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Sexy Sexy
by Abigail George
2013-11-24 11:10:04
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When I harmed myself I could feel nothing. Under my fingertips I felt inferior, disgusted with myself, the landscape of the human condition that had brought me here. I couldn’t register joy or anything sublime. There was nothing but sameness there. I could breathe it in and out of both my lungs all day long. I wanted mother-love. My poems speak quite highly of her. They have the quality of concentration, instruction, the randomness of funny and they have missed out on nothing that life has to offer us all.

I was only cutting to cut out bits and pieces, the winter bits and pieces, the bulimic parts, the synergy of mapping out extinction, wrapping my physical self around it, keeping my healthy parts away from it. It radiated bright and illuminated depressing thoughts. Cutting gave me a killer instinct as I butchered my arm. I needed to get away from the spirit of all the ugliness in the world, the universe’s unconscious and the sexy black holes that was inside of me. I was murderous. I was a villain. I could be malicious, me playing the bad cop tinkering on your good side continuously. Maybe it’s because I exiled my mother early on. Maybe it’s because I thought she didn’t love me in the way I thought she should have. I wanted to breathe her in, her cool air all the time. I wanted her nature to define mine. Maybe I wanted the opposite. I wanted us to be make-believe best friends.  I wanted us to be angels in a wasteland, a history wilderness. I watch her as she washes the spinach for the quiche under running water but instead my brother’s girlfriend is going to finish it and in my head I go running backwards and forwards in time. Backwards and forwards to Tara and then to the present time now in a house filled with eight people. I am a panther. I was a panther when I made love in the dark. I am Sylvia’s panther reading everything about her life now, reading her poems, and reading about her love life.

The slate is blank and cool. The school board is black. I am not fiercely intelligent yet or sexy, attractive in any way at all, and molested, the interloper in the office, society at large, during daytime. I am not born yet to illuminate the world with every expression on my face. I have not surrendered yet. I have not learnt to let go of, to pour fear out of my physical body as if it was a liquid. According to the psychologist I am not a lunatic. I am loved but I don’t believe him. I stare up at the blue at Tara. It bombards me, snaps me out of reverie. I am feeling vulturous. I want carrion. My boyfriend is stupidly in love with my poems and me.

I go back! Go back to childhood, to the light, to the house, the ocean-sea, to Alice in wonderland’s white rabbit, my skinny legs, and the stiff expression on my face as he exhales. I imagine the stems in my mother’s garden. What does she feed them to make them grow so strong, so invincible and why do they not find difficulties in life? They are much more emotionally matured, healthier than young girls and boys in youth. These stems must have their own perspectives; views and I stop to wonder if it isn’t the silence at night. Nobody gardens at night.

But something must be active in the soil, in the earth and I think to myself if it isn’t gravity or compost then what is it? No, it couldn’t be love or passion, human feelings (maybe it’s the weather, or rain, or the lovely, lonely weight of water). I am saddled with these thoughts of nature’s ingenuity, engineering, and guarded by the seasons, the elementary (words that are like pearls of wisdom). Perhaps it is those perfect little trees that shadow these plants. I want to be that sweet woman. I want to be kind most of all. Most of all I want to stop writing those words, ‘most of all’. It means nothing. I am a crocodile snapping at air wanting to devour it all with my merry crocodile teeth.

Nothing beautiful about me but there is something that is striking in one way that separates me from the rest of the human race. I write. I can write. I write poems and I dream about stems. I can’t grow anything like my mother can and I am not beautiful like she is. I am not a pioneer like she is. I’m different. My roots are often bored. Sometimes I let go of them, lose my grip on them and then they find a ‘home’. ‘Another home’. They have found homes in the USA, in Canada, in Finland and Nigeria, in Kenya, in Istanbul, Turkey where their stems grow sturdy and straight. I hope I have made trees the way my mother has. I am finished with my meal. I am seeing the psychologist this afternoon and I decide only if I feel like talking then I will go and see him.

I want my love to be inconspicuous but it isn’t. He knows I am in love with him but he says that nothing will happen. He will not hurt me and as he says these words something is lit up inside of me like flame.

He exhales again and it seems as if he is being lit up from the inside. All I have is the internal. And I cannot make anyone aware of that, those electric sensibilities, my pride, and my prejudices and there’s a chill in the air. Emptiness takes root within me. It is only a route to follow not a destination. I thought love was impossible, a tricky situation like a child’s cry, ill health, suicidal illness, the body consciousness of an adult. I’m bloodied. I’m wet. My face is wet. It is tears multiplied. It feels as if my skin is scorched. I am burning. I am melting like the rhino’s. I do not exist and this feeling, that thought is constant, is loyal, is faithful. It glitters. It’s spectacular. I’m a doll grasping nothing at all. Words are only words. They are black flowers on the page swallowing me. Swallowing the beautiful people.

Oh it’s nothing. I feel nothing.

