Strandloper

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The sea’s green eyes watch me carefully. The waves are brutal and cold. Its dazzling limbs are like branches branching out. And I think to myself that here, I must move beyond imagining things of the past. In documentaries, somewhere deep inside of me, even the glaciers weep. Sylvia Plath called it “Ariel”. Virginia Woolf called it “the waves”. All around me, women are in clothes and the men in suits. The world distracts me. I think of the difficulties of being a young mother. How I don’t know the five languages of love.

The soul on fire belongs to the reader, and it is a very primitive landscape, a territory caught in the flux of dusk. This is a woman’s room. Thorns and roses grow there; weakness, too, into greatness. Women are the blue sky, as serious as men who have their feet on the ground. A man always lives an exciting life, because these are exciting times. The question still remains, “Dare we?” How strange is the life of a monogamous woman, her sheltered life and her protected view of the world!

Theuns, you make me love you from afar, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. And so, we come to the language of the created, the tongue of the erotic, the sovereignty of the creator, the profound mastery of cooking with layers, notes on diversification. And then, there was the appearance of neurosis, the beginnings of its psychological framework. Also, the stimulus for physical, mental and emotional health. I love him. I love Theuns. I don’t know why, but I do. I, the child that never was.

I was an invisible threat to my mother for my father’s attention. She was a cool and collected vision in the face of it all. In this age of meta and iron, this restless burning and frustrating period in civilization, in this torment of both vertigo and tenderness, love gives, love decides, love is and love does. The romantic interlude scares me to death, facing up to my sexuality, the strangeness and eroticism of men’s bodies, their virility, vigour, vitality, intelligence and education.

I’ve never been in love with anyone or known what real desire is. All these years, I’ve been rooted and grounded at the source of a grand and weeping river. God has looked on. God is everything. God sees everything. This story doesn’t have a fairy-tale ending. Dream husband, white picket fence and a family in church every Sunday. I act now as if Theuns and I were in some way connected for a rainy day; or, I thought that in another life, we were married even. Can you believe that? I loved you, Theuns.

So, put that in your pocket for a rainy day. The world comes to life around me, and I’m alright again. I find it hard to trust people now. I go for long walks. Do you still love me? Why should I even ask? I’m not tired of living yet. You are sometimes the only answer I know. The only answer to my old problems. I am reading the newspaper, swallowing vitamin supplements, and I haven’t the faintest idea of when it is going to be in. The interview with you, the dashing poet. Theuns, I’m acting for all the days of my life.

I’m just acting, like the bard said. A bit part here and a bit part there, strutting my stuff, my typical awareness for all to see. People are going to the polls today. I miss you, ex. I miss you, Theuns. I still think about you. I hope that you are loved and that you are happy in love, and no longer feel the pressure of having to be a perfectionist. I feel so cold, so, so frighteningly old, so fragile, and yet so brave, voicing the shadows around me. Dawn’s nerves are a healing muse, complicated, complex, uninvited and unseen. It is a new world for me.

The beginning for me. I won’t stand by this sabotage, this destruction and egotism. Give my hidden sadness some elbow room, personality and other poems. I am Strandloper set adrift, cast upon wave after wave, meeting peak and meeting trough. I am the one who has flown over the cuckoo’s nest. I am Lolita, marked by tragicomedy, the harsh and the cold of all of what life has to offer. I’m marked by infinite new beginnings, romanticism, a cerise-painted mouth, thin brown legs, elaborate tragedy, sacrifice and redemption, and bittersweet and exquisite survival. I am the one driven mad by my desires, this crazy need for love, approval and attention.

Now, I am a changed person, a changed woman. No longer a stranger or estranged from readying myself to take up her place in the world. At the end of the damned affair, I said, “Love me. Choose me.” I had had enough of being left, being told what to do, think, feel. I was tired of being engaged in that kind of interaction. I wanted a glowing report. At some point, all women are traitors to their sex. What is normal, what is happy, anyway? Some days are empty. Those are the days I feel the most alone, I think.

What a feeling to be loved. To kiss when you’re awake. See my letters in my red box of memories. I’ve never really felt courage. I cannot see the future now. All I can see is the junk of humanity. It is impossible to know me. You will never know me. I’ve walked the sunburnt miles, forgotten my name, forgotten his name, what my lipstick tasted of on his mouth, what “it” meant. Fingertips caught between fingers. Now, I’m on my own with nothing to hold onto. It is the same me, but I’m walking differently down my street.

You take my face in your hand; I can’t cope, so I turn away. Run away. Why isn’t love ever enough? We’re here to love, find a paradise, while the poet creates an image on impulse, stimulating images of the evolution, the philosophy, the scarlet anatomy, the egoism of man. Theuns, every writer is a teacher who has come before you. I think of you studying observation after observation quietly. The pen in your hand as a ripple of water. For you, everything meant reaching the awareness of enlightenment. For you, storytelling and poetry were your vision.

Once, I was an exquisite creature in the full bloom of youth. Now, I kind of am not so sure of myself.

Also by Abigail George

To that young woman eating watermelon

The language of bougainvillea

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