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Abigail George: I never promised you gardenias

Winter studies of the African Renaissance at the diving board

(for Virgil, the poet)

You came upon me like a
graceful neck. The deception of marked
winter studies. The fabric of
the African Renaissance. In the end I had to
patch the tapestry’s planet.

A cold was all around the sofa.
Winter for sure when he
left. I carried that winter
in my heart for the longest
time. Found myself again
when I had concern for others.
Had time to knit the shark-net brown-stocking Jean Rhys-mirror of closure.
Went swimming at the beach.
Don’t waste what broke
you in your twenties. The kiss
that nearly destroyed you.
The man who held you in
his arms only to let you go.


Prague, your skin reads like emptiness

(for Virgil, the poet)

++++There was a home and a
family that belonged to her.

++++revealed her true self to

++++me and now I must do the
same. The mysteries of my sorrows

are like a constellation beyond
the trees. Emptiness lingers
there. It will be hours until

++++I sleep. And when that fire
comes, I will dream under nightfall. A million stars.
++++It will be a quiet victory in

++++the morning hours. I search
for the familiar in progeny. Old photographs
++++pasted in wedding albums.

++++++++I find myself there as I pick up
++++this pen and begin to write.


Why I blog about writing and issues of mental health

(for Virgil, the poet)

++++J. had schizophrenia. I had
++++bipolar. I told myself that I

was in love. Translating the language of

++++desire. Wings of desire. I was a
++++war kind of anything. A war
++++horse found in the desert. The
++++origin of Paris was his throat.
++++He made careful movements
++++with his hands. Played a cloud study of water vapour gospel with

his guitar. I was

++++composed when it came to
++++printing it on my winter-bodies and subconscious.
++++Now his mouth is alien to me.
++++Reserved for toasted cheese and
nightfall’s idiosyncratic gangs-of-ballet. I am still traumatised
++++by the hospital experience.
++++Stigma. The scholarship and foreign
tigers with dirty paws that I found there.


I never promised you gardenias

(for Virgil, the poet)

It was Ray Bradbury that said (and you),
‘You must write every single day of your life.’

++++This letter to a brother in
++++has been a long time coming. I
++++feel rain. I feel fire coming on.
++++Once I called this road the debut of
pain. This, feeling, tastes like the working-class
++++experiment of the silence of
past loves, loneliness. The assembly line of futility and
++++you’re as far away from me
++++now as Arkansas and the dust
++++and rivers of Mississippi but
that doesn’t matter. All that matters
++++is that you’re getting well.
++++Away from here and away
++++from the rodeo of life. Of trouble. I can only think of this.
++++That you can’t take photographs of your healing.
The spiritual.
++++The parachute you’re carrying.

Poems © Abigail George
Image: Nathan DeFiesta (Unsplash cropped)

Abigail George
Abigail George
South African Abigail George is a blogger, essayist, short story writer, screenwriter, novelist, and poet. She briefly studied film in Johannesburg. She has two film projects in development and is the recipient of two grants from the National Arts Council, one from the Centre for the Book and another from ECPACC. Her publishers are Tendai Rinos Mwanaka (Zimbabwe, Mwanaka Media and Publishing or Mmap), Xavier Hennekinne (Australia/New Zealand, Gazebo Books), and Thanos Kalamidas (Finland, Ovi). Her literary representative is Morten Rand. She is a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net nominated, and European Union Poetry Prize longlisted poet. Her poem “The Accident” was Identity Theory's Editor's Choice for Spring. Ink Sweat and Tears chose her poem “When light poured into me at the swimming pool” as a September Pick of the Month, and she recently made the shortlist of the Writing Ukraine Prize 2023. She is a poet/writer who believes in the transformative, restorative and healing powers of words. Her latest book is Letter To Petya Dubarova (Australia/New Zealand, Gazebo Books). Young Galaxies (a poetry book) was released in 2023 from Mmap and a memoir When Bad Mothers Happen is forthcoming. “Clarissa, Hector and Septimus Redefined” was recently published by Novelty Fiction in Kindle format.


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