archive - issue 14

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  • /

    By Ruth Barker
    On the QWERTY layout of my computer keyboard, the symbol / appears beside the questioning symbol ?. They are represented together on the same key, and
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  • Apartment / Containers

    By Vincent Bezuidenhout
    These diptychs are the start of a series of images I have been working on regarding the visual landscape we choose to surround ourselves
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  • I returned home after my first year in college to discover my younger sister had turned gorgeous. This was a disappointment, but not an
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  • Butterfly

    By Adriana de Barros
    The pupa, a silk wrap of emotionsIsolated, within breathing, wanting to bethe intense pronoun of selfIt is silly to be one's own pronounShe giggles
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  • Collage

    By Claudio Parentela
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  • Drag and Snap

    By Leigh-Anne Niehaus
    This series is inspired by the childhood game of "snapdragon", which allows for simplistic and delightful decision-making through random selections of colour and number.
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  • Evidence of Life

    By Tamlyn Martin
    Below is an extract from a series of 11 poems created in parallel with visual artworks. 5. Memories laced with visceral realityFlooding herThe gentle
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  • Forward! Slash!

    By Travis Lyle
    You think you're a forward-thinking kinda person, do you? Lemme be the one to break it to you, sunshine – you're as lame as the
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  • Human/Nature

    By Lydia Anne McCarthy
    This series explores moments between nature and human beings that are at once idealistic and unsettling. Each picture is an independent narrative, but placed
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  • Immigrants

    By Stanley Onjezani Kenani
    you want to livenothing else.you leaveto liveyou swimor like fresh sardinesyou are packedin boatsyou leaveto live.  you leavegold in the belly of Africaoil in
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  • In Between

    By Tania van Schalkwyk
    Raised in an Arabian land of heat, fire and temper,sometimes the calm of England clamps downlike damp in a bathroom with no windowand a
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  • Letter to the Editor

    By Elan Gamaker
    Dear Sir/Madam I should like strenuously to object to the subject matter ("/") of your current issue. It must first be mentioned, however, that it
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  • Or: a line drawing

    By Gabeba Baderoon
    Pencil and nothing. Her face turned almost entirely away. Forehead, cheekbone,jaw,the bun low in her neck,shoulderand down,the long linejust enoughthen left alone.
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  • p u n c t u a t i o n

    By Ula Einstein
    Einstein works with a diverse range of media, including drawings and installation with fire, thread, and blades. The series of drawings and installations with
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  • PATCH

    By Sean Hampton-Cole
    Keys. John speaking. 'Lo?Good morning. May I speak to Bob Mitchell please?Bob in Bonds?I'm not really sure. I'm trying to...You want extension 125. This
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  • Pretty Babies

    By Peregrine Honig
    With the premise that "/ " presents what is IN and what is OUT, the "Pretty Babies" series explores the fashion industry's well-published and syndicated DOs
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  • River Bank

    By Mario Sughi
    The symbol / is intended initially as a symbol of division. A real or unreal line divides the girl from the water, the girl from
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  • Scissor

    By Charlotte Gait
    There was a time when you and I were connected by iron, acid, vitamin and blood. Where every mouthful I took was with the
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  • Seasaw

    By Sol Kjøk
    Here, the motif is conceived of as a seesaw (the typo in the title is intended, as this drawing is part of a series
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  • Series Seven Up

    By Noel Fignier
    Text by João Branco Kyron, HipnóticaThe collision is imminent and in the fraction of time left, the eyes shut and the vision is superbly
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  • A battle over samoosas between the snobbish Cinderella and a homeless electrician is mediated by Cinderella's boyfriend JJ. The samoosa battle is conflated with
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  • Wayne Porter, freelance journalist, donned his anthropologist's birthday suit and hit the bowling alley. Bar the bowlers hat tipped gently off centre, the man
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  • The Incised Wound

    By Joanne Hichens
    "Please, for me, Dave," I placed my hand on his, and really, no begging, just asked him nicely, "Lay off the booze tonight." Whether
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  • He had been driving for hours through that unstable, somnambulist night when he fell asleep at the wheel. He awoke with a start and
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  • The space between.

