrast Being a woman i am tired of wearing Eye shadow Heels Clothing Underwire Wedding ring Someone else’s face starting the day quickly Tidying up Washing the dishes Using words to make money Every day the same rules always apply the same Subject Image Surprising final line I want to sit down at my own table To write on my terms The way snails do on a morning-fresh path. shame. here by me by the table an I’ll make for us a cup coffee. Marcia Leveson The Wedding My liewe land! But dis maar Miss Moss! True’s bob me and Mina we saying jus yesserday Miss Moss she never come here by us no more. Come sit. Ag no. but we knows Miss Moss got lots of troubles with the travels. Miss Moss.
my Jannie he get in there with a bad crowd with the drienking. I didden ask like I should of. That time I knows there’s gonna be a something special by that wedding. Nay. 89 . Miss Moss. But. Miss Moss. It was by that time Oom Hannes cousin’s chile. Jannie he’s my firsborn. shame. didden I tell you who’s Jannie? – nay. becoswhy there’s always empty rooms there by Susan’s place with her boys working there by Hermanus side. Ja.new contrast Is funny Miss Moss ask about weddings. But now it come by my head maybe something happen there by Retreat. Katrien. fresh meisie what made the Grade 7 by Retreat in the Cape. I only knows she come sudden here boarding by Fraaschhoek. by Septemmer time – that one! they still talks of that one all the way there from Tulbach to Gansbaai. nay! – overs kedovers! An I don know where Katrien she’s living now. tall peoples they comes here from America to check the place out. not by no one. by that time laas year Jannie he’s busy with that Katrien. becoswhy Miss Moss so kind to us people an becoswhy it’s sitting on my heart. not even by pa even. my Jannie. Ja. now I’s telling you. I havven talk about that for long time now. You should of seen the cars an the jeeps an the cameras. an I only talking by Miss Moss now. I dunno what. But laas year. Nay. things work his nerves. But that’s all finish now. here by Fraaschhoek there’s plenny here by us. But maybe it’s working for the bes becoswhy Jannie he’s happy with a good job by the Pick n Pay there by Somerset Wes. these days we dussen see him no more. Ja. That time Oom Hannes he’s saying she’s sick or something. That time the big. an Jannie he’s also not here by Fraaschhoek no more. Nay. An the pretty little meisiekindertjies what’s dressing for the flower girls. Ag. she’s going with my Jannie. an he come back by us an he goes in the building here with his pa. An I’s thinking that one she’s a lovely. I dunno where Jannie he meets Katrien. specially the white peoples they likes to come by the big farms for the weddings. an he orways get hisself mixed up in a troubles. I think it’s by the caffy there when she’s doing the waitressing. he dussen come by us now since the skandaal. what’s working longtime before by the Jewish farm by the Paarl – that one there whats got the goats – an they thinking there he’s got a good head on him an they wants he mus make matriek so they can send him by Wessin Cape for the studying. an it’s a good thing he keep hisself to hisself.
any new meisie he likes – same thing with all the meisies – even that arme Mona. So that Katrien. You know at firs it look like a good idea. But with pa that’s all he’s doing. an they never leaves no tip. Ja. That small place there by the fruit trees there. Becoswhy I thinks by myself that Jannie he needs to settle. Ja. so I thinks for sure he’s going to put her off. That one. An she say if Jannie he 90 . But then the caffy it closes down an those Malay peoples from Cape Town they makes a curio place instead of the caffy. Jannie he get that eye for the meisies from his pa. Ja. Now. an they sells the scarfs an beads an stuff to catch the touriss. she’s behaving so sweet an she come by us in the evenings an she sit out with Jannie there by the back. I say. when those new peoples they come in there. But I know Jannie he don have so much money save up. even when pa he’s breaking his riss with the building and his got the plasser on. ja. she got Jannie right unner her thumb. that ou Benny what’s working there by the caffy he tol them Katrien she put her hans in the till. Miss Moss. he’s still giving the meisies a piench with the other han. an Jannie he’s a good man also. An Katrien she’s telling us the rich touriss peoples they lying there by the grass in the bikinis whats giving nothing by the imagination. they too blerry snoep. sies. just like the laas one. as I telling you. s’true’s bob. that one’s coming to a no good. becoswhy I’s not a one for his blerry nonsense – nay never! So pa he mines hisself – he’s a good man. Ja. But I don know. Miss Moss mus have passed by there on the way here by us. an she talks so nice.new contrast An Jannie he likes that one. But that Katrien. by Jannie is jus he like to give them all what you call – a piench – you know nothing serious like. So Katrien she’s out that job. an she look aroun for something else. she that’s dronk by 10 o’clock every Saturday there by the street. but sometimes Katrien she fines half a bottle wine they forgets in the fridge an some magazines – an it’s this magazines what she likes to read what gives her the big ideas. she’s a differen sort meisiekind with her pretty hair. my Jannie. But then I don know Katrien – she’s a sly one. an she take a char job by the self caterings by the farm there jus by the big wedding place. Katrien she’s got a Grade 7 an a job by the caffy there by Yougannot street. Miss Moss mussen unnderstan me wrong. but Katrien she says is rubbish. dronk in die tronk. an Jannie he thinks Katrien she’s the one for him. an he knows he better not start nothing.
Miss Moss. Ag. becoswhy Jannie he’s a steady boy an a good looking boy. Gillie he’s also there by the back. so long he dussen make a mess by his room an stink us out with his stompies. an he do what he’s toll. an specially 91 . I so happy. an he sit an smoke. so we lets him smoke in the back. Ag. an he look by her with big eyes. an ahfer by the time me and pa is gone. an he’s good with the brieks. an so when Jannie he tells me they’s getting an engagement. an Katrien she says that’s OK by her becoswhy she want to put by the money for her wedding what’s coming. becoswhy Gillie he loves the sweet things. an Katrien she’s got a good heart. but her friend. nay you knows my Gillie he could of been a nice looking boy. she ask Katrien mus come fill in by the kishen by the big farm. Now when it come by the engagement time. An when she’s sitting out by the back with Jannie. such a soete kind.new contrast dussen get a ring she’s going back by Retreat. Miss Moss. strue’s bob he can follow you very nice if you talks slow by him. But now that Katrien she gets kicked out from the char job by the self catering becoswhy they’s laying off. but they don take no notice of him. a big strong boy like Jannie. an nogal a clever one. he throw them up just like his pa say. Miss Moss. that’s what I thinks. But with that fever Gilllie he stops to talk and everything. I knows I havven toll you nothing about my arme Gillie. That smoking is too much. An she speak so sof an nice by Gillie. an they forgets about him. that one where there’s always the weddings. So by that way he get some money for his ou ma. an they sits an talks their sweet talks. but you knows it wassen his fault. He could of been a very good man if he had his chance. An Katrien she brings a lefover for us from the weddings an a piece icing from the cakes specially for Gillie. but I can’t blame her. Katrien she’s always helping here by the house. An I thinks she’ll be OK. becoswhy he’s a strong boy. an she bring him smokes an some cooldrienk. an maybe she going to look ahfer Gillie when she an Jannie is married. An nearly every weeken there’s weddings on a Saturday an sometimes on a Sunday when they have the Jewish weddings. that no good Letta what also can’t keep no job an she’s a big trouble maker that one. but when he’s making two years he’s getting the fever an the doctors they dunno what. an he dussen drienk but he like the smokes. Miss Moss. the arme Gillie. but it make him happy. When he’s a baby he’s always talking an running roun an up to his trieks. an is time for him to settle.
