archive - issue 18

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  • 10 Characters

    By Anton Krueger
    Nurse Marie Her lapel is a little faded and her lipstick slightly smudged in the corner of her mouth. “It’s an easy job,” she
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    • WRITING
  • A Cry for Help

    By Ross Fleming
    I come from a long line of great worriers. My earliest memory is of Father, the morning paper spread out before him, tearing his
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    • WRITING
  • A selection from a series of polaroids and paintings "We are Definitely Heroes" that calls into question our self-obsessed nature through the lens of
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    • AUDIOVISUAL
  • a perspective

    By Lucca Munnik
    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
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    • POETRY
  • A shortish life in 15 shortish paragraphs   1.       Birth From the start it was all hard work. Later her blue-eyed brothers and sisters made
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    • WRITING
  • All the World

    By Jeannie Wallace McKeown
    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
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    • POETRY
  • Commuting in Jozi

    By PALESA RAMEKOANE
    Coming from Polokwane, a small town in Limpopo, Johannesburg is a big city to me. It is a congested, confusing, concrete jungle compared to
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    • WRITING
  • Constellations

    By Caitlin Stobie
    For Ryan   We were meant to be characters: two queer geeks with a Tarot set.   Setting: the day of the velveteen stage,
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    • POETRY
  • de-identified

    By Kirsten Stolle
    de-identified examines the impact of facial recognition technology on individual privacy.  Using augmented portraits of 19th century women and an imagined narrative, de-identified explores how
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    • AUDIOVISUAL
  • do you

    By Anton Krueger
    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
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    • POETRY
  • gogogo is in love

    By esethu esethu
    REMEMBERING HERE an excerpt from "A Long Story Short", an unpublished novella   It was not always as contaminated, the nature of the resentments
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    • WRITING
  • Hugh Hervey Walker

    By Molly Walker
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    • AUDIOVISUAL
  • I am very angry

    By James Chapangara Mugabe
     Part 1 - Introduction Please let me rant! I am angry, very angry! I am angry with you Comrades Ja! Ek is gatvol! Ini ndakadumbirwa
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    • POETRY
  • I doodled your name by force

    By Naggayi Lydia Sanyu
    I doodled your name by force. Yes please. I was not going to be that girl who'd pass through her teenage years without ever
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    • WRITING
  • It is

    By Kyle Allan
    It is.   It is a ball surrounded by lightning and the mercy of cosmic rays being hurled through space, again and again finding
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    • POETRY
  • Joseph: Starlin

    By Joseph Claassen
    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
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    • POETRY
  • Kinoti's Flower Bud

    By Michael Thuo
    A green writer is one in constant motion. This motion is in the state of mind: seeking ideas, inspiration and appealing to the yet
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    • WRITING
  • La femme obscur

    By Lunette Elle Warren
    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
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    • POETRY
  • 1.   I hid in the church after they left. Some of the stained glass had been broken, and the plain sunlight bled into
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    • WRITING
  • Meeting Kasiobi

    By Mariam Sule
    Few things have evoked my empathy like the evening I spent with a beautiful man named Kasiobi who has lost an ability that I
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    • WRITING
  • Mostly about a Beetle

    By Anthea Garman
    Ken’s red beetle 1963 – I am three years old. I pose against the beetle in the way I have seen my mother do. Fat
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    • WRITING
  • Mountain Heart

    By Maria Kjartans
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    • AUDIOVISUAL
  • My Grandmother's Name

    By Louella Sullivan
    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
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    • POETRY
  • Nairobi Is A Quick Lover

    By Waiganjo Ndirangu
    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
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    • POETRY
  • There’s an old proverbial postulate that the commercial competitive market model seeks to create the best possible goods at the lowest possible prices (now,
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    • WRITING
  • Image Gallery Character resonating out hard into the environs: with physical manifestations in Heaven and Earth; for better or worse; meteorologically, geologically, technologically; synthesising
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    • AUDIOVISUAL
  • The Garden's Memory

    By Louella Sullivan
    A garden is harder than a marriage you can’t throw sex or wine at it to pacify the wilderness that threatens.   A garden
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    • POETRY
  • The Gathering

    By Emmanuel Uweru Okoh
      Now I ask... What do you see? Eyes with shades of variedness Eyes of diverse vision A hundred feet in this room A
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    • POETRY
  • The prisoner

    By Carla Chait
    The clink-clink of chains along the corridor of area 354 is indicative of the approach of a prisoner. A prisoner is approaching and I
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    • WRITING
  • The Running Man

    By Theodore Senene
    If you happened to be seated in the third coach of the 10 o'clock train heading west,  watching the luscious green countryside flash by,
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    • WRITING
  • By the time they reached one hundred kilometres outside Kamieskroon, on the way to Cape Town, the rhythmic tikketu-tikketu of train meeting track had
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    • WRITING
Sunday, 16 October 2016 19:38

I doodled your name by force

By 
I doodled your name by force. Yes please. I was not going to be that girl who'd pass through her teenage years without ever doodling a boy's name in a notebook when she's supposed to be concentrating on something else. I'm not normal but then again I couldn't accept to be that abnormal.

