kagablog

September 16, 2010

Ek stap die ander dag in een van die stegies af

Filed under: johan van wyk,literature,politics — ABRAXAS @ 7:50 am

1.

Ek stap die ander dag in een van die stegies af en vreemde dinge gebeur: ‘n Bedelaar bedel my pine nut-koeldrank uit my hande uit. Ek weet dat bedelaars vir geld bedel. Dit is die eerste keer dat iemand oorskietkoeldrank van my af bedel. ‘n bietjie verder aan gryp ‘n swart man my hand en skud dit asof ek hom al jare ken en fluister “You want ghanja, hashishi or cocaine.” Ek is uit die veld geslaan. Is ek al so in die vrymoedigheid van die omgewing geïntegreer.

2

By die Universiteit van Durban-Westville het die tale-departemente saamgesmelt in ‘n Skool vir Tale, maar met die opdrag daar moet “programme” saamgestel word. Die staat gaan in toekoms net programme met duidelike “uitkomste” finansier. ‘n Program is blykbaar ‘n stel modules wat uiteindelik ‘n bepaalde werk vir studente verseker: so taaldosente moet inderhaas van identiteit verwissel sodat hulle vertalers, toeristegidse, uitgewers en joernaliste kan oplei. Verder word die eis gestel dat daar meer as dertig studente in die klas moet wees (in werklikheid ‘n eis dat daar meer as 400 studente in die klas moet wees).

Dit gebeur in ‘n konteks waar die mense van Suid-Afrika grootliks ongeletterd is: nie net ongeletterd in die opsig dat hulle nie die vermoë het om te lees en te skryf nie. Ook ongeletterd in die opsig dat kennis van die wêreldgeskiedenis, van die ontwikkeling van denke, van die wetenskap, die interpretasie van tekens (in film, televisie, advertensies) heeltemal afwesig is. Begripsvermoë strek sover as identifikasie met sportspanne. Dit beteken dat baie eenvoudige slagspreuke bepalend is en het die gevolg dat werklike demokrasie, ‘n tolerante bevolking en kritiese denke onmoontlik is.

Die nuwe beleid met betrekking tot universiteite gaan die gevolg hê dat hierdie ongeletterdheid drasties toeneem. Watter gesofistikeerde land sal toelaat dat die bestudering van die eie letterkunde, en die wêreldletterkunde, van die tafel gevee word? Is dit nie krimineel nie? Is ‘n bydrae tot die literatuur, meer as net ‘n bydrae tot die nasionale kultuur, nie ‘n bydrae tot die wêreldkultuur nie? Waarom onthou die wêreldgeskiedenis so goed sy kunstenaars, terwyl die name van die politici in die vergetelheid verdwyn? Waarom bestudeer Sjinese Shakespeare? Of Duitsers Wole Soyinka?

Die politiek, die sosiologie, sielkunde, antropologie werk met hoogs vereenvoudigde konsepsies van die werklikheid en met die basiese opposisie van normaal en nie-normaal. Dit omvorm die mens in ‘n eenvormige kleinburgerlike gestalte. Een van die sentrale aspekte van die kleinburgerlike bewussyn is klassifisering: d.w.s. die proses waardeur die eenmalige sy identiteit van ‘n groep verkry, waardeur die eenmalige gelykgestel word aan ‘n groep. Dit is basies verwant aan die demokratiese proses waardeur mense verteenwoordig word: die politieke party verteenwoordig die massa. Die gevolg is dat die politieke krimineel nie alleen in sy misdaad staan nie, maar dit die misdaad van die groep word, en alles wat verbind word met die groep in die teken van die smet staan. Dit veronderstel die onvermoë om genuanseerd te dink.

Om te stem is om medepligtige te wees.

Die literatuur se funksie is om die ongenuanseerde vorm van denke tee te gaan; dit maak nie handeling moontlik nie: dit kan nie ‘n bevolking tot oorlog oproep nie, want dit kom met ‘n dosis twyfel. Dit kan nie saamspeel met die sosiale wetenskappe in die beplanning van die gemeenskap nie: want dit relativeer elke posisie; dit ondergrawe en lag in essensie. Dit laat die mens hulpeloos. Dit kan nie afbreek nie, maar gryp die veelheid van aftakeling en groei aan.

‘n Renaissance is die herontdekking van die genuanseerde en komplekse (die herondekking van die antieke mites en veelgode in teenstelling tot Middeleeuse dogma): in Suid-Afrika die herontdekking van die Afrika-tale-literatuur, en ‘n verwerping van struggle-slagspreuke.

Miskien is die uitstoot van die literatuur aan die universiteite die eerste stap om literatuur en die lewe te herenig, om dit los te maak van die instelling. Universiteite dra die smet van politiek, van simplistiese magspeletjies. Die universiteit is die vyand. Laat ons weer onder ‘n boom gaan sit, of iewers grys op ‘n straathoek met die oë gerig op die veelheid van menslike ervaring.

3

Fekile is dogter van ‘n huiswerker en het ‘n baie wye verwysingsveld, want sy het die ensiklopedie in die huis waar haar ma werk woord vir woord verslind. Is dit waar dat daar ‘n verband tussen die Boesmans en die Sjinese kan wees, vra sy my. Sy het ‘n obsessie met die Boesmans as die eerste mense in Suid-Afrika. Fekile is ‘n hoer. Sy het nie juis ‘n keuse nie. Sy is soos so baie ander. Kan nie werk kry nie.

By die Apostoliese Sendingstasie, Dassenhoek, versamel die uitgeteerde lewende dooies wat by die dag vermeerder: cholera, maagkoors, vigs, waansin. ‘n Beeld van die hel. Met al die ideale en programme en bloudrukke het die ANC-regering ‘n krisis geskep, ‘n fascistiese dissipline soos hierdie land nog nooit gesien het nie. Honderde duisende mense sonder werk, en met nuwe wetgewing oppad gaan die getalle nog vermeerder. Dit is nasionalisme: die welvaart van die Staat is belangriker as die mens, die instelling moet beskerm word teen die mens. Die kleinburgerlike beeld. Gaan affirmative action oor die bemagtiging van ‘n klein klassegroep sodat miljoene vir hulle kan sterf? Die ideaal en die werklikheid. Hoeveel werksgeleenthede is al vernietig deur die beleid? Hoe lank gaan dit neem voordat die Suid-Afrikaanse bevolking in hulle massas in opstand kom? Op die oomblik raak mense nog histeries oor die ideaal en hulle verstaan nog nie mooi die verwikkeldheid van wat met hulle gebeur nie: hulle het nog nie deur die imaginêre van die politieke diskoerse gesien nie. Of is rewolusie die domein van die kleinburgery: geletterd en wrokkig?

Die verval is terselfdertyd die rykdom van die land.

Ek sê Fekile moet ‘n skrywer word. Waaroor moet sy skryf, vra sy. Begin jou boek met seks. Mense hou van seks. Sy kan nie daaroor skryf nie, sê sy, want sy het nog nooit seks met liefde ervaar nie. Dit is vir haar te afstootlik. Dit is haar werk. Presies, skryf daaroor.

