archive - issue 15

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  • Title
  • Date
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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 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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    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 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

    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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Wednesday, 28 June 2017 16:50

The Catching Game

They tell me to stay positive To look up and look forward Not to bring the darkness with me wherever I go But do they know there was a time when I was only brightness When I laughed when they beat me Smirked when they teased me Loved lying on the grass Looking up at trees Laughing in the park Running away from bees Yes, I was happy When I was 3 And 5 And ten Nothing got to me then Not the screaming at night Not the beatings and the fights Not the men touching me there Or being…
Monday, 26 June 2017 14:26

Le Pendu

Life and death: they are one, at core entwined. Rainer Maria Rilke, 1922   I At first I thought, this must be midlife, but then again, it’s been only twenty-two years. I thought perhaps this must be the afterlife but the air’s too fresh for death and my hands far too fat. This must be rebirth then, or the place you hover just before birth.   II From maternal violence sprung paternal deliverance. Thus, before you I stand, Master of none. Suspended above all vocations, bended in all directions. Dabble in a bit of this and a bit of that…
Thursday, 15 June 2017 22:04


When you really smile,your fangs show at the side of your mouth, This is my favorite way to see you, In profile When you’re driving
Wednesday, 14 June 2017 14:19

The past

What were you thinking, mother When you handed me a package with a watch in it, marking my tenth birthday, as I came to your bed that lonely winter morning?   The Rothko painting in the corner an abstract unreachable frieze Me, mute with my longing for your love – You, a distant angel, in buttoned-up Victorian nighty – Dim morning light yellowing the pulled blind.   The quiet of that first house echoes in me now, the years between an empty ache.   Later that day you would listen to Mahler's Songs of the Earth Music heavy as a…
Wednesday, 14 June 2017 12:25


The Wedgwood Bed and Breakfast, Melville, Johannesburg. 10.10.2016   Are my eyes opening in a dream? Or is a dream opening my eyes?   The furniture in the room floats In steel–grey half–light   The side table swims towards me It brings me my cellphone   Natural light at 5:30am? I am far away from home.   In the front garden of The Wedgwood A bird stutters a song about loneliness   With a wave of the television remote control I summon the seers to tell me how today will be   Here the results of the weather check: Young…
Friday, 09 June 2017 05:10

She and I

Did I just see her smirk at me?   Or was it a look of contempt?   I looked at her again, at my reflection, staring blankly at me.   Then we both smiled. "It is show time," I said. "It is show time, " she said.
Thursday, 08 June 2017 13:27

contemporary foolery

Startup Scaleup DigihubInnovation Technological RevolutionWeb 2.0 Transfer Internet of ThingsBig Data Smart Devices Agile SphinxAugmented Reality Autonomous DrivingEnergy Transition Industry 4.0Earth System Analyses Intelligent HomeFoster Framework Corresponding CloneIntegration Co-creation HackathonArtificial Intelligence Self-Learning BabylonWe accelerate to tenfold extraterrestrial speedWhile being soaked and killed by rain and heat
Friday, 24 February 2017 15:01


That was where we saw the chicken being eaten by another. It had been hit by a car, that first one. The second, coming to inspect what remained, pulled at the neck’s threaded flesh until it snapped and fell. Cannibal chicken, we shouted. It's a cannibal chicken! While a man, passing with his mule and a bicycle wheel under one arm, turned to look at us, shaking his head at our licence plate and the noise we city folk made.
Monday, 17 October 2016 17:33

do you

do you also hold your breath in movies when a character’s drowning, to see if you can outlast them? do you also miss those wire coat hangers that you used to open your car door when you locked the keys inside? do you also hope your life and times will get better while suspecting they might get worse? do you also conceive of the future as dissolute, dissolved, vague, trembling, insubstantial... i mean your real future, in 100 years... a mist... an empty openness... do you also long for someone to talk to about everything, someone who creates the language…
Sunday, 16 October 2016 21:25