    By Mehita Iqani
    It's a handy little line, the one that we use to make our options known. Either/Or. Paper and ink or binary code? Its clichéd,
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  • Un Hombre Fuerte

    By Tamo Vonarim
    Sun.star.kid: Written these words are, at times of a subconscious flow – whether they are mine, I don't know. All I know is that I
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  • Unbroken Awareness

    By TENDAI MWANAKA
    My life is now a floating shellI am a vessel on that river.The storm, the ship, the sea,Whose shores we lost in crossing.  I
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  • Untitled

    By Wilhelm Saayman
    This series of images, made using pen and ink, photographs and Photoshop, explore alternate/dream realities.
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  • Untitled

    By Aryan Kaganof
    /At R550 rand I thought I'd rather die/ My mother: can I trust this woman?/ I thought the Romans were coming, dinkum/ …and always
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POETRY

Here's to the movement, the stirringbarely discernible, in the darkfor no particular reason, with no specific end.The kind you second-guess then dismiss,half hearted but undertaken nonetheless.Here's to hopeEven when it isn't warranted or encouragedThat rises with every dawnafter being petrified in the hardness of the nightwaiting for the eventual changes and enlightenment time will bringexcruciatingly slow in their arrival.Here's to healingThe kind that begins even before the injury is completely overand may even returnstarting at the edges and working its way optimistically inwardstowards the discouragingly necrotic core.Here's to moving ondespite the doubt in your mind or the lead in your…
Sunday, 01 March 2015 10:49

How poets count

By
one four line poem              published in a poetry magazine              the ink from your complimentary copy              stains your fingers   one six line poem               published in an online magazine               you email a link to all your friends               no-one reads it   two more poems               published online,                on Facebook you get four likes…
Saturday, 28 February 2015 15:39

husks

By
we are the sons of farmersthe famine is what we fearwe hoe and plant and harvestuntil the silos shearthe seasons hold us hostagetwo score daily choreswhile yet we pack the raftersof our overflowing storesthe great drums of our fathersbeat portents in our earsa time to plough, a time to planttasks for every time of yearfor who can resist the harvestthe tilling, husking and sowingthose who neglect their summer tasksshall starve when it is snowingand yet the dribbling chore-filled hoursleave desolate the mythic hallsfor those who need to paint the worldon dazzling cavern wallsand chant the wonder of all of lifefrom…
Monday, 16 February 2015 18:20

Your Silence

By
Your name,two slow syllables of soft sound,allowing me to push my tongue against my top teeth, tickle the roof of my mouth and quickly flick my tongue with certainty.  In your absence, to keep you within me, in waking and in sleep,countless times,I say your name.  One by one. I placed white roses in a vase yesterday.A rose split in two. One,But apart. Wild and free its anthers were,how gorgeous it looked,its petals no longer hide its core. When you were here, As I waited for you to return from the other room,I wondered whether you really existed.In that silence, I…
Monday, 16 February 2015 17:59

Here I Will Remember You

By
I remember my dream last night -We were towered by tall, tall trees,We were looking for a sapling of a tree to plant in your garden.What tree should we choose, you asked him.And he replied,It depends on the sound you want to hear when the wind blows.
Tuesday, 13 January 2015 14:54

Value Added Selection (i)

By
Taste of Shark To disguise the taste of shark we eat with our hands, Firelight camps in the corners of our eyes and in the plastic of our glands Metal wrecks twist beneath monochrome dreams. Hollowed out hearts filled with the endless scraping of chairs and the sound of jetengines locked in reverse, and drug related deaths harvesting headlines at the ends of the earth, And beggars and gods in credit and debt tearing stars from the orbits of their minds, flickering persisting memories of scrapyardsand junked television studios, multipledrugresistent bubonic plague victims channelling partyfunds through drugcartel blackmarket moneylaunderies and…
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 12:56

Hiding in Plain Sight

By
Hiding in plain sightI don’t know when it started or howbut I know it happenedI hid myself from meI hid in plain sight for all to see I hid my pain and all my tearsI smiled when I wanted to screamI laughed when I wanted to shoutI hid in plain sight for all to see…. My scars made me weakMy scars made me vulnerableMy scars made helplessSo, I hid in plain sight for all to see… You said words that hurtbut I simply said lets agree to disagreeYou accepted me only when I spoke like and thought like youI hid…
Monday, 25 August 2014 17:18