Die kerk is nog ‘n anker. Die Bold and Beautiful is ongelooflik gewild en die selfoon. Ek soek ‘n gids na die hel, want iemand sterf. Maar almal waarsku my. Daar is te veel mense wat sterf, maar ek wil haar sien voordat alles verby is. Nee, jy mag nie gaan. Oor ek wit is, vra ek. ‘n Glimlag is die antwoord.

September 15, 2010

acéphale – love between the kidneys

Filed under: acéphale,art,literature — ABRAXAS @ 1:52 pm

‘n Gevoel van herkenning

Filed under: johan van wyk,literature — ABRAXAS @ 7:16 am

‘n Gevoel van herkenning ril deur my rugstring by die lees van ‘n verwysing na die klub Lusos in Maputo in ‘n ongepubliseerde manuskrip van Wopko Jensma met die titel Blood and more blood . ‘n Bundel wat blykbaar tydens sy verblyf in Mosambiek geskryf is – van die gedigte het later in sy debuutbundel Sing for our execution (1973) veskyn. Die wat nie veskyn het nie was duidelik te gewaagd vir die tyd – met verwysings na die gewapende stryd. Blykbaar is daar net 200 van Sing for our execution (1973) gepubliseer sien ek in my getekende kopie. Ek het no.29 uit die 200. Klub Lusos is seker die bekendste nagklub in Maputo. Was Luisa nie daar bestuurderes terwyl die mafia-eienaar sy orkes van uit die tronk gedirigeer het nie? Ek onthou nog die warm aande van laas Desember. Luisa en Lusos.

Ek het Blood and more blood per toeval in ‘n literêre museum ontdek. Om meer spesifiek te wees NALN. Hulle het eintlik self nie geweet hulle het dit nie. Ek het per toeval ‘n verwysing daarna gesien in ‘n argief-katalogus. Hulle het nie genoeg personeel om alles in hulle besit deeglik in hulle inventaris te kry nie. Ek besef daar, want ek het ook ‘n paar ongepubliseerde Ingrid Jonker-gedigte daar ontdek dat Suid-Afrikaanse letterkunde-studente hulle tyd mors met al die inhoudlose geteoretiseer oor die literatuur: hulle moet geforseer word om navorsing in die argiewe en museums te gaan doen – daar is so baie van ons literêre nalatenskap wat daar ontdek moet word. Ek is seker daar is nog heelwat ongepubliseerde werk van Jensma en Jonker in die verskeie argiewe, biblioteke, museums en in besit van individue.

keep reading this article here

September 14, 2010

Die telefoon lui.

Filed under: johan van wyk,literature — ABRAXAS @ 7:41 pm

Die telefoon lui. Dit is pa. Hy sê ma moet vir Pieter, my swaer, ook kos maak. Ek trek die gordyne in die sitkamer oop. Die son moet in. Dit moet die koue in my lyf en my hande verdryf. Ma soek na vleis in die yskas, hamburger patties, want Pieter kom ook.

Die haarknipper is stukkend. Sy skeer my hare met ‘n skertjie. Uiteindelik staan ek op en kyk na die agterkant van my kop deur ‘n tweede spieël op te hou.

Daar is ‘n algehele gevoel van verlatenheid, ‘n seer in die keel. My lewe het ‘n punt bereik waar ek nie meer kan vorentoe of agtertoe nie. Net die dood, maar ek is te bang vir geweld: die bloed wanneer die pols gesny word, die uitmekaarruk van die lyf wanneer dit die grond tref, die maagpyn na gif, koue seewater.

“Maar wat is erger as die alleenheid in jou woonstel,” vra ek aan myself. Hoe het ek hier gekom? Die lyf wil nie beweeg nie. In Durban wag hulle vir my om leiding te gee in die toemaak van my skool: die Skool van Tale. Hoe kan ek? Die dekaan het byna hulpeloos gebel. Hy soek na statistiek en getalle, oorsig van lesingladings. Ek kan vir hom niks gee nie. Sedert die aar gebars het, is inligting nie sommer beskikbaar in my kop nie.

Ek het in die hospitaal na myself gekyk en verbaas gedink dat ek eintlik anderkant die dood lewe.

Mumbling thoughts of an Evil Man

Filed under: johan van wyk,literature,philosophy — ABRAXAS @ 12:46 pm

“If an old man has something to learn, it is the art of dying.” Rousseau Reveries of the solitary walker

“Truth is an homage that the good man pays to his own dignity” Rousseau Reveries of the solitary walker

“To decorate truth with fables is in fact to disfigure it.” Rousseau Reveries of the solitary walker

“The worst of it, though, is that you are at fault through no fault of your own, just, so to speak, by natural law.” Dostoevsky Notes from Underground

“I want to test whether it’s possible to be entirely frank at least with oneself and dare to face the whole truth.” Dostoevsky Notes from Underground

“hence, this is no longer literature, but corrective punishment.” Dostoevsky Notes from Underground

a future jesus christ

Filed under: johan van wyk,literature — ABRAXAS @ 11:58 am

I used to be a Christian obsessed with the idea of the universality of man. I still believe in the universality of man, or I’m not sure anymore what I believe in, and this confusion makes me evil.

I’m evil because I doubt.

I’m like Hamlet. To be or not to be, to believe or not to believe.

Last night I kissed the pregnant navel of a beautiful Mauritian woman from mixed descent. I loved the thing inside of her although it still has no identity, no nativity and I’m not the father of it.

It belongs to the body of the mother. She can hardly provide for its future existence.

A future Jesus Christ perhaps.

And my tongue in her cunt talked future dreams to it.

Love and more wriggling love. She so desperately needed money for the hospital. She lied to me. I gave her two hundred Rand. She looked at me with anger in her eyes.

“You want more?” I asked.

johan van wyk as jesus christ

Filed under: johan van wyk,literature — ABRAXAS @ 11:32 am

About twenty years ago I was a pacifist and I refused to do my military service. A patronising officer came to arrest a meek and slovenly artist in a caravan studio. I must have looked like Charles Manson. Torn jeans, a t-shirt with paint patches, an unkempt beard, my ribs visible, eyes burning and oily hair coming down to my shoulders. A Jesus Christ.

I was brought up with the image of that traitor, Jesus Christ, that text that nobody believed in except me. Infantile omnipotence.

So they took me to the detention barracks. In a state car, and the officer stopped along the way at some family and friends. At the detention barracks I had to wait with others for hours in a reception room. I stood there hypnotised. I still remember the one rose tree in the courtyard of the detention barracks. It was in bloom with orange flowers and the sun was setting with a pink glow.

In that dusk I broke down. I was undressing with small change in my pockets. I went berserk naked. I heard waves in my ears and cried as I was abandoned in love. I saw flashes of Vanda on a beach with her new boyfriend.

A hypnotic mood prevailed.

Somehow an occult universe was still a reality and Hasan, the Indian who trained me in the art of self-hypnotism in a caravan park in Swaziland, made me believe in my own super-human mental powers.

