How am I supposed to live without father? He is passed. Gone into the hereafter. He is never to return. While, yes, I am still very much alive. This Emily Dickinson will outlive Amherst. The confines of her childhood home. I will live out the rumour that I was the poet marked for life in her bedroom. Sitting, sitting at her desk from the early afternoon, to the early hours of the morning. They will perhaps, perhaps speak about my voyage as poet into the known and unknown world, over terrain and republic, through familiar ground and unfamiliar territory, but that has now come to an end. My eyesight is poor. Yes, my eyes are weak. I cannot see the wildflowers so clearly anymore. Sometimes I dash my fist in a pathetic fit of frustration at what I have become on the kitchen table. I have over the years withdrawn from public life. I had life once. I had life in me. I had fire and hell and brimstone in me too, but this was at one stage in my life so far away in memory now. Yes, even my memory goes dim as time, dim as the hours in a day that go by. In another time, another place, another Amherst I was operated now. Father thought that perhaps would be best for me. After that, I was not the extrovert anymore. I did not travel. I became more inhibited. Wildflower. I think of the wildflowers of my childhood. I think of my sister, Lavinia, of us picking these wildflowers. Every heartache in this world is my heartache. Cracks are beginning to show in my armour. The helmet of salvation is still in a sturdy position on my head. I did not have any need, or, desire to speak in public anymore at functions. I did not want in particular to declare myself a missionary servant in the church. I stopped going to parties. Was no longer the most popular socialite in the Amherst community. People keep on leaving me in my life. Oh, there are so many kitchen teas, and too many weddings, and then there are the baby showers that I have never got around to ever going too. They are (the Amherst-community, the public, the Christian-folk) doing to me what they did to my father. Either full of praise, or, rubbing him up the wrong way. Spreading rumour after rumour. I am not strong like he was to take it all in, and then exhale. My father was an educated man. My father was an intelligent man with a robust energy for anything political. He was elected to congress because of that. I am just like a woman now (and a woman will always be a woman). A woman is emotional, so they say, whoever they might be. The woman is of course the one with the survival instinct. I am sitting (here as a woman) moaning about her lot in life. I am not educated in the way my brother was. He went to Harvard Law School. All I have had is self-learning. All I have reached is enlightenment. All that I am is lonely. The loneliness awaits me most of all in my bedroom. This, this is all I have. This sword. This pen is my sword.
The terrors and the nightmares visit me at night. Without them, I am nothing. Have nothing but to question my own sanity. What have I done?
I have isolated myself to the point of no return. I have no life. I have no function either than to be nurse and caregiver to the childlike woman who carried me in her womb for nine months. I haven’t become older, nor, wiser gracefully. Of course, I am frightened for the future. I am a woman alone in the world. No husband to offer me sanctuary, certainly there are no more friendships. No more correspondence with male editors. People move on. The girls I knew when I was a girl, they are all women now. I don’t want to be on my own anymore. I don’t want the hours. These hours filled with beasts of terror. The machinations of an insane person’s frame of reference. And I ask myself where is the science in all of us. It is science that keeps my brain in check, set in my ways, my habits, my very schedule that I keep lest I go out of my mind. For what happens to a spinster when she grows old. When men become weary of her. Wary most of all of her moods. Her waking thoughts keep going around in circles. I am going mad again. Do you know what it, what this life means to me now?
I no longer have a purpose. There is no longer meaning in my activities. Even basic things, my temper (because I have one, because I am temperamental), I have to continually check myself. Remove myself from the situation before there is conflict. Before there is terrible pain. Loss of insight into how the conflict arose in the first place.
Before there is even a choice in the matter, I have to leave. I have no father for companion anymore. No more mother to shield from the world. To love. To love is such a treasured thing. I, I am now Lazarus. I just am. I am Hamlet’s Ophelia. I am apostle, saint, sinner, disciple and follower. Life cursed me. It is a terrible thing to say. I take that back. I cursed myself. I am to blame for everything in the end for everything that has ever happened to me. To love is both a curse and a gift. Because eventually you lose the ones you love the most. There are funerals. And all the time there are funerals, there is a funeral in my bones. In this, this wildflower’s bones. Love me, adore me now, praise me, worship me, grant me a divine audience, or, leave me. Let me alone. Let me be. Let me go. Surrender me to the universe as all women are at some stage of their lives, whether they are mothers, or daughters, or orphans. There was always this key struggle in my life. To exist. To exist. I am truly an orphan now. Can’t stand my sister-in-law’s parties any longer. I will need a chaperone. Emily cannot be alone. Emily cannot walk by herself anymore. Emily must be calmed down when she feels the wretched distress of the terrors that come at night. Who am I? Who is this stranger dressed in virginal-white all these years? In mourning for her father. In mourning for a mother possessed with childlike qualities. No children to comfort me when I am elderly, infirm, weak.
