Thursday, January 04, 2018

New Poetry by Abigail George

The city lights of Port Elizabeth or take my hand if you’re afraid

(for Joop Bersee and in memory of Rainer Maria Rilke)

    All the bare necessities of writing

    are found at an empty table. Figs and tea.
    The flame of language is found there. Hot
    ink. Writing. Prayer. People are found
    milling in gardens in the summer heat drinking.
    Eating good cheese and bread because
    it is the season of eating good cheese
    and bread. The writer hovers. He belongs.
    She belongs but she is not part of the
    group. She’s just an observer. Writers
    watch through the window. Watching
    the voices until there’s nothing but the heat.
    Burning Midwest prairies. Cacti in desert-land.
    Thirsty for thin black veils to cover the ocean-wind and sea
    that aren’t found there. Only sky. Only
    sky. Creeping up like sunlight. Everything
    happened so fast. Oh, insane rapture’s
    shadowboxing game! This honey in the
blood. This evil-sound of weeping. This smoke
    kissing springtime courage and harsh
    anguish silent all these years. Now there’s

all this expectation. Rewrites of heart-

    ache on my body. Seduction theories.
    I had solitude. I wanted disasters to be
    kind to me. I was alive even in those
    empty moments. I brought submission to the kitchen table.

    The neon light is lovely here. The city
lights of Port Elizabeth a blessing. A man’s
    heart is gold. A woman’s heart sacred
    machine. Sad girl listen for the birdsong

    in Tokyo. All I want is a library to keep
    me warm on my voyage to China away
    from this country of tragedy. The wedding
    of leaf and darkness is closing in. You’ll

    find monsters at the deep end. They’re
    there at the edge of the city lights if you
    look hard enough. You’ll find the auras
    of soil and water. Dust and heat. The photograph of an artist in her hands.

    Remember the tranquil daylight. Then finally
death. Don’t be frightened to close your eyes to it.

- Abigail George 2018

Pushcart Prize nominee for her fiction "Wash Away My Sins", Abigail George is a South African blogger, essayist, poet, short story writer and aspirant novelist. She is the recipient of writing grants from the National Arts Council in Johannesburg, the Centre for the Book in Cape Town and ECPACC in East London. She briefly studied film and television production at the Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg. Her literary work has been published in various anthologies, numerous times in print in South Africa and in e-zines based in Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Finland, the UK, the United States, and across African in Nigeria and Istanbul, Turkey.

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