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Alexandra Wallace's Idea of Privacy
by Abigail George
2014-08-31 12:22:28
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Snow people with their faces of love cast adrift.

Not meant to last long in this lifetime or the next. The people of South Africa are like that. My town is a pretty high town. A dignified town filled with church people of all denominations. In Central you will find the best girls in the world. They will detach themselves from feminism, their grandmother’s emancipation, and the tigers that come at night, their rivals in an infinite time and place. They are moneyed. Drugs have destroyed the very art of their soul and every gram of their spirits have wasted away. Instead I am not one of them but I am still a part of their malaise. You have my heart Mr. Muirhead. Flesh who have come before you and after. You are forever in me though, part of me. The most brilliant parts of you portioned off like cubicles in an office space. Tell me everything you want me to be I would have said in my twenties. This doesn’t have to be the end of it but it is. It is. And still I say let it not be so. So comic. So tragic. I stand in this ice house. In this house from hell. Pale. The origins of smoke and mirrors, the cosmic bloodlines of my imagination, can be seen through the embodiment and timeline of my flesh.

Paper thin skating on ice is what I’ve yearned for my entire life. Not to fail, not to discriminate, but to create art in the landscape of suicidal despair and illness. All poetry and poetic justice seems to ask of us is to have a determined lust for life. I still need to familiarise myself with rituals that I found so comforting in childhood. Norma Jean where are you, where do you find yourself now, who are you and what is that golden reflection staring back at you? Is there anything more seductive than madness, than being blonde and being desired by the world at large, to be quiet about your philosophy on life, your starving ambitions to be a writer and a poet? To triumph like you have triumphed Norma Jean is to laugh in the face of men and women, of presidents, of feminists, to laugh in the face of the adversity that they have faced. No matter how brief, how solitary ecstasy is one can’t escape its urgency, its survival guide, that stain of love no matter how powerful and fresh it might be, how diminished it might make you feel in the end, you will discover that that experience was worth it. I left the madness and the heat of the city behind me in my early twenties. It will leave you beautifully grown now.

The universe is sweeter, purer, more honourable and I am less haunted, less ghostlike, less transparent, baffled by denial. I can’t erase the precious of life anymore and the fragility of it. How crushed and petrified my spirit once was. Am I, was I ever really loved? The women around me in life, in the workplace, in the sphere of immediate family were introspective cohorts. I am exhausted of writing about desire and that is the truth of the matter because in some way it is invincible like scrapbooking on anything on the inked tattooed patchwork planet that you live in. I’ve become a primitive woman in green spaces, green feasts of them, and foundations of winter trees of them. I’ve become an invention of a contemporary woman. The invention of the width of the thread of the other woman in a land that time forgot. What are the lyrics again to that song? What are the lines that time forgot in that journal on those cold, harsh blue, blue lines? I am tired of feeding the beasts galore but mustn’t angels always be defended? Who or what in essence defines an angel? An angel is the unseen, the invisible good and nobody can hardwire your brain like God can.

And what is desire really? Smoke and honey in the dance of anger, intimacy, duplicity and deception and the eternal obsession of all those things. It is meant for the gamine, the ethereal, and the otherworldly, the magical girl. The adolescent. Children are meant for women and what happens when you like writing about death. For me I value comments on death, on eternity, on the paradise of heaven, the consciousness-thinking in wishful thinking, the curious creatures that volcano people are and the many faces of saints. I’ve always believed in angels. The living keep on living while the dead turn to dust. There’s a gloomy aching, a canvas on which to play on, the haunting ache in my brother’s soul is the same ache which I have in my own. There’s a ghost nation in my head. The schools, the rooms, and all of the white walled interiors of my imagination. And if I close my eyes I can imagine all of our contours and the blue sharp light poured into the cages of the heavenly sky. The lover and the mother and the drowning blossom that was me. Dirt swimming-swimming in a watery spool gene pool of rubbish. The death of a pet and a poet painting this elusive world with lucid thought patterns.

Does decay, blood and the dark every get lonely and the groom with the unspoken passion he has for his bride? The bride in her wedded bliss. In her impossible high-heeled shoes. So I was there in spirit. If fish kissed oxygen they would surely die. Their pomegranate gills snuffed out of existence. What are the grains of poverty? Where do they lay? Are they sequestered? Their souls lie in South Africa, perhaps even take root there. Roots tapping into the life of the soil, the culture of the earth, tapping into the weight of water, or squalor (whichever it reaches first under the circumstances), preserving the fragility of telephones as life buoys, unspecified social media is the new sexy, tapping into spiritual poverty, the cemeteries of poverty, of the bone-tired. What sweetness! The unknown comes with anticipation. The anticipation of the awareness of surprise and the prying eyes of society. Where does my soul lie? It lay with you for a while I guess. Sated bride, uninvolved woman, beauty meeting the beautiful core of a masculine identity, and the physical body of a mysterious wellspring of the intelligence of the opposite of sexuality.

