Tuesday Shorts: Lyrics – Nomashenge Dlamini

Part I: The Pilgrim

Burdened by this ghostly cargo,
The carnal leakage too far gone.
Lucid dreams swindle my rest,
A timely vent for a smothered soul on a prodigal quest.
I self-mutilate like a vandal,
A nagging summoning to let myself go.
Delay my demise another day,
To feign control over mortality.

A pilgrim to my every scar.
A pilgrim to my every scar.

Discerning spirit from breath,
Like anchor from stifle.
Discerning wanderlust from abandonment,
Like freedom from habit.
Discerning peace from death,
Like dark from black.
Discerning shadow from shade,
Like fate from consequence.

Who am I?
Am I you?

A pilgrim to my every scar.
A pilgrim to my every scar.

Part II: The Boogyman

Dining with the boogyman
Gobbling like a hooligan
Glutton for a can of worms
Hunger give me busy jaws
Troubles loitering my plate
Silver spoon ain’t got no weight
Starve from peace, serenity
Drown in pain and mockery

Whispers utter after life
Slicing with a blunted knife
Lover left an open wound
Turned my body to a tomb
Burying breathe and mother’s dreams
Blinding light an ultra beam
Honking sound a woman’s wail
Told them read between the rail.

Attempting to fathom
The dawning of doomsday
Attempting to fathom
The dawning of mayhem

Failing with the upkeep
An insufficient black sheep
Creeping in a corner
Intentional with the horror
Detangled from a noose but

Gagging on a fake gut
Tell him tears are timid
Watch him sink in livid

Emerging as a monster
Pounce on all the daughters
Evaded by his conscious
Discardable and callous
The panic and the frenzy
The frantic seed of envy.

Attempting to fathom,
The dawning of doomsday,
Attempting to fathom,
The dawning of mayhem.

Hide the children close the curtain
A former child is lurking,
Is death the only certain end
or are we still retrieving?

Attempting to fathom
the dawning of doomsday
attempting to fathom
the dawning of mayhem.

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The Sibongile Fisher Collection

Sibongile Fisher has been holding down the fort in the Tuesday Shorts lane and I can proudly say it has been nothing short of amazing. Sibongile has written four Tuesday Shorts during her residency and this is the Sibongile Fisher collection.

She kick started the month with Mary. The story left me asking if the comfortable silence in which we sit with those we’ve always known is really comfortable? In this story it isn’t. It’s a silence that swallows the things one hasn’t yet found the courage to say.

Second came Kintsukuroi, which stands testament to the saying – You can take a person out of the village, but not the village out of a person – in this case, poverty, strife. Can one truly leave behind who they are? Curses and all?

Third was The Legend of Mobu. Stories are like a photograph, they capture a specific moment in time and avail it to those who dare look. This here story captures the root of many South African stories both modern and ancient. It reads as a rich adaptation of a myth, with nothing lost in translation and everything captured delicately in the poetry.

Sibongile signed out with The Pigeon’s Nest and by now it is clear that death was the chosen subject. Death, the thing we never see happen. We know it’s coming. It taunts and threatens, it teases and mocks, and we appease it only for us to be tricked by it, denying us to witness the smoothness with which it operates and when it has passed we can only say, She had faded into the most peaceful corpse I had ever seen.’

What an honor it was to be graced by this amazing writer. I’ll forever be grateful for her gifts.

—-

About Sibongile Fisher

Sibongile Fisher is a poet, writer and drama facilitator from Johannesburg, South Africa. She holds a BCom degree in Marketing Management and a higher certificate in Performing Arts and wishes to pursue an MA in Creative Writing. She is the co-founder of The Raising Zion Foundation, an arts organisation that focuses on promoting literature, poetry and the performing arts in high schools. She is also the winner of the 2016 Short Story Day Africa Prize for her short story, A Door Ajar which is also shortlisted for Brittle Paper Literary Awards. Her short story Sea of Secrets written for young adults was published by Fundza under their mentorship program and it appears in their “it takes two!” volume 2 anthology.

Photo: Provided by Sibongile.

Let’s Talk Text: Nkateko Masinga

I met Nkateko through my Facebook timeline. She was being tagged in pictures, mentioned in statuses and being called my best by poet, Busisiwe Mahlangu. We finally made it to the coveted stage, being Facebook friends. And I witnessed the poet’s magic on my own time line, not through some passive magic transmitter or whatever.

Nkateko wears many hats, recently wearing the hat of actress and I thought it necessary to chat to her about her third poetry chapbook and navigating different spaces amongst many things.

