Behind closed doors..
They don’t get to see
that goes into pouring one’s soul onto the page
for the prestige
of seeing your name in lights.
Out in the open,
they see what I let them see:
the sunny disposition,
the right look,
the comedic pauses…
What they don’t know
is that when the sun goes down
under flickering lights,
doubt sows madness
leaving me wondering.
When I think I have had enough
the book closes itself
like water running
down to my outstretched hand.
Sometimes, though the anxiety leads me to poetry…
the hair on my arms slowly lifts as soon as the first note breaks the silence.
my heart starts beating faster.
my breath quickens.
it grows in intensity with each bar.
as the solitary voice sways with me back and forth.
i can barely see ahead of me.
the tears, streaming down my face.
i can’t stop listening.
it’s got me.
got me bad.
it’s rhythm echoes left behind.
banging right through my bones
like the sound of rushing blood
until it catches a moment
in my throat.
i can’t help but sing along.
it’s got me.
got me bad.
got very excited at the prospect of seeing you.
when we did finally meet,
it wasn’t all tears as i had expected.
only a hint of excitement…
felt strange yet familiar at the same time.
i felt your skin against mine,
your breath against my back while you slept…
reminded me of days gone by…
when it was time for us to part,
once again i waited for tears
but they didn’t come…
i head home with a heavy heart…
knowing that thoughts of you will haunt me till we meet again…
swaying my heavy body to the hypnotic beat..
takes me to a far away land,
reminds me of a time
when i dared to dream.
dared to remember the cause,
to the sound of music in my head.
the endless song
playing in my mind’s ear.
i wondered if,
you heard it.
i am hoping that,
you’ll like it.
that it’ll steal you.
give you a peek into another world.
and give birth
to a beautiful melody
of time with me and you:
how could i
about the secret.
the truth bubbling underneath
the thin surface
of this illusion
we were trying to create.
we trudge along in the meantime.
this shows us
that it is impossible to forget;
to live like we don’t know.
being oblivious to the obvious.
So I braved torrential Cape Town rain on a Tuesday evening, thinking to myself, ‘this better be good’ and half hoping I wasn’t going to be one of two people who bothered to show up. Little did I know, the Long Shots have quite a following.
The Long Shots are an improvisation troupe based in Cape Town, takes impromptu to another level. Or so I was set to discover when I went to one of their once-a-month shows at the Truth Café on Buitenkant Street, Cape Town.
The Truth in Comedy show is made up of short and long form improvisation. All the sketches are unrehearsed and the actors simply make up action and dialogue based on the skimpy outlines provided by the directors and the suggestions thrown in by the all-too-eager audience. And the audience participation is what made the show special for me.
The sketches ranged from an interactive poem with the starting line, ‘ Jacob Zuma has 6 wives’ and ends with ‘would you give me weed’. You can imagine the chaos in between. To a multimedia presentation (with actors as the ‘presentation’) about the plight of the sloth in Kazkhastan presented by a Russian Professor.
Even when someone from the audience shouted, ‘Zimbabwe’ when asked for a title for film made in Korea, the actors launched into made-up ‘Korean’ with suitably hilarious English translation, as if there was nothing out of place with the combination.
Comedy is obviously a rather subjective art, there were some moments that were downers for me. But judging by the roaring audience behind me, there were definitely enough winning moments to say the show was a success.
This show was their first at the Truth Café, the Long Shots’ new home. They will perform here every second Tuesday of the month. The troupe offers a weekly drop-in class on Thursday evening, where anyone is welcome to have fun with improv.
Facebook page: ‘The Long Shots’ Improvised Comedy Troupe.
then there are those moments when a reflection in a mirror catches my attention. just as i start to follow it. a shadow cowers over it making it hard to read the words underneath. we carry on…
listening to the music around us. until the next moment of clear silence comes around. We obey the beat inside and climb into it. Just we are about to reach the pinnacle of the crescendo. It starts raining. While frantically searching for cover. A window pops up, opens wide enough to see the other side.
ideas are fleeting acquaintances that come and go as they please. meaningless with no follow up or proper plan for arresting them and turning them into reality. everyone can come up with ideas on tap. most things began as ideas, didn’t they?
some say the best ideas are conceived during moments of whimsical abandon. in rooms full of like-minded bodies, searching together, pursuing a goal.
but they lie, ideas are cheap without any logic in hindsight. they require rationale to work and grow into meaningful creations that can be consumed meaningfully…
here are some fleeting anecdotes that have passed through my head… lately…
unicorns dipped in magic
The silence you only get when it snows\unicorns dipped in magic\bumping into people who look like they don’t have homes\riddled spirits\incompatible figures\incoherent metaphors\comprehension in their eyes\means they tolerate the lies\toldwith straight faces\with no regard\for all the places\these hearts have been to\and back\hope still lives\and love will never lack\spaces to fill…
ideas are fleeting
Pens down\and the genie leaves the room\If you breathe\You won’t miss it\Arresting silence\(is not) tranquillity\Worth every cent\Ideas are fleeting acquaintances\They come and go as they please\Hardly bothering us much\Like the sun shines during the day\And the moon at night\Beautiful strangers who never meet\We consume\without question\
‘When people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle classes, or that it should not be read at school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange and stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy. A tough life needs a tough language – and that it what poetry is. That is what literature offers – a language powerful enough to say it how it is.
It isn’t a hiding place, it is a finding place.’
Jeanette Winterson, from Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
Came across this quote on Dawn Garisch’s blog, and I was practically jumping on my bed because earlier this afternoon I was trying to help a bunch of grade 11 Xhosa, native-speaking kids unpack Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116: “Let me not to the marriage of true minds”. It was such an awesome experience for me to watch them really throwing themselves and their eyes light up as the words of the poem started making sense. Of course it could possibly because this sonnet is about love.
I am a big advocate of the power of poetry in teaching. Poetry allows learners to dream and come up with word images that transport them to faraway lands, to dream new worlds. Most importantly, it gives them essential skills that help in unpack complex concepts. It allows for brainstorming. Structured thinking. Definitely promoting creative thinking. Seeing links between words and concepts and goes a long way towards helping them access their school curriculum. Poetry is a playful way of learning, for sure..
And for those, who really live in dangerous situations (literally). Who see and breathe negativity around them. Those who live in poverty. It allows them space to exhale and take in new ideas. To escape for a moment into their imagination and be silly.
Loving over a sandwich on a balmy spring afternoon
We spoke for the first time.
I’d been circling you.
Didn’t know if you’d noticed
Until that day.
We stood in your kitchen
Oblivious to the voices,
milling around us
My 25th birthday
Encounters film festival,
Some theatre in town
I’d been waiting in pensive anticipation,
For my birthday kiss,
But when our lips met.
That first time.
That first kiss
Was like coming up for air.
I can still taste it.
First hang out
I was on my way home from a stressful exam. I remembered that you said you’d be at home that afternoon. So I took a chance and knocked on your door.
I don’t remember what we spoke about that day besides the Johnny Depp movie that was playing in the background.
I was only just too happy to be in the same space as you.
Band: Sun of a thousand blues
Somewhere in town
I think we both were,
Drinks in hand
Loud chatter and music
into each other’s ears
That night, as we lay
On the floor
In your living room.
I could see stars
Through the ceiling.