if it wassen for the teeth. Ja. Miss Moss. But Katrien she dussen wanna lissen. becoswhy she’s wanting to keep that job. an then you can make the top and the bottom. Ja. I suppose it was that teeth what started the whole gemors. you mus wait for when the chilluns they come. An she see the bride smile with the big white teeth. so beautiful. Miss Moss. Well nevermine. an all the young peoples roun here they all goes by the Paarl for the plates. he’s mad for that icing. An I thinking ag shame. It’s very cold by that weeken. but Miss Moss mus sit an have another cup coffee. it was jus this time Katrien she start to have her troubles with the fron teeth an she have to pay the dentist to pull. An pretty. an she cry in her heart for her teeth. I’s sorry Miss Moss – I havven got a stukkie beskuit. Haai. but here by Fraaschhoek the plates is rubbish. she got her worries jus like us. An I thinking she worrying about Jannie an when’s the wedding. jus like the magazines. An Letta she tell hows Katrien she’s crying when she’s coming back by the kishen an she’s saying about the beautiful bride an all the new clothes they brings in the car. And becoswhy by that place there she’s close by the weddings an the pretty brides what looks jus like in the magazines. I tries to help her. an the beautiful teeth.new contrast the icing. an she work OK there an dussen make no trouble. Now when Katrien she come by our place that time I can see she’s funny. 92 . I got a bit hot stew there by the pot. Maybe she’s a sly one but I thinking nay but she’s good in her heart. an she get the moer in. it’s the no good Letta what’s telling us this. An they keeps Katrien on. It’s exacly by that time when this peoples is coming from America to check out the place for the wedding what’s going to be on Saturday. But jis! the plates there is too dear an Katrien she’s saving for the wedding so she say she can’t save also for the teeth. I says nicely by her – ag Katrien. becoswhy that time the teeth they will all be vrot. So then she start to think about making the plate. she dussen even greet. Miss Moss. An she get the moer in. jus like my bottom that dussen fit so nice by me no more. she’s full nonsense how Jannie he mus get a better job an pay for the teeth. An she look in the mirror an she look in the magazines an she want to have the big white smile. An Katrien she’s walking from the kishen an she spy the bride an the groom under the big tree where they’s always making the weddings. but I dinnen knows Miss Moss is coming.
Jannie he’s never for drienking so much. so Gillie he mus walk with her. But then that Katrien she says nay but she mus go home. An that’s special chops what we get from the co-op there by Villiersdorp what comes from over the pass to here by us. Like I saying. like he does every Friday. Petrus. I busy with the curry chops for the supper because Mina she’s coming with her boy. an for roofing they can’t take Gillie for that work. the same peoples what’s having the wedding Saturday and all the friens is making the braai. becoswhy it’s getting late. And me. nevermine Jannie he’s not back. I dunno when Gillie he get back becoswhy by that time me an Mina we sleeping an the TV’s still playing. an she’s taking Gillie with becoswhy there’s stories of skollies by her place there by the farm. an even that three-bar that Jannie he got for us by the time he was working there by the goats it wassen enough to warm the place. so Gillie he’s off work. But. Nay. when I’m calling to Katrien she mus come the chops is ready. So I busy by the kishen an Mina she come an she tell over there by her place by the railway. they treats the people very nice by there. That’s a good paying job for him becoswhy the people there by the farm they only come for the weeken but nevermine they very good with the pay. she issen coming inside quick. an Gillie he know the way on the back of his han. An Petrus he can’t come by us for the chops becoswhy he’s helping out by the farm with the drienks there. So I says OK becoswhy is not far an we’s watching our serial that’s on Fridays. my Gillie he understan everything. an then he goes with the pay for a drienk by the other ous. he like to keep with the ous. An Jannie he’s knocking off late that day. Miss Moss. an Gillie he’s looking with the big eyes. there up by the big farm there. An I thinks but that Katrien has a good heart an Gillie he’s happy. So Mina she bring her things an sleep over here by us. quick. she still sitting long time out by the back close by with Gillie an she giving him the icing an some cooldrienk an some smokes. like I always 93 . That weeken pa he’s staying over there by Helderberg where they’s doing the roofing. not since the trouble by the goats. an they all gone from the wedding place an the cars is all up the road there by the vines. but he tol me he do it for the ous. I remember I says. Miss Moss.new contrast there’s rain an snow on the berge.
he can’t do nothing what he’s not toll. but I don show no one. yous know he’s not the same like the other peoples. An then that place where the bride she’s staying it goes up with the big. an I say by supper ov cors an ahfer supper when we’s watching TV. An in the morning there’s Jannie but there’s no Gillie. but there’s a big troubles an stealing there by the wedding place by the room where the bride an the bridegroom they’s sleeping. I thinking O God! My liewe Gillie an the smokes. what you expect? Shame!You mos knows the arme Gillie he can’t talk. he’s here by us – I says. an I’s worrying becoswhy Gillie he’s out by hisself before but always he’s coming home by us. An they ask who else’s here by us in the night. An I thinking about Katrien. An they comes with the hosepipes an it takes them long. An they says they taking him for the questions. But then they tells me they finds Gillie there by the road by the farm an he can’t say them why he’s there in the night. an the security they sees somebody what’s running down by the river. I says. but Jannie he’s saying for sure he’s there by the ous 94 . Haai Miss Moss. like someone throw with matches inside or maybe they drops there a couple stompies. An everything it’s gone. Nay! I say. you know. An then they telling like the bride’s dress an the pretty veil they’s all burn up. is dark there an they don know who’s it. an I think ha! Gillie he nevah answer to nothing. Miss Moss. long for killing the fire. but I not showing. that time I get the jumping in my chess. big fire they says. an they’s looking straight by Jannie. an they knows he’s an arme kind. But nay they says. that Gillie. even the bath an the TV it’s gone. he’s never a skelm that one. An they ask me when I see Gillie laas. my kind?’ But you knows Gillie he can’t answer so I really says that jus for myself. there’s the konstabels an the dogs an they tell me they got Gillie by the tronk. An Jannie’s he’s shouting – nay. but is not right for keeping that arme Gillie by the tronk an he can’t talk an he’s always a good boy an dussen give no troubles. but I not saying nothing to no one. An the jumping by the chess it’s coming up so strong. he’s mos a soete kind. Mineyou. they sees him there sometimes by the other places by the road. but the jewellery things is in the pillowcase.new contrast says – ‘Gillie is it you. An I thinking by myself. but they chase an the thief he drop the stuff in a pillowcase by the river. Ov cors. Ag siestog! – that arme Gillie. But before I’s worrying hard where’s my arme Gillie.