Who will look after me? Where will I go? I have flashbacks of the old me. The old life I led when I was young, calmer, more carefree, free in other words to do as I pleased. To love who I wanted to love. But that time has come to an end. There is something sinister about death now. Upon their arrival I prepare the house, I welcome them. I welcome people who have become strangers to me over the years. They’re here now. Only stay for an hour or two. They take my breath away.
There’s no escape. No room in the house that I can withdraw into. I don’t write anymore, you know. I have completely given that up. My wildflower. I am no wildflower in the full bloom of youth anymore. The people around me are mysteriously silent now. They say nothing. They do nothing for me. They do not speak to me, and if they do it is condescending. It is patronising. They sneer, jeer, mock, stare, glance my way, and say nothing. There is no communication. There is no connection there anymore that drives us together again. Just pain and bondage. More pain. More bondage. I think it all a trick of my mind.
Must be, right? When I was a girl, I was happy. When I was in love, or falling in love I was happy. Now my mind is clouded. My judgements, what about it. I have no judgement on anything, anymore, anymore. No love. Only bitterness. No husband. Only regret. To think that now I am a joke. Well, that is how I feel. This emptiness rolling around with the birds and the butterflies and moths in the abyss of self, what is left of my ego. There is no longer an identity to speak of. No longer a charmed life with suitors in tow. No more marriage, or, even indecent proposals. No joke. Recluse. I’m a recluse. I don’t go out. I don’t socialise. Another break from reality, then another, and another, until no one is laughing anymore. They say prayers. They say prayers instead. They give me tracts. Reading matter for my spiritual progress. Readying me for my spiritual awakening, or, some reckoning made on behalf of the God of all matter and energy. There are variations in my behaviour now. Sometimes it comes on strong like a narcotic. It grows and grows and grows. Sometimes it is subtle, but it is always there. I know nothing of the world, nor do I want to now. It has come too late. Too fast and furious is the end times upon me. The end of my life. Rather the end of my life as I know it. No more father. No more father. No more shelter. No more sanctuary. Who is going to look after me when I am old and tired, and a white-haired lady whose hair is streaked with silver? The show must go on nonetheless. I must endure. The survival instinct kicks in. I must prepare my work for posterity. The legacy is in the writing itself.
The hours I spent in my bedroom. Word after painstaking word. I am given orders. I am told what to do. What not to do. Nobody comes to the house. Soon, soon I will be the only one here. It won’t be a sad affair, I promise you. I have so much to do. I have to prepare an entire lifetime of work. Put it into order. You think I’m someone. I’m a nobody. I’m a real nobody with a nothing life to show for it. All these times I was hoodwinked, you see. I thought I was charismatic. I thought I would always be dear, one day be darling wife and mother.
Now I have nothing but this for the world. This incredible body of work. The work must not be still. Must not be composed as I am. It must go out into the world. People must read it. It will be pushed.
Pushed into the world. But not by me. By critics, and editors. By the working class. By the people who love me unconditionally, and without question. Unlike the non-supportive members of this society. Give me the working classes over the petty middle class any day. They love without expecting anything in return. They are so poverty-stricken, you say, what would they want from a recluse like me. What can they possibly offer a poet who has lived a ruined life? An unmarried life.
A life marked by pain and terror at every turn. I have known what it is to be loved. Now no one can take that euphoria away from me. Not even the love of my life, the work, you see. The work, the writing of the poetry is the most important thing. It is not so important for it to be praised, for the writing life to inspire, for my own life to be admired anything like my grandfather’s life was, or my father’s life, or my brother’s life. Published widely. I know this for a fact now. My plan is my plan. My goal is my goal. My writing is my writing. Yes, I am helped financially. Yes, I am well-off in some ways, but life is getting tired of me, and I sometimes find people in society tiresome.
Their notions are ridiculous. Wishing to turn me into something that I’m not. A Protestant. I was a no-hoper. Not part of the Christian revival scenario that overtook New England in my younger days. I rejected the church. I rejected the indoctrination. The lectures that were supposedly sermons. I never rejected the faith though, although it must have seemed that way to my beloved father. The one man in my life who loved me for me, I guess. Now I am alone. Utterly, utterly alone. I’m old-fashioned in my thinking, in my outlook on life, but not when it comes to spiritual matters, and issues of faith. I just no longer make sweeping statements with regard to Christ. The only people I do make sweeping statements about are those who wax on prosaically on the total annihilation of the human race because of the end times.