Alone, given way to religious abandonment, inhibitory nostalgia and the holiest of holies privacy, and with the solitude standing that comes with intimacy I think of you. You burnt through. You nothing but a burnt and melted fragment yet still dispelling radiance. You like the crested burnt end of a matchstick. Sooty cinders in the fireplace. Cinders from the coal. Cinders and smoke from your freshly lit cigarette. Give me mouth to mouth resuscitation so I can be brought back to life, your life. I think that the only thing that really mattered in the end, and that was made of a substance that could be harvested from the cells of a normal reality was in the steps of Jean Rhys’s haunting vulnerability. The haunting vulnerability of all women. I can see it in their eyes, their way they hold themselves accountable to shielding themselves from being put on display if it is not on their terms, the long road of their guarded pilgrimage into humanity, spirituality. Gods to be made of their reflections inside of the looking glass. I wonder how to stop stammering. How to escape into letter-writing. If I cannot escape into love, its poetic grace, mercy and use.

Into wincing at its threshold of pain and yet comprehending it at the same time. Comprehending the sun, moon and star fabric, the summer’s son and his empire. And so begins the letter to a brother in rehabilitation. Brother and anchor. The ‘filthy exotic’ ceramic little Buddha pottering around. You were the anchor that cemented me, my symphony, my instrument, my common goal, my oracle, my passion. You were my one route to follow homeward bound. What resides in the heart is this. The walls of a garden made of brick and mortar, stone and everything that is healing. Winter trees and Whitman. It is time for the show, finding Isaiah in the gritty switch of the loophole. Why didn’t you come once? Why didn’t you write once healthy specimen of possession, what is the tragedy of it all but are you happy, refreshed by all the seeds, roots, flowers and stems? I stared and stared at the photograph of him and wondered at the tragedy of it all. Speechless before the image evaporates completely something takes place and soon everything finds its place on neutral ground, in gravity, on earth or in soil. There is no promise in the dying of the sun only the angelic, the whispers underfoot.

There is new life in flowers, in love, in empathy and the passion that humanity has for empathy. Everything frail before it is lost. Lost to the dark. What is black and what is dark? Is it one and the same? The smell of cinnamon and bark. Salt and light. The colour of the day, dawn breaking into fragments. The stillness of the air. What are you made of Mr. Muirhead? Skin and bone, flesh and tissue, a succession of the physical melting away around you in your immediate environment? The noise in your head, in that rush, can you feel it in your blood, that illustration of possession. Where to from here from following a road map into the complex intrigue of a sheltered childhood continued, and there I found love. In the behaviour of an artist at work, the source of conversation, the self-portrait of human capital, everything heightened when it’s illuminated for example visions of the cosmos disintegrating, collapsing under meteors on film. Drawings of earth’s destruction, the bride of technological advancements, using the psychological framework of what came before the humanity as we knew it as children and as we grow older, become people with our own ideas to back up our values we change, and we change the world around us. We have Sci-fi to thank for that, Kubrick and Spielberg.

‘Do not lecture me. You don’t know anything about my scars.’ My brother tells me. He says it with his eyes too and I see a wild blue sky. Its journey is electric where its routes have become as important as the destinations of a diamond in the rough. Through the looking glass’s façade comes the first hurt, the poetry of my early twenties. Every family is dysfunctional in their own way. We live in a traumatic society. I seem to have been born with this intuition to be thoughtful and sensitive, understanding and caring to others who seem to be in a less privileged position than I am but it has come with a price. My brother with his cigarettes, stale smoke and moustache and the young woman on his arm who herself is a fragile beauty. They are both caught up in contemplative noise. They have found themselves only to fall amongst the stars. So I am left in mourning for what has been lost for both of them. A childhood.

‘But I love you. Please don’t do this.’ I say in return and I see a revolution taking place within him, the unbearable heaviness, and the uncivilised nothing of an echo vibrating like a shell casing. Something is let loose and communicated to me. Something bittersweet and sour.

And so I return to love, loss and the elated respect I have of both of them. There is something within both the innerness of the tools for eternity (there is no physical body required for eternity, only the spirit, the soul, and kindred). There’s an equilibrium in the territory of the emptiness sometimes found in a human vessel after the sexual transaction and a symphony. Rhys’s transactions and now I have become somewhat like her. I think that I have lost myself in the final analysis the desire to become desirable. What would Moses do? I wouldn’t be able to pick up the telephone and call him up. He would pray in the wilderness history he found himself in. There was nothing else he could do in the circumstances he found himself in. He had a flame within himself that burned bright. Romance well what can I say besides what a harsh experience that was. It was hellish. Love is a posed interlude, a pause between two acts, oh how it changes everything about a bleak world experience, materialism, values, poverty, and that prime commodity of spirituality. You will be as beautiful to me now as you will be in old age. I will remember you, hope for you, and that this romance will go forward and go on and on but my soul lies in South Africa where the pain of the mind can be more devastating, felt more acutely than the pain of the body. What taints the pain of a child feeling that another sibling has taken her place, overshadowed her. Let me now investigate that distillate.

The end.


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Emanuel Paparella2014-08-31 16:51:37
This is the kind of poetical, creative and inspiring prose that we have come to expect from Ms. Abigail George who is undoubtedly a champion of the issue of African feminism in this magazine. It resonates every time with those who are poetically and philosophically inclined, regardless of gender, for indeed poetry and philosophy have no gender.

Abigail George2014-09-03 23:31:49
I would have to agree that poetry and philosophy have no gender but I have this to ask of you Professor? Does that mean art too? After all our conversations these past few weeks I also have this to say. Professor Paparella, you are a visionary.

Abigail George2014-09-03 23:38:41
Thank you for the above comments which was very kind of you, your inspirational voice in your contributions to Ovi Magazine and your wisdom, Professor Paparella.

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