Miss Moss. an my heart it’s crying for Gillie. Ja but it’s good to talk by Miss Moss. she’s not there so she dussen see nothing becoswhy she take off sick with the stomach. An specially I says nothing about Katrien but I feels in my heart about Katrien an she’s a sly one. You sure you dussen fancy a little stukkie konfyt what you can take home in a pakkie? Ja. she’s running here by us. they didden keep my arme Gillie by the tronk for longtime. me mysell with the three bar. Miss 95 . Miss Moss. an they got the big smiles an there’s cameras an plenty singing. an I remembers the icing an how funny Katrien she’s looking an how nice she’s talking by Gillie. An I hears that Jannie he’s walking with a new meisie by Somerset Wes. An they asks who else is by here an I tells them nobody’s by here. I’s watching my serial. So now. they send him there by the boy’s place there by the Caledon side. he dussen come by here for long time. An by Sunday Letta. an now I got the thing off what was sitting on my heart. Jis like! Letta she say. jus before the peoples they coming for the wedding. An by the wedding time the bridegroom he got the shoes an the outfits an all the things from the friens. An Miss Moss. you knows the farm peoples they’s got to pay out too much money an they’s very cross. an they looks by his room an they looks by Gillie’s room but they fines nothing. but he dussen tell us hisself. maybe is better Gillie’s by there where they helps him with the talking. Nay. an she’s telling about the wedding. an the clothes what’s all gone and she’s telling how early by the Saturday the bride she’s gone with her ma by the big hire shop by Durbanville where the white peoples they goes for the dresses an she come back the lunchtime. but she’s so happy with a new dress what she’s saying she like it much better than the firs one what’s burn by the fire. Becoswhy a fire that’s a very bad thing. an they can mos ask any of the ous there an the place nex door becoswhy they’s making a helluva row there an the peoples nex door they wassen happy. you mus stay a little longer here by us. But they still looks by Jannie. but that wedding! That’s a beautiful wedding! But Katrien. I hear tell by Mina’s auntie she’s working there by the Truworths there. an they stanning under the big tree jus like nothing happen.new contrast there by Gonna’s place where they goes Fridays ahfer work. but pa he tells me Gillie mussen come home by us. but maybe there’s building work for pa by there.
Ja. that Katrien. I dunno nothing. she say she got to go home by Retreat. So maybe she stay back there by her people there. but she’s good in her heart.new contrast Moss. She’s a sly one. we never knows nothing what’s happening by Katrien. sy glansryk uur weer beleef in ’n aftree-oord. Jane Bruwer Dawid Kramer Wat maak jy daar met jou rooi velskoene en jou vrolike kitaar? Het jy kom kyk hoe ek baljaar en jol op Ellis Park – iemand het ’n doel behaal – bo ’n kilte in my hart? Wat maak jy daar met jou hardebol-hoed en jou wenende kitaar? Het jy kom vertel van Blokkies Joubert. Ahfer we hears she’s sick with the stomach. maybe by there she also getting the new teeth. ’n vergeelde foto teen die muur? Wat maak jy daar met jou ou trapfiets en jou skrynende kitaar? 96 .
You are not lost – my philandering liquid sanity Come nearer. 97 .new contrast Dawid Kramer wat maak jy daar met jou rooi velskoene en jou hardebol-hoed? Wat maak jy daar met jou ou trapfiets en jou bittersoet kitaar? Heidi Marques My Dompas Where are you? Why are you hiding? If I squint long and hard enough Will you pour yourself back inside of me? Are you closer? Why are you hiding? I see you! I l know you are there! I hear you. you are not far Come nearer My dompas to ‘life and civility’. I speak to you.
98 . hearing the words Played back like an echo seconds later. The way it is mixed up with the swish Of thorn twigs against the truck Yesterday afternoon driving from the game lodge. my stomach gives When we talk long distance like this: Telling you that I love you. Nothing could ever be more real Than the way everything here suggests your presence: Overheard remarks and world events. What is real Is telling you that I love you Long distance. And the lurch. it is the distance between These words I will read to you And what they would like to say but cannot reach. hearing The old words echo back at me – still true. The wire between us. as I say. All weathers and the silence before storms. What is real is the distance Between us and the animals here.new contrast Jacques Coetzee What Is Real What is real Is the imprint of your voice On the ground of my memory. And the lurch my stomach gives then because they’re true. And the faint animal smell outside.
a surface rubbing in shadows of the sky. unripe cocktails. 99 . dreams of the timeless. in dappled gatherings of moonlight. and in that rare yoke of lost wisdoms.new contrast Richard Bunch Looking for Home Stone idols are simply stone. Our lost innocence tries to recover itself in the flows of soothing silence. Yet inside history we long to be in our home again. and in our music’s untamed country of bones. Our lost innocence tries to recover itself in memories after midnight.
‘You woke me up when you got out of bed. you know …’ She knows alright. she imagines. The hot water bottle she uses to fall asleep – hugs it to her chest like it’s a small child or a teddy bear – has cooled from piping hot to pleasantly warm. She slips the bottle out its covering. Coitus interruptus. of course not. Following his departure. ‘I thought you were sleeping?’ He snaps the laptop shut. She hears his study door closing.’ He has a point. after a night out on the town. not with the study door closed. he left moments ago but already his side of the bed is cooler. She anticipates a warm pocket of empty bed. barges straight in. What should she do now? She doesn’t feel like getting up (the house so cold this late at night) but she can’t sleep. they call it in the women’s magazines: The Dark Side of the Net: Cybersex follows Mars and Venus patterns. young and unpleasantly high-pitched. Then it starts up again – click-click. the irregular beat of fingers on a keyboard. Shani … honestly. the sound of a car door shutting resonates in the stillness of the house. the alarm system flashes a single red eye in the darkness. She’s sure Sebastian’s online. ‘Shani?’ He’s wearing sheepskin slippers. Then unknown voices rise up from the street below. She forces herself out the bed. ‘Come on Derek. Outside.new contrast Lisa Lazarus Boom Under the duvet. makes her way down the passage guided by the sounds: click-click-click. not with what he’s doing in there. ‘I’ll walk you to your flat.’ ‘Well.’ Piqued.’ A male voice. you’re hoping to be invited in for a cup of coffee?’ ‘No. It’s late. Shani shifts her foot to the right. his feet must be extra snug in those. Chatting to girls – cybersex. so what if he taps away with an anonymous woman – maybe even someone on another 100 . that’s what he does late at night. Silence. she thinks. Students. ‘It’s harmless. She doesn’t knock. holds it close.
shouting commands. to remember the texture of those days. nothing left unsaid. The distance between her and Shani as wide as the ocean. Shani. not one many women enjoy. In the changing room they’d get their own back. There was a special way of doing it: the slower ones kicking off first. puffing. go down on her. five to a lane. Neville. ‘Go back to bed. The water would churn and splash. ‘Come on. I told you to use only arms. but she doesn’t move. a stalemate. Over the season they came to learn each other’s swimming styles and eccentricities. She would swim often as an adolescent – ‘in training’. Their trainer was an old guy. Even now her shoulders and back are strong. there was constant chatter between them. ‘What the fuck’s up with him today?’ ‘His wife won’t let him. She takes a step into his study. ‘Can I see what you’re writing …?’ She speaks slowly and too calmly.’ Back in bed she lights up and lies on her back. Sha.new contrast continent whose windows are wide open right now to the warmth and the light. no legs. of swimming. wearing flippers. I’ll join you in a few minutes. her favourite stroke. in the old days Sebastian would track the contoured muscles as he lay behind her. He was tough on them: striding up and down the edge of the pool. The deep inhaling makes her think. bald and smooth down the centre of his head. at least five times a week. Nor does she say anything. doesn’t want to see his bald head while he’s doing her. telling her how powerful she was. It’s nothing much – why don’t you go back to bed?’ A part of her wants to do exactly that. Get out if you’re not going to get it right. white fluffs of hair above his ears. Back in the beginning – odd.’ 101 . Ruth. now. you’re not listening. The desk is between him and the doorway and takes up much of the room. they called it then – at the gym. starts to edge around the corner of his desk. burrow down into the warm nest of her blankets and slip into unconsciousness. boys and girls together. you know. incongruously. how she used to rear up for deep breaths when swimming butterfly.