Beautiful people, people of the stars, celebrities, they’re annihilating aren’t they? I write in flashbacks of warm nights, cool boys, and popular girls, of the ridiculous, of flowers that had the time for me. I want a personality that has poised tenderness but instead I am poison and if that makes me immortal like any other then so be it. I’m trouble. My mouth is sweeter than communion wine. I need bread. Cover me with water. I am a lotus flower stuck in mud (all those meditation classes taught me to go within).  I am an iron rose. I am an image of success. I am attracted to people who want to patronize me, bully me, and cajole me, those who want to make me into a slave. And so he enters me in the dark.
The others are poised in the wings, unsmiling, and their behaviour unpredictable, only affected by the gifts a season of birthdays and Christmases will bring. It’s daytime but I don’t sit with the others in the canteen. Lunch is fried chicken with a beetroot salad. The plastic plate is something beautiful. The three people who sit opposite me are talking about opening their own business in Sandton with secretive airs. They’re all schizophrenics.

During those six months it was therapeutic to me to sit down, eat something and listen to other people’s conversations around me. It was the only way I knew how to hold onto sanity in my head. I was a skeleton walking around on the African continent holding Lumumba with regularity, with love. I dreamed of California, the San Fernando Valley, San Francisco and Hawaii but most of all Los Angeles. As I wept, or sometimes when I sat with the anorexics and bulimics but most of all when I went swimming and I floated on my back. I forgot that I had put my toothbrush down my throat that white afternoon. I wanted to be somebody’s darling. I had many boyfriends there. It was the first time I had kissed a boy with my mouth open. The anorexics, well, there was always something up with them, some drama. For me it was just a release to sit on the grass and we, all the girls would all look at each other’s breasts and sometimes go swimming in the warmth of the afternoon. Lumumba walked about in Africa and Bessie Head got as far as Botswana but the way I was going I wasn’t even going to make it home.

Tenderness is just a release. Blood is an example of life. Sylvia Plath’s life is a work of art. She is my older sister. And her celebrated book, The Bell Jar is a work of art. Sylvia Plath is one heck of a writer although her head is a wreck, her heart wounded (every page, every poem is a wound, a terrifying primal scream from beginning to end). Sylvia Plath is sexy. What turned Ted Hughes head, what turned him on? Will I ever stop asking women inappropriate questions? Why haven’t I learnt to ask my mother or my sister, my brother’s girlfriend these questions? As soon as I started to read her work I stopped thinking of every woman, of anyone who was of the feminine sex, the second sex as an enemy. I wanted to be a celebrator like Sylvia was. And she was something of a friend to me in her poetry.

The whole summer was cool that year she, my aunt, Magda passed on. Oh, for sure it was heaven, an example of a paradise. The sea dreamed of black ripples and echoes of a field of sexy moods was ignited, and mouths bit into a creamy world. I was different. I bordered on these beautiful people at the beach. I stalked them. The teenagers disappeared behind the dunes. Men swam out towards the periphery of the horizon. Women sunbathed. I stalked their network, craved their database and hunted them down. They were radiantly haunted. I wanted to harvest their skin. I wish I didn’t just saunter, wished everything was not so bewildering, this waste, this history, this wilderness. When the rain came I thought about her, Magda, my ‘second mother’. I could feel the rain in my blood. It was cold and a wet thing. She had been an alcoholic but she was the kindest human being I had ever known.

What a waste of a childhood?

I thought my psychologist was sexy. I was half in love with him but when you’re an undiagnosed bipolar you want to fall in love with beautiful people fiercely half the time. I was always drawn to intelligent people talking mostly about European films. In my room at the hospital I would draw. I would paste tenderness and an energetic vitality in the eyes of my self-portraits.

I’ve always wanted to be immortal. Maybe gorgeous thinking does that to you, masterful writing, having a brilliant thought, hidden tears. Remember this that all this time I was thinking of you Rob.

I have borrowed your cigarettes, your single malt whiskies and downed them out of spite. Even when you’re angry you are beautiful, my Brother Wolf. When you’re asleep you’re a dream. Your fingers are rough like Braille but you have left an impression on my arm, on me not with love, no, not with love. I have sucked out all your brotherly love and all that is left is grief, bereavement and denial. I am no longer useful to you. I wrote a poem for Magda and you went to Johannesburg and faced the Johannesburg people with it in your hands as you stood in front of her coffin and read it out loud.  I am no one you know only a woman in love with her past. My brother, my pharaoh, I would do anything for you but there is another woman here now in the offing ready to take my place. She is my rival. I’m offended but it is not enough. Alcoholism has run its course in our family. If I could drink I would. Dammit I am the superior one but not anymore and that’s the truth of the matter. It is only an opinion.

Give them back to me. I want all my letters that I wrote to you back.

And he does.

And so we come to the boy who I show my poetry to. He is impressed and he strokes my bare arm after he reads the one I wrote about love and we hold hands as we take walks. We talk about incest and down’s syndrome. Don’t all people talk about these things? He wants to get high.

Don’t you want to get high?

Instead I laugh and say that doesn’t turn me on.

Don’t you want to get high with me?

He persists and inside I feel spectacular. It must be all the fresh air I’ve been getting at the hospital, the night sky and I let go of his hand as he begins to stroke my leg and I stop feeling spectacular. I feel nauseous.  And I discover that this kind of anxiety has its own chemistry. I wanted my first love Robert to wash away my sins not this collection of men I was discovering in the personal space of a hospital. I wanted a name that I climbed to wuthering heights with with a wedding garment in my arms, not this accumulation of emptiness in my heart. I wanted the posture of an elegant woman not this slick, futurama of a relationship.

Instead I’ve ended up a wise woman with a long memory.

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