QUANTUM MECHANICS + DEAD CAT = BIG THRILL

Filed under: ian martin,literature — ABRAXAS @ 11:23 am

From The Life of Henry Fuckit, 1950-2015
by Ian Martin

The trapdoor was raised and Ivan Schroder led the way down the granite steps into the darkness. He had gathered up the tail of his academic gown so as not to trip and fall headlong. Henry followed, curios but also somewhat apprehensive. It didn’t bother him that this man might have lost hold of reality – the more unusual the situation the better he liked it – rather, he worried that he might be drawn into something which required commitment, reliability and, worst of all, consistent application. Well, there was absolutely no way he was prepared to put up with such expectations or demands. He had made this quite plain to both Bergson and Schroder.

After some fifteen steps there was a short landing and another flight continued at right angles to the first. He realised they were descending in a corner, hugging one wall and then another. As he neared the bottom the trapdoor thudded shut above him. In the gloom he stumbled into Schroder who was waiting to guide him across the floor of what appeared to be a great cavernous vault. High above him he could just make out the ribs and arches of the ceiling, and somewhere ahead there was a feeble yellow glow. The air was cold and damp and smelt of brine and something else which he couldn’t place. He heard the suck and gurgle of water close by.

“Watch your step here, Mr Fuckit. Don’t want to go falling in. Break a leg at low tide. And the ramp’s thick with green slime – impossibly slippery.”

He was grasping Henry’s elbow and shepherding him towards the light. There was a sudden movement in the shadows and a dark shape darted away. Another one. And another.

“Rats! Fuckin’ big rats!” exclaimed Henry, and laughed in fright.

“Cats. Not rats, cats,” Schroder corrected him.

They passed under an electric light and then, ten paces further on, came to a door set in brickwork. They had crossed diagonally beneath the floor of the Carpenter Shop. As Schroder inserted a key Henry felt a cat brushing up against his leg and he let out a shout and kicked wildly.

“Hey, voertsek! Voertsek! Bloody thing.” Now he knew what that other smell was. The sharp sour stink of cats. Schroder had opened the door and operated a light switch. A fluorescent tube flashed, flickered and then lit the interior with steady white incandescence. It was a large rectangular room. At one end was a desk and chair, filing cabinet, bookshelves. The office. And a comfortable-looking easy chair. The other end was the laboratory. A sink with running water flanked by a fridge and a chest freezer. A long work surface against one wall. Various items of electronic equipment, and above them a cabinet emblazoned with black skull and crossbones. DANGER/GEVAAR POISON/GIF offered an unambiguous warning to the literate. There was also a strong brass padlock for the illiterate. Above the sink were two clocks side by side. They showed different times and Henry noted with surprise that the second hand of one of them was moving anti-clockwise. Forming an island in the middle of the floor and dominating that end of the room was a low stand upon which rested a grey box. About a metre by a metre by a metre in dimension, its sliding lid was drawn to one side. Cables led to the electronic devices.

Henry wondered over to the box and tapped its side.

“Lead?” He looked in. Beneath the outer lid there was a glass screen. He recoiled, startled by what he saw. “Shit man, there’s a cat in here! Dead!”

“Ah, yes. That was Growltiger.” He joined Henry at the open container. “The luckiest cat I’ve ever had. Couldn’t last forever though…” There was a catch in his voice and he took out a handkerchief and blew his nose noisily. Henry moved to the other side of the casket.

“How did it die?” he asked in a mock-hushed voice. “The cause of death – not too violent I hope.”

“No, no. Cyanide. Can’t you smell it? No, quick as a flash. It’s quite uncanny, you know; this is the twenty-seventh time I’ve used him and he went at twenty-seven past nine yesterday morning.”

“Pity yesterday wasn’t the twenty-seventh. But what’s a dead cat doing in a lead box anyway? I mean, is it lying in state, or something? Are you paying your last respects?”

“The deceased animals are normally disposed of immediately, but unfortunately Lobengula’s been off sick the past few days.”

Henry raised his eyebrows. “Lobengula?”

“My factotum down here. An invaluable black gentleman. Does just about everything – cleaner, teaboy, veterinary aide, mortician, laboratory assistant, timekeeper. Hope he recovers.”

“What’s wrong with the bugger? Physical exhaustion?” Henry knew well the importance of such minions.

“Could be cyanide poisoning or radiation sickness. I keep telling him to take more care when disposing of the carcasses.” Schroder pushed the sliding lid shut and then walked over to his desk. “Come and make yourself comfortable and I’ll begin to fill in the background to my research work. You’ll find that chair to your liking, I’m sure.”

For an ergophobic person like Henry, who preferred to spend much of the working day reading and in contemplation, this was an ergonomically efficient chair indeed. Not too soft, not too firm, it was pleasantly recumbent yet provided lumbar support just where it was needed. A fine chair.

“So you’re going to explain to me,” he said, after taking a nip of Old Brown Brandy from his water bottle, “how you intend explaining the inexplicable.”

Schroder sat with his elbows on the arms of his chair and rested the extended fingertips of one hand against those of the other, forming a kind of digital pyramid. Big hands, long fingers. Henry glanced at the man’s shoes beneath the desk. Big feet too. He wondered if there were any reliable statistics to support the ‘big hands-big feet-big dick’ theory. Made sense, if all the extremities were in proportion. He looked at his own hands and his sandalled feet. The train of thought caused an involuntary thrill to course through his body from head to toe and, before he could prevent himself, he was back in the storeroom with its pantry smells, and the slow in-out was too delicious to bear. Then shame and guilt jumped to his rescue and the memory was chased into a dark recess. Schroder was already explaining.

“…and so I thought I would start by giving you an introduction to quantum theory, assuming you know next to nothing about the subject.”

Henry sat back and listened without interrupting. The dissertation was well reasoned and clear, without too much technical jargon and certainly without the employment of mathematical equations. The man had a good grasp of the subject and Henry began to feel he was in safe hands. He was about to be introduced to something completely novel, something exiting, he hoped.

After nearly an hour the lucid and well measured exposition drew to a close.

“Alright, so what you’re saying is this.” And Henry began a recapitulation of Schroder’s version of quantum theory. “Quantum mechanics is useful in successfully describing and predicting the behaviour of subatomic particles. And by ‘subatomic particles’ we mean particles which purport to be the subordinate ingredients which go to make up the atom. But, because an entity such as an electron might sometimes behave like a wave, and at other times like a particle, depending on the experimental conditions and the day of the week, we find ourselves filled with a dreadful feeling of uncertainty, wondering what the fuck an electron really is. To avoid this horrible uncertainty, you say, we should refrain from looking for any kind of underlying reality or ultimate explanation. Instead, you insist, we must accept the only reality which is available – the result obtained by making an observation. Different types of observation will produce different types of result. Evidence from different observations may not be amenable to being presented in a single model and therefore different pieces of evidence can give rise to complementary conclusions. Now, if we accept what you’re asserting, we find ourselves facing an alarming consequence: our knowledge of the universe can never be absolute. It always depends on probabilities.” Henry paused. “Is this an accurate summary of what you’ve just been telling me? Do you think I’ve got the gist of it, Professor?”