Who want to quote the Book of Revelation to me of all people (as if I have never heard of the four horsemen of the apocalypse)? Speak to me of the prophets. Men of integrity. Speak to me of their depth of character. Their spiritual progress in the world. Elijah being taken up to heaven in dazzling chariots of fire. Speak to me of Ezekiel, his protégé. There was one minister who called the world an apocalypse in the making, an experimental dystopia that was a work-in-progress. I just felt that he was attacking the very cultural background of Amherst, and insulting my intelligence. I had just cause to do what I did. To turn my back on that world of the church. A spinster in distress. I am distracted by thoughts of my own mortality. I can hardly see the flowers now. I can hardly see them, but they are the first thing that I think about when I open my eyes in the morning when I wake. The very last thing on my mind when I go to bed at night.
Wildflowers are a sight! A sight to behold. The wildflower is the hero in my life now.
I’ll leave the pain for tomorrow. Won’t even think about it until tomorrow. That is, if tomorrow ever comes. So, I walk in the present, barefoot, sometimes struggling to survive. I’m going to make myself some cocoa. My new best friend swears by it. That, and colouring books for adults, journaling for five minutes daily. I breathe in, out. In, out. He’s gone. He’s out of my life. This powerful figure that I dreamed about loving me, sheltering me, protecting me. He’s gone and married someone else. She had the daughter I could never give him. Someone else gave him the son I never could have. He’s gone. I’m looking for something to read. But I’m not in the mood for J.D. Salinger’s war stories. I’m too old for him now. He married girls. The kind of girl who wins a scholarship to an Ivy League University, and leaves her postgraduate studies because she thinks that Jerome David is the man for her. She’s got it all made now, because Jerome David is in love with her, and wants her to have his baby. Stupid girl! Sing it Cranberries. Zombie! Zombie!
My nephew is obsessed with zombies. A zombie called Benjamin Sylvester. Updike married the love of his life. All these women. Giving up their studies to follow the man of their dreams just so they could have children. Must soak in bath salts. It helps me sleep. That and my melatonin. Melatonin gives me gorgeous sleep. I don’t need sleep. I don’t need to eat. I don’t need a man. I don’t need pleasure. I just go through the motions of smiling, laughing, becoming angry, becoming Geisha. No one ever stays long enough. I didn’t tell you that before. I’m telling you that now. They don’t stay long. Perhaps my behaviour is absurd. Once I was too young. The love of my life tells me now over lunch that I look like his daughter. He is only ten years older than me, but this is his train of thought. I must submit. Never did. Never will. I believe in family values. All this time I could have been happy, but I’m old now. I look back at all those men. Gorgeous, impossible men and I never knew that they were in love with me. I only know that I’m fragile, you see. It would have destroyed me. Love makes staggering beauties out of the other women. What did it do to me? It would have destroyed me. First things first, what is this love? My parents neglected me. Dad was a writer. Mother was a fulltime knockout beauty. That business, that kind of beauty requires maintenance, maintenance, and more maintenance.
So, I learned how to read by myself at the age of four. Or three. I don’t know. I forget. A man understands this fragility in girls. I am a woman now. Surrounded by money. Money won’t make you happy. Won’t do anything for you, but make life perhaps more comfortable for you in ways you couldn’t have even imagined when you had no money. My sister, my beautifully put together sister has left me forever. How to deal with this. I write about Jean Rhys’ sexual transaction, she had a Mr Mackenzie who didn’t love her enough to make an honest woman out of her, I had my own tragic Mr Mackenzie (how I adored him, he never adored me back). I write about all of the non-existent love affairs now in my life. Now I literally have a throne. My beloved, my beloved, my sister gave me a throne. Gave me this nouveau rich life. I don’t want any of it. I want her back. I want her here with me, beside me, but we’re not tweens anymore.
She refuses to worship me. Nobody knows how to deal with me. Least of all me. I tell myself to behave. Do I behave? My mother says shut up! You!Intellectual fool, there are no more such things as nuns anymore. Maybe I’m a closet-homophobic personality. Lots of heterosexual men are. Even though I say I’m sorry, even though they pretended to forgive me for not sleeping with them, they didn’t. I know that now. Because I’m not a girl anymore, I’m a woman. I’m not beautiful. I want to die sometimes. I’m so embarrassed about the state of me. My emotional state. I don’t eat. I hide food away in my bedroom. There were maggots in the meat. On the plate. I had to dispose of that. I had to do that. Nobody must come into my inner sanctum. All I want to be is to be loved. Jimmy never let me meet his kid. A boy. The most beautiful boy that I have ever seen.
Sometimes he would tell me who he really was in love with. Just for kicks, I guess. Just to watch all the love he had with me drain out of his exquisitely handsome face. It hurt. It hurt. It hurt. He was seeing a student doctor who was doing her practical. She was like me. Of mixed-race descent. Half non-European. Half-European. She was beautiful. I could see just how much of everything she was to him. They watched television together with her younger brother who was in primary school. He had other sports in mind for me, when the two of us were together. It was attention. It was attention that I wanted. All I ever wanted. Now I’m old. The men have moved on. Except I haven’t. I’m reading my Gwyneth Paltrow newsletter.It is telling me that a mulatto is not a thing. The mulatto is not an inanimate object to wear on your arm like an accessory. She is life, she takes life, she gives life, beauty to the world around her.
