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Buried Buried
by Abigail George
2014-02-02 13:53:41
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Good things are born from painful experiences.

Ropes, ropes and more ropes. I have had enough of them, the hangman’s noose and their knots with basic tension. I want a pretty city, with bright lights on the promenade as I walk into the sea, as I feel my hair against my skin, my feet bare, the night air so crisp and all I see is the clarity of my mission. The sun has her mistress and there is a man that lives on the moon. I am a drowning visitor. I sink further and further away and I finally grasp the shoreline. Here I am free. I have hours to think, I am no longer trapped by gender equality and who wants to trapped by equality, brutality, everything gruesome, obituaries, by hours, and things of childhood-making. Starving landscape after starving landscape, brittle like filament, a burst of thirst pulsating like a shiver, a thread of sweat, a breath, a river, shamanic wisdom, the normal who live next door, the other side of the mirror is buried under smoke, the incessant flap-flapping of the wings of moths, seasons draw wrinkles on my mother and father’s face. A green feast shoots up everywhere in the garden and everything seems young, fresh and new again. The rain has its own way of thinking and it is a way that humanity will never understand. It can be a beast. A serious beast with a serious intent who remembers their vowels in a coolly distracted way on a hot-cocktail-drinking day in apartheid South Africa while sunbathing next to a chlorine-blue swimming pool in the backyard. The earth on the other hand has a vision of her own.

I see all of these things in the mansions of my imagination. Something is bright within me. I enter into a contract with them. I am lifted up, up and up. I am standing in a forest. I look up and what do I see. The blue jewel of the sky. God’s sky. God’s forest. I close my eyes, feel the sun against my skin, and imagine standing on the beach, a lone figure watching the waves and their never-ending spiritual love story (spellbinding ghost story) with the shoreline. I step forward feeling the burden, the will of the river-sea rises up to meet me. I no longer stand tall, my wounds are frozen, the physical, the deep pain is numbed and becomes a posture, the world turns upside down and I am being navigated towards something greater than myself, away from painful experiences of the past.

The lasagne tastes good. It was made by a prophet, my mother. The prophetess. Once I was skin and bone but they didn’t call it anorexia nervosa in those days. In those days I had to ‘perk up’. In those days ‘I had to pull up my socks’, ‘put meat on my bones’. These days I think about my ancestors. I have ancestors. Everyone does. Everyone who lives on this side of the world. Dark skin, white skin, mixed race, different faith, rituals and the burning of incense that comes with them, doctrines stored away like a file of a case study in a psychiatric institution (mental hospital) they all tread on religion at some point in their lives. They have their own exact perspective. And when I dream I dream of the waterfall of the past when I was a girl. And everything that I see makes me feel wonderfully calm, as if I am made of substance. I remember when I first drank red wine (it came out of a box), when I first tasted tasted basil, felt as free as a bird with a broken wing, drank a soup made entirely out of noodles, fell in love with sushi (fish with no eyes in a blanket of sticky rice), a girl, a boy, the world, a married man who dominated me and the world around me. And so the world of my childhood-making, mummy and daddy evaporated. I still remember the man’s skin, his knowledge of the universe, his experience and influence, how his flesh became my flesh, how I could see him as a boy and it was the most beautiful feeling in the world. It made my heart sing. It made words dance maddeningly inside my head, on the page of a book and I could finally see past, present, future merging into one. I moved from one unpredictable, unusual affair, situation, and relationship to another and I grew up and became more fragile, that is my common sense and sensibilities and my ambitions grew into humility and humility grabbed with greed at the wuthering heights of my pride. The people that I knew once passed on. Nothing unusual about dying, moving to another city, moving forwards even if it is towards poverty, marriage, terminal illness, suicidal illness, mental illness, the icy grip of the panic of terror and anxiety. Time. I don’t believe in it and I never will. Time steals away your dreams, your soul, your spirit, your childhood. It closes in on you until you are forced to face your deepest fear. Death stands there in the gap from this world to the next. Eternity. It is not loved. It is not nurtured. It is not a paradise-in-waiting.

When I meditate I go inside myself and see God. There is no longer a divide between the wards of hell and the divine paradise of heaven. One is a lake of burning fire, choking smoke and plumes of ash and the other one is locked and a saint stands before the gates leading into heaven. Death has always been there, looking down, or over my shoulder and with each step that I take Death follows me with a steady pace. I’ve never seen Death’s face but I have been frightened that when my time has come my work here on earth has not been done. I do not want to leave anything incomplete. Everything must be put away, packed in boxes, connections that were once as alive as electricity must be disconnected. I’ve been close to death. Close enough.

I think about you a lot. You were kind, nice, sweet, and younger. You made me feel like a museum piece, a statue. It’s been years since I’ve seen you. Not so long ago we sat and laughed as if we were old friends, good friends. I made you coffee. You made me forget my sadness, my manipulative nature, my family’s arrogant manipulative nature and in some small, adequate way I began to feel alive again as if I could survive everything that life had arranged, assembled for me. But I am bad for you. I am not the chosen one meant for you. How can I make you understand this? I do not belong in your world. There is nothing welcoming or bold about the arrival of me. Choose another. I am giving you your freedom. Hush. Here. Now go. I want to watch you, study you, watch you fail, surrender, let go, fight for the underdog, understand you, comprehend you, what makes you whole, what makes you think, what do you love? What opinions do you have on the current trends in politics, who will you vote for this year, do you believe in magic, why have you not forgotten me, what do you remember, do you have any fears (do you have any fears about my disability), what anchors you? In forgetting you, the pieces, the tiny bits that refuse to evaporate have become distilled beautifully and I also have realised that I need to write more than I need human company. I don’t care about ambition.

