I read an article on Thursday morning. It said: ”The victim had been sliced open from her stomach to her genitals and dumped.” The radio is full of this story. Full of politicians and posers, trying to outdo one another. Like funeral criers. But it will end, the show. And there will be marches and petitions. There will be statements and rage. But it will happen again. Until we are inured to shock. It will happen again. Until our bones are worn into dust and our teeth crushed into the sand. It will happen and happen. Until we invent a way to stop being women. Until we find a way for our blood to no longer bleed between our legs. As long as we exist, we will be raped.
So, no, I will not march. I don’t believe my marching will stop this war. I will cry, as I have been already this morning. And maybe, I will begin to feel my way out of the lurching, heavy knowing after I have spoken with others. With the mothers and the sisters, the brothers and fathers – those like me, who have girls.
There is only this: a dead, hollow knowing that has always been knocking at my heart. From the minute she was born, it fell in step with the rhythm of my breath: to raise a girl in this world, to raise her strong and healthy and proud, to ensure that she survives and then to insist ferociously that she laugh and dance and think and dream, is to choose the most heartbreaking and joyous path. It is to tempt fate every single day, it is to fear that her breath will be strangled by a stranger. It is to live with the horrible possibility that this could be your child.
Anene was raped and mutilated because she was a girl. It was her vagina and her breasts that they wanted to destroy. It was her walk and her talk. It was her girl-ness. These parts of her were broken and sliced and pulled apart, not by monsters, but by friends. Each of her 10 fingers were broken.
Ten fingers and 10 toes. I kiss my baby girl goodnight. Ten fingers and 10 toes, I counted them when she was born just to be sure that she was real. I found love in the spaces between each. I cried at the weight of her. Tiny and strong.
Tonight, I will kiss her neck in the bath and she will wiggle away from me. ‘Stop it Mama’, and I will pinch her wet bum and she will sparkle. Tonight, she will be safe. But they will not stop killing girls.
And I will die defending her. Let them wear my bones into dust. Let them crush my teeth into the sand. Only this will stop the war. That we be prepared to die – our bodies barricades against the fingers that should not be there. The knives that slit. The guns that lodge. Let them lodge in me. In us.
Anene’s mother said that if she hadn’t seen her shoes, she wouldn’t have known that it was her own child. Her intestines? Her intestines.
God help us. And if God will not, Let the women be the barricades. The men, surely will follow.
Here’s another dark piece from the archives! I guess its appropriate for how I feel most Mondays, how I feel most days..
I smelled of crazy as I sang song lyrics
While collecting daisies
From the corner of my gravesite
Impossible it seemed to me but
I chattered with the chittering termites
As they bit new holes in my newly decayed flesh
I turned to see through the gape where my eyes once saw wonder
So twisted, so dark, too damp
I wandered around wondering, do the dead mourn the living?
I found big, bald and ugly and shook him for an answer
I peeled off another nail
and continued writing to the tune of my screaming soul
What an absurd distraction, I thought to myself
This will never do
All this hell and damnation is giving me writers block
Yet in this place I call
The way station
Delivery only! it screams loudly in black and blue
Delivery only, this way to Gods bosom, your only way out
This way to Lucifer’s holiday inn, in big bold red hue
I stopped and stared, which lane to follow? Which holds true for me?
Here and there questions,
Big, bald and ugly turns around and hands me a key
I turn to A flutter of a wing, Some music, some Tupac
Then I spot, Fadhili Williams, Franco, Marvin Gaye
Focus… this is so annoying
So I wrote on determine to diarize every single detail of my own death
I wrote more
Describing, looking, intimating, explaining, seeing…
All the while writing… dying.. crippled fingers demanding rest
I scooped flesh after condemned rotting flesh
Back into my now melting chest
So there was an afterlife and this was it?
All of us together in one train station!