In the bathroom, I look into the mirror at every conceivable angle. I don’t like what I see. He isn’t here anymore. The man is gone. Never to return. Isn’t it because of the way I look?I‘m still bone-thin. The wretched mood swings are still here. Wouldn’t it have been enough for me to beautiful, charmed the pants off, as they say, and married, but the men knew what they would be in for from the start with my funny face. The temper, the tantrums. It would have been a never-ending story. Women, some women are also attracted to me. This I do not want. Not ever. All I want is the gone man. One-night, endless nights of passion with the gone man. But lovers turn into mothers as John Mayer so eloquently put it. I could not, do not have that impulse within me.
To be mother. My writer father was both dad and mum to me. He washed the dishes, was a terrible cook, terrible driver. But my father was very good at remembering when to pick me up from someplace. I’d come out, he’d be waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting for me. Everybody loves my sister more. She’s vulnerable, and open to interpretation at the same time. Now what did that remark mean, I think to myself. What did her smile mean, I think to myself? She’s off to Prague. She can’t speak a word of Czech to save her life though. She will always be a foreigner. A stranger in a strange country. Guess that’s what she gets. For changing her mind about loving me. Nobody loves me. I am impossible to love. If I choose someone. They walk away. Leave me on the sidewalk, jump into their getaway car to go to a girl. And I stand there, plot and plan revenge, revenge, sweet revenge. Or, I’m in a parking lot. Done with me, they race away into the waiting arms of a fiancé. Men have everything. Men have it all. J.M. Coetzee outlived his son. Yes, yes. In the end they are just as insecure as I am. In the end, they have secrets too.
They don’t like growing older. But their looks increase. They are blessed manifold. They are blessed with children. And wives. Women who will adore them for the rest of their lives. I’m a natural born depressive. They want sexy and cute and vulnerable. I cannot be twenty-years-old forever, however much they want me to be. However, much I want that. They just want me to sit on their lap. I would have done that in a heartbeat if anyone had asked. Nobody asked. Nobody did anything. Nobody said anything. Nobody is taking my phone calls anymore. I’m old. I’m old. I’m haggard-looking. I still want someone to love me for me. Nobody wants to love me. I’m impossible to love. I’m too hectic. I’m too intense. Sorry. Apologies that I can’t be happy all the time. I still want someone to take me in their arms and tell me that everything, everything, everything is going to be alright. It isn’t. It would be nice if there was someone just to say that once in a while. You will find me in a locked room every year. For a week. I take brand new medication. I become a novel person. My personality gets a makeover.
The pills are fresh from clinical run trials in Europe and America. Now I listen to Carly Simon. Have conversations with her inside my head. She wasn’t a happy woman either. She was the most desirable woman in the room. She wasn’t happy either. Like me. Like me. She didn’t, couldn’t have the one man she did want. He was more in love with himself at the time, than he was with her. There is always a period in an actor’s life where the man is more in love with himself, that is his whole genetic makeup, his ego is his personality, his personality is his ego. His identity is caught in the crossfire. This other man, he actively, consciously makes conversation with me, all I can think of is Mr Columbia University. All I want is the men. Not this guy who talks like a woman. A woman who is an insane gossip. To me, he is more woman, than man. The way he talks, the way he touches all of my things like he wants to inhabit me. I know what he’s thinking. I know what he says to my mother. She can’t stop smiling she thinks that she’s finally got me off her hands. She’ll finally gong to marry me off. Then I will be somebody else’s problem. Not hers. Not hers. It hurts. It hurts me badly. Everything she tells her friends about me. I have so much insight into Vivien Leigh now. Marlon Brando. Laurence Olivier.
You have to first be in love with the role that you are playing. Be conscious of how you look, you must dress the part, how you walk, how you talk. Then you must be in love with yourself. Then the director’s vision, and the screenwriter’s vision. I’m an insecure personality. Mikale knows this. He knows I am mentally ill. Do they care how they treat me, how (in other words) they enable me, how they speak to me, they must hate me, or, or he is doing it out of love. For we have always been in love. I know that now. The thing is that the truth has come too late for both of us. This man looks at me with possession in his eyes. He wants like them all, to possess me. He wants to destroy me. Are you feeling sore, you wanted to make me whore, mistress, my love? I would have cared for you with my entire being for my lifetime. Dedicated everything to you. You chose her to be your wife. On that particular day you couldn’t wait to get her into bed. You said your vows in front of family, and friends. A television actress. You gave her what she wanted. A child. She gave you what you wanted. Thought you were too old to have children. She gave you a daughter. The daughter we should have had together.