She’s always loved a shower: the caress of the water on her skin with no accompanying strain in her muscles. a call to the dawn. ‘Come back to bed.’ In the shower the droplets on her back are refreshing. waking her up in a patterned rhythm.’ he says. Out alone. often replayed. she nipped into the carpet shop to let him 102 . early one morning during school holidays. over-done. she knows. until she was right behind him. for starters. Good story for the other girls. Neville out shopping. at the shopping centre. Of that. She had shadowed him. ‘Well. Sebastian.’ From down the passage. Or that’s how she reads it. He gives her a big kiss on the lips. The chlorine worked on her insides too. Get out that half bottle of champagne from the fridge. The barking comes in volleys. Shani gets up – sleep far out of reach – and heads to the bathroom. Let’s lie together and watch the sunrise. she shouts back to him: ‘And there’s nothing to celebrate. comic almost. Sebastian always jokes. Are you having a swim in there. springs into her head. an attempt – though never successful – to rid her body of the smell of chlorine. open the curtains. a tightness at the back of her throat like she’d been crying.new contrast They’d laugh because no way was this guy getting or giving any. The chemical odour used to follow her everywhere. clear and sharp. She finishes her cigarette as the dog next door starts to bark. deep and relentless. a sanitised scent but not pleasant as though the body had been washed too clean. a warning to the new day to stay away. for another … it’s just a stupid idea. passes Sebastian in the passage.’ ‘Why not?’ He’s trying. has a habit of staying in the shower for much longer than it takes to clean herself. It’s while she’s showering that the image. she’d caught sight of Neville from the back. getting closer. they were sure. not like swimming. Fearing he might turn. You’re not the boss here. It’s a practice she picked up from her days in training. I’ve got to get to work and. Neville baby. stripped of its identity. ‘You can’t drink champagne in the morning. She turns around and lifts her face to the water.
The woman turned quickly in her direction and then upwards to Neville. Shani never told any of the girls at the swimming pool that she’d bumped into Neville or about the woman in the wheelchair. Where?’ ‘Wherever you want. That’s true love for you. it could be said that their relationship began there. the way he stayed by his wife’s side despite the wheelchair. This time she makes the booking because the food’s good. ‘Okay. she returned the old-fashioned greeting. it was almost too much to meet the intensity of his gaze. flushing.new contrast gain some distance. His palm is warm and dry. Shani watched as he bent forward to whisper in the white-haired woman’s ear. The picture of the two of them is flung from her mind when she hears a loud banging on the door – Sebastian. Look at him.’ Shani chooses an Italian restaurant in the neighbouring suburb. Neville turned suddenly. Two bags of shopping hung from each handlebar of the wheelchair. the day promises some heat despite the chilly night. she remembers. Her face. She wanted to keep the couple to herself. She even makes the booking during her lunch break. also white-haired. You choose. caught sight of her lurking in the entrance of the carpet shop. She saw then that he wasn’t alone but was pushing a wheelchair in which sat a woman about his age. as she ran her finger gently down the blade of her knife and played with her fork. They’ve been to the restaurant before. 103 . cupping her hand against the receiver in the noisy staff room.’ he says as his hand encircles her bare wrist. the pizza crispy and tomato-sweet. She felt a rush of warmth towards him. Shani slips on a short-sleeved blue dress before opening for him. In fact. He nodded his head. He knocks first with his knuckles and then with the flat of his hand. The physical connection lessens her anger. through the bag she could make out dishwashing liquid and breakfast cereal and a slab of expensive dark chocolate. with her hands placed one on top of the other in her lap. ‘Let’s go out for dinner tonight. her face reddening. building a rhythm with the different sounds. their untouched plates signalling their interest in each other. The two old people laughed briefly and then continued with their shopping.
cliff walks and a swimming pool. We need a break. The strike’s on for tomorrow. as much as they can. A few days later he mentions a holiday and she finds herself agreeing. They book into an expensive boutique hotel in Hermanus for a weekend. it reminds her of Noah. ‘We are going to bring the city to a standstill. ‘Nah. He is expansive in his responses and the evening passes quickly.new contrast He picks her up after work and they go straight to the restaurant. suitable only for cooling off. Twice – once before they go to sleep and in the middle of the night when he wakens – she’s about to ask him if he’s depressed. one hand on the wheel while the other one flips through radio channels and engages the gears. the petrol price’s recent surge leading to action.’ he always shrieks excitedly. (Noah spends hours building tall and intricate towers with his coloured blocks waiting for the moment when a final block causes the structure to come tumbling down. he tells her.) ‘You going to go to town tomorrow morning?’ she asks. but she doesn’t. ‘BOOM. The taxis are going to circle parliament. It fails to mention that a stretch of highway separates their room from the ocean (they fall asleep to the sound of cars) and the pool is tiny. 104 .’ ‘You think the strike’s going to bring down the petrol price?’ ‘Maybe …’ She carries on questioning him about the strike and the politics of the strike. she does not know. He drives easily. The website promises views of the sea. As it happens she doesn’t and that night he sleeps deeply next to her. he tells her. and at midday they’ll all press their hooters …’ Shani hears the edge of excitement in his voice. her three-year-old nephew. deal with the press. an early supper. In the back of her mind she wonders whether she will leave him tonight. well. Sebastian spends the weekend lying in bed watching DVDs. He runs the media office for a collection of trade unions – the strike has been hanging in the balance. I wish I could but I’ve got to stay in the office. a plunge pool. no late-night visits to his computer – perhaps the wine shared over dinner has drained his energy or the political discussion has bonded them. clapping his hands at the mess of destruction.
though energising for her sister. is multi-faceted. sitting cross-legged on the floor and looking up at Shani. During this time she stays at her sister’s and sometimes he comes past late at night. He must know this. However. laughs at that. ‘That’s a good one. Here.’ All Sebastian’s arguments remind Marilyn of one of her exes. she tells him. prove to be too much for Shani. She is happier in her own space even if it’s cramped – only a single bedroom with a small bathroom painted canary yellow and a kitchenette in the corner. any relationship. He tries to argue her out of her decision. in her new place. after he’s been out drinking with friends. ‘This has come out of nowhere. to satisfy all parts of himself. The arguments (‘discussions’.’ she asks. ‘What aspects. ‘things we don’t do?’ They are sitting on the bed. like when he tells her that it’s not really him on the computer. the other women he chats to. Marilyn. it makes Shani tired to hear her sister’s stories. her sister. ‘No. She keeps pushing him and eventually he admits that he likes to give vent to the more violent parts of himself.new contrast It seems inevitable that she will leave him and when it happens he is shocked.’ she says. You can’t argue someone back into a relationship. he fights back. He can only be himself in real life. he says. Shani has some sympathy for one of his arguments. parts she would not like. ‘Reminds me of that asshole Stuart I used to date.’ he tells her angrily. ‘Like what?’ 105 . he calls them) are fierce and extend over weeks. When she tries to relate all his points to her sister they seem to fall through her fingers like water. like he’s giving a first-year lecture in English or Psychology. he tells her. some of the points are not as difficult to remember as others. Marilyn’s memories. on the computer – ‘It’s not a place. because he repeats it often. Sebastian’ – he can express those aspects of himself that she wouldn’t like. next to each other. who moves out. because he’s thought of something else. And when she explains about the late night cybersex sessions. She sips her gin and tonic. He explains that it’s not possible for a relationship. not like that …’ ‘Like what then?’ Identity.