Heading this way or that other way
So I found a bench
So disappointed was I that I was determined to finish writing my own death
I wrote until my fingers broke off in emaciated decay
I wrote my own way back to bleeding life
I wrote until I came back to write some more
I came back to write you your own death!
In the passenger seat of your car, I ask you what
color the burnt orange of the leather seats are and you tell me
burnt orange. My cheeks in the rearview mirror are the color
of burning, and when I look down at my hands, they’re so pale
that I forget for a moment that I own flesh over these bones.
The fog is so thick that I could lose you in it again, you say —
and I put my hand on your hand until I mix our fingers up.
There is a shipwreck between your ribs and it took eighteen years
for me to understand how to understand your kind of drowning.
The divorce papers say Christmas and July. That’s all you were given
to touch the cheeks of your small daughters and try to tell them in
smaller and smaller words how absence does not mean
The first and last time I saw my parents together was in a
parking lot at McDonalds. They didn’t speak to each other, didn’t
look each other in the eye — only handed me between them
like an insult.
When I got into my father’s car, he handed me a Happy Meal toy
like an apology.
There are people who cannot be held quietly. There are screams
that are never externalized. If I looked at the photo albums of your
past twenty years, all I would find are decibel meter graphs of
phone calls and the intensity of your silence as you sat
smoking cigarettes in the garage.
Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder, scientists
have finally proven.
All it does is make you that much more aware of how many
feet it takes to walk a mile.
There is a shipwreck between your ribs. You are a box with
fragile written on it, and so many people have not handled you
And for the first time, I understand that I will never know
how to apologize for being
one of them.
As my first post of 2013 I feel ashamed to say this was inspired by someone else’s words. Words which when written down inspire a totally new and different meaning. Don’t you ever wish sometimes you could pen your thoughts down exactly how you think them? well I guess that is what Twitter is for..
As your austere love washes over me I write this not as a vindication of your non- love but as an opportunity to let my thoughts be heard
From the rooftops to the highest peak I scream let my thoughts be heard, directly translating to
For fucksake shut up and let me talk for once
Just this once, let ME speak!
I use pen and paper, I send emails, I type texts and direct broken down clowns to your office to sing songs of gaiety to you and yet it’s never enough
Who I’m I to compete with shadows of a memory you refuse to let go of?
You capture glorious moment after moment with me only to turn turncoat and run after a smidgen of affection from him?
Old lovers come with the price of affection sterility, you know
we revert to the past not find solutions to the future but to quell the uncertainty of the present
as the past is what led us here
the past only serves to remind us of who we used to be, not who we want to sleep with now
and that can’t be a bad thing
I’m damaged goods as well… I come scarred, worn out with my own doubts and hang ups
Acknowledge me!! LOVE ME!!
With you by my side I outrun me every day
Keeping time with you keeps me breathless
I want to be with you but I can’t, maybe I don’t want to, but I can’t leave, but I should
I would battle forever, but you keep making me feel like it’s an impossible war.
Let’s just get back to loving.
Everything else seems pointless.
“so strong is the spirit of ramadhan, that even here in this maximum security prison, the women honor it, and still fast despite the odds “
Two and a half years ago fat- hiya lost her case and was locked in east and central Africa’s largest women’s prison with 726 inmates. This Ramadhan, Fat-hiya is in charge of the meals for the twenty seven Muslim inmates, who all share the duties, and find a sense of unity and enjoyment in being together and cooking.
Despite Fat-hiya living behind bars, away from the comfort and warmth of her home for a crime she says she didn’t commit, one could have expected her to be shrouded in bitterness and disregard spiritual obligations. But she simply proves otherwise, as retains her calm with her soft smile. Fat-hiya believes her resilience and commitment while observing the holy month of ramadhan is nothing less then a test from the almighty.
Ramadan is the month of giving to the needy, and also to ask for forgiveness. To get solace from the harsh conditions and daily labour, the Muslim women all get together and raise their hands in prayer….