Sometimes I pretend she’s ours. And when you sleep with your women, the girls I mean in all the ways that I did not, could not, would not, will not, or drink alone in a bar, think of me, think of me David, because my heart will be filled with despair, and all the time thinking of you. It is my turn now. It is my life that is complicated. The game is over. The love, David, I mean should be gone like you, but it isn’t. I loved you. We fight. I know you like that. But it degrades me. You want me to talk dirty. You know of course I would do it for you in a heartbeat. You don’t expect it from your wife, but your lovers. I can only be mistress and whore. You made that very clear to me. Understand. You say stay away from me. But in reality, you are saying stay away from my family. If you go near them, I will kill you. Now we don’t talk. I remember your face in mid-orgasm. How you would hold me afterwards, how we’d talk and laugh like old friends, not boyfriend and girlfriend. Not husband and wife. We were, in Carrie Bradshaw’s own words ‘fuck-buddies’. It is lonely here in utopia. You’re not the man standing in my kitchen, even though I very badly want to. She is the hostess at all of your parties. She is the hostess with the mostest. Well, I could never even come out of the bedroom, to see you in your element like that. You’re not my mission anymore. I’ve stopped searching. Given up the ghost as it were. If it feels like I’m alone, it means I’m really alone now. Will I ever become accustomed to the loneliness?
I have nothing to offer but wine and my womanhood. What man wants an old woman with cellulite and stretchmarks and surgical scars, when they can be adored by girls. You have your manhood, gone man, (if Julianne Moore can say that in a Paul Thomas Anderson film, then so can I, and I don’t need my father’s permission to do anything anymore, he wants me gone, out of the house like yesterday. I don’t need a guru, or Dr Phil, or a self-help book written by Vishen Lakhiani). You’re man but also woman half-formed by the glory of the electric poles of the sea. You want me to submit to vertigo,you innocent. You want me to submit as any hot-buttered stripper squishing your insides together down below in the hummingbird of your gut. Your tongue is a compact disc holding on to a music school. John Updike’s music school. You unearth Pompeii. Unravel the fine threads of Rilke’s letters to a young poet at the military academy he attended as a boy. Porn stars seem to have it all figured out. I sit and wait at the doctor’s empty chairs all around me and think of a time when I was free. When my bones did not hurt, when my blood was not high. I’m ghost. Ghost with juicy memory. You’re stillmy Hemingway (my darkness visible). My Kurt Cobain. My James Dean. I listen to the holy LanaDel Rey on repeat. Madonna is a rose-eating-peach. I compound death. You shuffle when you walk now, stranger to wilderness. There is no getting around this. This death, this life, this costume drama fake, fake, fake. I think of the life of Frida Kahlo, Jenny Zhang, Dorothy Lasky, Joop Bersee.I think of Elsa Lasker-Schuler. I have this image ofyou. I was obsessed with you, you said in life.You are a geisha. You are a Lady Gaga. You area minx in leather pants and leather jacket. Redlipstick. I have nothing to offer but joint, and street gang, the poor gene pool that I come from and the bipolar as tight as a noose around my neck. Bipolar singing carols in June. In those early days the bipolar was both judge and executioner. I eat the psychiatrist in flashes of flame, watching her descend as ash. It’s my job to eat her soft flesh, her thighs. Her hair tastes like snow. It melts away like asuicide. Of course, I know that it’s not good for me. Then I begin on the psychological, next the phobia, the fear, anxiety eating away at my sexy-thin heart. I am sick, sick, sick then well, well, well, then productive, productive, productive and then when I’m like that, I write, write, and write. That ismy reality. That is where I live. People have even diagnosed me schizophrenic, schizoid-affective. It makes me gag. I try and do normal things around the house but only normal people can do normal things.
Now I read disability literature to pass the time. Pamphlets on mental wellness. Sane means health, vigour, vitality. Enough about boring me. Are you as boring as I am? What’s in your head? Is there a fire waiting to burn inside your head as well? Eating makes me fat. Eating anything makes me fat. Can you smell that? Mum has burnt the rosemary chicken again. That’s the smell of my childhood sea. It’s gorgeous out there. I don’t want to see gorgeous anymore. The gone man loved me once. Now he has responsibilities. I must stay out of the way. I am in the way. Now, I am in the way. I remember how he said goodbye. Take that memory away from me. Take it from me now, please. It hurt. It hurt. It hurt. It still hurts. He doesn’t care that he hurt me. He doesn’t care that we can’t be together anymore. The more I tell him I don’t care that he is old enough to be my father, the more he turns his head, and refuses to even look at me.