Ivan Schroder was impressed. He could hardly put it more succinctly himself. This fellow’s rough exterior was remarkably deceptive. Bergson had promised him hidden gold and now he was beginning to think it might well exist.

“It’s most gratifying to encounter a nimble mind.” He felt there could be no harm in some honest flattery; Henry didn’t look the type to place any store in the opinions of others, be they admiring or scornful. “Most people wouldn’t have the faintest notion of what it means, let alone see the far reaching implications, when we declare that our universe can never be absolute.” He leaned forward, looked Henry in the eye and spoke with fierce conviction. “Science is no better than superstition or magic. And not much better than religion.”

“Ah, a man after my own heart. You know, I’ve just re-read ‘The Origin of Species’, and I’ve found it about as persuasive as the book of Genesis. Just another crackpot theory. Just another pathetically desperate attempt to impose order on chaos. Why can’t we accept the obvious: we don’t know who we are, where we come from, or where we’re going. All is obscure.” And so saying, he uncorked his waterbottle and took a hefty swig.

Schroder rose, paced up and down a few times, took a peek at the dead cat, closed the lid, and came and sat down again. He’s marshalling his thoughts, Henry told himself. Probably going to unload one helluva profound piece of wisdom. Wonder where I fit into all of this? Hmmm, is that faint, noisome odour my feet, my groin, or decomposing cat?

“You must be wondering and wondering what’s the connection between cats and quantum theory, and how you fit into all of this. Well, I’m going to tell you.”

“Very good of you. Most considerate. Please proceed, I’m all agog, as one of my uncles used to say. The Latin scholar, poet and mystic; would have found this most interesting, being a cat-fancier himself; used to recite from Possum’s Book of Practical Pussies. A bit trivial if you ask me. But I’m digressing and preventing you from leading me from darkness into light. Please go ahead.”

“This started out as a rather frivolous exercise when Harry Bergson and I realised there was a fundamental philosophical problem in quantum measurement. We began with the premise that an elementary particle does not exist in particle form, as opposed to wave form, until it has been observed. Prior to being observed it has a potential existence which we described by means of an ingenious mathematical equation. This potential for existence we called the wavefunction, which gives the probability of finding the particle at a particular point in space at a particular moment in time. Only when the observation is actually made do the properties of the entity become known and the entity can be said to exist. Upon observation the wavefunction collapses into nothing, the wave is gone and we have a particle. But, and here we encounter a truly monumental BUT, at what instant does the wavefunction collapse? At what split second does it occur?”

“Shite man, that’s a difficult one. I’m beginning to get an inkling of the problem.” Henry was nodding his head thoughtfully. “How does one go about pinpointing that teeny-weeny moment in eternity?”

Schroder was happy to describe the brilliant way he had tackled the problem.

“I tried to keep everything as simple as possible. This is basically all there is to it,” and he gestured to the other end of the room. “A box, a piece of radioactive material, a Geiger counter, and a cat. Oh, and a vial of cyanide. Now, according to quantum theory, nobody can predict exactly when a radioactive material will emit a particle. However, it is known how many particles will be emitted, on average, over a specific period of time. The Geiger counter is connected to a device which breaks the vial of cyanide if a particle is detected, and this kills the cat. Do you follow?”

“Yes, I get the picture. Just as an aside, though, is the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals aware of these experiments?” Henry knew the answer but wanted to gauge the man by his response.

“No, of course they’re not aware. I’m sure they’d have me in court in no time at all if they did get to hear of what I’m up to.” He appeared quite unafraid of the SPCA and showed no signs of conscience grappling. “No. But remember, death is instantaneous and painless. And on top of it I give them a fifty-fifty chance of surviving each time they go into the box. The experiment is run for a period that gives the cat a fifty percent chance against the statistical average relating to particle emission.”

Henry was beginning to look puzzled. “Now hold it right there, Mr Schroder.” He got to his feet, did two squats, then three toe-touches, to loosen up after his stint in the comfortable chair, flexed his biceps, tucked in his shirt and surreptitiously adjusted himself, and then sat down again. “What I fail to see is the necessity for cyanide and a cat. Surely just the Geiger counter would suffice in detecting particle emission?”

“Not so fast. I’m just at the point where that kind of question will become redundant. I was about to put a question to you which will enable you to penetrate the logic of this whole exercise.”

He pulled in his chair and leaned forward towards Henry, his face serious, his eyes intense. Henry assumed an attentive air, appropriate for the occasion.

“Let us assume, Mr Fuckit, that the radioactive material has emitted a particle and the cyanide has been released. We open up the box and look in. The unfortunate feline is dead. Right?”

“Right. Stone dead.”

“Now. WHEN DID IT DIE?” He said it slowly and in capital letters.

“When? Well… Jesus, is this a trick question or something? When the radioactive source caused the cyanide to be released – that’s when the fucking thing died.”

“Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong.” Schroder sat back, a triumphant tone in his voice, a smug look replacing the grave one on his face.

“Wrong? Wrong? What do you mean WRONG?” Henry was irritated.

“You see, the cat, the cyanide, the Geiger counter and the radioactive source are all part of the same system. This system has its own wavefunction which collapses only when the observation is made. Only when we look into the box are we able to say with conviction, Now the cat is dead. Before that moment it was only a probability.”

“Fuck me.” Henry sat shaking his head in disbelief. “So this is where we are in our quest for knowledge. This is at the forefront of scientific endeavour.” For several moments he sat staring at the Chief Verification Officer before asking, “So what do you want me to do?”

“Mr Fuckit, it will be your task, your privilege, to observe me making the observation.”

Despair settled slowly upon Henry and his shoulders slumped. He lay back in the comfortable chair, poured the rest of his Old Brown Brandy down his throat, and half listened to Schroder’s enthusiastic drivel. He nodded his head occasionally but his eyes were dull and listless.

To be wiped out by a collapsing wavefunction was so intensely exhilarating it could not fail to engender instant addiction. This was what Schroder was communicating. A simple experiment to investigate a scientifico-philosophical problem had led to a startling discovery. Collapsing wavefunctions could be experienced as a powerful but largely indescribable sensation. On opening the box and observing the dead cat some kind of energy flow took place. This energy flow produced an intense feeling of euphoria and a conviction that THIS was the missing key. THIS would lead to a higher level of understanding and awareness. And to further enhance the flow of energy Schroder intended to extend the system: having himself observed whilst making his observation would increase the force with which the wavefunction collapsed. Henry would be helping to explore a new realm, hitherto uncharted by the human mind or spirit. Hoorah! Hoorah! Schroder’s face shone with excitement and his large teeth gleamed and flashed with pioneering whiteness. But Henry was breaking up.

Ian Martin’s controversial novel Pop-splat is now available from http://www.pop-splat.co.za.