Joseph: Starlin

Joseph: Starlin He rolls up on me while I’m whatsapping calls softly from the side to not scare meout here in the city’s dukderma man can die for trying to helpor for being the wolf that laps the bloodof the tender-hearted I don’t know maybe I look like one who has moneymy wife gets me these ties that say‘I own something’maybe he sees ‘father krismis’written somewhere under mytucked in tied down buttoned up façade  Whatever it ishe says his name and I say – Stalin? That’s your first name?like S-T-A-L-I-N?            – ‘No’ he chuckles and spells S-t-a-r-l-i-n Breakfast and lunch are folded in…
Friday, 14 October 2016 21:10

Nairobi Is A Quick Lover

First flash: a business-bright billboard smile; A suit far too neat for the jam on Jogoo Road; A suit too well knit, too well fitting, too good For anyone real. Then he moves - inside the billboard - Two steps forward, one to the side Hand glides out of pocket with a slide Phone. Best leg forward. Pose.   (") Pause. Nairobi stops to watch, to save to memory This magic of a man - perfection personified. This memory merges with others in vogue: The hunky hero on movie magic, A one-time White House guest turned iconic, The muscled advert-face…
Thursday, 13 October 2016 11:33


For Ryan   We were meant to be characters: two queer geeks with a Tarot set.   Setting: the day of the velveteen stage, with you striding like Orion.   Scene: small hall, high school. Your face in a movie; a strange radiance.   You called me a star but all I could think of was halation. A thousand screens.   The cards and limelight drew as the spots struck the blue and I started to seethe.   But today my jade breaks. Heavenly spectrums say so: divined they write   we’re all learnt celestial bodies and dirt.   So…
Wednesday, 12 October 2016 00:20

The Gathering

  Now I ask... What do you see? Eyes with shades of variedness Eyes of diverse vision A hundred feet in this room A hundred minds that stand differently Multiple petals as ears all listening to me But what do you hear? Would you hold these words against me? These "ordinary" utterances I fear would hunt me. That hunt I see close to the finish line... Must it hurt when we see the finish line? Would you strike me with the rod of my deeds? Those "ordinary" deeds we thought were innocuous... Mere antics of a playful mind Even as…
Friday, 07 October 2016 13:51

It is

It is.   It is a ball surrounded by lightning and the mercy of cosmic rays being hurled through space, again and again finding itself in the same place.                 It is a ball made of razors and childrens legs and bar parties toasting another days defeat and its return in hot drums confessing night beyond all referendum and cooking naive rhetoric                              ........   insanity goes through us like a train, a drill coming in both sides of the room, both sides of a nameless street, like two ears blinded by sulphurous words.   ........   it is not…
Tuesday, 04 October 2016 10:23

La femme obscur

She’s a natural brunette. She has an incurable case of Resting Bitch Face. She’s a poet. She’s a dirt road that stretches into the sunset and ends nowhere good or light or graceful.She’s calculated whimsy. She’s real, except when she isn’t. She’s a vegetarian. All her cosmetics are cruelty-free. She has four pairs of leather shoes. Her cruelty-free, organic, vegan, non-gmo shampoo is gluten-free, because so is she. She hates people. She’s a social justice warrior. She’s a feminist. She’s intersectional. She’s political. She’s anti-establishment unless the establishment is the free market. She buys local. Her jeans are made in…
Monday, 03 October 2016 12:39

All the World

Hours spent dreaming herself a role in an infinite movie reel of lives; string theory says she’s living them; somewhere she moved to a faraway country, somewhere she kissed a girl before a boy, somewhere she took a college course, and is still married; but to someone else, or to no-one at all. In some she’s a passenger, in some she drives every car she ever owns. Some lives she’s convinced she’s thinner; in others she’s fatter/tireder/more driven/less ambitious. Some lives she smiles more, some less, smiles cautiously because she took more risks, smiles defiantly because she took more risks,…
Friday, 30 September 2016 18:39

