Abigail George: I never promised you gardenias

Image: Nathan DeFiesta (Unsplash cropped)

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)

About the author

Abigail George

Abigail George’s fiction was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She briefly studied film at Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg. She is the recipient of grants from the National Arts Council, Johannesburg, Centre for the Book in Cape Town, and ECPACC (Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council) in East London. She has been widely published from Australia, to Finland to Nigeria, and New Delhi, India to Istanbul, Turkey and Wales.
Her blog African Renaissance can be found online in Modern Diplomacy under Topics.
She contributed for a year to a symposium on Ovi Magazine: Finland’s English Online Magazine. She is a poet, fiction writer, feminist thinker, essayist, and a blogger at Goodreads.

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