So on that day when we walked to the taxi park and I sighed at the mere touch of your fingers on mine, it felt special, yes, in a way only a very clammy hand can. I did my best not to wonder what had you touched before you touched me. I tried not to dread the time we would kiss and failed, miserably, because unlike every other girl I wasn't looking forward to my first consensual sharing of saliva in a gesture deemed romantic by a world whose sanity I have doubts about. How do they do this? How do they hide their disgust? Is love really that strong? Anyway, I laid all that down.

You see, you're special. The first time I saw you you made me sweat. I hated you. Like, how dare you? And yet I couldn't look away. Your face hit me like a bolt of lightning, and even today it still burns.

When you asked me out I fled. There are some things my entire being was not ready for. Like petty fights and worrying why you haven't texted or called. Like awkward dates in restaurants you'd struggle to afford, while I'd struggle too to eat like a proper lady, just to please you.

However, the one thing I really wanted above all else, my litmus test, was failing to take place. I wanted to doodle your name, draw a likeness of your face on classroom desks. I wanted to draw love hearts all over my books and colour them red. For a long time I told myself it couldn't be real, these things I felt, if there was no girly teenage evidence. Forgive me, I still had a lot to learn about myself. About you. About love. About life.

When I let you go I was a fool. Correction: I am and have always been a fool. The day I told you I couldn't do this you asked me why and I said I can't date you if I can't doodle your name. For what must have been the first time in your life, you cursed and jeered. I too curse and jeer everytime I remember my own stupidity. I have cursed and jeered for six long years.

But mostly, I cry. I always thought myself tough as steel but it turns out I'm mush. It turns out I have a leak in my face, one that widens every time I see you at the supermarket with her and with that beautiful child, every time I see you in that permanent pew of yours at church, helping her sometimes by carrying that beautiful child and sometimes carrying the baby-bag. I cry every time I try to pack up my stuff and move to a place far away because I always realise that I just can't.

Why didn't you fight for me? It's simple. I'm not normal. And you knew. You knew that love confused my brain cells and made me fear my own self. You knew that I was uncomfortable with almost any sort of human contact and anxious around even my own family. You even once dared to say you loved me for my strangeness. Which is why, I ask, why didn't you fight for me? Why didn't you cling on? I too wanted a beautiful child and I too wanted that beautiful child to be yours. I would have never said it, of course, but you should have read it in my eyes.

But I guess you never really looked into them. I guess I never really let you. I guess I never really did much at all. I guess I never tried. I guess I don't deserve you.  No, that one's not a guess.

                                                                             *
When people witness something crazy or shocking they judge only the action, because that's all they can see. They cannot see what lies behind it, the emotion, the grit, the down and dirty. For them it will just be that viral Facebook video with the crazy bitch that makes a mess of such a nice couple's wedding, the bitch up at the stunningly decorated podium saying wierd things and pulling strange stunts. They will not think of why, they will not understand that when the priest asked if there is any reason why this couple should not be joined together in holy matrimony, I genuinely had one. You still owned my heart. It's not fair, is it? You walking around holding two hearts in your hands just like that. You once said that if I loved you I had to be bold. See? I became bold. I raised my hand and said yes. I walked up there and explained to everyone. You once wanted more than anything that I accept to make our love public. I did it! I know it has taken me ages but I did it!

I will admit, it hurt me when you acted shocked. It drove a knife deep into my heart when you flinched away from me as I turned to you after making my little speech, when you instinctively pushed your pretty bride and your little flowergirl, that beautiful child of yours, behind you in an attempt to protect them from me. Me. Of all people. You know I'm a third degree coward. You know I simply cannot do anything. But that I could handle. What I could not take was the derision, the way you turned your nose up at my declarations as if I was a dustbin pouring my garbage out to you. I did my best, I really did, don't you see? Even the guests thought as much, did you see how amazed and excited they were, all whispering to one another and taking videos? But you, you could not be pleased. You, the only person on earth who really knows me.

It was a surprise to me too when I lunged at you. Stupid as it sounds, I just wanted to touch you. It was more of a proof thing. I was sure, confident, that the real you can't do that to me: it had to be a clone or just someone who looks like you. I needed to touch and check, it was the easiest way, because I alone know what happens to me when my skin touches yours. That lightning-bolt-meets-butterflies kind of thing. But it didn't work this time. You can only imagine my confusion when I brushed my fingers by your face as I fell to the ground and felt nothing, nothing at all. From down on the floor I grabbed your leg and felt nothing... nothing at all. I was stunned, but in slow, painful waves. Once again, a litmus test had failed. The only difference is that this time, it did not drive me insane. If anything, it calmed me down. It was not hard to realise. It wasn't you that I had touched. It wasn't you anymore. It was someone else that had taken up the old you up and was using you. I understood what had happened. You were gone. Gone. I had lost you. That was as close to closure as I could get.

Maybe my problem is that I always put too much of my energy into tests: tests which could fail me any day, tests which could give me wrong results or even right results in the wrong way and make me lose everything. I am tired. Losing you has made me tired. So I've decided that I'll do one last test. The very last one. You know I've always wanted things easy. This time it's going to be a test in chemistry... or is it biology... but not the kind you're probably thinking. This time, I'm going to test if ingesting large amounts of this strange bluish substance I found will finally give me bit of rest. Just a little rest.
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