I am very angry

 Part 1 - Introduction Please let me rant! I am angry, very angry! I am angry with you Comrades Ja! Ek is gatvol! Ini ndakadumbirwa nehasha ini! So, please, let me rant and blow off steam If it burns you, you are standing on my face If it warms you, heats you up, find your voice and blow off your steam   Part 2 – You promised equality Bwana Once, we were lorded over by the colonialist And to him we were subjects and objects Only there to serve his corporal purposes But you convinced us that we were people…
Friday, 16 September 2016 11:19

The Garden's Memory

A garden is harder than a marriage you can’t throw sex or wine at it to pacify the wilderness that threatens.   A garden remembers holds to rhythms you laboured to weed out. As you tame it, clear the Eastern Cape clay it springs up slaps you.   A climbing rose, a pale matriarch, grows vicious despite my secateurs. A pear tree, fat with lichen, defiantly bears wizened fruit.
Friday, 16 September 2016 11:09

My Grandmother's Name

In her 70s the rigid clack of a label maker stamped out her neat name to be stuck spirit-level straight on cupboards, Tupperware, biscuit tins and dustpans.   Her widowed father, open-handed helpless, had passed her on to his sour sisters to be raised in a house of chiming clocks and maudlin tapestry cushions.   Even as a child she marked everything in strict Victorian capitals: MOIRA ELAINE LONG in case anyone should think to take what was hers in case anyone should forget (again) where she belonged.  
Tuesday, 13 September 2016 15:27

a perspective

she’s a contradiction:anxious yet fierce andchallenging yet sensitive. she carries emotions that she hides from people,but then bluntly spurts them out when it gets too much to endure. she’s like this:she will speak profoundly of issues, but keep to herself,the issues of her own brewing inside of her. but you must wait patiently for them to be revealed,or else she will burst,like a million pieces of glass;hard to pick up, yet easy to get hurt.she doesn’t want to hurt, or hurt others,but I suppose one has a habit of doing so. i look in the mirror,i wonder what i will…
Friday, 22 July 2016 17:40

The forgotten love letter

this letter is addressed to the loneliest love story I have ever read   I found you lost in the covers of a margin dusty stitched onto a page of Anne Frank’s Biography begging to be touched once more   morning came the sun prayed pity into the library room romantic literature students nowhere to be seen but in this letter I found something else in the way the words were felt from the war Wakeem wrote: my dear, my far away star the one in the sky scaling emptiness from a home afar hearing the hollow heartaches that the…
Wednesday, 02 March 2016 12:15


dlala madala whiskey breath cheering on, watching blow by blow rose of soweto out and blooming in six directions of boxing burnout hotstix mabuza don laka super nova tapping shoes of madala blomer brown blazer vintage cressida life iskorokoro behind the steering wheel and cruising
Thursday, 25 February 2016 11:29

Childhood Home

Childhood HomeWhen they retire, my parentswill sell our childhood home.Hot-cracked slasto by the poolThe fading shadows of a long-gone frangipani treeThe echoes of children’s voicesGrow paler each year.My brother is wistful:I wish I could buy it from you guysHe dreams of a new wife and babiesgrowing brown and happy there.The rope swing still hangs from the avo treeThe stone birdbath endures in the rose bedThe azaleas grow fatter every year.
Thursday, 25 February 2016 11:25

Last Roadtrip with my Brother

Last Roadtrip with my BrotherWe drive through the unruly hills of the Wild CoastThe potholes bigger than our Mazda 323Little boys and girls fill the ruts with cow dungBegging money for their serviceThe stones on the beachWe take shots – one of usPosed awkward against the background of seaC’mon boet take the bladdy pictureThe acrid mosquito coilAnd hot December nightOozing with hippie drummingI on the floor, you on the bedNeither of us sleepsWe rise at dawn for cold showersAnd a quick getaway, leaving cashAnd a note: Never coming back here
Thursday, 25 February 2016 11:20

