When The Philosopher Came Into My Life
(For the Dutch poet Joop Bersee)
You don’t know my moth sorrows. The
Challenges of finding love. She only
Telephones to speak to mother. All
Her life she’s been searching for love.
She wants to be in the family way. It
Doesn’t matter to her if it is a son or a
Daughter. She’s searching for everything.
For happiness. For the supernatural in
Everything. And so, what do you see
When you see me. She can eat her dinner
In a fancy restaurant if she wants. Over
The years I’ve learned the discipline
That comes with the terrifying quiet. I’ve
Lost myself in Merchant Ivory films.
The spiritual warfare of art. The deep bonds
Of family. In the mornings I think of
The breakfasts I had as a small child.
Food and coffee. Toast and muesli with yogurt.
She came into my life with her winter
Aura. Her sun in my face. Wildflowers
All around me. The smell of her perfume.
Love is as ancient as rain. The prophets.
You don’t know anything about the smoke
In my lungs. My mother was this perfect
Courageous being. I want to listen to her
Laughing eyes for the rest of my life.
There was a sane life, an insane life, and
A reality that was both a curse and a gift.
I’ve been burdened my entire life by some
Some past regret. Some past indiscretion.
Nobody remembers Majdanek. They
Remember the word holocaust. Auschwitz.
The concentration camps. Noah had a rapid
Fire journey into the unknown high seas.
This, this is my soul. She’s coming home
For the long weekend. We’re all outside in
The backyard in our own worlds. I don’t
Want to go inside yet. I haven’t had enough
Sun. I think of her face. A face I’ve come to
Know so well. I think of the future lines on
My sister’s face. I think of her loving man,
Woman and child. Daughter or son. Sons and
Daughters. Transformed by fire, by tigers,
By golden flame. I think of her future soul.
It is the wise woman that has the prophetic
Voice, and I think to myself that if she
Promises me the manifesto of her heart,
I will tell her all my Plathian-secrets. She’s
Done the impossible. She’s free. She’s free.
I think of ceremonial bodies. Governing
Bodies. The earthly plane, heaven, paradise,
The careful shattering of all-consequence
When love comes to an end. I think of the
Harvest-time of the kingdom of blood that
Flows through my veins, the root of cell
And platelet that hides itself away. Most of
All I think of the third eye. How we’re all
Connected. Mankind. Soul to soul to the
Subtle qualities of spirituality and I think of how
I want nothing in this world to harm her.
Just Looking For A Place To Rest My Head
(For the Dutch poet Joop Bersee)
I remember being asked about the two-faced
Dilemma of the light of the day. What it felt like.
I remembered the rain, thought of the abandoned
Journeys of my life, driftwood, ocean, river as
It flows into ocean. When I think of you I think
Of walls of stone now. The tribal song of humanity.
The crashing waves of the roaring sea. You’re folly,
My atlas. My comforting progress. The little town
Where I live now lapping, licking salt at the wings of my soul
And I managed loss brick-by-brick. Thinking of the
Subtleties of romantic love. Standing at the water’s
Edge making observation after observation half-
Frozen by the day. The chill in the air. Once I was
Obsessed with you held back by nothing but a
Thread of sanity. I swim to reach you. Only to reach
You. My personal space is awash with heat, eddies
Of dust and whirlpools of stars. I’m imprisoned by
Something that I cannot put into words yet. Abandoned
By your hands I am slowly going mad. Part despair. Part
The Thursday afternoon that I found myself writing
This poem. I like you. I like you just the way you are.
To the drowned throne room slowly going mad in
Sickness and in health. This is a love story. Part
Solitude. Part loneliness. Let me go back. I keep forgetting
That this is a love story. You with the sad eyes,
I’m only brave for you. You make me feel safe.
She listens to cool music. I prefer classical music.
Opera. Mozart. Bach. She knows more about the
World than I do. Pick madness if you must. In my
House nothing else matters. I move through the
Air floating from lunatic to socialite. I sleep alone.
I have no lovers. I wake up when the birds sing.
I remember your blue shirt. I remember your blue jeans.
Once you were perfect, love but I do not exist in your
Field of dreams anymore, lover. These days I lose
Myself in museums and art, books, music, the radio,
Watching documentaries. I think of you by my side.
Those good days. I’m sure of one thing. My proper
English. That death will come for all of us. I think
Of writing into the energy of the night, the silent and
Holy and sacred and lonely night that is forever holding
Me hostage. You’re part of the greater good again
For now. The sharks in the early, early, early morning.
Things You Need To Know About Stardust
(for the Dutch poet Joop Bersee)
Open the door and you will find a kingdom
there. There are things that you need to
know about me. I have a conversation
inside my head about how some people
should not be parents but they are. But
they are. They fight in front of their children.
They watch the news or inappropriate
films. I look at my mother’s bent head
over her work. I am doing this for her
but she does not notice. Does not say
anything. I look at her bird nose and her
beak mouth and I have this urge to connect
with her but she does not want to connect
with me. I feel tribal towards her. She’s
an orphan in the world now. I dreamt about
my grandfather last night or was it last
week. I think of the pale fire of the sea
that resonates within me like thunder. Of
course, I have always wanted music in
my life. People are writing about modern
loss now. Living in loops. I look at my
mother’s bare neck. Her shoulder blades,
and I think to myself that I came from
that. I came from her intense psychologies.
There’s the upward push of her fingers
as she works. I would have put music on
or the radio but she said that she works
better in silence. She works barefoot like a
girl, and I think of her pressing into my
father’s back at night when they sleep together in the
same bed, and I think of how some people
should never have been parents and then
I think of mine. I think of the silence in their bedroom and
the last things they say to each other before
putting out the light and putting their heads
on the pillow. I wonder did my father
always make my mother feel safe. I don’t
know what that’s like. Believing in a man.
Believing that he can give you the world.
I think of the truth about loneliness. About
how it’s all stardust, moonlight and roses.
I think of the men who have been kind to
my mother in her life because she was a
beautiful woman and didn’t have to work
hard for attention from kind or unkind men.
The way that I have had to work hard for
it my entire life, and I wonder if my mother
has ever kissed my father’s neck like I kissed
the last man that I was ever in love with.
Author Bio: Pushcart Prize nominated for her fiction Wash Away My Sins, AbigailGeorge is the author of Africa Where Art Thou, Feeding the Beasts, AllAbout My Mother, Winter in Johannesburg, Brother Wolf and Sister Wren,Sleeping Under the Kitchen Tables in Helenvale, and the novella TheScholarship Girl. She is the recipient of grants from the NationalArts Council in Johannesburg, the Centre for the Book in Cape Town, and ECPACC in East London.
She was educated in Port Elizabeth,Swaziland, and Johannesburg, and her writing has appeared in variousanthologies. She briefly studied film at the Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg.
She is a blogger, essayist, poet,short story writer and has just completed her first novel. She is a regular contributor to the webpages of Africanwriter.com, Bluepepper,Itch, LitNet, Modern Diplomacy, Ovi Magazine: Finland’s English Online Magazine, Piker Press, Praxis Magazine, Sentinel Literary Quarterly,Tuck Magazine, and Vigil Pub Mag.
Her work has most recently appeared in Better than Starbucks, Daphne Magazine, ENTROPY, Off the Coast, Rumblefish, SUSAN, The Gravity of the Thing, and Williwaw Journal.