’ ‘But what are you doing with him?’ ‘Fantasies. things that could apply to many people and not specifically to him. He says that chatting online lets him be part of the world. Something strange starts to happen. You got any?’ 106 . As Sebastian starts giving up hope of the relationship resuming. his arguments become more generic. not isolated like the old South Africa. like jumping into icy water. it makes a dent in the long and lonely evenings. Shani bites his lips. Stuff. they have sex and it’s different from before – urgent and aggressive. You’re fit. She chooses the hour before the gym closes. For all I know I’m chatting to an eighty-six-year-old man in Texas. Look at this. not like the old days. that stuff you do online. from eight until nine.’ ‘Once you get a rhythm going you know …’ ‘Easy for you to say. Shani. from air to water. She forces herself to dive into the pool – toes pointed. urging her on. pushes her. Neville. you call that swimming? I could swim better in my dreams. he pulls back her hair when entering her. She tires easily. ‘Having children does this to you. her body lean and long – but dreads the moment of impact. ‘Does it help you learn about diversity?’ she asks. Once. His voice.new contrast Sebastian doesn’t look at her as he says: ‘It’s not real.’ Their language has become coarser which she finds bracing. during this time. Wiedaad recognises her first: ‘I saw you in the pool all alone. You’ve kept your figure. As her strength develops her mind becomes less focused on the aches of her body and she starts to hear her old trainer. but she goes every evening and soon becomes fitter. I don’t know. brusque and demanding. hey? I thought you’d never stop.’ Sebastian won’t be drawn on the person he becomes when he is being someone else. The pool is empty then. his neck. Shani has taken up swimming again. One evening in the changing room she bumps into someone she used to know when she trained as a teenager. Because of what he doesn’t say she imagines the worst. ‘Sometimes you can be a real cunt.’ Wiedaad pats her flabby stomach and then waves her hand through the air like she’s smelt something bad. even the inside of his thighs.
still thirsty from her long swim. Under the sink she finds the pan and brush to clean up the mess. Lonely life. his sister. 107 . hey?’ ‘I really got to go. ‘Shani …’ ‘Thought I’d give you a call.’ Then. See you around. As she raises the glass to her lips it slips from her grasp. Never had a wife. Just her.’ ‘He died?’ He lived in her head mere moments ago.new contrast ‘No.’ ‘His sister? I though it was his …’ ‘Ja. She replaces the receiver and then pours herself a tall glass of water.’ She doesn’t tell him it’s not his wife. she is naked. I read it with my morning tea. Sebastian chats easily on the phone. ‘Anyway. some sort of birth defect. sharp enough to draw blood. Maybe he felt guilty or something. as an afterthought: ‘You remember that old guy Neville. She dials his number and he picks up on the first ring. ‘Ok.’ says Shani. ‘He was a weird old geezer. it’s a bit cuckoo … anyway. ‘Boom. She was born like that – paralysed. see you around. everywhere. he doesn’t bring up any of the arguments from the past. his sister. His tone is friendly and distant. clapping her hands in the stillness of her flat. Tell you Neville died.’ There’s a pause in the conversation. ‘No.’ she says. kids. Stayed with a woman in a wheelchair. He hasn’t come around to visit for the last few weeks.’ At home she has a strong urge to phone Sebastian.’ ‘You married?’ Wiedaad is bent over and rubbing between her toes with her towel.’ ‘I’m sorry. After a while. You always had a soft spot for that guy and his wife. I should run …’ says Shani. I saw he died last week. Anyway he lived with her his whole life. nothing. There are fragments. I know. ‘Ok. can’t bring herself to share this information. cheers. Why?’ ‘I was reading the death column in the paper. the one who used to …?’ ‘Yes. Did you know they were twins? He was born first. he says he has to go.
new contrast Doug Downie Bill’s Bumper Old Bill out back and I park our cars right next to each other sitting on the little cobbled driveway a couple of fading tins. which is pretty damn old for a car Bill’s bumper is racked with rust like acne on a teenage boy in the moonlight my bumper lights up while Bill’s is barely visible I went out tonight jazz at the Two Dogs and a Cat the flyer had no address no phone number no cover charge just that it was across from the Grand Hotel 108 . mine grey but my car’s as though it was sleek and just off the lot compared to Bill’s I only have missing hubcaps and a windshield cracked like split ice and some scratches beneath the handles and dents along the door frame Bill’s car has so much more the seats are torn and are themselves covered with thin and torn blankets the white paint has worn through to the base and even to the tin itself the grip of corrosion has got it along the flanks and the tires are nearly flayed it leans a little to the side on the flattest of surfaces – it’s in its 40s. his white.
John Simon Death at Noon He lies dead now in this long street of sorrow. he awaits the final formalities that attend cessation. strewn in disarrayed order. 109 . blazing in orange-splendour mockery. That’s the kind of day it’s been. About him. – the gift he brought. Above him. I looked so I came back home and bent to tie my careless shoelaces against Bill’s bumper beneath a clouded half moon I couldn’t quite see it and fell on my face against Bill’s fender.new contrast I live in a relatively small town so I know just where the Grand Hotel is I went out to listen to the jazz I’d had enough rejection for one day there was no Two Dogs and a Cat anywhere believe me. Unrecognizable in redemption.
Nor yet the telling eyes that sparkled passion. and hopelessly unaware she shall see his gentle smile no more. thirty years all told. asleep in the sun. fatherless. Where they leave him in the midday. husbandless. Nor yet the secure love that’s sped – as only love can speed – beyond unreasonable reason’s shuttered door. A few paces on his sick wife waits. ‘Death at Noon’ (c 1968) commemorates a man who was knocked down by a car near the Somerset Hospital. Some time back a happy way his boy plays on. Cape Town. In death he lay surrounded by his gift of oranges. in 1964. – his hour of blood spill’s over. In the midday he rests no longer distraught. 110 .new contrast – the sun he sought.
