Friday, October 7, 2011

The Great (or not) Comeback

It's been over a year since I have posted a blog entry. This will be my attempt at a great (or not) comeback. Not sure what happened, guess I got busy, much like everyone else. It's no excuse, really. I know I must start writing again. And although the massive blinking cursor on the white page of a Word Document is incredibly intimidating, I will have to re-learn. This is a line in the sand, a promise to myself, to re-learn how to express myself in poetry and prose once again... a welcome challenge in my dusty headspace!

As some inspiration, I found one of my favourite poems and decided to share it here. I particularly love the last stanza.

You Walked Gently Towards Me
by Ben Okri

You walked gently towards me
In the evening light
And brought silence with you
Which fell off when
I touched your shoulder
And felt the rain on it.

We went through the city
Up the roaring streets
Full of many lights
And we sought a place
To be alone
And found none.

The evening was merciful
On your smile.
Your laughter touched
The hungry ghosts
Of passing years.

You moved smoothly
On the waters
Your shadow sounded of silk
You led me to places
Full of mellow darkness
Secret coves where they
Didn't let us in
And under the rain
You bid me kiss you with
Your silent and uncertain eyes.

We walked home
And the rain laughed around us
With its insistent benediction
And your hair was strung with
Your face with glittering dreams
And my eyes were wet
With your luminous spirited joy.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Spring Inspired Poetry

Although spring has been in full swing for about three weeks I thought I'd share some of my spring inspired poetry anyway. And I decided to upload this little bee and flower picture too in honour of the season. It was one of the first pictures I ever took with my treasured (but not so often used) camera. I hope spring lingers a little longer this year than last - but minus the mosquitoes, of course!



palm tree

unaware it might take root
(as it did in the centre of her hand)
she caught a seed one afternoon
a seed, brown and bare.

it disappeared through the
pink and left a small hole
until she awoke one day
with a pillow of soil under her
head that had carried her
into the morning.

the soil came up from that small
hole right in the centre of her hand
so she offered it to the sun
and cried salt into the black grit.

the next day she awoke to find
she had fallen asleep in a tall tree.

a tree rooted deep into her palm.


afternoon light

the city is a library:
office blocks like shelves
stacked onto each other
into the distance in any direction
you look and all the way
to the ceiling in some places
and in the afternoon when
the sun is returning into
the west these skyscrapers
of shelves throw out
shadows into kitchens
of homes where women
stand at the sink
with foamy hands.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Suggested Read of the Week

I was recently commissioned to read and review self-published books by two novice authors for publicity purposes. While I'm not in charge of the publicity - the person I was commissioned by is the 'go-to' on that - I've decided to share one of the book reviews here anyway. I thoroughly enjoyed the book ...So if you're looking for something to read, check it out.

Rwanda - Who's Responsible for the Genocide? by Dr Augustine Gasarasi

Delivered with the poignant candour of a mature writer, Dr Augustine Gasarasi recounts his experience of the 1990-94 Rwandan genocide in his debut novel, Rwanda: Who’s responsible for the genocide? The memoir chronicles the Tutsi-Hutu antagonism through the eyes of a medical practitioner at the climax of the war. The account begins in South Africa during Gasarasi’s employment at the Manguzi Hospital in KwaNgwanase where he is called on by a friend to share his journey that uprooted him from his homeland in Rwanda to Kwa-Zulu Natal.

The tale takes a critical but non-judgemental look at the heavy hand of social injustice afflicted on the people Gasarasi encounters, of both Hutu and Tutsi allegiance. The expression of the authors’ disappointment in the Rwandan people as a nation is unmistakably an undercurrent throughout the book as he recalls the horrific transgressions he has witnessed.

Gasarasi begins his description of the civil war remembering that in 1990 the infiltration of a military organisation of exiled Tutsis renewed age-old division and changed the Rwandan landscape irreversibly. The early attacks from the exiled militia advancing from the north soon became full-blown civil war, progressing from a political squabble to unrestrained fighting and blood-shed in the struggle for power. As the tale unfolds and civilian brutality becomes increasingly widespread, Gasarasi’s uncertain future causes him to flee south in the hope of finding refugee status. Aggression from both sides was only fuelled as attacks from one party initiated retaliation and further violence from the other. The events which Gasarasi narrates from his journey south are unthinkable to outsiders who have never experienced life inside a confused and war-torn nation state. For Gasarasi, weeks bled into months of endless gunfire, hunger and persistent anxiety, this moving account is a solemn read that will make even the most hard done by grateful.

Even throughout his hardship, the book reveals Gasarasi as a courageous medical practitioner whose dedication to others becomes the channel through which he directs his own hope for survival. Without fear of being ostracised he helps both Tutsis and Hutus, and in every circumstance where he is able, Gasarasi gives his professional attention.

This book is an incredible depiction of survival, bravery and perseverance under extremely harrowing circumstances. The author concludes his thoughts with a request for Rwandans to extend grace to their fellow countrymen and pleads for unity despite the memory of war and anguish.

Dr Augustine Gasarasi (70) is currently retired and lives in Empangeni, South Africa, with his beloved wife, Marie-Theresa.
To purchase your own copy of Rwanda: Who is responsible for the genocide? for R130 (including postage and packaging), contact Dr Augustine Gasarasi directly at or 035 772 5272.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

One Copy of New Coin, Two Poems and Three Reasons to Read them

Recently two of the poems I wrote for my honours collection 'her city visions' were published. The literary arts journal, New Coin, published in Grahamstown choose to print 'manning road' and 'she imagines' in their December 2009 issue. These are the first of many more I hope to publish, one day, or not.