September 13, 2010

a fresh cunt and evil

Filed under: johan van wyk,literature — ABRAXAS @ 10:18 pm

How much I at this very moment need to spurt my sweet sperm into the darkness of a receptive body: The fresh cunt of the prostitute from Mauritius. Her blond hair is her own. Yes, Sir. I touched it with my own fingers like Thomas the unbeliever. Did I touch this silk to enjoy the feeling of touching?

I could give her some consuming love, some soft love. Are all men the same I asked? This love is destructive. Love is a thought?

I think I’ve learnt from my incarceration that I did not know anymore what the difference between good and evil is. I did not know whether it was inside or outside of me.

I can recognise evil immediately: It is the drive to persecute. But who does not derive pleasure from persecution? Maybe the evil is in the fact that the people who persecute do not know their own selves as evil. Beware you moralists, prone to persecution; it is the devil possessing you.

on evil

Filed under: johan van wyk,literature,philosophy — ABRAXAS @ 8:25 pm

Are these memories worth conserving? What evil motivates them? What will the moment of my dying be like? A painful closing of the eyes. A burial into reality. Let me go down into the streets among the thugs, those children of God: some in rags and others dressed to kill, because cutting another human being up is the ultimate pleasure. Cutting up the pretensions of others by slitting their bodies, consuming them by consuming their possessions. I always thought that property starts with the body: Maybe the only thing we really own and know, although we are betrayed by it. God was a very cruel inventor. Sweetness is only in death. I’m evil by definition: being a man, being an Afrikaner. The descendent of those frontier people who could kill without thinking too much about it, because the deed needed not to be justified by words or thoughts. Just bury the corpse.

So in this paradise evil began. By my people roaming with guns through paradise clearing it for civilisation and reason (without reasoning). Who else could take up the responsibility of the executioners of history? The orphans of Europe. So let us not stop to think. It is so temping. Pull down your pants and show your arse to the world. They, think they have the answer. But when will they start to look into themselves, into those terrible reflections of the persecutory drive. Reason roams with its gun and words lying waste the earth. Am I getting sentimental about deserts of humanity? Oh God, am I writing the new revelation, the apocalypse? Lets drink Lewis, and stumble through the world to our death. Let us be comforted by the toothless bodies of women. I owe you, I know. Evil is not to have feelings anymore. Read the despair in my eyes. My head is ready to be kicked in, my skull to be cracked by the boots of the new order.

So we all came to a conference: to a revelation of some sort. To decide on evil. To persecute evil. To be evil in our need to persecute evil. Put it in prisons. Force reparations. Undress the culprits. The state president has a small shy penis. That is why he goes on an alcoholic binge every now and again. Shame. He is just you and me with power that we gave to him because the word state president has to be em-bodied. What will our world be without a state president, without prisons, without a parliament, without tax? Lets start persecuting ourselves because that is where inevitably it will end. The hunger of the cannibal will be directed to the own body until only the thoughts remain, unread, dead. Going to the border, the unreal realm with its mythological monster peering from the darkness. Did I deny myself the ultimate experience? Did I betray myself? I earned the label evil by not participating in the festival of evil. The murderer is raging inside of me.

pay day

Filed under: johan van wyk,literature — ABRAXAS @ 7:35 pm

There is real compassion in me. That is what makes me evil. Her foot is sticking from underneath the blankets and a part of her left leg as she sleeps stretched out into the late morning. I slept on the couch with a real feeling of being done in. Words and anger have left me. I’m overcome by real impotence and a feeling for sleep without end. She is waiting for pay day. She is waiting to run away with a chunk of my salary. That is what she lives for.

on playing god

Filed under: johan van wyk,literature,philosophy — ABRAXAS @ 7:15 pm

The old sage explains about the simplicity of his worldview – that consciousness disable action, make it impossible to act. Consciousness is the foundation of doubt. Yes I understand that perfectly. I can never play at being God – at judging. They want me to put a stamp of approval on a persecution campaign – to walk arm in arm with the bishops in front of the bussed-in people down to the international conference centre where all the dictators gathered around meals of caviar and champagne to talk about racism.

September 12, 2010

Why am I lucky?

Filed under: johan van wyk,literature,philosophy — ABRAXAS @ 7:06 pm

Every mental move of man, every moral idea is an assault on nature, an attempt by the ego to assert itself in the struggle against death and decay. Calmness will come to me at night with the sound of the flute player coming down the street to come and sleep in some dark corner.

on acting good

Filed under: johan van wyk,literature — ABRAXAS @ 10:12 am

My mother once asked me, not expecting an answer, “How can a good man like you be so cruel to your wife and children?” I suppose there are two questions here. The one about my ability to be cruel, but also one about my “goodness”. Where did this “goodness” come from? How did I adopt this mask to always act against my self and my own will, but then again always to act in my own interest? Dostoevsky make this point somewhere that behaviour is actually acting, I suppose this is such a deep rooted truth that we are no longer aware that our expressions and responses to others are “acting.” To become aware of this “acting” is to become aware of the literary quality of life. We are living books and pretences. So where did my “good” come from. Sunday school classes? But we only went to Sunday school at quite a late stage, much later than other children, and I always hated it. Fear of punishment? I don’t think so. I have never feared punishment and often acted in a way inviting punishment. Out of fear for shame? Yes, but what is shame? Out of empathy with others? Yes, but why did others have such a hold over my soul when I feared and despised them, and always tried to evade them. Why can I not characterize, imagine the motives of others?

the other arsehole becomes a shit

Filed under: johan van wyk,literature — ABRAXAS @ 6:25 am

This other arsehole wants to do a yacht trip of the world, but he is too normal to embark on his dreams – what about his daughters and his wife? And this guy from the Caribbean has a problem because his sister undressed in front of him and evoking unnatural desires in him with her animal presence. And the psychiatrist gives me a lift back with his Englishman friend turned Muslim in sandals and dress. They are probably piping each other in the arse. The psychiatrist is doing the sessions for himself, learning about human behaviour, we are his laboratory. I really want to become a shit, how far can I go on with this, insisting on my happiness before conversion is needed, returning to the womb of delusions?

black river beads for biko

Filed under: literature,malika ndlovu,poetry,politics — ABRAXAS @ 6:00 am

***Black Bead***

Biko was detained and interrogated four times between August 1975 and September 1977 under Apartheid era anti-terrorism legislation. On 21 August 1977 Biko was detained by the Eastern Cape security police and held in Port Elizabeth. From the Walmer police cells he was taken for interrogation at the security police headquarters. On 7 September “Biko sustained a head injury during interrogation, after which he acted strangely and was uncooperative. The doctors who examined him (naked, lying on a mat and manacled to a metal grille) initially disregarded overt signs of neurological injury.” By 11 September Biko had slipped into a continual, semi-conscious state and the police physician recommended a transfer to hospital. Biko was, however, transported 1,200 km to Pretoria – a 12-hour journey which he made lying naked in the back of a Land Rover. A few hours later, on 12 September, alone and still naked, lying on the floor of a cell in the Pretoria Central Prison, Biko died from brain damage.