111 . quiet in the dark Through the hours of the night Until you see the crumpled shape Of a shadow who was not a shadow Lying silent in the light.new contrast Michael Bernard Shadows Waiting while the moon sets Back safe against a tree Keeping watch for shadows Who may be more than shadows Shapes hard to see Crouching in the dark Straining hard to hear The small noises of a shadow Who may not be a shadow Creeping very near Let the rifle do the tracking If there’s anything to find Are those the rustles of a shadow Who may not be a shadow Or are they of the mind? Hold the barrel on the sound Slow the shaking of the heart And gently squeeze the trigger Wonder if it really is a shadow As you split the night apart Wait unmoving.
his signal in the night a flickering. that ‘I’ withdrawn from exclamation. far-off star. divining corn and soya – you came first to the terror of that vowel. Bowling Green. the inward crawl the broil of bourbon and thin grey poplars as if the stand was drawn in lonely charcoal by frail and aging hands an inconsequential smirch 112 . Ohio And when you saw the silent night descend along some snowbound somewhere – a plot of mid-west. on a boat drifting deep off-shore.new contrast Rustum Kozain Depression A man without oars. long-dead spark. but under him the moiling sea like a maw closing over that disconsolate. and underneath the turned and frozen sods that wait for spring.
day merely foreshadows night. Red Stone Hills 113 .new contrast Kelwyn Sole Poem of earth and fire for Rochelle As for me. I wait breathless for the time of owls the time of invisibility the space of wizards where the world becomes a palm encircling its own wrist and boles of trees thicken until the garden blunders about among its own roots and branches while shadows stand upright and draw closer to windows out of which we no longer care to look. You are just the other side of my eyelids you reappear each time I open them hide your body between your hands hoping I’ll look there just for you and then I do. I await the time when suddenly you turn around transform to the shyness of flames blushing they find no cause to falter you gather strength they start to dance.
furtive as they are behind their bastions of foam. flounder face to face ships that pass perilously close amid the sound of breakers though the sea creatures cannot see us. * * * Braced against you my vision lists I can’t avoid land’s slippage where we totter 114 .new contrast Poems of air and water The foreshore of night – with us. two ships sinking on a bed so that we may agree to drown. make no shorefall: but founder on in gloom. * * * We hit no rock. giving rise to little we can name. Flow and ebb of movement.
new contrast have to scramble across the surface of each other’s tilting skin until we reach that point where neither hopes for rescue. * * * Its light comes to rest on your knuckles become 115 . * * * The thin spool of your breath quickens you snag the moon tug its fingers down onto water bright enough to guide us – even if it only fleers on and off on and off through the torn curtain – to show some voyages end in stillness.
Your mouth relaxing. Your face is shadow. Your still tensed hands Ken Barris In Grahamstown In Grahamstown the light limewashes the old buildings. gripping at the coverlet.new contrast white bone. so remembering to the eye the half-life clocks 116 . you soon to be lost again in darkness once the moon has set. * * * Yet I will forget nothing. Even your breath seems to hang away from you.
like the prow of an ancient craft sailing through waves of sand … The blood of their first mother stirring. gnomons to measure the progress of the colony: Mr Price Home. How the oak leaves rustle above me. The sun declines. his long hull crumble in time … 117 . the old Moth hall – originally a prison – cathedral. Clive Lawrance Cape Cobra They caught sight of him outside the village. university. dodging the worn umbrella. Tonight. my skin shivers at the cold threat in the warm berg wind. just outside hysteria.new contrast they’ve become. they scuttled him and beached him in dense bush where his venom could evaporate. I drink my cold Americano. homeless children wheedling in the street for brown money. with curses and blows. tomorrow it will pour and drown this sweet history of light. regretting each sip. into my face. head high and proud.
helmeted head. I closed my eyes to see. the pale descendants of unruly tribes. adrift on streams of air. toiling through empty hills and space. Clawing for the sun. on the frigid barracks at the empire’s edge. The earth began to beat. He killed time. stealing a march on the road from Rome. gazed without awe at the cisterns and rubble. Stooping as the hawk stoops. Absolved from blood and terror. unrolling its thunder behind it. he saunters with his cohorts at the edge of our world’s end. he put an end to feasible history. twin pipes ablaze.new contrast Mark Swift At Hadrian’s Wall For Jenny Hirst Chilled to the bone at the staggered stone shield where the Romans heard barbarian drums beat deep in the earth. the jet arrowed up from the bowed earth. At the weathered remains of a broken fort the inheritors. this birdman strapped into armour. In a splinter of time we glimpsed rivets on steel. with a whip-crack of air a fighter tore past. Behind ramparts of cloud. the riveted man outstripped the wind. the detritus scorned by farmers whose walls have outlasted all emperors’ dreams. the past was dead to the eye and the ear. as immaculate as the hawk. Only the sheep and far-flung crows gave voice on a reedy wind. Alone in the ether. a hurricane sleeps at his thumb-tip. an ancient. 118 . to men in creaking leather.
new contrast Elizabeth Joss The Lie of Your Land wind over the farms of green and brown outlines where mounds of earth become exposed the bumps of stone scattered in rhymes up close gravel roads and lime trees intrigue my sub consciousness a mirage fulfils soul needs towards a mountain peak the grey-tinged clouds and textures seek to magnetize sin from my heart draw me in draw me in from my heart to magnetize sin so textures shall seek the grey-tinged clouds towards a mountain peak a mirage fulfils my soul needs intrigues my sub consciousness up close gravel roads and lime trees the bumps of stone scattered in rhymes where mounds of earth become exposed wind over the farms of green and brown outlines 119 .
Exile at home Beneath an aching sky and a clatter of leaves, flames wrestled with wind; smoke eddied over our skirmish of words. As close as estrangement allowed us to be we hefted our wine on a baize of lawn; a startle of green in the granite reaches of a valley scorched to the bone. In a split-second shift of the shutter-quick eye, a dog and a boy were roiling on grass in a tangle of fabric and fur. Where bush fought petals they tussled as one; canine sinew and smooth, taut muscle were the beast and the artless in us all. In an instant, the dog leapt out of the yelping boy, stilting on its hind legs in a flailing parody of the child secure on his firm small feet. They were the sum of the shattered whole: the bulking hills and famished trees, the men splaying their brutal hands over tired coals to conjure up warmth. As the sun burned to ashes we took to a warring silence. All wonder was lost, the years had betrayed the tussling child in us all. Trapped behind the bars of our bones, our yellow eyes homing in on the dark, we bared our fangs at the shapes of our fears.
Writing Their Lives 1. Twenty thousand years ago the first people of southern Africa, the copper-coloured, high-cheekboned, light-limbed people, who ran like water over stones, who killed with respect and regret, who garnered only what nature planted, were writing their lives in rock 2. The last people are reaping everything, scribbling the sky with vapour trails.
Kindertotenlieder in Seville (debajo de una ventana) Tonight The very strings of my heart were torn Asunder When a woman’s voice shrilled poignantly Skyward, I in the street beneath her window, Listening.