And you should read them because:

1. Well, New Coin published them so obviously at least one other person out there other than me thinks they are any good
2. I like them.
3. By reading them you can put off whatever you should be doing for just a little longer.


manning road

the white sun at 12 o’clock slows
their digging, sawing,
drilling. sirens of hadedas
behind the pawpaw tree suspend
in wonder the arms at work.

men in red overalls with rolled
sleeves up to the wrist, cup their hands
at the open tap all afternoon,
one after the other until the cement
is muddy and the day dug.

only knuckles of sweat drop
in the collapsing heat. brown fingers
over the grips of rusted wheelbarrows and
spades come back each morning
to wake the house.


she imagines

his head would fit right into the bend of her elbow
where sticky skin is a creased page and his hair
a signature marked across that catches under her nails
she would look down at his head in a cradle to
see it thinned or grey and her own fingers soft with
washing liquid and years. at the

doorway she would still be with a slipper either
side of the glass had her forehead not witnessed each nights’
kiss above the steps with his back turned to the tea-lights
lighting the city to the indian ocean and the cargo ships
of women’s limbs curling around a map he had
navigated a time before they met. but with

cool lips the forehead becomes irrational
a child too tired for bed but tired nonetheless
especially on saturday afternoons when poems don’t
write themselves and visions of an extended arm with
two elbows at different angles and with two bodies
attached is easier to hope for. young too

with still so much to learn about what happens
behind the ribcage and to the spine when a finger becomes
tarnished by gold and how white really is not
at all but a dust sheet over water-stained furniture loved
by someone else who carved it faultless. in her

mind she takes a ferris wheel up to the tipping top
held back from falling by a rusted bar and
she waits to see each ride rode out by others played
in one’s and two’s some still with cowlicks and school-shoes
others with airport luggage. she sits

blue blanket hung to her knees with no pegs or hands to
keep it from slipping to her shins where a bruised picture of
silver high-heels with straps that snap and manicured
toenails pitches the scenery for an age she has tossed around
from the time she could first blow kisses.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Write and Don't Stop

On Saturday I went to a Time of the Writer writing workshop. It was good, interesting. It made me feel completely inadequate as a writer, of course, but that is to be expected when you find yourself in a room (a very small, brown room) with important real-life authors. Not just play play writers who write in blogs and on serviettes in Indian takeaways.

When the time came for the audience participation, I felt partly lame, mostly on my right side since I'm right-handed I guess. The instruction was clear: "Write and don't stop". Oh dear, I thought. But, I got over that (thanks to the soothing white noise of some unspecified light classical music) and ten minutes later I had a little something scrawled on my page. It's hardly anything, but here it is (cringe):

Untitled Story - Part I:

The hand that she followed down the path was her own.
To her surprise it took her all the way to the apple orchard at the edge of the icy river. She had once stuck her feet in that water just to feel them go numb. On finding a tree, her hand followed the rough bark all the way up and she stood. Arm in the air, fingers stretched and with lowered eyes, she stood. Then at the moment when she jumped, bending her knees as though doing high-jump, her hand clenched. Pull. Tug. Free at last. She felt the twig snap under the weight of her body.
Immensely proud of her accomplishment, she cried out: “What a fine apple I’ve found myself,” rubbing the hard fruit against the pleated skirt of her blue and white pinafore, “what a fine apple, indeed!”
She turned toward the streaming water, bent down and lowered her precious prize into the crystal to wash off the things that were hardly desirable for little girls to eat – the ants and such that tried to lay claim to her apple!
“Hey!” something spoke from below the surface of the water, “what do you think you’re doing here, missy?”
“How dare you?” The little girl was shocked.
“I’ve seen what you did just there.”
She quickly drew her hand from the water, “show yourself!”

Friday, March 12, 2010

Short (very short) Stories.

Challenge of the Day Complete. For now, anyway.

- She slept in their bed while he hid the nude photograph behind the least read book on the shelf.

- Peeling an orange with his thumbs, he nodded in the direction of her relentless talking wishing she would just stop.

- The nine-year-old stood shaking the air in front of the mirror with his right hand, “It’s good to finally meet you, Mr President.”

- The vibrating cellphone under the cushion made her jump, “I found it, I found it! I was sitting on it. Thanks, Mary.”

- Now is the time, he thought, while fingering the ring in his pocket as the plane landed on the tarmac behind the glass.

- “I had to make the decision and now she blames me,” he raised his voice, “she holds a grudge as tight as a bloody rosary, manipulative woman!”

Challenge of the Day.

Today I have set a challenge for myself. To write some short (very short) stories of under 140 characters. I saw this on another blog I enjoy ( and thought it might be fun.

Ok, so here are some examples I found:

- When he woke up, the dinosaur was still there.

- It was cold on the bathroom floor on the day of my birth. Secret, untold, I now entered the world. Too much of my life resembles my birth.

- The wind picked up, and the balloon was away! Up in the air, grab – miss! Only cake left now.

- “You must wear underwear under your pants!”, insisted his mother. Clever at age five, and defiantly nude.

Now you get the idea, try some of your own and share them here. I'll post mine later.