Research into gender-bias and class, the Khoi, the grief of the mulatto
Other races in South Africa see us as clowns. They have always seen us as clowns or interlopers and whose fault is that? Again, and again society has to be blamed. Wars and history. Mothers, siblings and offspring. They do not think of themselves as being a part of humanity, of building humanity or their own potential. They live in a world of their own making and in this realm or sphere they practice ultra-violence, aggression, and brutality. Sexual violence is nothing to them. Rape is a certain means of pleasure-fulfillment. It is an annihilation on the victim but we also have to look at it as a symbol.
A symbol of submission. The victim is made to be submissive and humiliated. Secluded from the avenues of interpretations and ceremonies. Religious ceremonies, rituals between two consenting adults and a water baptism for the child or children that is born from that union.
On the under surface we also have to look at the mental health of the mulatto. Illness and disability in the Northern Areas. It has become an intricate yet underground culture amongst those who live on welfare or social grants in South Africa. Rape is a symbol. It supports a historical pattern of mental illness. It is an example of phenomenology. I spent my childhood, my holidays at the sea and an adolescence avoiding it. These are the echoes of a scholarship girl.
An ambitious girl readying herself for the world of academia and education. Why is it that this is what I hunger for? What do the Cleopatra’s and Sappho’s of the world hunger for?
And what the next girl hungers for in line is a sexual relationship.
She is in search of intimacy in all the wrong places. In their search for pleasure they will find themselves amidst instant gratification.
Satisfaction. Wish-fulfillment is the name of the game. The sexual transaction and pornography. We are talking here about a complete annihilation of heirs. Sons and daughters. Mulattos every one. Born from interracial relationships. Born out of wedlock. Here, we are not talking about the cultured, those who read with a passion, have a library at home or a study full of books, follow their survival guide according to the laws of society, the elite, the moneyed with their investments tucked away safely in the bank, whose children follow their dreams and fulfill their goals at tertiary institutions.
The only wait for the intelligent girl child is education. Families are now being replaced by friends. Addiction is like politics. You either take to it like water off a duck’s back or you watch people from afar sitting on the park bench like a vagrant and watch the angelic shine of the faces of children as they feed the ducks with their mothers and their nannies close at hand. Young males like that blame God. They think to themselves that they were not deserving of the world that they live in today.
Human nature will always be and is exploratory. A manifesto of sorts.
The drug addict, the male has this inner life but he has an outer world too. He is not as wise as he thinks he is. There is the suffering of the world in his heart. There is discontent too. He does not believe that life is short. That the distance from here to there is death and life. A continuum. And now we come to religion, to the church, to the vindication of the rights of the church. A journal filled with common sense written by sinners. These mulattos do not think they can change the world. How very wrong they are. How very wrong these princes are. They can be pioneers. They can be rebels.
They may even be angels but somehow along the tracks while they were sitting in their school benches these young men were lost. All I ask is when are these prodigal sons returning home, if ever. When will they choose the pilgrimage, the seat of the soul, the fact that charity begins at home, the influence of mentors, the self-help of motivational speakers? I am afraid if they do not want to be lectured to then there is unfortunately no other easy way of saving these addicts from their own addictions.
The youth who is an addict has found a way out. Escapism. The exit from his problems, the poverty in the wilderness and the wasteland he finds himself in. You see I think that they feel powerful in the brotherhood, in the gang, in the ‘family mode’ so to speak. They did not have mothers. They did not have mothering. They did not have fathers and if they did their fathers were absent fathers who led them down the same garden path they were at. Humiliating their wives, domestic violence, alcoholism, womanising, addiction, violent brawls, death but we must never forget that all of the people who are responsible for murder, for the violence outside and inside of taverns, the explosion of the Northern Areas gang lands are also in some ways vulnerable. More vulnerable than you and I think. It is a pollution of the mind. Nothing, no positive outcome can grow there and if that is the case then what does the future hold for the mulatto.
Light eyes. Fair skinned. Skin brown like the texture of sun. Straight hair.
What science does not tell us is that our gene pool is a primordial soup. Mankind originated from Africa but what has happened to the mulatto is this. Our ladders of chromosomes are responsible for knitting our brain cells together, and our future, our present does not determine the past. The mistakes we made. Forgiveness. Feminism.
The female writer, thinker and intellectual is no match for the male counterpart and vice versa. I feel I have to talk about feminism again because the female mulatto is exploited in South Africa. I can only talk here of my own experience. She knows not of any other life. Sex for her makes her the alpha female amongst her clique. Her group of friends. It makes her popular but far too late she realizes she has become popular for all the wrong reasons. She is ‘easy’. She is already lost once she has walked across the threshold been folded into the arms of an older male figure, a father figure or a fumbling boy and lost her virginity. As soon as she falls pregnant the boy or man denies that he is the father and what is she left with but shame but now she has something to love. Now she has a family, intimate relations with a new-born. She is now a mother and nobody can take that away from her.
