Monday, September 22, 2014


When things get hectic, especially for extended periods, I forget to look up. If you're not going to look up, how on earth can you inspire on the holiday blue of the sky?

The photo was my first 'look up' after my chairing of a 'state of the media' event in the Fugard Theatre, at the Open Book Festival, on Saturday. It's a cold photo (taken just around the corner from the Fugard, while walking up Buitenkant street), and as many of mine are, absolutely devoid of people; there is, however, if you look carefully, one seagull whose name is Jonathan Livingstone. Lee introduced me to him far back in March 2012, in Mpumalanga of all places, far from the sea, but he'stravelled far and wide, with me.

In the screen of my tablet, as I type these words, I clearly see my unshaven face; my dark and bristling jaw, except for the grey on the chin, accentuates the lines around my eyes and makes me look older. Which means I look my real age.

Also in the screen I can see, less clearly though, the kitchen counter that's piled with dishes and the untidiness of just over two weeks. That I hate. Between leaving for Grahamstown on 5 September - then almost immediately to Joburg - and today, I've been in a life-bottleneck of note, not unlike the confluence of the buildings in the pic, where very varied strands of life (every one a different architectural style and period) converge and heighten blood pressure, stress levels.

Neverthless I swoop and swoon on the currents of the words-and-sentences-and-paragraphs of the writers and their work, from all across the word, that I flailed myself with over the last five days of the festival. And, like Jonathan, I squawk in joy and aliveness.  

To hell with the dishes, and the un-made bed, also my ragged jawline and the lines around the eyes, I'm drunk with words and writers and life. And the sky's a holiday blue. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

While the rain pelts, words swirl and snowflake (around the sapiosexual)

I'm a few months into my second year of Cape Town living; it's also my second Open Book festival, which started yesterday. Last year's festival also coincided with a vengeful coldfront that bucketed ice water over the city; the retreating winter is as spiteful as all hell because its day's are seriously numbered.

The wet didn't stop me from dashing down to the Fugard Theatre to attend the first event I'd got my hands on tickets for: talking 'writing sexuality' with three writers, one of which is a local favourite, Damon Galgut (3rd right), another - Michiel Heyns (far left) - whom I guess is soon to become another local favourite of mine (because of his wit and self-deprecating humour), and then a writer I'd never heard of before, Karina Szczurek (2nd right). Her stillness and centredness, Polish accent and open-minded approach to sex and sexuality intrigued me. Also that she has been married to Andre Brink, who was in the front row, since 2006. (At first I was, also, astonished at his frailty, but then discovered that he as born in 1935.)

I flourish amongst writers and their words, either written or spoken. Comfortable and safe I am, this is my world, where ideally I slink quietly between the bookish folk and their minds, all of whom could populate Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and The Hobbit worlds, to take but a sample slice,

Talking about reading sexuality... at an other event much later in the evening of yesterday - Literature Magazines: The Urgency of Literature and New Voices - about and around the publishers of Prufrock (Helen Sullivan), Chimurenga (Ntone Edjabe) and Kwani? (Billy Kahora), hosted by the softspoken journalist Sean O'Toole, I noticed a former lover, and then others in the audiences that I found totally sexually attractive: I am most definitely mentally and physically attracted to, and very comfotable sexually with these bookish, geeky and nerdy 'types'. 

There must be a word that describes the eroticness of this that I so badly attempt, but fail to describe...perhaps what comes closest is the word 'sapiosexual' (n.), i.e. one who is attracted to or aroused by intelligence in others.

You have to be always drunk.
That's all there is to it - it's the only way.
So as not to feel the horrible burden of time
that breaks your back and bends you to the earth,
you have to be continually drunk.

But on what?
Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish.
But be drunk.
                                         - Charles Baudelaire     

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

These streets, those streets

Last week I walked those streets. This week I'm walking these: I've stayed behind at home this morning waiting for it to empty itself of all but me, my coffee, my thoughts, the street sounds from below including right now, a grinder screeching in tin-roofed factory. 

Also my soothing cast-over view across Woodstock that I flick my eyeballs over and across: It's my daily terrain that ebbs and flows between my window-on-the-world and up Argyle Street until over Victoria main, before verticalling into sanitised Upper Woodstock. 

It's then a sedate but abridged walk over peak-time Nelson Mandela Boulevard and into compact and cling wrapped Walmer Esate, before a - rapid dash - over De Waal Drive. Now, at last, I leave the city behind as I'm on to The Mountain and to stop only once safely in the neat dove-gray line of the cloud bank hiding, completely, the granite table. Only now will I truly relax; it is here that I seek to lie in peace, uninterrupted and unnoticed with my head on His lap.  

Last week the coral trees in bloom; an Eastern Cape spring; the old outpost's buildings; students and teachers in a time warp; tiredness behind my eyes; the poverty of desperate people on the High Street that I've never been able to reconcile myself with, the blood of the history of my country flowing in their veins and arteries: the lottery of my life versus theirs: fingers, nails, hair, shit, snot, piss, blood, cum. Ash and dust. 

It seems like there is nothing left to steal: where's the hope?

(A little boy plays with a puppy beneath the blooming coral tree that's made more glorious by the last sunlight before the storm.) 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

New Street razor blade

What good is it if I can't be honest.
That's not a question.
The typed up posts hovering on the edge in Blogger that I may not even dare push 'send' on, because they will startle (dear reader).
So I sit, again, pent up with words-and-my-truth in a Cape Town coffee shop processing my travels-thoughts-desires-fears-truths to Grahamstown and back, then straight afterwards to Johannesburg and back. To New Street and back, To hell and back.
Gutsless I am.
This is Charles Bukowski stuff. 
This is Hunter S. Thompson stuff.
I shall never 'succeed' as writer as long as I censor myself.
Succeed is in inverted commas because I don't give a fuck about succeed in a worldly sense (I'm in the world but, unarrogantly, I'm not of it).
New Street becomes Prince Alfred Street; along that jugular have I slid the razor blade of my life.

I'm in a week of bleakness; my heart desires to burst and splatter from my chest cage; my jaw muscles are swolen hamster-like with stress-and-pressure.

It's a beautiful day, most un-Springlike.