Loud Memories

I still hear, as it reverberates and irritates,
the stressed ‘r’ when the yellow grass
is lamented, as is the neighbour’s spraying
orange cat. And the harder than hard ‘g’ that
bruises – because others are too grand.
And still it chafes where I feel the elongated
‘g’ of the boegoe and vygies
which the orange cat pissed on.
A stabbing motion of hands accompanies
the explosive ‘k’ of “Can you believe it?”
The mouth distorts,
the eyes slide away before you
can glimpse contempt and rage:
injustices to oneself cannot be mentioned
in quiet voice and subdued gesture –
nobody would hear.

© Sara P. Dias (1 March 2014)

* The ‘g’ in ‘boegoe’ and ‘vygies’ is pronounced the same as the ‘ch’ in l’chaim.  Boegoe is a word of Khoikhoi origin, which refers to a South African plant.  Vygies (pronounced fay-ch-ease), is a widely used Afrikaans name for small shrubby succulents.


First published: SLiP’s February Poetry Project: The close up.

Rim life

Small needs traverse furrowed hands –
quilted labels cover hollow fibre
in rhythmic burns of fold and stitch,
fold and stitch; a patchwork repair
for the living. Small needs find
comfort in reward, advance around
the rim – the next dream to harrow.

© Sara P. Dias (Dec 2013)

Rim Life was first published on the SLiP Poetry Project for December 2013: Endings and beginnings.

Ciao without a Vuvu

(to Wallace Stevens, after ‘Farewell without a Guitar’)

Spring’s bright promise has come to this.
So the thousand-dreamed home fails to show.
Ciao, those days.

The thousand-dreamed home
Speaks to this trumpet of lies
At its most venal culmination –

A Cape Flats gale,
A vast, stark corrugation,
In which a cab drives home without its riders,

Shades down. The recurrence of recounting,
The shunt and shuttles of raw senses
Of the riders that were,

Are ticking constructions,
Of zinc and sun, of state banality
And of those others and their desires.

©Sara P. Dias 2013


“Ciao without a Vuvu” was included in the SLiP October 2013 poetry workshop: Writing Back. Dawn Garisch has this to say about the poem:

The poem Ciao without a Vuvu by Sara P. Dias plays cleverly with Wallace Stevens’ poem Farewell without a Guitar. Whereas Stevens’ poem addresses the finality of the seasons of life, love and desire, and questions the construction of male reality, Dias’ poem tackles the literal construction of housing on the Cape Flats, or rather the lack of adequate shelter due to this trumpet of lies, and those others and their desires. I didn’t understand the reference to the cab driving home without its riders. The lines Are ticking constructions, / Of zinc and sun was particularly evocative.

Things worthy of appropriation

In the dozy warmth of the packed waiting room of the X-ray department, I wanted to appropriate a mother’s comforting clucking sounds, with the tongue at the back of the mouth, for the black-haired baby. And I wanted to appropriate the sucking sounds, with the tongue to the front of the mouth, of the mother with the red-haired toddler. And I wanted to appropriate the right to bestow kisses on the chubby cheeks and silky temples of the little ones. And I wanted to appropriate the kind murmurings of a male nurse as he wheeled in an old woman, her hair stuck straight up at the back of her head where the cushion imprinted a different identity – a little bit Mohican, a little bit Mouse Bird. Yet she knew who she was, because she signed her medical aid forms. I wanted to appropriate the quiet support of husbands, wives and friends for the ultra-sounds of subcutaneous tissue and tendons. I wanted to appropriate all these things, but all I left with was another lipoma, this one in my upper arm, and more degeneration in my beleaguered right knee.

Sara P. Dias (29 August 2013)

She carries

thoughts in, a man’s hand on her head
milk in, love on her bosom
her child needy in, duty on her lap,
her body in, a 90° turn on the bus
her desire in, the price on a used car
her want in, the bus carries on

© Sara P. Dias (4 March 2013)

Don’t wish for silence here

Dust scrabbles across mortar –
ants follow the grooves;
cement bolsters
loads of bricks –
it cracks and crumbles

Don’t look for stillness here –
the body decays,
falls in on itself
and gets busy within
its arches and beams

© Sara P. Dias (30 April 2013)

Timing

Intent upon this
Unaware of that

A reaching out
A touch in time –

A restoration
For one moment

© Sara P. Dias (4 January 2013)

But not yet

In the taste of cloves – so brief a release –
I find a desire for more, but I only added two
so that tomorrow I can add three, or
four when I’m bitter with fragility.

And when the cat’s face turns soft
at a caress, the tingle of electric fur
carries its resonance far into next week
where it curls back around my feet.

There is also the word I don’t yet know
that lies beyond the new moon,
that may gentle this spiky core:
such a word means ‘no’ – and is
obeyed when spoken by women or a child.
Also a kind word to desalt tears …

Next spring, when the white-eye
with its tiny chirp will be here again,
awaiting the next note in a contact call,
I’ll wait with it for its summoning
in the still warmth after the winter storms.

And again today, the mustiness of old walls
blends with the smell of mist and new rain –
the taint of ozone carries with it the
promise of stellar death and birth, and chance.

© Sara P. Dias (5 September 2012)

But not yet was first published by the Stellenbosch University Poetry Project on SLiPnet, August 2012:

Finuala Dowling says of the poem:

… I found a similar warmth and humanity combined with skilful imagery creating a mood of exquisite melancholy in your poem, Sara P.Dias.