A boy with a stave and an uptown girl Passed quickly by Not noticing this song of loss That, grief-filled, soared Heavenward, Rending apart the very threads that held me together So fragilely. Sierpes, Sevilla 4 viii 86
Programs Officer of the Imagine Africa Cultural Programs at the Gorée Institute, Adam Wiedewitsch is currently co-editing the forthcoming on-line literary magazine, Memory of Wind. A graduate of New York University’s Graduate Creative Writing Program where he edited Washington Square Review, he is a contributing teaching-artist for the Teachers & Writers Collaborative in New York. Adam lives and works in Gorée, Senegal. Allan Kolski Horwitz is a poet and publisher. He lives in Gauteng. Andries Samuel makes a living as an architect in Cape Town and dances and writes to keep sane. He was raised and educated in the Free State. He is afflicted with writing in Afrikaans and English. Barry Wallenstein is the author of five collections of poetry. A new book, Tony’s World, is due out from Birch Brook Press in early 2010. A special interest of his is presenting poetry readings in collaboration with jazz. He is an Emeritus Professor of literature and creative writing at the City University of New York and an editor of the journal, American Book Review. His latest recording, Euphoria Ripens [Cadence Jazz] was listed among the ‘Best Jazz Recordings of 2008’ in AllAboutJazz magazine. Bulelwa Basse is the founder of Lyrical Base Project, an arts and culture organisation which seeks to elevate the profiles of writers from marginalised communities through community-publishing projects, performance poetry, cultural and corporate events. Bulelwa was the editor of Muse, an online poetry publishing and profiling magazine. She
were originally written in English to an English-speaking woman. He is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the Mafikeng Campus of North-West University. the latest included in Twist. He is South African. He has published five novels. All his future articles. Clive Lawrance’s poetry has been published in New Contrast on and off for some forty years. President of NUSAS in 1963 and 1964. CJ (‘Jonty’) Driver was born in Cape Town in 1939. Chris Canter is an editor and translator who lives in Madrid. but he grew up in Europe. she completed a Creative Writing Masters degree at the UCT and is now a full-time writer. an anthology based on tabloid headlines. The article. he became stateless in 1966. A third volume is yet to be published. Charl-Pierre Naudé is a poet in both Afrikaans and English. which was short-listed for the Sunday Times Fiction Award 2006. six books of poetry. poems and letters to the editor went out under the pseudonym Buster Petersen. and a biography. Selected Poems 1960–2004. After leaving her career in the IT industry. a Johannesburg-based newspaper. submitted by Roy Bermeister. Poetry Delight. His Die Nomadiese Oomblik (Tafelberg) was published in 1995. which confronts a society that portrays women as sex-objects. had carried his name and address which at that time was mandatory. Since the early 1980s he has had a considerable number of poems published in literary magazines here in South Africa and the United States. Roy was sternly warned by the heavy-handed agents to cease or face ‘trouble’. In die geheim van die dag followed in 2004/5: Against the light is the English version which was written concurrently. He has published two slim volumes of poetry. though published in Afrikaans. Having admitting to writing the piece. and several short stories. a century of essays by South African women. A play on the name of Australian writer Banjo Patterson. Damian Garside has been published in New Contrast since 1977. Consuelo Roland has published a novel called The Good Cemetery Guide.new contrast has been featured on the Channel O television show. His love poems. Chris has had short stories and poems published in the literary magazines Liter and Roet in The Netherlands. Buster Petersen came to life sometime in the 70s: as the result of a late night visit from a few BOSS (Bureau of State Security) agents following up on an apartheid protest article that appeared in The Star. and was refused a visa to re-visit South Africa until after 1991. His latest book is So Far. He is also a journalist. addressless and free of most social constraints. 123 . He was one of the judges of the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2007. where she’s known on stage as Miss ‘Sassy’ Basse following her poem ‘My Lyrical Sass’ (published in this issue). Buster remains colourless. In 2007 her essay entitled ‘Was Ayn Rand Wrong?’ was selected for inclusion in The Face Of The Spirit.
which specialised in South African English poetry and non-fiction. New Contrast and SA Literary Review. KwaZulu-Natal. Elizabeth Joss is reading for her Masters in English Studies at the University of Stellenbosch. and a disc jockey. He has at various times been a hobo. publisher and pharmacist. Doug Downie was born in and spent most of his life in the US. living in Cape Town. cartoonist. He edited the literary journals Upstream. amongst others. For the last 28 years he has lived the bright. the fantastic life of outdoor adventure in the African bush and the darkness of economic collapse and Mugabe’s Bully War of Beating. musician and freelance translator. hope.blogspot. editor and computer programmer. He lives in Muizenberg.new contrast Deborah Steinmair is a translator and poet. a winery worker. and lives in Cape Town. prospecting and drilling. He is the singer and keyboard player for the band Red Earth Rising. he founded and directed The Carrefour Press. She has been published in Carapace. Grahamstown. HA Hodge is a poet. information systems. He moved to South Africa in 2003 and has lectured at Rhodes University ever since. Kimberley and East London. Doug Scott is an old Vietnam War era. ultimately earning a PhD in entomology. He studied Philosophy and English at Rhodes before working in mining. early years of Zimbabwean independence. a tobacco picker. Cape Town. Elizabeth says she has become quite a scavenger of books and texts of all kinds. In between homeschooling her three children and being bipolar (ooooh!). He has self-published a collection of short stories and a novella. 124 . performs as a vocalist and assists women in childbirth (doula). San Francisco and London. hopeful. Genna Gardini has a BA in Drama and English from Rhodes. Heidi Marques lives in Pinetown. You can find out more about her at www. Since 1992. He has published four collections of poems and one collection of translations. titled Cat Came Back and other stories: a collection of tragic-comic tales of futility. Jacques Coetzee is a poet.gennacide. a carpenter. New York. the theatre. and survival. Douglas Skinner grew up in Upington. In the late-1980s. has two daughters and lives in Cape Town. the wine trade and building. insurance.com. he has lived in the south-west corner of London. Grace Kim is currently studying English Honours at Stellenbosch University. publishing. anti-war protester American. Cape Town. Gus Ferguson is a poet. She is also a part-time tutor and mentor for English Studies 178. a taxi driver. she writes and publishes children’s books. He hosts the Monday Off-theWall poetry gig in Observatory. He returned to university at the age of 39 as a student of biology. a gardener. Itch and Fidelities. New Coin. He now writes primarily poetry. She writes poetry and short stories.
Chemistry. and two collections of poetry. He has also published a collection of radio plays. University of London. Requiem (2003). a collection of short stories. Ken Barris has published four novels. the most recent being the 2006 Thomas Pringle Award. Joan Metelerkamp’s poems have appeared in many local anthologies. and was published by Dye Hard Press last year. Laura Kirsten is ’n pianis en digter. He submits the occasional poem to SA and UK poetry magazines. He has lived and worked in Johannesburg. Previous books include Into the day breaking (2000). Burnt Offering. Author of numerous critical articles and five collections of poetry. He was an avid sportsman (triathlete and parachutist). and without speech. Kelwyn Sole is a Professor in the English Dept at UCT. and Carrying the Fire (2005). 125 . His play. She edited New Coin for four years from 2000. Blind Voices (Botsotso Publishers). and Separating the Seas. via a laptop ‘light writer’. Sy is gebaseer in Hogsback in die Oos-Kaap. John Simon was until recently Composer in Residence to the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra and lecturer in orchestration at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Music School. Kelwyn was born in Johannesburg. He has taught (Maths. On recovery. gedigte en musiek kombineer. and journalist. and was educated at the University of the Witwatersrand and at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He lives in Cape Town. She is an aspirant poet. A new collection of her poems. and Sydney Clouts) and she has judged others (DALRO and Ingrid Jonker). Floating Islands (2001). Biology and Sports) at Amanzimtoti High School in Durban and lectured at Mangosuthu Technikon (Applied physics and chemistry). is to be published by Modjaji Books in June. Sy is tans besig om aan ’n een-vrou stuk te werk. Kevin was involved in a motor vehicle accident in 1993 – he sustained major head injuries and severe brain damage. wat beweging. In 1990 he became a senior training manager at National Brands Bakers. He has published three collections of poetry: Time like Stone (which received the Ingrid Jonker Prize for 2001). won the 2004 PANSA award. Kobus Moolman teaches creative writing at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. and a few in collections published outside this country. and writes his poetry.new contrast Jane Bruwer is a teacher of languages currently retired and living in Pretoria with her husband and two children. Feet of the Sky. Kevin communicates with others. he was left bound to a wheelchair due to residual paralysis. He has won various literary awards. Sy het Bmus grade van die Universiteit van Pretoria. Kanye (Botswana) and Windhoek (Namibia). Full Circle. Kevin Hollinshead graduated in 1986 with a BSc (HDE) from the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg. Ingrid Jonker Dans Weer. and is at present a professor in the English Department of the UCT. and the June 2008 edition. and works at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. for a short story published in New Contrast. Joan’s work has won prizes (SANLAM.