If other women think you’re arrogant let them think that. Don’t waste your time, your energy on them. If other men want to destroy you, your empires, your soul then let them think that they are getting away with that. I’ve forgotten about your mistress, your ego that strokes your vanity (that I can’t take away from you). It belongs somewhere else but not in your personal space. Children need the ego. It makes them feel different in a special kind of way in a world filled with ducks and games.

I hate the smell of cigarette smoke but am intrigued by women who do, with their airs and graces, with all their manufactured secrets and that one slim cigarette held between their fingers. The women in my family do not smoke. They’re like a union of spies. I only learned about fear late in life. They do not drink red wine out of a box only fruit juice cocktail on special occasions like birthdays, Christmas and Easter. They do not sit for portraits, go to parks, spread out a blanket for a romantic picnic lunch made for two. They only go to the beach in December when it is the summertime in Southern Africa. There’s something clean and pure about depression when it is looked at with the round peg that can’t fit in the square hole in the eye. Clarity is found and so is rest. The people-traffic-zoo outside is possessed with identity and the idea of not emancipating themselves. Why would they do that if they think that their reality, their dreams, their goals and their imagination is enough for them? The stem grows. The branch reaches forwards and we all move towards the light hoping that it will put the spotlight on us.

When I feel weak inside is when mummy speaks to me. My heart slips and thuds inside of me at the same time. There’s no awakened rhythm in that red palace. All the voices of mother, father, mummy, daddy, sister, brother become familiar to me. They are not the same people all of the time and their visions are awesomely vibrant and energetic, burning like phosphorescence, a lone star. They orbit me.

The invisible air tastes like salt. My mouth gulps down slippery seawater that licks the insides of every one of my teeth. I want to feel you inside of me, as I open up to you like the flowers of a manuscript. I’ve already lost you to another woman. Is she a girl, does she have a matron’s figure at a girl’s boarding school or is she as dead to you as I am to you now. I don’t say these things to get at you, to think like you do, to get inside your head I’m just lost in the silence of violence like George Botha, Richard Rive, Kevin Carter, Dulcie September, Arthur Nortje and when I feel most intensely lost is when I write poetry, that is when everything I’ve collected in my heart comes out. I really don’t care for now’s sake if I never saw pictures of you, heard sob stories of you again in my life, your living memory, so romantically-felt is enough for me and it will stay with me until the end of my lifetime.

The heat. It’s hot, intolerably-hot and there is nothing I can do to eliminate it. Was I really loved as a child? It serves to improve the lies I keep telling myself. That I am not pretty enough, tall enough, enough for enough’s sake. There are millions of children who are not loved, who bathe every day in dust and shit. Life is designed for oppression, ridicule, rejection but also for liberation. In some wanton way the world makes us want to move backward without us having any say about it.

House torched. It was burned down to the ground with two children in it. The door was locked. The mother was away. There was no father as there is often in these cases. And so another community is brought together but this is no celebration of life. They thought a witch lived there. It shows how fragile we are as humanity. And I am preoccupied with love when the world around me is burning. These are all things we wish that could be buried in peace and dust and memory.

There are happy, healthy babies. Mums that are glowing in a blue and white hospital gowns. Their skin radiant with life but what happens when you like writing poetry about death, grief and denial. It is a land that time forgot. This kind of writing (poetry) is a writing that so few people can understand. There were no angels on the frontier when pioneers confronted wilderness and poverty in Southern Africa just dust that has been here for millions of years.

The lasagne tastes good. It was made by a prophet, my mother. The prophetess. I’ve worshipped her all my life. She has taught me how to forgive, how to live, and I am beautifully grown now. Although the universe is still sweeter, purer, more honourable than I am with all its untitled interpretations. How can the extraordinary unconscious of the universe be anything but baffled by humanity. I am. People are not as invincible as they think they are. Freedom fighters every one? Unfortunately no.  Coldness. Aloofness. Indifference. Introspection. Suffering. Water. Ghost nations. Precious bittersweet gifts every one.

Nothing belongs to us.


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Leah Sellers2014-02-03 05:29:00
Ms. Abigail,
What a Gift you are !
You are a Poet's Song !
'Buried' is deeply Moving and Resurrecting. Thank you.

Abigail George2014-02-03 22:47:44
You always say such wonderful things. I think that is a gift in itself. To encourage, to motivate, to sustain someone else's faith and hope and belief in themselves. Thank you for your kindness.

It gives me hope.
It gives me courage.
It sustains me. Your words.

Your words always stay with me for a very long time. (The world doesn't seem like such cold place anymore and I am not the winter guest.)

You always make me think (but not in a bittersweet way) that the world is not out to get me or anyone else really for that matter.

Thanks forever Ms. Leah Sellers.

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