Time wasted by distractions gives you an unplanned
day. The clouds look uniform enough from where I am standing.
You lose time worrying about the things you have to
do. Like for instance, concern about fatigue. Being an outsider,
and interruptions by activities. Please, remember me. That
I am an open house from the land to the sea. Reform the
party. Do justice to the cake. Find the straw for the fire.
Help me to bring this house down. Burn this house down
with fire. Find the grave. Find the daughter. Salvage the
landfall, the broken country there at the zero point of no
return. Menopause is just a beginning. A place to stand. (Quiet!).
I am the embryo. I am the womb. I am David Wagoner.
The daughter with a zoo house for a brain. Philosopher and
theologian. I come from a broken home. Opera could be
found there nesting beautifully amongst the underworld of the
velocity of psychiatric disorder. Nobody comes to that place,
visit there. It is a lonely and terrifying place at nightfall.
Witches shine torches in your face to check if you’re asleep.
You’re as authentic as a string of fake pearls. Mother has
no love for me, sister is distracted by her teaching English and
her German boyfriend. Everybody thinks I am dead inside.
So, I must be dead inside. Down below me is the ceiling.
Up above me is the hanging ground, the wings of marital
vertigo. Find the image of Christ, and you will find the portrait
of a South African novelist there. I am a graveyard poet.
Dead to the world of reality. Only accepted by the kingdom
of non-reality, the strings of the depressive age. You have
knowledge or understanding about this situation. You
don’t have to live a hurting, wounded half-life day in and
day out with radiance and illumination scarring your entire
physical body. Variations of it. And every narrative I have
ever written carries with it a haunting ellipsis of a scarring
too. Veiled like a shroud. The appraisal will always be in
context to everything else about my life. My identity, the
fragility of my ego, the frightening sense of being displaced
from the only home I have ever known. This childhood
house. I think of my self-concept. Its non-development over
these years. I eat those Christian mustard seeds like there’s
no tomorrow for me with my ‘fake’ personality disorder.
I spent twenty years of my life writing ten books. And I
can’t stand to think of twenty wasted years. I can’t stand
to think of losing it all. I can’t stand to think of the pain, and
the emptiness and the social exclusion. Navigating the waters’
landscape of the intellect and psyche of the poet’s poet.
Please remember me, is all I ask. Remember these words.
as I remember Anthony Minghella, and Stanley Kubrick
almost by design, rather than by invention. I dream of perfect
health. I dream of being proactive, productive, cultural, living
in the paradigm of a safe psychological reality. I will never
be friends with you, never intimate, never confidante. You
will have Berlin forever, sibling. I will be martyr forever,
for life simply because of a psychiatric disorder. Life will not
return to me empty-handed. Love gives. It is death that does
the taking, the talking in this trauma-dysfunctional house. (Quiet!)
To Cole Porter and the portal to another faraway dimension.
It is their policy. The white blood cells attract. Life is kind
and beautiful there. I wish that it was always so. You don’t
see me for who I am. You don’t acknowledge me. There is
pain behind my smile. Mother tries to be enigmatic pilot, and father
was the entire package when they got married. All I want is
respect. The horses are green and pioneering. So, I will give
you love as I lie here dying for your love. Please remember the old
me, is all I ask. Remember these words. My cocoon, my sibling,
my one social butterfly to the stars. Once, we were daughters
in the same house. We lived an existence where we were gatherers
to the stars, and I realised that to reinvent love daily is what people
should be doing for each other. I am so angry now that I could
spit. I think of the suicide of the leaf. As if sails in the air like
a boat on a paper ship route to the planets. We were the asylum
seekers. I think of where the white blood cells are. It is summer
there. Cause for reflection. They breeze right through my cold heart.
They achieve, achieve, achieve. They are flawless. Courageous-
looking. Their coping mechanism is not without ‘you keep quiet’,
and ‘shut the hell up, or, I’ll shut your mouth for you’. But unlike
me, the white blood cells have a dominant personality. They have
the key to skinny metabolism. Seems that I am safer in this hell-
hole than anywhere else. You find they become hurt too, and it sets off
a chain reaction. I was always a lover of books. Books were my friends,
and confidantes. They glimmer like violence. When I was poor,
I was in a state of wellness, and that translated into my life being
an arena of happiness projected onto me. The dogs’ fleas are biting me, so,
I have to leave. I don’t love this kind of birthday nature, this kind
of panache-world, nonchalant environment, swimming pool of
heredity. In my own words it is a new day. Light fills this room. The
trees glow neon-green, and increase my mental pain and suffering.
So, today in this room I must stay. Develop the social reforms of
caterpillars turning into butterflies, and give them the mandate to float
on the wind of church, and prayer. I am looking for protection. Asking
for help. Oh, please shut up. Oh, please shut up, Oh, please, please,
please shut up. Now I am a basketball going through this hoop of a war
of nerves. Then I am a case study under observation in a psychiatric
ward, then a story-bird who exploits the sun’s mission, then from the sea,
then the genius of a fish. My spirit manipulates decay, the wilderness
of my undoing. I try to be as brave as a tea plantation in Ceylon. Blood, sweat
and tears in my writing. This morning my mother was crying and I (Quiet!)
was, as always in childhood and high school, out collecting trophies
and certificates. I wish I could have been kind, but I wasn’t. I wish
it wasn’t my fault, but it was. My brain is for sale. Hercules, you are
tall and dark. Hercules, you are alpha male. And I never cared that you
never said that you love me, because you see it wasn’t that important
to me. I am asking for forgiveness. The plums are so touchy. The plums are so refrigerator-
cold. The plums are so itchy. I am forgiven. These plums forgive me. The fever
of the sun is going down low, like the spell of loneliness in this jungle.
Abigail George is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominated South African essayist, poet, short story writer, and novelist.