a troop of Samango monkeys. She has published short stories and poems in literary journals. in 1933. After which he moved to the UK. They have two sons. He has published poems. He lives in Hogsback. A fourth volume. She has published her poetry in various journals. was published in 1996. won the Ingrid Jonker Prize. The stage also lures her. the USA and in South Africa. Seconds Out. and a few thousand trees. photos and short stories. She directed Fugard’s ‘Sorrows & Rejoicings’ for Milnerton Players in 2008. She is a member of several writers’ circles including ‘Die 1980-Poësieleeskring’ which she herself started 30 years ago. at a few universities. edit and publish. She runs Quartz Press. including an annual three months in Spain. Her first book is cowritten with her husband: a memoir titled The Book of Jacob about their first year with their son (published by Oshun. Gentlewoman. for which she won Best Director as well as Best Play trophies at the CATA awards in 2009. Lit. Mark Swift’s poems. 126 . Marcia is a former President of the English Academy of Southern Africa. write. Marcia Leveson is a retired professor of English at the University of the Witwatersrand. appeared in 1983. Mari Mocke lives in Table View. son and two dogs in Johannesburg. He works in the book trade. Louis Greenberg was born the last of five Catholic-raised children of Greek Orthodox. He lives with his wife. was published by Umuzi in 2006. Michael grew up on a farm in Rhodesia. since 1973. She is a co-ordinator and teacher for U3A Johannesburg. speaking and writing poetry. prose and criticism have been widely published in South Africa and in the UK. Norman Morrissey taught Eng. His first novel. He graduated with an Honours Engineering degree from a college in Britain and returned to Zimbabwe as a Senior Engineer for the Tobacco Research Board. Treading Water. She is an Honorary Research Fellow. the odd bushbuck and duiker. sharing a 5 acre plot with 72 species of birds. Michael left Zimbabwe in 1980 to work for the UN in Malawi on wood fuel research until 1990. She has adjudicated literary competitions. study. Marcia continues to teach. A third volume. His first collection. and has published poetry in journals in the UK. The Beggars’ Signwriters. May 2009). Michael Bernard was born in Kenya. 1990s magazine of the arts. including Contrast. In 1987 he was awarded the Thomas Pringle Prize. Mari has a passion for reading. but spent next fifteen years working on short term consultancies in perhaps sixteen countries around the world from Mexico to China. Testing the Edge. his wife in Grahamstown. She is the founder editor of ImPrint. had a history of banning and unbanning in South Africa and was published in New York.new contrast Lisa Lazarus is a freelance magazine journalist and psychologist. He has four books of poems in print. His second book. Jewish and Protestant ancestry.
cultural quirks and. Thrice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. left South Africa when she was six and raised in New Zealand. Rosemund J Handler lives in Cape Town. and was published by Penguin in 2006. Sumeera has two degrees in English at a university in Cape Town (it’s an experience she’s still recovering from). His latest work is Hawking Moves: Plays. Her second novel. Oregon Review. When her daughter said ‘mommy I think your shoes are getting to small for you’. it is art and the creative process that makes her world bigger. Katy’s Kid. Sumeera Dawood is a freelance writer and poet now based on a nut farm in White River. She’s passionate about commenting on gender issues. He studied at the University of Cape Town where he later taught in the Department of English from 1998 to 2004. Her first novel. sex. two children and British citizenship. There she acquired a South African husband. Sam Manty has published poems in several SA and US anthologies. Thandi Sliepen was born in Cape Town. She returned at eighteen and has been loosely based in the eastern Free State ever since. also by Penguin. she thought it’s not my shoes that are too small. Her poetry has been published in various South African poetry journals and websites.net.new contrast Richard Alan Bunch was born in Honolulu and grew up in the Napa Valley. Running for Daybreak. She is an American. was published in 2007. She has written short stories and poems which have been published here and in the United States. His first volume of poetry. Poetry New Zealand. Her third novel. well. his poetry has appeared in Windsor Review. ‘How many passports is one family legally allowed to own?’ 127 . was published in 2005 (Kwela/Snailpress). Tsamma Season. This begs the question. was written during her MA in creative writing at UCT. Tiah Marie Beautement is the author of various works including the novel Moons Don’t Go To Venus. it’s my life. This Carting Life. In recent years her husband began to feel a tug for his homeland. Thandi says she is primarily a visual artist. Poems and Stories. will be published by Penguin in June 2009. and a play The Russian River Returns. Only when writing poetry does the world expand. Thus. whose six-month visa resulted in an eight-year stint in Britain. Rustum now works as a freelance copy-editor. Fugue. Rustum Kozain was born in Paarl in 1966. Rivers of the Sea. in August 2008 her family relocated to South Africa. His works include Summer Hawk. Madlands. and Cape Rock. Long Islander. Although Sam Manty has spent the past decade managing corporate reputations she is still trying to find out exactly what that means. available at Kalahari.
address. Please note it can take up to three months to receive a reply. Multiple pages must be numbered.newcontrast. which may be zipped with others for transmission.net All submissions must be typed. RTF or TXT document E-mail submissions to ed@newcontrast. Guidelines for contributors • • • • • • • • • • Postal submissions will be accepted although e-mail submissions are preferable.net Subscription Rates 2009 Check website http://www. PO Box 44844. If you are submitting the same material to another publication at the same time. Claremont. please say so in your covering letter. South Africa E-mail Editor: ed@newcontrast. Word DOC. Each piece must be in a separate document. and contact number must be on every page – use the document header or footer. • • If your work is accepted for publication you will received two free copies of the issue in . 7735. which your work appears.Editorial and subscription address New Contrast.net Email Business Manager: business@newcontrast. Email submissions must be an attached ODT. Please do not send original manuscripts as they cannot be returned by us. Adderley Street. Submissions may not exceed six pieces including up to two of prose. Branch code: 02-00-09 Account name: South African Literary Journal Ltd Account type: Current account Standard Bank Account number: 070508666 Credit card facilities are available on-line.net/ Renewals: SADC ZAR210 Renewals: Rest of World ZAR400 New subscriptions: SADC ZAR250 New subscriptions: Rest of World ZAR440 Cheques and postal orders should be made payable to the South African Literary Journal (address above) Electronic transfers to Standard Bank. email. Inform us if your work is accepted elsewhere before you hear from us. Cape Town. Your name.
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