We blame you for floods
for the flush of blood
for men who are also wolves
and even though you could pull
the tide in by its hair
we tell people that we walked all
we blame you for the night
for the dark
for the ghosts
you cold unimaginable thing
following us home,
we use you
to see each others frail
naked bodies beneath your blue light,
we let you watch; you
swollen against the glass
breath a halo of steam
as we move against one another
wet and desperate
like fish under
a waterlogged sky
- Warsan Shire
My compulsive need to fully own and control can be seen in all the clothes that hang in my closet, others hanging shyly with tags still dangling from their necks as if it were their names. My strange habit to stare, admire and embrace as though I am praying away old wounds is evident in the countless times I open my closet when I return from work, ensuring that everything is as I left it, closing half open boxes of vacuity I kicked aside as I rushed for work in the morning with my hair still yawning yesterday’s blues, believing that I belong to them as they belong to me and hoping that they like staying with me as much as I long for them to never rip.
I have never been punctual, if anything is ordained as it is so why should time matter I always wonder but I do want to be a better person in the way I handle arguments and in the way I sing praises to beauty, songs I have never sung to myself. My neurotic desire to wholly own and control is seen in the many times I have dusted dirt of my favourite jacket, holding her down inside my thighs, embracing her, hoping that’s the last time they ever dare make her cry, else they will have me to play with.
I wish hearts were like the clothes that hang helplessly in the closet in my room, I wish it was possible to fully possess a human being because I have dismally failed to own up to my ever blazing rage with the world and everything in it but we all know how impossible that is, but my desire to control the flesh is evident in my endless attempts to make everyone behave as I like, the need to want them to speak a certain way and to utter words only pleasing to me and that has done nothing but tear me even further away from my skin than my bra that lost one of its hooks because it was either just too loose or rather not strong enough to hold on to my demands and pleasures.
I have always had a sacrificial heart but I hid it in the gutters that estranged me and my ‘used to be’ friend, whom I only speak to when I bump into her (God forbid) but many times I hope I never do bump into her in case it might be obligatory for me for force hello out the small gaps in my teeth and to embrace her like I care to know her, which I do not. I don’t talk to strangers and I don’t like confrontations, they reveal more of myself than I want to offer the world, I find myself gushing out more insults than good vibes. I am illicitly offensive and not everyone appreciates that hence I am more inclined to keeping to myself more than I let out.
I should never let out, I have secrets sitting at the contours of my mouth waiting to burst the sanity and civility out of me, I can’t be that reckless with my life and what it has revealed to me. I am trustworthy. I have become without grumble, everybody’s confidante and so I have learnt to keep closed in my darkness and have pledged to tell myself the secrets I am tempted to let out and I have become the only way out of myself and I am starting to enjoy it more than I actually like crying over it.
I think I pleasure in captivity as can be seen in the boxes of shoes I still keep in the closet, to keep away dust and to protect, I have been told that I have the heart of a mother, my girlfriend always tells me that, telling me she has never seen anyone who prides herself in making other people smile like I do but I think she’s lying, I have always thought of myself as more of a sadist than anything else.
Sometimes I enjoy building houses more than I enjoy staying in them, I like to sit outside the gate admiring how well the roses have turned out and measuring the distance before sadness turns into laughter in the faces of the passers-by, it’s never as quick of a transition as I would like it to be, sometimes ice creams and chocolates and more hugs and kisses leading to possible love making are used to lessen the tension. This beggar’s and ass licking (sometimes literal) act is usually called making up which is not necessary if someone has fully forgiven you. I never decorate the houses I build; I believe that inborn beauty can never be enhanced that any actions to modify them is always a waste of time. We are as we see the world and we cannot ‘make-up’ what we are if we are not.
I enjoy sharing jokes more than I actually am able to laugh, my sense of humour is lethal but it chases the awkwardness away so I keep it. I hate stand-up comedy shows, I feel there’s more obligated laughter than the actual cracking up of self and I hate being used. Anyway I can crack myself up, literally. I suppose I was crafted differently from the exemplary average person who drinks 8 cups of water a day when I would rather drown myself in the food of my choice that I most of the time cannot afford, but only those who truly know me have borne witness to this shortfall of mine that I would prefer hidden beneath my late father’s old suitcase.
‘oh well Purple Jupiter you were wrong, it is not every 17seconds that a girl gets raped, it is every 17 seconds that a man gets an erection’ spat Kaelow aka No Life at the last Open Mic I attended.
I literally zoned out, almost choking, my eyes tearing, hands over my mouth, the minute this poet uttered these words blocking my mind from any more of his destructive words reach. While others stood in reverence at the words that wantonly escaped from his lips as he rhymed through what I suppose was meant to save the world as it was rehearsed for over a month in preparation for the Open Mic. Still failing to make sense of his words and still rather surprised at the women who were in favour of his supposed good rhymes, I honoured my womanhood by refusing to clap for him as he delivered his last word in pride, that was the only action I could take at that time in that setting.