For the Coloured/mulatto girl, our flower, our dark child, she uses her sexuality as a prop. She thinks to herself in the face of the struggles she endured as a girl child, a young adult, an adolescent in high school that now all her desires will come true with the guy of her dreams but of course that is not the case. Many girls who find themselves in this situation go on to have a string of dead-end relationships in which sometimes children are born from different fathers. You might think to yourself these young men and women just cannot seem to help themselves. Between the young woman and her mother there is often animosity and the origins of jealousy.
So now I turn to history. I turn to the falling of the Berlin wall. I turn to the holocaust. What does that have to do with a marijuana smoking youth, with his second child on the way with a different mother you may ask? It has everything to do with emancipation.
Oppression in the worst possible way when you have to have an unregistered gun or access to one. Women are emotional creatures. Men are violent by nature. Throughout history the mulatto was a slave.
Throughout modern life the mulatto is still a slave even though she is educated. Even if she went to university. Even if she attends church and takes Holy Communion. She is a slave because there has never been one woman amongst her lot that has been a philosopher. There are teachers, yes. There are mentors, yes. There are church women, yes.
But they are also slaves. If the mulatto has no White equal then she is still a slave with the mentality with a slave.
The men in the brotherhood of the gang almost have a kind of religious life. There is the initiation where they have to prove themselves. Of course, it will mark a turning point in a young man’s life if he is accepted into a gang. For the young men of the Northern Areas to be a gangster is the only way of life that they know. I do not know if that is sad. I know what it is to suffer but I cannot imagine their suffering. I have suffered from clinical depression but I cannot imagine what their home life, their family life must be about. I often wonder how they think always trigger happy and this perplexes me because we do not have to live in a world like this.
So, researchers must study the phenomena that exists not only in the sub-economic areas and suburbs of the marginalized and disadvantaged mulatto. The youth live in an oppressed state of mind, state of being, and a state of flux. It is essential to see, to discuss, to debate why this is still dominating after centuries, after generations, after the referendum, the Rainbow Nation and the African Renaissance until we become experts at exposure. Who are the victims here? The native who was taught English in a mission school. The Black girl who was raped by her slave owner. Exposing the invisible chains, the walls of punishment we must begin to see it with insight.
South African gang film Four Corners
We are being erased into the background as if we are extras on a film set. We must begin to communicate the threads of the entire rape of a near wasted generation. Wasted by tik and marijuana. If they are not wise (where do they get the wisdom from), if they do not have the courage to pray and to change the circumstances that they are living in (if they were not taught those values) what will happen to the mulatto a century from now?
Coloured street gangs do believe in cultural unity. They call the gang a brotherhood. They call the brotherhood a family. Blood is thicker than water. These are dangerous life studies. There is a life science but little literature on what the promulgation of the Group Areas Act, the history of apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa has had on stories, on investment in, on the self-discovery of the mulatto. He is not White. He is not Black. It is too late to develop positive Coloured youth because they are so far removed from the fabric that makes up the modern world, and that marks them with the psychological framework of the experiment of a pilgrim because in a way we are all pilgrims. We are all searching for something that will intoxicate us with life.
We want to see all living things, all animals with their own intuition and sensibility. Not crime or criminal tendencies. Not addictions.
Addictions to sex, pornography, drugs and alcoholism. The girls are sex machines bringing children into the world when they are hardly equipped to deal with family life or raising children with echoes of values and norms. Belief systems.
Not only do they exhibit psychopathic tendencies, but they also display a racial tendency towards Black youth and Black women. Black people in general. It is really destruction amongst these self-saboteurs at its most basic level. The grassroots level. The only people who will survive are the middle classes. The elite. The educated. If you fit into any one of those classes then you are home free in a sense. Home is a dirty secret but it makes the gangster saintly amongst his peers. Coloured youth are on a mission to destroy themselves, their families, the people that they love, admire, worship. They are even on a mission to kill, to maim to murder. This is no ghost story.
There have always been gangs. That is simply nothing new.
Heartbreaking stories of utter abuse at the hands of adults who in retrospect had to devote themselves to family life and their children but there have also been Coloured men and woman, great thinkers, leading intellectuals who are now fostering innovative theories about families who live in poverty. Theories about sexuality. Spiritual poverty.
In the end, at some point in our lives we all experienced racism. We were all on the receiving end of it or we gave it out. If you are an educated mulatto you have got it made in a sense. You can be philanthropic in your endeavours. You can help those who cannot help themselves. If we lived in a perfect world everybody would have the same opportunities, the same choices, challenges, obstacles facing them, decisions to be made no matter what the colour of their skin was, the same education (does this mean that everyone would be educated and brilliant. Intelligent and lucky.)