***White Bead***

In 1977, I was 6 years old. Born in Durban into a family tree that drew together Zulu, Xhosa, Scottish, British, German and St Helenan (which means many untraceable Slave roots) ancestry… which nobody ever spoke about. Not in the streets, not in the Church, not at school, not at family gatherings not in my home. I was healthy, even talented and loved, but my eyes and ears were closed. I had not yet been shown or told the truth, the horror of our story…our gruesome history unfolding. I have read the lines above several times before over the years. They never fail to shake my core.

***Red Bead***

In the mid 80s, I was in high school, one of the quota of brown girls accepted at a Catholic Convent school which was one of the few opening its doors to children of colour. No-one around me in the places I grew up called themselves Black. My Indian friends didn’t either. One day I came home to find my mother sobbing , a mix of sorrow and rage. Someone had died and was now being remembered amidst the height of political violence in our country. I did not know his name until that day. My mother introduced me to my uncle, my brother, my beacon on the path of awakening to the bigger picture of the place I was born, the place that had already for many years been shaping…and in many ways suffocating my consciousness. My mother told me his name and his story : Steve Biko. In 1986 I was 15 years old and she took me to see Steve Biko: The Inquest by Durban playwright Saira Essa. By now I had inherited my mother’s sorrow and her rage.

***Blue Bead***

The upside of being the brown quota in an 80’s private school multi-racial experiment, was that I got to compete academically and share well-equipped facilities and the nurturing by passionate, highly qualified teachers, share a classroom with peers…who were White. The upside was not the material resources available to me that had not been there in my Coloured township school, neither was it their Whiteness, but the equal opportunities we were given, the unbiased support for and affirmation of my capabilities. I was seen, for who I was…who I was becoming. At this critical adolescent intersection, this enabling and inspiring learning environment and the healing water of personal encounters with people I was deeply prejudiced about, tempered the fire that was both my mother’s and mine.

***Yellow Bead***

In 1996, I was 3 years out of theatre school and got my first commission, to write a play about Coloured identity. An issue and a term I balked at from the time my eyes and ears were opened to where this notion, this classification originated from. Inextricably entwined with this rejection of the subjects connection to my life, to me personally, was the obvious reality of the ‘so-called’ community that I was born into and its very specific historical, cultural and geographical elements, that had profoundly influenced who I had become, my sense of belonging and the lack thereof. To add to this deep ambivalence I felt a familiar feeling of suffocation whenever I returned to those impoverished – literally and figuratively – places of my childhood, where with each return, it seemed nothing had changed. If there was change it was only an increase in political apathy, levels of domestic and community-based violence, fixation with material success and growing dependence on anaesthetics: drugs, alcohol, nightclubbing and vandalism. I exorcised many if these shadows for myself and to some degree for others, in the process of birthing the play A Coloured Place, my first published and most well-known play which was staged around South Africa in different incarnations for 10 years. In 2006 I was invited back to Durban, to direct the play again for the 10th Anniversary of The South African Women’s Arts Festival at the Natal Playhouse.

***Orange Bead***

In April 2010, I was asked to direct extracts of this play by the African-American publisher if the work (twice over) Prof. Kathy Perkins based at the University of Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, as part of an African Diaspora Festival which hosted 9 African women writers in the USA. http://theatre.illinois.edu/pages/african-diaspora-festival. Always eager to travel, let alone share my creative offerings with the world, I reaped many fruits from this journey and yet I carried with me, going and returning, a persistent thread of sadness. How was it that my play still held such resonance for African American audiences whose ‘liberation’ had come so many decades before ours? How was it that in South Africa still, young gifted artists of colour, find my play and express such great relief that they have found a text which relates to their experiences, reflects characters and social contexts that they recognise as home…in the full spectrum of what that entails…the good the bad and the ugly. How…16 years after our so-called ‘liberation’? This play embodies the seeds of so many (hi)stories I have prayed will become just that…historical. No longer the truth of our present day realities. No longer the internalised racism, self-loathing or ignorance that perpetuates stereotypes of who we are and what we have to offer our societies. The simple , sad and logical conclusion is we are far from liberated. And sadder than that is, we are far from healed. And what we do to others is what we do to ourselves. What we practice by our lives, is what we teach our children, about themselves , about our world, about being human.

***Black Bead***

On Friday 15th August 2008 (a year that marked the beginning of a two-year long season of heightened xenophobic violence across South Africa) at around 7am, a Zimbabwean man in his early thirties, Adrian Nguni was found hanging from a tree along the Black River in Observatory, Cape Town. Policemen cordoned off the site with yellow tape and one hour later were still standing beneath the body, visible to all in peak traffic on the busy street parallel to the river. A few days before an unidentified body was found floating in the same river. This poem tells the story, like first Black Bead above, in lines and images that still shake my core.

Black river followed me home

Between breaths, thoughts, sleep

Deep cut image of a silent brother

Hanging from a tree

Three children in my back seat

So I sob quietly and drive by

Drive

Bye bye

Newspaper tells Black river stories

Two bodies, one week in August

Alone

One floating unknown

The other with a detailed note in his backpack

Telling them whom to send his body to

Back home

Somewhere in Zimbabwe

Take him

Home

Black rivers all over this country

All over the world I’m sure

Weeping, wailing just like me

In ways seldom heard

Hard to see

Unless you know

Listening

What it really means

Listening to him,

To her

Listening

To me

Black river sings

Black river brings me

Sweet blood offerings

Till I can’t breathe

Like a child

Almost forty

Yet still can’t believe

Can’t be

Can’t leave

Be

Leave

***Green Bead***

On 9th September 2010 the one-and-only Prof. Alice Walker came to Cape Town, where I have lived and birthed my family and my still young career as a writer-poet-arts activist. Cape Town, my home since 1997. She came to deliver the annual Steve Biko Memorial lecture, hosted by the Steve Biko Foundation in partnership with the University of Cape Town. http://www.uct.ac.za/news/multimedia/sound/ Reflecting on deeply disturbing headlines and truths exposed in South African newspapers in recent years, she raised two basic yet deeply significant questions: Was this what Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for? Was this what Steve Biko was murdered by torture for? In a room packed to capacity with the most exquisite diversity of predominantly South Africans, with a giant image of brother Steve Biko illuminated on the stage, she also quoted him directly : ‘Once your consciousness changes, so does your existence.’

Tonight, 11th September…another memorial day of rage and sorrows, I have sat for two solid hours threading these words, these beads spontaneously together, for my own heaving, always re-membering heart, for my mother who remains my greatest teacher on the right to rage, for brother Adrian Nguni, for the girl –children of the 70’s with eyes and ears initially closed to the politics of their birthplaces, their families but also their bodies in the world and especially tonight…for the immortal spirit and living-inside-us mentor to many millions, Steve Biko on the eve of the anniversary of his passing…so that his life’s teachings would live on. I offer these beads to you. Add your own colours, thread your own story, revisit your unique her-and-hi-story. I believe there is healing in the telling and the going within, the listening. Perhaps these are paths that somehow can lead to our collective liberation and returning to our home, our humanity.