Tiberias

By
happy birthday, Chase laying next to me under half fluorescence two beds now one worn cotton grabbing cracked feet soft until put back to use a muffled bomb, probably not cackle of fireworks few whites shine in an orange hazy night   and by morning anticipation of the sea, of seeing pastel wash a salmon pink where blue and grey acquaint now brighter where the seams aren’t bound crumbling corners and gaping walls a sort of infestation certain, or the aural remnants of past exploded chairs at a precarious tilt   posters from decades passed reinforce prosperity the tiered oasis…
Saturday, 23 August 2014 22:41

Missing it

By
Up, Not Down, Went the red balloon with its helium heart. Somehow, it detached itself from the party string And, Up From the ground It went, From the ground Up, High, With the eyes of the little boy following While all the other eyes looked Down, Not up But, Down At the candles On the cake On the table On the grass On the bedrock On the core of fire that is the Earth. There, on that surface, the boy’s mother lit five candle fires, And, Their flames went up, But not Up, As high As the red balloon Or…
Tuesday, 19 August 2014 22:36

The Borinage* and Then

By
    The crow rests in the coal dust on which miners’ dreams are made   but soon begins to flap its wings still on the ground repeating   stretched caw in the blackout streets of the crusted Borinage.   It takes a few steps and soon flies through the empty streets.   It has to change its strategy fly higher to see the world   touch its mysterious sleepy eyes who refuse to see these images.   Above the stratus clouds it finds the sun and stars to navigate.*Borinage: In van Gogh’s days one of the most impoverished and inhospitable regions…
Tuesday, 19 August 2014 22:26

Continuity

By
O yes! Right at the end, surrendering our eyes, belonging to destruction.   Look at the stains on your hands, a tongue licking your skin from the inside.   Once in a starched bed visitors will give flowers.   Then they leave, after a few days the flowers as well, the stinking water a catheter bag in the shape of a vase.   And the person in bed using an Ipod nano, earplugs, listens closely like a doctor to his stethoscope. Listens to music and voices no longer chained to time.   From: Hiraeth - 18 poems for my late mother (Unpublished)
Monday, 18 August 2014 21:53

Domestic Bliss

By
  Goodness knows what happened to my last e-mail. I keep a little diary of days, is someone’s heart beaten between us? Because something stronger than my love for you is twisting in your guts.   The yello dog looked at me with its bright yello face: “There must be some secret for my life.”   You are beautiful, but you are burnt.   Oh Canary with teeth, you Manduca Hawk Moth – edgy, a thick cage, you can’t touch it.   There must be some code.   And you forget how lovely you thought this once was, and how…
Tuesday, 12 August 2014 13:01

Blood Knot

By
At the end, her room smelled of blood. Sharp and metallic.Stronger than the burning wood and rubbishwe normally smelled at night.I never saw her blood. Not once.On mornings she carried her pillowcaselike a burdento the brasso tap outside.I sat in my brother's discarded room,scared by what my friends and Aunty Manusaid her blood would bring.The first time I saw my own blood,hurt and out of breath,was outside Trisha's tuckshop.After hearing me screamshe ran to pull me outthe bottle-green glassmy hands sparkling and redlike a sunset.She lay me on my bedafter removing each drop of blood and glass.The dry toilet paperslowly…
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 23:36

Marilyn Monroe

By
Blonde threads.Standing solitude.Every tear a waterfall.Amidst the oblivionof Pompeian-Hollywood.Drug addict.Alcohol done her in.The earthly possessionsof an American symbolof movie star royalty.Nymphomaniac.Once upon a timea red-haired Norma Jean Baker.The showgirl.The butcher's wife.She was blue.A phenomenon.Her skin organic too.This cuckoo-bird.Nothing dumb about her.
Saturday, 02 November 2013 17:54

Folio #3

By
i have lost something,in my attempts to be claimeda Truth, perhapsthat cannot be namedYet, in the losingan Ihas been formedcleansed of selfunknowingly Re-bornBut this, this is no golden comfortThis alchemy, this IThough anew, I still ask shakily "Why?"
Saturday, 02 November 2013 17:48