With the generous donations from well wishers, the inmates and their children, many of whom were born in these facilities, are able to enjoy and indulge in a little luxury of sipping some zam zam water and finally eat some dates.
the lonely find love everywhere
and often it is not love,
often it is praying to a god
you only half believe in
on the corner of a bed that no one shares
but everyones visits.
his mouth is a holy place
for women who don’t believe
in anything anymore.
they press their wounds…
As a person who claims to be a writer, an artist I am definitely affected and inspired by what happens around me, what I see, what I smell. The biggest challenge is how to put those things into words on paper. Describe to the reader how you feel, what you saw that affected you at a certain point in your life. I guess that is one of the reasons I love taking pictures too, they say more than any words I would pen down would. If you have read what I post on this blog you know two things.
1. I find it hard to write happy, rainbows and butterflies pieces
2. I never take the time to intro my writing
But, I read these words from one of Warsan Shire’s poems and It kind of inspired me to write this. At 8.32pm she writes:
“the lonely find love everywhere
and often it is not love,
often it is praying to a god
you only half believe in
on the corner of a bed that no one shares
but everyones visits.”
And from that I wrote “Pink Guavas”
Counter top desire: The lusty woman
She sits near the counter waiting
It seems she’s spent half her life waiting
She lifts her phone to her face and checks her perfectly coiffed reflection
The bartender carefully places two more drinks in front of her and points to the other end of the bar
She curtly nods her thanks to the two suited up would be suitors
She licks her lips and grins at them, but that’s where she stops
Her knee high boots placed on the nearest bar stool
She reeked of Hugo Boss’s Deep Red and sex
Her thigh length skirt precisely positioned to ensure maximum desirability
she stained her wine glass purple, her lipstick branding her houri
Her kinky half braids done for just this occasion
Inside she hoped she was pleasing to his eye
Outwardly she oozed sexy awesome
She smiles this time, she knew she was a ka-sexy ka-something
She turns around in her barstool and waits
The home maker: The other girl
She knew that if she walked into any room anywhere she would find him there waiting for her
She found him now
Sitting on a barstool, suited up just for this occasion
Their love masked every hurt before her
She put him in that place where only rainbows and butterflies visited briefly
She trailed her hand over his arm and kissed him full on his mouth
Her eyes only for him
Even his best friend’s cries to “get a room” could not get through her
He smelt of JnB and sex
And she loved him
Holding hands and sharing a bottle of wine was how the love begun
She had never laughed this hard
She had never experienced a love this new
She kissed and kissed and laughed and laughed
she kept on wondering why the woman at the end of the counter kept on giving her dirty looks
she excused herself to go do womanly things
she couldn’t find her lipgloss
The first woman
she wanted to gag
he has a girlfriend? She wondered Men ugh! Such bastards
she watched them over and over kissing and laughing and giggling
ughhh! Gag-a-thon- all that rainbows and butterflies BS
she watched her take out her phone and take a perfect facebook picture
that weird “I own you on all social networks” picture
that perfect couple who put up each other pictures on twitter
she hated it all, she hated her life
she hated the damn man who kept her waiting, she hated the stupid couple who won’t last a couple of months
and she hated herself for trying to find love again, for trying to date broken men
she was drunk. Again. She couldn’t find her car keys
she got up and reeled to the bathroom
Bathroom Tirades: Both women
“What are you looking at? Fucken homemaker” The first woman growled at her through the mirror
“I’m sorry, you seem very sad” the other woman said. You look like my mother
The gods of life abandoned her and now she is lonely, she cannot find what she needs
I’m sorry you’re alone, I’m sorry you don’t believe in love. Here, take this- my Pink Guava brought me him I call it my handbag fairie dust
I hope it helps! Love
The first woman broke down and cried, cried and cried!
Because she did believe, she wanted someone to believe in her, she wanted rainbows and butterflies and gaddem facebook pictures!!
But for now all she had was this Pink Guava Lipbalm a strange woman gave her