The Bench

The Bench That afternoon in the damp, green spring I see you and Chappie: at seventeen You are all angles and sharp edges With your against-all-school-rules afros Smoking menthol cigarettes Tossing a ball for Blackie Today I want to unearth a smoke from your box Hidden under the loose bottom of a side cupboard And sit on the bench with you — my brother Even though our beloved Blackie is long gone And no-one smokes anymore
Wednesday, 24 February 2016 22:57


from the corner of the room that small red light winks  into a nearly sleeping eye and i, without extension cord or regard for the hour bound fitfully towards it  hot, quiet limbs  scooping at the carpet sent from my blackberry z10  early jokes for sweet nothings i have a cheap phone that blinks and you have torn mustard coat  in a plastic envelope with no note i lie about sewing you lie about little you cheat at arsehole  then admit it, later saul leiter, early black&white  in reused wrapping, latched with neon tape. HAMKE clings to its underside in…
Saturday, 13 February 2016 21:27

The Mango Tree

On this mango tree, I built my nest Where little beings like me Play hide and seek, And retreat to whenever the ground becomes hot.   Under this mango tree, I laid eggs, Played the role of a father, And harboured precious germs in my nails Trying to feed my presumed children.   My uncle is building a house And his bulldozer Is at the corner Taking hold of my memory (like a virus) With its wicked fangs, forcing it down Like a captured enemy.
Friday, 29 January 2016 17:04

Athol Williams

Xenophobia –Outside a wasteland of rain.Goodbye dragonfly.It is too early –In the gathering stages.Transfer of energy.J.D. Salinger –Classics almost spiritual.Jhumpa Lahiri.Arteries of water –Letting it burn in the end.Propaganda soaked.Sense of urgency –Extraordinary boy.Flux of experience.Hibiscus in light –Extraordinary man.A moth's wing paper.Visions of angels –Mikale sits across from me.White moth genius.Razor sharp shark teeth –Leaves each with their own flight risk.Bough down amongst trees.Death to poverty –Dandelion parachutes.Tik addicts don't quit.In need of a knife –Grass roots-pollen on my fingertips.In need of a wife.Blueprints of classics –Psychiatrists like insects.The moth swallows me.No myths about ghosts –Love is often not…
Monday, 18 January 2016 15:05


It’s early evening We’re sitting in front of the Hofburg in Vienna Watching a dance class do the tango   Arms linked and still skin-warm from the July sun – The music and the breeze syncopate a welcome rhythm   I prickle Seeing arms and legs sliding/flexing/twisting And I want us to be that one couple – that woman in red, that man in blue, pressed close   Instead I rest my head on your shoulder And feel the breath in your chest come and go and go and come – a comforting tune from within   And that is…
Wednesday, 13 January 2016 13:52

Twisted Pleasure

Perhaps I was hurt too much when I was younger. After all those battles hardened me, It became a kind of game to me: I felt I always had to win. Perhaps, now, I love the thrill of conquering them. The twisted pleasure from knowing that, On lonely nights under the stars, They cry for me. The feeling of dominating them. The twisted pleasure from knowing that, On cold nights next to the fire, They’d die for me. Perhaps I love ending it at the height of things, Vanishing when her heart is mine. Yearning for the twisted pleasure anew,…
Tuesday, 12 January 2016 15:06


Visions of Sissis and Bhoties fluster my moodas they almost block my routewhile I drive on Golden Highway to JohannesburgTownship beauties in Eldorado’s streetthey need to eat - right now - not in a weekfor even flavoured condoms do not feedwho can tell which life to live - to live and still stay negative?I turn and I see Eastgate mallshop next to shop next to shop, they offer it allpeople are lured away from life’s foundationsstriving for cash’s alternationsRich suburbs are home tofear, that is soaking in from the banned outsidefear, that is not telling black from whitefear, that is…
(i)Pen on paper in candlelight.Words don't hide here,Can't backspace, cut and paste, scuttleAcross a forgiving screen. Now:Measurement, slow truths.I feel in this as tender,As sick with openness and possibleness,As when your fingers call my soul upTo the surface of my skin,As when I trail my tongue over youTo lap up the precious wordsThat pool in secret hollows. You increase my thirst.It is only now, before the light, in the dark,As your sinuous squid limbs entwine mine in distanced sleep,That I wring out my tongue, to fill my penWith the black ink you gave me. To know.I can no longer hide…
Thursday, 30 July 2015 18:30