Folio #2

By
Hello little dancer, twinkling eyes, bells of laughterLove bitten – now courting disasterDance, dance from here on after.
Saturday, 02 November 2013 17:35

Folio #1

By
I will drown your demons in the river of my heartIf you let me, I will unfasten the silent darkMake a crown of your dreamsUnFurl my soul, your soft place to sleepIf you let me, together we will leap intoThe Father and The Son and every god beyondTwo breaths as one If you let me, every No will become unDone.
Thursday, 31 October 2013 18:38

What Happened at Lonmin

By
In the Shadow of the RhinoRhinos are a great enduring love of huntersWhat a precious cargo a rhino as a muse isThere’s a fragile beauty nowThat accompanies that poor animalIn life and death going the dodo’s wayOne of civilisation’s beautiesThe pulse is a parachute opening and closingThe poacher is a coldly poised collectorThe gun frozen in his hands feel like winterThe summer’s day electricThe hunted makes a mournfulContemplative noise as it fallsThere is the smell of blood in the airAnimal blood on a poacher’s handsAnd whether or not the rhino is half-aliveUnder the withering stare of the poacherThe poacher will…
Thursday, 31 October 2013 13:05

How I Hate You

By
How I hate you, other girl, is not how I hate myself. It’s not even how I hate the story you want to hear while we bunk PE,imagining me soaking at your shoulder like it is a desert and my apology is the hose.I am not some rubber attached to a tap.I am not even the tap. I am the whole fucking hydration system.I am the reservoir dug low in your thinking and piped back through your brain.I am the structure that keeps you flicking and alive, that gives you the sense to even know you are in pain.I am…
Tuesday, 29 October 2013 10:27

Cruising

By
He grew up in a farming family "less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town, but a million miles from here. What was traditional with Afrikaner farms in those days was that you always had a coloured boy assigned to you when you left home. My brother and sister were much older and they were at boarding school so I grew up like an only child. So you had a playmate who was usually four, five years older than you, and you got involved in that, and you literally set up a kind of parallel universe to the one you…
Thursday, 24 October 2013 15:39

Ah So!

By
and so what we were saying ... ah yes, you said fuck,  what about all those grammatical taboos such as starting a sentence  with a conjunction? conjuncting a sentence before foreplay, writing a sentence but getting it reduced because of good linguistic behaviour being able to see through all the  spellings of taboo to the naked text waiting for bad verbs to get conjugated
Thursday, 24 October 2013 14:00

Mantra

By
I dig your poem full of things taboo  but feel it can   only read much better backwards  like the    crooning of a pet Neanderthal, like a Satanist droning his foul mantra  oobat   oobat odi ekilti setir wydo bon!  
Tuesday, 22 October 2013 17:12

Cold Feet

By
So:afterand in spite ofall thiscontentionin the bloodand its consequencesI willat bestbe- only that?A good fathertrappedby high voicesflying bat-blindabout aconcrete and glasscage?I can just seemyselfduckingand gruntingeach time a wordbrushes againstmy newspaper-shield.ME?
Friday, 18 October 2013 13:55

Self-consuming Taboo

By
He was a narcissistic cannibal.When he committed his terrible, unspeakable act.There was leftneither sign of him norshred of evidence.
Monday, 30 September 2013 13:34

Deciduous

By
Not yours Not your vows   Theirs   To love and be loved You’re the third subject You have no place here You wear no matching band   I march to my own accord I will dance to what I like I can behold who is kind I have love to give,           my place is here I love, he loves   Promises are built to breakA frame that frail will fail to hold It will fold and its seal lifted, The attachment redirected Vows are only words, you see And words hold no bond It’s in the look he…
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 04:35

Lighthouse

By
You knowwhen a big storm hitsThe lighthouse actually shiftsI have measured itThe engineers tell me it is impossibleBut not everything in this world Is explained by scienceI offered myself up onceWhen it was too much and Even the beauty of the lightCould not hold meAs I tell you this I knowYou will think me madOut here on this rockWith only the gulls to judgeI leapt into the jaws of the seaBut they put me backGentlyI am the keeper of the lightThey told meThere is a balance to this worldAnd I needed to keep the lightShiningI told them about scienceAnd they…
Monday, 23 September 2013 21:07

