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Thursday, 31 October 2013 18:38

What Happened at Lonmin

In the Shadow of the Rhino

Rhinos are a great enduring love of hunters
What a precious cargo a rhino as a muse is
There’s a fragile beauty now
That accompanies that poor animal
In life and death going the dodo’s way

One of civilisation’s beauties
The pulse is a parachute opening and closing
The poacher is a coldly poised collector
The gun frozen in his hands feel like winter
The summer’s day electric

The hunted makes a mournful
Contemplative noise as it falls
There is the smell of blood in the air
Animal blood on a poacher’s hands
And whether or not the rhino is half-alive

Under the withering stare of the poacher
The poacher will wait with a golden will
The air is hot and dry under a bluish sky
We tell ourselves that there are no
Such things as ghosts when they do exist

The animal is already a ghost
Halfway there whose spirit is swimming
With the knowledge that heaven and earth
Will meet the flesh and the spirit
Of the rhino quietly

If hearts could be kept in jars
The poacher’s heart would be kept in a jar
For generation’s to come to study
The impulse of the impact
When life meets death

There’s the magic of an aphrodisiac in the horn
In the angel’s horn who fell from they skies paradise
At the beginning of time and do they feel a letting go
Or a separation anxiety
From one world to the next

And in my mind’s eye
The rhino will always be made of glass
The rhino stands as if in a mystical trance
So I am left mourning to watch
A rhino’s soul fall amongst the stars

The Rape

It felt like a sharp noose around her neck
It felt like an eternity this battle of pain
Warmth and a war between her legs
Her life slowly-slowly-slowly and with skill
Turning into a wreck
She could still feel their hands
Their claws and the pressure
Hear their voices
She remembered that it felt like a lifetime
Like a childhood experience
She could taste their spit mingling with her saliva
They were groping-groping-groping her flesh and there came laughter

Fingers caught in tufts of the hair on her head
Her hands and arms in the air

And something died within her

It was followed by a succession of deaths
And something inside of her felt safe in those deaths
Also something inside of her felt stoned
As if she was turning to stone
The physical around her slowly melted away
Nature and seasons and houses and walls
And that was how she entered the ‘night’
Amidst all the talk
She held the awakening of grief in her heart
She could not scream or yell or shout
She could not tear herself away from the situation
She could smell them hate them call them animals
Wish them dead dead dead
But there was a part of her that knew
They would just laugh in her face
But she would always remember their skulls
As they penetrated her one-by-one
How would she remember every one of their skulls
No god had brought her to this open veldt
Under a sky

She wrapped herself in the darkness
Hoping that it would conceal her
From the light of the moon
She lost her shoes
As they dragged her one-by-one
Her sandals her dress her skirt her blouse
One by one she lost them all
Are you alive?
Is she alive?
They asked each other
Dead to the world to their game to their orders and commands
Defeated she closed her eyes as they all walked away
A rush of deafening silence all around her
The smell of blood her blood in the air
But there had been a spine-tingling violence in it
As well as tension and brutality and aggression
And it all seemed to be of a committed kind
This illustration of possession

Where to from here from hell
If she did get up to make her way home
How was she ever going to pull herself together
She could still hear them
As if they were waiting and watching for her
In the dark

Where was the moon to shine a light on her
On evil’s song

Her intuition had failed her
The fathers of this community had failed her
The mothers of this community had failed her
Would she go so far as to say even the church
She felt as if she was bleeding on the inside as well
What could she use to stop the bleeding

Was she being punished for something
Her feet were cold
Her arms and legs were scratched
Her clothes had been torn from her body
How do you know you’re alive
That you’re part of the living
That you’re in their midst
What do the words ‘died unexpectedly’ mean
Did they slip away after midnight
But she had no concept of time
She tastes like sugar one of them said
It slowly began to dawn on her
Pain of the mind can be more acute
More devastating than pain of the body
Nothing picturesque or pretty about it

The moonlight was pure and fluid
It stretched across this field and her limbs
There was something hauntingly beautiful about it
And then she found her voice
She started to scream
She screamed over and over again in the dark
As if she was mad
As if she was ready for battle
Not feeling lost and afraid
A distillate.

Breathing Lessons

Anne Sexton
What are you made of
An elegant older sky
With a poet’s swagger in a nation of ghosts
The angel skin of winter
Therapist suggested
I write poetry and it feels sweet
I feel out of my depth
Simply blue and feeling melancholia
Is not enough to cancel out the midnight
I write to purge unhappiness

Chasing wild sheep and ambulances
An insomniac’s trick
I’ve discovered an empire
The empire of the introspective
I’m a superwoman and actress
Drama and always being
Brought to life by it
Provocative and enchanting
Exotic and intimidating
How to stay calm under pressure
A wolfish din far away in my head

Sometimes out of my comfort zone
Idyllic life yet miserable
Living in a glass house with glass ceilings
Daring to feel alive
Bone challenging clowns all around me
Bone challenging poetry
The reflection of a warmed-up fossil
Swarming in the ground
What do I see when I look
Is my face an enchanting face

Depression comes like a thief
(Lions and tigers and elephants too)
Daring to feel alive and authentic
Doesn’t like to be photographed
Am told I am beautiful and talented
Yet I am still unhappy and long for peace
Feeling a bit like Alice in Wonderland
Wearing the dress that goes anywhere
To meet up with good citizens
Every one is a tiger on the loose
Every thing is set on the loose.