The distances between us

The summer. The summer it all started when I first saw your colour, hard against rocks bleached grey in the sun, the far side of too far of water, clear water green in the light-slanted light. The rocks tipped down to the edge and below; their shadows hid emptiness. I thought once of swimming, of diving deep down and strong re-emerging, hauling myself, bleeding hands and torn muscles, hauling myself through the force of my shoulders, hauling myself up to where you stood watching. The thought cut my skin to the bone so, so well that I knew me, I…
Broken Image - A sculptural poem Yesterday, I imagined printing an image of fragmented stone pillars on light paper (Dream image) the pillars are dispersed on the nature strip Their textures mottled with lichen and moss The eucalypts and museum are pictured in the background (Dream action) I left the image under a rock with autumnal leaves and a cassette I photographed it Afterwards, I played the cassette on a tape recorder The reflections of a retired geologist are on the cassette / Geological history is one long record of conflict between destructive agencies, which break down and remove, and restoring agencies,…
Tuesday, 28 July 2015 12:13

Rock, paper, scissors.

Rock, paper, scissors, wrote the one-eyed Fly Why? Said the Tadpole, why write ever, why? Because, send the Fly, rock, paper, scissors can. Since when, said the Tadpole? Rhyming word: saucepan. What does a saucepan have to do with a rock?! That’s cheating, said the one-eyed Fly, disgruntled, in shock. Not much said the Tadpole, as I am not yet a frog. But when I grow up, and become a frog I will choose the saucepan over the fire A choice between rock and hard place, will then be quiet dire. Ohhh, said the one-eyed Fly…. extrapolate if you must…
Thursday, 23 July 2015 11:36

Newton's First

The art of losing is a changed thing, these years; I think of you every time I clear my search history. And just as the progress can be tracked Of lost phones to the parts of the city Where we don't go, so the unexpected Transactions of missing credit Cards, so the careless trajectories Of hearts gone on to a different use. We can watch all this as we would The receding world in a rearview Mirror, hopeful horuspex of unravelling roads. They lose in the old, still ways here, an Arid town ambered by cartographers; The hotels where my…
Tuesday, 14 July 2015 15:59

Left in the dark

in the shower when the power voltage is too high zzzzztttzsss – swishh – zzzittttzzz I am left tingling top to toe and shaking awake for a brave new day   the electrician has done his best but says his hands are now tied (electri-f-r-i-ed?) and he can do no more   enter stage right two technicians (drum roll) from the electricity department of Makana municipality who are paid to do the job but not at ten a.m. for that is tea-time   of course   briefly they work later finding nothing amiss “Asiyazi” they say and the private electrician…
Sunday, 14 June 2015 18:39

My Other Life

I am better at my other life, where no-one is dead, where sadness doesn’t press its cold weight into my sternum creep along my clavicle, breathe into my spine.   Where my mother remembers to wear matching shoes and doesn’t need someone to hold her hand while she looks for a will, the deeds to the house.   Where we don’t have to hear condolences fall like heavy stones into the dry well of our grief. Where I don’t feel my own mortality at night: black sky, stars, the milky way.
Monday, 01 June 2015 13:52

Writer's Block

I have writer’s blockI have writer’s blockI have writer’s block I’m sitting in a coffee shop.I got the table with the comfy sofa.My coffee is hot because the waiterbrought me hot milk, even thoughI asked for cold. I’m on holiday and I didn’t feel like arguing on the first day of my holiday. So I poured in the hot milk. The coffee is bitter. One spoon of sugar has made no difference. I can taste the sugar layered over the bitterness. The bitterness is still there. I revel in it. I have a headache. The coffee is bitter like medicine.I…
Monday, 01 June 2015 11:29

The Silence

Today as she was swept off to schoolI teetered like a forward slash.Every afternoonI ache for silence.Every afternoonas she sings,cries, tosses toys / Yet                                   in the pin-drop void                                   of morning                                   I miss her                                   and the chubby noise that                                   trails in her wake.
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