Plague

By
There is a big black Xscrawled in the skyabove the block we live in. Apartment: 7Block: 3It means: Bring out your dead.But today is the Sabbath.We cannot bring out the deaduntil this day of rest is over.We sit. We standat the window watchingthe street below, dogssniffing for leftoversfrom Saturday lunch,candy wrappers drifting onto the sidewalk,nudged by the wind.We could have kept youalive, could have punched a hole in your throat to breathe but we let go and now the body cools more slowly thanwe could have imagined.
Friday, 13 September 2013 20:33

stiff

By
and it's my seventh birthday and I've just come in  from the swimming pool at grandma's house playing  marco polo and keep the kettle boiling with my classmates  and it's a gorgeous african deep spring day and the sun is shining on my cake and there is a gentle breeze blowing in off  the veldt and onto my forehead like a caress and I become wonderfully  stiff which is my  secret when I'm really pleased this happens  merely the spontaneous tribute of a child whose corpus spongiosum dilates when he goes into the other world and as adults do there's a ripple of prurient stifled…
Friday, 13 September 2013 09:29

Circle of Joy

By
Circle of Joy First find a good, thin, piece of wire, whichIs long enough to twist around its ownSelf and your flesh. Thighs are the best. We switchTo calf or ankle later, but the boneTo tissue ratio is better nearYour haunch – more meat means more hurt. There's much toBe said for being strict when the ideaIs to initialize pain. Next, youNeed to put kinks in the wire – make sureThey jut sharply, so you bruise while they pullYour skin as the circle tightens – like you'reWearing a cilice, but better. AwfulAches will grow and spread until the day thatThe…
Tuesday, 03 September 2013 21:15

Sparrows

By
Sparrows shackled Sleepless saint less nights on the side Walk On pavements Concrete evidence Of the existence of an everyday struggle The eye is the hustleHard. Eyes shoot like revolversRevolving around Mirror images the suicide of sight Things we have seenHave made us blindTo the potholes Deep On the side of the streetThat swallow To cook Salt on wounds And cooked Smiles swallowed Puked grimace Pain filled And breaking The eyes enclosing To reveal flammable tears Smoke and smell Of insides burning. Start   On   Entering entertainment Morning wood means an axe to grind Bikini’s sell cars and body…
Monday, 19 August 2013 19:59

Taboo or Not Taboo?

By
Taboo or Not Taboo? Latex glove in the bedroom.Latex skirt in the boardroom. Girdle and stockings under Roosevelt.Garter belt and fishnets under Bush. Inked “Mom” on Marine’s forearm.Inked orchid on the teacher’s ankle. Diamond studded earrings for you wife.Rhinestone studded tongue for your daughter. Three inch pumps at the office.Six inch stiletto at the market. Standing on tiptoe at the barre.Collapsed, tipsy at the bar. Beating her down with your fist.Beating her down with your words. You Choose.
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 16:12

Dog Training

By
Lean back and dis en gage.I watch the dogs play; biting and falling. ‘Mugabe is actually his grandson; he had plastic surgery to look like him. He’s going to live forever.’ Did I bring up this topic?To examine the worm holein the soft appled-skulls of people I considerfriends? ‘Mandela is already dead. They're pretending he’s alive to avoid an uprising.’ Prefixes on the word black. A black. The blacks. Ticks; baubles on smooth-skinned words, injecting disease. The dogs pause and pant. ‘It’s a good thing he barks at the blacks.’My dog’s a racist too.
Friday, 09 August 2013 16:32

an execution is not simply death

By
if I were on death rowwould I beg them to execute meand choose death by bulletsor the gas chamber would I shout my innocence to my last breath would I be the last womanpublicly hangedthe last person  executed in britain australia would I order a last meal of a single pitted olive or two pints ofchocolate chip ice-cream would I be a foreigndrug smuggler in a chinesejail or interred for socialcrimes in iran or singaporeor a political prisonerin apartheid south africawould I lay my neckon a stone slab allow the hooded man to behead meor feel the cold biteof the guillotine would I let them…
Friday, 09 August 2013 16:28