What Happened at Lonmin

Comrades you have a gifted self:
A voice to articulate the profound
Inequalities that you find yourself in
The knowledge of unrest and frustration
This is your journey
But now it has become part of all of us
You are all my rich blood
My Mother’s milk

A postcard to a comrade abroad:
Have you ever wondered what a picture
Of home means like to you
It’s lovely to dream and to think
That the world is so full
Of wonder and possibilities
Rilke, Neruda and Rupert Brooke
Rimbaud and Verlaine

All the classics
Have nothing and everything to do with it
With the Marakana inquiry
And the blue pearl that is this planet
Comrades I can see the kingdom
Of your hearts and your survival
The net and the countenance of stigma
I can see it already

The romancing of the revolution
Its tour of the world is as ancient as the stars
Torn from afar between the moon
And planets and the millions of other stars
So I am writing to thank all of you
For your spiritedness mothers and fathers
For the dream machines of all sisters and brothers
Facing the landscape of decay and poverty

To the children of the revolution
I know we have all felt the need
Admired the art that lies in the comfort
Of strangers and the world they inhabit
But God holds the world and heaven
In His thumbprint of the universe
The ash and dust of an angel’s handiwork
Not to ponder that is to be a non-believer.
Read 5443 times
Abigail George

She has written a novella, volumes of poetry, and collections of short stories, a play, and a YA novel. She is the recipient of two National Arts Council Writing Grants for poetry and manuscript development. One from the Centre for the Book (this book was launched at the Grahamstown Festival), and another from the Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council (ECPACC).

She has been published in Africanwriter.com, All Things Girl, Best of Beauty and Advice, Beyond Beauty Tips, Ezine Articles, Hackwriters, Identity Theory (Poem The Accident Editor's Choice), Indite Circle, Modern Diplomacy, New Coin, Nigeria Tell, inaugural issue of Peaches Lit Mag, Peoples Daily, Piker Press, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, and Spontaneity. As well as StoryTime, The Artist Unleashed, The Cerebral Catalyst, The Copperfield Review, The Dangerous Lee Network (The Creative Outlet of a Woman Named Leigh Langston).

The Istanbul Literary Review, The Maple Tree Literary Supplement, The Voices Project, Three and a Half Point 9, Unlikely 2.0, Voice Out Digital and Zimbabwe Online Press. She blogs at Abigail George's blog on Goodreads. Her fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She has been published online in other countries from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, (Istanbul) Turkey, Zimbabwe, to Canada, England, Finland, France, (New Delhi) India, and the United States. Her work has been anthologised in England, South Africa, and the United States.

Raised in a family of educationalists and schooled in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, South Africa she is a feminist, a writer, and fulltime poet. She writes a monthly article/commentary for Modern Diplomacy and contributed to a (2014-2015) symposium that appeared bimonthly on Ovi Magazine: Finland's English Online Magazine. Her work has been anthologised in Being Bipolar: Stories from Those Living with the Disorder and Those Who Love Them by Rachel Ellen Koski (Editor), Poems for Haiti (Poets Printery), a South African Writer's Circle anthology, the Sentinel Annual Literature Anthology, The Sol Plaatje EU Poetry Anthology IV (Jacana Media) and Mini Stories, an anthology of children's stories (Kwarts Publishing).

Abigail George's work has appeared in and is forthcoming from African Writer, AIDS Here and Now Project, Birds Piled Loosely, [FictionMagazines] FIVE Poetry Vol. 03 No. 03, Hackwriters, ITCH The Creative Journal, Literary Orphans, Kikwetu, Modern Diplomacy, and Ovi Magazine: Finland's English Online Magazine, Peaches Lit Mag, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Spontaneity, The Artist Unleashed, The Copperfield Review, The Maple Tree Supplement, The Voices Project, Three and a Half Point Nine, Toad Suck Review. She is a feminist, a fulltime poet, and a writer. 

She has been published in South Africa in Botsotso, Carapace, Echoes Literary Journal, Kotaz, LitNet, Ons Klynti, Ou LitNet, New Coin, New Contrast, Sun Belly Press, Timbila, Tribute, Upbeat, and Writing Works.

She briefly studied film. Her poetry has most recently appeared in the Best "New" African Poets 2015 Anthology, Lonely (an anthology), New Writing LitNet, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, New Coin, a Special Report in Modern Diplomacy, Vigil Pub Mag, and short fiction in Ovi Magazine: Finland's English Online Magazine.

Work appearing and forthcoming in Birds Piled Loosely, Brittle Paper, Bluepepper, Dead Snakes, Hamilton Stone Review, Praxis Mag Online, Sentinel Literay Quarterly, Spontaneity Issue 7 and Issue 9, The Five-Two: Poem of the Week, The Writing Disorder. Opinion published in Marie Claire, The Herald and The Weekend Post. Her flash fiction appears in The Harpoon Review. Fiction appearing in Vigil Pub Mag.


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