For a poet to write a piece on rape, a lot need to have happened, the poet must either have put herself in the shoes of the victim, felt the agony and ran with it, leaving a big chunk of her soul in the gutter, or the poet must sadly have come face to face with this tragedy and that is 99% the case. So for this man to stand at the alter and to profess such deleterious words on womanhood, even if it is to educate, it is plain sick, derogatory and damn right disrespectful and I was not willing, nor am I ever alacritous, to betray my womenfolk’s by rejoicing for words that did not make me any better as a woman.
It’s been just over a month since Annene Booysens’s untimely death, having borne prey to the most inhumane, throat choking attack. After having been gang raped, mutilated and left for the dead at the construction site in Bredasdorp in the Western Cape, Annene was found still alive by a security guard in the morning on the 2nd of February but died later in the day. She died from her injuries in hospital six hours later but to all our relief she managed to identify one of her attackers who was apparently someone that she knew very well. How sad it is that the monsters of our dreams are always in the arms we deem safe.
While Annene’s family still wore their pain across their foreheads, mentioning her name over cups of loneliness, stuck on avenues of nostalgia, her mother still calling hoping she might respond and while the death of this 17 year old set the nation’s rage on fire, awakening the ghosts in the corridors for others, some men still find it attractive and apt to say such words, some men still speak lightly of rape.
While the mentalities of men, men we have conversations with still stun me I was also greatly astounded about the LGBTI response to this tragedy. It wasn’t too soon before this premeditated act of massacre or ‘so called accident’ that led to a death of a child was a point of discussion on all social network forums that I still today am trying to comprehend. While the nation mourned the loss of a child, the LGBTI made this matter a sexuality matter, totally obtuse and unwitting to the reality that stood before us.
Others asking why rape cases are not given the same attention, while I understood their fury with the law, I failed to understand how this butchery was not significant enough to forget their justified rage with the government and to mourn a life that was lost. We have lost many soldiers if LGBTI be an army, cases never making it to court while the ones that actually made it to the ruling are given 2 years punishment while a rhino poacher would be faced with ‘life’ imprisonment. From this point, one can already see who sits on top of the food chain in the law faculty, it is evident that the life of a homosexual costs less than that of a rhino and weighs less than Donkey ribs in our favourite restaurants and while we pray unceasingly for God’s intervention one day, that day when he chooses to listen to our prayers, we cannot close our eyes to other realities just because we are more wounded and obviously more pained than others.
We cannot be so habituated to such torments that we are unable to show compassion for anyone outside our sexual premises. While we pledge to always and unceasingly pay homage to their lives that were cut short by the lot’s miseducation and the need to control who we keep wrapped beneath our skin in the dark, not because they were more our friends than they were our sisters and not because they were more lovers than they were family, but because life is worthy of celebration irrespective of any sexual inclination.
While no one had declared Anene’s sexuality as it was never on the discussion table and therefore irrelevant, we can safely say that the nation’s roar had nothing to do with who stole Anene’s cherry under her sheets, if at all. The nation’s wailing was ordained it was and it was relevant. We cannot now be in rage because no one blew the whistle loud enough when we are being condemned and unjustly crucified but we can hope than when it happens again, we will be considered worthy of the nation’s cry, not on any other level but the fact that we are human before we are anything else and for the recognition that we are sisters and brothers and even mothers and sometimes fathers before we are homosexual whores as we are otherwise deemed. Until then, we will continue to lock our doors, slamming them shut at our cunning uncle’s faces, tell on our brothers who look at us as souls that need to be fixed and re-evaluate the so- called “family friends” and playing as farther from them as we possibly can while we patiently wait for that day when the need equality will matter only on land re-distribution.
All suicides have the responsibility of fighting against the temptation of suicide. Every one of them knows very well in some corner of his soul that suicide, though a way out, is rather a mean and shabby one, and that it is nobler and finer to be conquered by life than to fall by one’s own hand.Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf
To perceive lovingly…requires that we become vigilant of the ways in which our own desires, needs, or own great wanting, is implicated the in the ways in which be come to know the world and the ways in which we distort knowledge of this world.Mariana Ortega, “Being Lovingly, Knowingly Ignorant: White Feminism and Women of Color”
“Try not to confuse attachment with love. Attachment is about fear and dependency, and has more to do with love of self than love of another. Love without attachment is the purest love because it isn’t about what others can give you because you’re empty. It is about what you can give others because you’re already full.”
Maybe I'm just too private of a person,
that my rage is set on fire at these hearsays
about the chambers under my bed.
Maybe I like living my life in one big paper bag of secrecy,
that travellers’ suitcase without a key,
just to at least hold on to
and fully own my truth,
Because sometimes I truly enjoy being
this bundle of mystery
that even I still try to uncover in vain