September 11, 2010

Pills to suppress the virus

Filed under: johan van wyk,literature — ABRAXAS @ 11:42 pm

At the corner of the drug dealers I suddenly and unconsciously grab the hand of a street kid aiming at my pocket and I look into his confused and pleading eyes. “Imani” he says. “I have nothing” I say. I loose his hand. He grabs my shirt and doesn’t want to let go. I have to be aware of his friend behind my back and move into the traffic trying to shirk off his hold on me. I hear the laughter of his friends as I’m nearly knocked over by cars. My eyes straight into his stupefied eyes, evil weighing evil, cowardice. I escape like an injured dove from an aiming foot into the traffic, into my own guilt haunting me through the streets. Why did I not give him the fist? He would respect power. Why did I not give him the money? Was he looking for love, or laughing at the moral weakness of those who have and don’t understand the logic of survival? What is the link between love and giving and receiving?

bad angel

Filed under: johan van wyk,literature — ABRAXAS @ 6:09 pm

Coming down the lift. Her child cries, as she has to go to work.

“Can I get a lift to the Elangeni?” she asks me.

“What will the people say?” I ask.

“What people?”

Her cell phone rings as the lift door opens. It is her Father. I hear something about gangrene and HIV. In the car she swears under her breath “Bastard”.

“It was my daddy.”

“Why did you call him bastard”

“You know it is the first time in six years that he spoke to me. He wants to see me tomorrow. Don’t be surprised if I kill myself tomorrow.”

“Why?”

“I found out that he hanged my mother when I was one year old. He hated the fact that I was born…Can you feel what I feel?”

Quiet.

“Can you feel what I feel.”

“If I allow myself to feel for what South Africans are going through at the moment then I won’t survive a minute. This country is fucked up.”

“He never wanted me.”

When she gets out of the car she calls me an angel. I correct her “A bad angel.”

The apocalypse frees.

Filed under: johan van wyk,literature — ABRAXAS @ 5:30 pm

A Jesus Christ is necessary. Or maybe just someone who can say no.

Jesus and his hobos. Jesus the original hobo. Strange capitalism took as its religion the outpourings of hobos. The bible that corrupting book. It corrupted a lot of us. We were forced to know it by heart as children. It’s full of miracles yes, but there are more miracles today: electricity and aeroplanes

White women’s cunts are cannibals. They castrate with their mouths and minds.

September 10, 2010

Masks

Filed under: johan van wyk,literature — ABRAXAS @ 8:45 pm

Dialogue: on that day my spirit left my body and I went with these two to my mother and my sister. I cannot remember why. I was unconscious. Tra bih Gogh told me a few weeks later. He was here. He slept on the couch. The next day Graham took me to the hospital in his station wagon. I cannot remember changing into pyjamas at the hospital. I remember first being in one ward and then being moved to another. I do not remember much of the first ward. It disappeared in the pulp of my head. Different people tell me different things. Like Tengani and Jabulani visited me and I told them about being in a veldt of flowers. I cannot remember them visiting me. I looked at my hand when I regained consciousness, when I regained myself, and it felt utterly strange. I felt utterly strange to myself, as if I was no longer real. I have forgotten so much, so many people’s names, the memories poured out of the burst vein.

One day my mother and my father was there for me. The old one’s. They came for me. I was so moved. How many decades of cropped up things to say. But they just wanted me to be normal again, when I was still half in the shady world.

September 9, 2010

I cannot capture darkness, hell is evading my camera.

Filed under: johan van wyk,literature — ABRAXAS @ 10:22 am

I have seen hell, lying down quiet, not registering, or saying stupid things, not remembering what I mumbled to the friendly visitors. I have lost a few precious things since they took me in; one is Zaza’s book. Someone took it from my room while I lay there with a collapsed brain not recognising the many visitors; the other is my new watch from Germany. I feel so naked now without time on the arm. They took me to hospital after much feeble protestation, in my head a vein burst and I did not know, I only repeated hardly audible things like “How are you?” again and again as if I’m asking myself how I am. On my clock I thought I still had about five years to go, son why does God want to take me now. It’s a bit early, or dead old age for a writer. Jabulani and Tengani came to see me during these dark days. My head lying on a cushion and taking them to beautiful corn fields sown by my head. My god is this English or an imbecile writing. Lying there for many days looking at a clock on the wall seeing new patients coming in and going and getting close to the nurses everyday fixing the furniture around you, drawing curtains around you. How come I came to eat again? I’m just eating little bits these days. Sometimes it is just a nauseous apple. The beautiful quiet piano music flowing from the radio and I must go and take a bath. Do I remember the bath in the hospital? I imagine it is all marble. It is very long. I can lie flat in it with my whole body – my vulnerable body. Remember when I saw it after it was shaved. The thin strip of hair above my balls. My thin body – a stomach that is disappearing. Sorry readers I can only recollect little bits.

In the evening he slowly sat down on his bed, while going down he unbuttoned his shirt and in a daze the elephant and the buck masks came and through thin air and they took him to his mother and sister in another world. When they returned from the other world he was like a child and needed help to walk. His pants lay on the floor. It is now so many weeks since he returned. He drinks at least eight pills every day – four in the morning, two in the afternoon and two at night. Life is only possible with the medication..

What is this thing that took hold of me making me forget the joys of life. What is this thing? How do I get rid of it? How do I get out of this living hell? Will sleep help? Another buzz? A friend? But I do not have any more friends.

This morning he went down to start his car. It did not want to move. Tears came to his eyes. He just sat there in the car feeling miserable. Now another day I’m sitting in front of my computer with my head in my arms. Everything is so absolutely miserable. This flat is empty of life, everything has the touch of death. Looking with the eyes of death, eyes which are not touched by anything. It cannot get involved. He cannot remember anything of his day, of the meetings at university, the babbling of people

September 8, 2010

Poging tot Moord

Filed under: johan van wyk,literature — ABRAXAS @ 4:01 pm

Die 25 ste Oktober, 2002, is daar ‘n aantekening in die boek wat deur die deurwag gehou word hier onder. Dit was toe Faith hier besoek het. Sy moes haar naam teken. Sy was blykbaar baie ongelukkig daaroor. Die deurwag het vir iemand gesê dat hy daarop aangedring het. Het ek die vorige Sondag na haar kind gekyk? Of was dit ‘n ander Sondag? Hy kan nie meer onthou nie. Alles is deurmekaar.

Waarom het ek vir mense laat dink dat meer as een persoon my aangeval het? Dit was wat ek in ‘n beswyming in die hospitaal aan Hendrik gesê het. Het ek dit gesê?

Blykbaar nadat sy my hier vir dood agtergelaat het, het die vrou hier anderkant by die trappe, van die lawaai, na haar deur gekom. Faith het haar, blykbaar, gevra vir ‘n sigaret en toe eers ‘n sigaret gerook.

Sy is hier in die straat langsaan gesien met die Nigeriers?