Untitled

By
Untitled The skin on the underside of my wrist looks soft and friable. Not white but pale like buttermilk. A tendon stands out like a painter straining to keep a boat tethered to the dock. Veins and arteries run alongside,secondary roads, roads that transport blood. I know enoughto cut down, to cut vertically,not across, not horizontally.I would choose, though, to wade through breakers to reacha wide and demanding ocean.
Saturday, 27 July 2013 12:04

Three Poems

By
forbidden words it is the heavy and forbidden wordhomeless a logos saying memory forgotten,the immortal censored self a waitand evident expectationsscratched in the thin skin,a sexless palimpsestis the terrible poverty of the textitself, a superego written in ambitiouschildren, home and the hopelessand faces to be a freedomit is forbidden words forever;the criminal extent of dreaming,it is night, this memory -there is no “we”and we are bleedingthe murderers sleepthe murderers are sleepingin all the televisionsthey are expressing emptyand nothing is forbiddenexcept for moralityand words like ”good” and “evil”the murderers are sleeping herebecause bodies have forgotten dreaming;the murderers are sleepingthe serial wait…
Friday, 19 April 2013 12:03

Nat Geo

By
Who made JaguarWho killed JaguarWho watched JaguarWho saw Jaguar?And did you pursue the jaguar?Brown bear in the snow.People marvel and take photos.Remember this, remember this.Creatures, always do.Jack-Ass penguin,so proud.You have more to crow aboutthan we.A baby –baby tiger, baby acorn,ancient dog.You soap your child,all those hurts.Once this world they saywas humanless.Once wind ruled,and grasses.We are blessed to bethe least wondrous of allthe ones who made the world,who fought and raped it.I come from this place unbearableunfettered by absolutesunsure even of my roomAm I The Jaguar?lost to mystery,but waiting.
Monday, 11 February 2013 12:38

End

By
I am not attracted to tall buildingsI am not attracted to sharp objectsI am attracted to big trucks' wheelsI am attracted to fast trainsI am not attracted to knotted ropesI am not attracted to cold steel barrelsI am attracted to deep waterI am attracted to fathomless sleepI am not attracted to heavenI am not attracted to the idea of eternityI am attracted to darknessI am attracted to not knowingI am not attracted to the final answerI am not attracted to having it all explainedI am attracted to words that make no senseI am attracted to meanings that have no words.
Thursday, 13 December 2012 11:41

The Pen's Manifesto

By
For every writer; for every creator.  For every "other" pen.1.      Uncover the blank page. 2.      Obliterate time. 3.      Bridge fears. 4.      Tip the scales. 5.      Protest.  Be a protest. 6.      Refuse the silence. 7.      Revise the trivialisations. 8.      Redirect the gaze that seeks to dominate, subjugate, colonise.* 9.      Read everything. 10.   Agitate the sleeping. 11.   Flaunt faultlessness. 12.   Be sharper, be holier, strike deeper. ** 13.   Be excruciating about the truth. 14.   Be merciful with narratives. 15.   Echo... 16.   Take pleasure in the emotional, the aesthetic, and the linguistic. 17.   Render through insight, laboured from hindsight, etched with anticipated foresight.…
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 16:41

Out

By
Out:This girl sits down opposite me,her shirt white and riding the space between the passage doorand the bed. Slipping out the packaging like something just soapedand now asleep in its towel. Expanding, as I count the thread.She swivels, closer, in her chair.And there's this canine flash of content. What hides beneaththe hamper and its lid. Her skin is packed like a fresh steakof rubber. Like a piece of untreated whalebone. Like a fin.Turning me left as I wouldn't aim in to wanting to touchthe place where her clothes had lifted.I remember saying this must be an easier thing for other…
Saturday, 08 December 2012 18:51

The Green Party

By
In circles,Hands holding jawsWe sat, waiting for master's script.Now, the party is losing colourA shade of green, strange shade that is.Green gone like an old groin pain.When the door swung open,Master's script said it all;Lines of hope. Hyphens of greatnessEach punctuation seemed like ourForlorn Sun, anew. This script hasCome to water our despair.But master's words as bright,Hung with the skies. We waitedAnd waited. Our hands back to jaws.
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