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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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

    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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Hugh Hervey Walker

    By Molly Walker
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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Mountain Heart

    By Maria Kjartans
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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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Jeannie Wallace McKeown

Jeannie Wallace McKeown

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,

smiles triumphantly

to tell this story;

she is who she wants

to be.


Monday, 01 June 2015 13:52

Writer's Block

I have writer’s block
I have writer’s block
I 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 waiter
brought me hot milk, even though
I 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 have writer’s block
I have writer’s block

There are blonde women in this coffee shop
These women are glamorous.
I am in a corner
at the table with the comfy sofa
with my bitter coffee
and my writer’s block
and my belly which shows when I lean back,
my hair which is silvering.
While I sip my bitter coffee
my ex-husband is driving our children
and his parents
along the coastal road on a journey towards me
in this little town

I have writer’s block
I have writer’s block

Nothing has happened yet to write about.
Everything is on a knife’s edge of nothing happening.
While he drives along the coastal road
and I wait and sip bitter coffee.
The coffee shop sells crafts and arts.
Kitsch but I like them.
Beside the sofa four mannequin legs
stretch flatfooted, toes at my earlobe,
plastered and painted in printed paper,
all in the blues.
The mp3 player plays music from the 60s.
Many people have sat on this sofa before me.
My arse slots into the dip they have left.

My arse.
My comfortable arse
with writer’s block
while I sip bitter coffee.
My belly trembles so I suck it in.
The blondes have no bellies
and no arses, but people with arses
have sat on this sofa before,
left their mark.
The waiter tries to take my plate.
I am staring out the window, fork in my hand.
I have eater’s block.
This is unusual (see belly, see arse).

My eyes are not seeing the blown tree
or the Coca-Cola umbrellas outside.
They are watching the sea on the left
of the car, the traffic on the road,
the wind turbines under which my ex-husband
is driving, with our children and his parents.
I reclaim my plate.
How much easier to resolver eater’s block
than writer’s block.

I have writer’s block
I have writer’s block

His parents and my parents have not been together
in four years,
since we split.
This visit is a big deal.
He is bringing them down the coastal road
to my parent’s house.
I am not a young woman.
I am not glamorous.
I am not blonde.
My belly shows when I lean back.
My hair is silvering.

I sip bitter coffee on a knife edge in a coffee shop.
The mannequin legs toe my ear.
60s music plays on the mp3 player.
From the ceiling plasterboard cutout seagulls sway,
vinyl LPs twist, chokka lamps rock.
They believe maybe that they are still on the boats,
their movement is serene.
I sip my second mug of bitter coffee,
lose myself in the rocking chokka lamps.
The car eats the kilometres.

Four years since our parents were together.
“You’re so lucky” says Jane
(all the artwork says Jane. Her eyes
are the cobalt blue of the sea the chokka boats
are rocking on).
“Divorcing and losing family is so hard
but you’ve kept that friendship.”
“Yes, yes, we’ve worked at it,”
I tell her.

“We’ve worked hard at it,”
I tell my ex-husband at the wheel.
He turns and smiles.
“We’ll be there soon” he tells me.

I sip my bitter coffee.
I embrace my writer’s block
and bitter coffee and scrambled eggs.
The blondes have all left.
Two women hold hands over the other table
with comfy sofas; seagulls drift, LPs twist,
chokka lamps are out at sea.

My ex-husband is driving our children
and his parents down the coastal road.
I am right here;
my arse in the arse-shaped dip,
belly and silver hair,
sipping bitter coffee,
my second mug.