Sy het blykbaar twee keer geklop. Gewoonlik het ek met my deur oop geslaap. Maar die dag was die deur gesluit. Ek het blykbaar ‘n aanval verwag. Ek is deur iets wat Faith, of was dit iemand anders, gewaarsku. Iets wat sy vir haar kind gesê het. Waarom kan ek nie die detail van die dag onthou nie? Die dag was die deur toegesluit. Ek het nie gedink aan die krag van ‘n bedwelmde vrou nie. Sy het geklop en geklop. Ek het geslaap. Sy is terug na die hysbak waar sy die vuurblusser gesien het en die gedagte dat sy die deur daarmee kan oopforseer deur haar gegaan het. Sy het die vuurblusser toegedraai in ‘n Air France handdoek-kombers wat sy by haar gehad het en teruggeloop na die deur wat sy oopgestamp het met die vuurblusser toegedraai in die handdoek-kombers en ingekom. Sy het die vuurblusser op ‘n bank in die sitkamer neergegooi. My skerp mes in die kombuis gegryp en na die kamer gekom waar ek nog gelê en slaap het. Sy het verwoed iets op my geskree: “Don’t you hear me when I knock!” Ek het in die bed met my gesig in die kussing iets gesê. Sy het my verwoed gesteek hier-bo in my skouer. Met my bloed wat my rug afloop, is ek na die sitkamer. Ek het gevra wat gaan nou aan. Sy het verwoed die vuurblusser na my kop geslinger en getref. Die vuurblusser en die Air France handdoek-kombers het hier op die vloer gelê. Die gewig van die vuurblusser was teveel vir my kop. Ek het weggeraak in ‘n wêreld van slaap en eers weer beneweld wakker geword ‘n ruk later. Sy het in my kamer gesoek na die geld wat ek die vorige nag getrek het en my kamera. Toe ek weer by my bewussyn was, was sy al weg. Sy het blykbaar geloop tot by die woonstel hier onder in die gang en vir die vrou wat bang by haar deur gestaan het gevra vir ‘n sigaret en ‘n paar trekke gevat en is toe weer vort.

“I always told you that she was on drugs” says Zaza.
“No you did’nt” I reply

“I saw her at Cool Runnings the other night. Dancing”

“With who were she dancing”

“With herself” sê sy voordat sy loop en ek dink aan Faith wat met haarself dans.

Ek weet nie eintlik wat gebeur het nie. In die gang het ek die man wat oorkant my bly, gevra of hy my hospitaal toe sou neem. Ek moes my klere aangetrek het. Wanneer het ek my klere aangetrek? Was dit terwyl Faith hier was? Toe ons in die sitkamer was? Ek moes by tye by my positiewe gewees het. Ek kan niks van hierdie nag onthou nie. My eerste herinnering is baie deurmekaar. Ek was in ‘n kar wat my by hierdie “plek” afgelaai het. Die plek onthou ek nie as ‘n hospitaal nie. Dit het eers later ‘n hospitaal geword. Ek onthou die boom en die hoek wat sigbaar was van my kamer buitekant. Dit is al. En ek onthou Hendrik se Christelike vriend, Markus, wat my kom sien het in die hospitaal. Ek het hom vertel dat daar ‘n funksie die aand gaan wees en het hom gevra of hy ook gaan. Dit is al wat ek van die tyd kan onthou.

Faith is volgens Heinrich op kampus van Natal-Universiteit gesien. Hy het gesien hoe ‘n man wat daar gesit het ‘n opmerking maak. Sy het onderlangs vir haarself iets gesê en toe voortgeloop.

Vrae wat my bybly is: Waarom het ek gedink Faith gaan my daardie oggend aanval. Was dit haar stelling aan haar kind dat sy my die dag voor ek opstaan gaan kom sien? Het sy dit gesê? Waarom sou sy my so vroeg kom sien? Waarom het hierdie dag soveel gevaar vir my beteken? Waarom wou ek nie doodgaan nie?

nechama brodie-ous in the mail & guardian: proudly ignorant

Filed under: literature — ABRAXAS @ 12:18 pm

spotted this in the culture section of the only near decent newspaper left in this country.

if you were writing for a rock music page
and you wrote “i’ve never heard the rolling stones”
it would be ludicrous
the editor would wrap you on the knuckles and say “go out and buy some stones cds and then come back and write about rock music…”

an editor should not allow such an uncultured person to presume to write about culture
such a person has too little to offer the readership.

really depressed me. there is something distinctly south african in this gleeful anti-intellectualism, it is i think to do with the resentment that colonial cultures feel towards their “mother” cultures, it is a juvenile, willfully brattish ignorance that i remember so well from my schooldays here.

it really distresses me to come across it again in the culture section of a newspaper.

it’s not as if it’s coming from the lumpen proletariat either, brodie-ous received a damn good education, the best that money can buy – it’s a choice to be ignorant in order to fit in – it’s utterly vile, very destructive on the national psyche

it’s not against the law to be ignorant and uncultured.

but to be so damnably proud of one’s ignorance!

and for a newspaper editor to allow this to go unchecked in a “culture” column.

probably this crassness is indicative of the declining state of education in this country.

philistinism really has become the norm.

irreversible? perhaps.

sad. very.

aryan kaganof

fragments on death

Filed under: i&I younity movement,literature,philosophy,stacy hardy — ABRAXAS @ 10:34 am

I did not know how easy the coming would be. I have been with you in dreams and night wishes, but often this was only when the world was not going well with me. Aches and fears and troubles brought my thoughts running to you.

I am confessing to you now. Be kind to me: a new child coming back to you. You knew me ready to die again and enter this world those here above think so real, this world which you know is only the passing flesh of everything that lasts, the soul of our people.

Coming home to you put fear into me at times. Do not laugh at me. I did not see you clearly, and I had been so long in this other world that I had no idea but fear.

Death. That was the frightening thing, the final sound. Now I see in it another birth, just as among you the birth of an infant here is mourned as the traveling of another spirit. Do not judge me harshly for the times I thought less of you than of the thousand things I had gathered around my body to give it comfort; they were to me then like living babies bound to me by thirty navels, and I thought I could never bear to cut them; there have been times when life was so sweet. For what purpose do you throw us such blinding sweetness when our aim is death?

I am reproaching you. Forgive me. I know of the screens of life you have left us: veils that rise in front of us, cutting into easy pieces eternity and the circle of the world, so that until we have grown tall enough to look behind the next veil we think the whole world and the whole of life is the little we are allowed to see, and this little we clutch at with such desperation. What a thing for you to laugh at, when we grow just tall enough and, still clutching the useless shreds of a world worn out, we peep behind the veil just passed and find in wonder a more fantastic world, making us fools in our own eyes to have believed that the old paltriness was all. But again we hold fast to the new shadows we find. We are fooled again, and once more taste the sharp unpleasantness of surprise, though we thought we had grown wise.

I am here against the last of my veils. Take me. I am ready. You are the end. The beginning. You have have no end. I am coming.

Ayi Kwei Armah
Fragments, 1969

September 7, 2010

alice walker in sa

Filed under: literature,politics — ABRAXAS @ 2:34 am

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