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Megan Voysey-Braig

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

South Africa as A Book

South Africa As a Book.

I left page one blank. A place to scream, to never forget. On page two I broke out the Champagne, cracked open the beers, let the wine breathe. I cried with joy.
On page three I called EVERYONE my sisters and brothers. My dreams and my possibilities were endless, my hopes soared.
On page four I sat back and had a cigarette, I got comfortable for a long time. Jaded. I looked around at the poverty still spilling from my sides and I put my head in my hands.
On page eleven (because nothing much happened before) I described myself. “A place of unparalleled and breathtaking natural beauty.” I rode it for all it was worth, my mountains, my hills, my rivers, my evenings, my dawns. For a day I was happy, for a day I danced as the sun went down on my horizons.

On page twelve I hold out a plastic cup with bloated alcoholic hands. I shake it. Hear nothing. I piss where I am lying, and in the streets they walk around my lengthening and widening yellow stream.
I turned back to page one.
Yes I used to dream, on page two and three, but this is how it is now. Once I was busy and woke up early, my eyes shone. I had energy and I was vibrant…once.
On page thirteen I sleep for most of the day, I take whatever gets me through it. I fear the way I have become heartless, insane. Hollow. I can kill for hardly anything at all. I can be bribed and corrupted for almost nothing at all. I can commit thousands of rapes, thousands of murders, thousands of armed robberies. I can walk away, I can laugh, I can plan the next one.
Return to page one. Return to page one. Return to page one. Are you feeling me now, remembering me now? This; the subtext of my heart.

I hold myself close to my chest. I can’t breathe. I try again. A little. I think I can weep. I try again. A little. An acceptable amount. Liberally. Without end.

On page fourteen I put on my multi-coloured multi-cultural jacket, sagging at the shoulders. I scratch at my sleeves till the grime collects under my fingernails, till the murdered, till the raped and terrified, till the homeless and inebriated and forgotten, till the crying out of my pages cuts valleys into the palms of my hands. I try to work the old charms, but no one is really listening to me anymore, reading me anymore. I still try to conjure the old rainbow magic, but I am tired now.
I am waiting for somebody to pick me up.

Written by Megan Voysey-Braig.

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Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    October 6th, 2009 @21:10 #

    WOW. Bump -- check this out, and the link (which also has a great piece by Zuki Wanner).

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    October 7th, 2009 @07:02 #

    This is a prose poem, lyrical, haunting, and excruciatingly close to the bone. Fine and fierce writing, Megan. Good on you for kicking off the Read SA campaign in so stark and direct a fashion.


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