Here we go,

1. You and Busisiwe Mahlangu are very close and open about your friendship and support for each other’s career, how important it is to have someone in your corner, both as a poet and as human being?
When Busi and I met for the first time, she had read my first book and I had watched some of her performances online, so it was a case of mutually screaming ‘Oh my word! I love you so much!’ and we have been inseparable since then. With her I can truly be myself – she sees me beyond the stage, sees the things I try to hide. As poets we try to be authentic in the stories we tell but there are things we unwittingly shy away from and it spills over into our work because we only write and perform up to the point where we feel comfortable, never beyond that. With Busi I have all these difficult painful conversations and it helps me to heal and I believe it has made me a better writer. Having her in my life has taught me that it is okay to be vulnerable.
The poetry space can be very harmful – especially slam poetry because it is so competitive and often unforgiving. In such spaces, it is important to have people in your corner when the applause dies down. Busi has won several poetry slams but she is still gentle and compassionate, which shows me that slam poetry doesn’t have to be this dog-eat-dog industry where we don’t care for each others’ hearts.

2. Self-publishing has taken a rise during the past few years, how important it is for this to be happening?
So important! Self-publishing allows us to tell stories that would otherwise never see the light of day. I believe that traditional publishing has its place, but if your story doesn’t fit their narrative then your manuscript will get rejected and lot of writers lose confidence in their stories because of this. It is wonderful and exciting that we have alternatives. Going the route of self-publishing gave me the opportunity to tell my story on my own terms and it warmed my heart to see how well ‘The Sin In My Blackness’ was received in 2015. That book truly gave me the confidence to keep writing. When I started my company, NSUKU Publishing Consultancy, I had gathered a lot of information from my successes and challenges as an independent author and I am honoured to be assisting other authors to bring their own stories to life.

3. Medicine ranks high in the career chain, whereas being an artist is looked down on. How do you navigate both spaces?
Anton Chekhov said it best: ‘Medicine is my lawful wife and literature my mistress; when I get tired of one, I spend the night with the other.’
Haha! Jokes aside, medicine and art are very closely intertwined in my life because I was in medical school when I started taking my poetry career seriously. I realised then that I couldn’t allow the pursuit of the ‘Dr’ title to take over my entire life when I was given so many other talents. For years I did not have to separate the two from each other because I had fewer responsibilities as a student and could write whenever I had free time. Now I am at a point in my life where I feel the need to choose one over the other and it is very difficult because they co-existed so peacefully before whereas now, in order to be successful in one I need to dedicate most of my time to it.

4. I can safely say we’re experiencing some level of political turmoil in South Africa, would you fit the words from Betrayal “In Africa it is better to say goodbye (even if you choke) than to stay and watch your flesh burn? as a means of moving forward?
For a long time, I have grappled with the idea of leaving home in order to ‘save’ myself. I have seen how Africans living in the diaspora can write about the continent with such optimism while those of us who are here are simply living on hope. I wanted to have that ‘diasporic homecoming love for Africa’ that I wrote about in my poem ‘The Visitors.’ Now that opportunities to go overseas have opened up, I see how much turmoil the entire world is in and that life in another country might look better in light of our current situation here at home but that might not be the case. Also, for whom does life get better after we leave? What happens to those we leave behind?

5. What are some of the lesson your first and second book taught to you that you implemented in your third, While the World was Burning?
‘The Sin In My Blackness’ and ‘A War Within The Blood’ both taught me to be brave and to always write from a place of honesty because there is always someone who can relate, even to our ugliest truths. While The World Was Burning’ is also the closing of a chapter for me. I wanted to write three books in three years and it is done. At the same time, it is the beginning of a new chapter because I am not going to stop writing anytime soon.

FIVE Current Things

1. What are you reading?
I am reading short stories that have previously won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Right now I am reading ‘The Sweet Sop’ by Ingrid Persaud.

2. What are you eating?
I am knee-deep in a pasta phase. So whenever I go out these days, I order pasta. Right now I am far away from pasta places so I am eating a bacon-and-avo sandwich, another current obsession of mine actually.

3. What are you learning?
I am learning to say no. To choose my health over the obligation to constantly give of myself at the expense of my wellbeing.

4. What are you doing?
I am proofreading a book called ‘The Will To Live – A Way To Survive’ by Nolundi Luthuli. It is due to be published later this year.

5. What are you listening to?
So many things! Poetry podcasts on Badilisha Poetry X-Change, music (I am in a J. Cole phase), voicenotes from my loves.

Follow Nkateko on SOCIAL Media on the following handles.
IG: @nkateko_masingaFacebook: Enkay Masinga
Twitter: @Nkati_M