Opening up the Pandora’s Box of the drug addict and all you will come to witness is nothing but a skeleton fused with self-portraits of self-hatred, selfishness and ego wasting away. Looking nothing at all like their real age. Unfortunately, we live in a permissive society.
It is a society that gives us the go ahead or the permission if you will to go ahead and do anything with your life.
The world will never get sick of prettiness. Men will never get tired of it like they get tired of gender and class taking over the world or being lectured on it. Men never get tired of taking the inexperienced virgin to bed. That love-affair. I say this again. That there is an invisible press out there. An invisible propaganda. Visionaries who have and will always show us the right way. Entertainment has and will always show us the wrong way.
I do not understand the sexuality of young girls. How they promote themselves in the workplace. The relationships they have with older male figures, father figures. It is as if they draw up a sacred contract. The man has all the common sense. The girl dreams and meditates of her prince. In the end everything is outweighed, destroyed and the girl returns to her mother in the heartland of the city she found herself in months before. If there is a baby in the works, she will give birth to the baby and fall in love with the child to the extent that she will keep it, raise it. But does she have the oomph? Does she have the will and the drive to raise a child on her own or will she succumb to silence, to isolation and to rejection from her peers? Despair, hardship, loneliness?
She was not the wise one in the relationship but it will be months before she realises this. It was the man with all of his common sense who was the wise one and who knew how things in the end would naturally turn out. The mulatto girl has a disembodied frame but she will with an intensity raise her child. Her problems will become part of the child’s consciousness and something usually will be deformed.
Mannerisms will be abnormal as the child grows older if there is no father figure. Etiquette will be a castle in the sky. The boy will grow up to be a rough through no fault of his own. It once again depends on the mothering, on the family structure. If there is a close-knit family structure. A nuclear family or a blended family of half-brothers and half-sisters and a stepfamily perhaps the child will be saved. Perhaps.
After the uprising of the riots in the Northern Areas where shops were looted and badly damaged. When people lost their lives, family members, businesses nobody was discriminated against in the Coloured sub-economic areas. Was there a Third Force involved as people would like us to be inclined to be believed? Was the special branch involved? These are facts that ordinary people will never know. The Democratic Alliance has a foothold in the Eastern Cape now which is now one of the worst off provinces in South Africa. If you want to believe that violence and murder was the order of the day those days of the riots then violence and murder, looting was the order of the day. I see the territory on the fringe that is before me. The districts. The suburbs. The life and times of the elite who live behind their high walls, their electric fences, their security fences and dogs in White suburbia. It comes to me in heightened frequencies.
Violence is reality in post-apartheid South Africa but it is also surreal. It is also a hallucination in Technicolor.
Otherwise violence is an excellent metamorphosis when studied alongside individuals who committed themselves against fighting in the struggle against apartheid. I cannot give it all up to my imagination anymore. I must believe like Anne Frank that there is some good in people and some bad but that there is good in them also. There was a death, many deaths and bodies lying in the street. I cannot account for the names and the faces that have crossed over to the hereafter.
We cannot all be monks and nuns. Violence tends to disrupt the order in society, cause maladjusted behaviour, in the end what is its purpose, what meaning does it give life?
In this world, like I have said before we cannot all be monks and nuns but we can write. We can write poetry about the horrors of life, how terrifying it still is to live in a racist post-apartheid South Africa. If we write we can diminish and erase somewhat of the melody and the blankness of the ultra-violence of the minor earth and the major sky. We will never forget about burying the bodies of the men and women who lost their lives in the riots like we can never forget the struggle. The camps in Tanzania. Conversations and moods are spiritual and bipolar in a sense when people talk about old-fashioned days. We are haunted by those days. We want to relive them because for us there was some vitality at flying solo before marrying, before the school lessons and homework of children, the milk of human kindness and tenderness.
Now I am reminded of Leo Tolstoy finding the kingdom of God within himself, writing his letters to Ghandi, writing his confessions and finally finding peace within himself. I am also reminded of Hemingway, the writer driving ambulances during the war. River Phoenix, the actor stumbling out of a club in the early hours of the morning, blinded by alcohol, his veins pumped full of barbiturates. He later died of a drug overdose. F. Scot Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby drinking bourbon.
Virginia Woolf’s waves, Lily Briscoe, and Mrs Ramsay. You may ask yourself what does Barbra Streisand, Robert Redford, Venus and Serena Williams, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Jean Rhys, Ford Maddox Ford have to do with gangs and gangsters. Ganglands and guns going off in the middle of the night. They make me forget. They make me forget about the children I will never have, that I have not picked up a racket in over ten summers.
They remind me that there is truth and beauty and in the final analysis that there will always be room for psychoanalysis in the world.
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