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Photographs: Poetry by Abigail George

Image: remixed

(For my mother and my father)

I pretend I do not love this city but
I do. I pretend that I feel nothing for

the women, men and children who
rise from its depths in the morning
in much the same way as I do, but I
do feel for them. I eat with a
full moon zero of an appetite in my stomach.
On a Sunday morning, a church is
conjured up in place of the canteen-like area.
Sunday makes me feel an ecstatic holy in my heart.
In my room, I find pleasure in a
few furnishings there. A wardrobe, a
bed, a dressing table. I have no
happy memories yet to put up against these walls.
I do yoga positions in the dark to help
me fall asleep. My roommate is gay and
I think that she is secretly in love with me.
And when I go to bed at night I think
of home.
I think of you mum and the children
and father.
I think of my accomplished past in high school.
Of hunting through the chronicles of
Narnia the same way Trevor Noah did
when he was my age or close to my age.
I think of cold-blooded animals (the blood runs cold in my veins now).
Threads of ice.
Rabbits and foxes, slender and wise
leaping about in the wild of my dreams.


(For my mother and my father)

Birdsong here seems to be
sunk into a ditch. Trees do
not grow in cities unless
they are found in a park. My female heart
          despises the talent of

the men here with their attitudes and style and

technique of wooing and
courting women. You’re
cold-hearted (don’t be so, mother).
I made this decision of coming to
the big city and now have
to live with it. Like a beggar

growing fat who thrives with hot tea and bread in his stomach.

          Water in this city anchors
the transaction between light and rain, steel and
          gold, feverish claw and wish.

The summer leaf is a blessing.
The purple sea and moonlit
pier from another chapter in my life.
I give the grace and mercy of
the sun a second chance. For all its dying
worth it is dying to belong.
          The shadows in my blood speak for themselves

in the shapes of war, golden sunlight,
islands of them swim with an
angelic force in the lake. I remember
tide and mist, the long days of
winter, the gulf of joy, the columns of
church and cathedral, applause!
The legend of my paternal
          grandfather is buried here amongst

the lawful, The brief repose of
the summer leaf, the melting
sun, the emerald stream filled
with trash and slippery plastic,
the starlit lake at night and then I remember your
words mother, ‘Be safe, my child. Don’t wander

          endless dark streets at night.’


(For my brother and his son)

There is love here. A kind
Of resurrecting. A life instinct
Drowning in the gaseous life
Experience of the mother tongue,
Lungs, and hands of the stars.
The bluesy ‘contribution’ of
The song of a woman. The red
Pulsing action of the gills of a
Fish. The climbing-leaping hands of
A man gesticulating through
The air. You’re the birth and
Death and great life of me.
Night and day. Dark night and
Daylight. When the dark passes
Over me and daylight comes I
Think of the person I could have
Been. My rightful inheritance.
The sun, theories of the moon.
And when the sun kisses my
Forehead, my shadow, my shoulders,
The nape of the neck it heals
And strengthens me. I am again reminded of the
Tongue of a fish, the eyes of

A bird, (an eagle), the hands of a
Man, and the bluesy song of a
Woman. Daylight and dark night.
Dark night and daylight. Even roses
Have a spirit that dances
Within them. The flame inside
My heart for you is made
Of natural collateral. Down to earth
Painters are masters in their
Own way. I am through with drunkenness
And cowardly behaviour. Once
you could do it for me and I was just kissing the sweet dream of you.
The earth is suddener. Green and spiteful.
Snowed under by roses. The
worship of bombs and in pink praise of theology.
Ingredients of the amazing.
You-don’t-do, you-don’t-do
It for me anymore. I am through
Kissing your epic sweetness.

          Kissing the dream of you.

Poems: Abigail George
Image: remixed

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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