I’ve been invited as feature poet at the Cape Town Central Library’s Poetry Circle this Saturday, 30 January 2016. They even put up an invitation on their Facebook page, which made me nervous.
Here is the LINK to the public announcement.
I told my online poetry critique group my fear of facing an audience that might not know me. Worse, what if nobody turned up? Well at least there’ll be refreshments. “More for me!!!!” (hahahaha). One kind member of the group said this:
Time for one of my favorite stories. I tell it all the time. People start nodding their heads finishing off the lines because they know it so well. But here goes anyway. I’ll probably tell it again.
It’s about Abbott and Costello, the famous comedy team. Bud Abbott cheated on his taxes and was in trouble with the IRS for owing back taxes. Lou Costello at this time was dead. So Abbott sent out a nationwide request to his loyal fans to help him out with donations. After all that trouble, he only got about 2 hundred dollars. A wise-ass reporter asked him to comment on his so-called fans donating so little. Mr. Abbott said, “It was damn nice of them.” So it’s damn nice of those 7 people or however many finally do show up.
Seriously, though. I do love reading my work out loud, particularly those that work better that way than just flat on a piece of paper. I know most people who read this little blog are not even in Cape Town – or South Africa, for that matter. So feel free to give me a shout and wish me luck. Yes, I’m nervous but I’m also very excited. I hope not to waste anyone’s time at the very least.
If you’ve ever read and like any of my poetry, it would be nice to hear which ones you think I should include for the reading. Makes the whole effort less solitary.
Thanks for accompanying me on this journey.
In January 2011 my two books were born: Baha-bahagdang Karupukan and Alien to Any Skin. I was elated to have those two books published (both by UST Publishing House) for it had been a long gap since the last collection (Salimbayan, 1994). Soon after I wrote the first draft of the following poem. This one eventually joined a new set of poems that would become Sound Before Water (UST Publishing House, 2013), a much slimmer volume than the previous two which contain poetry from over 15 years. In a forthcoming review of this new collection this poem gets mentioned for the oddity of its title. I am posting this version – the one that is now in the book, as if being in book form makes it final! – perhaps as an invitation to adopt my paper children and make room for them in a new home.
It pains me not to be in the same country where these paper children are born. All I can do from where I am is tell as many people online how much I wish and hope the best for them. I will post a link to the review once it is available. For now, I share this with you.
How to Sell a Child Door to Door
for Karu and Skin, my paper children
tell them this child has no parent
and can only bring joy
to its new home
bring light and promise
into the room
as it silently sits
in their hands
even as the world burns
outside the window
tell them everything
they want to hear
that might make them smile
anything just to get
this child’s little foot
in the door
do not bat an eyelid
should the child
gasp at fragments
of moth wings
by the kettle
no one invites sorrow
into their lives
I can’t think of anyone who has ever managed to capture a field mouse that was trapped in a bathroom using a butterfly net. It was obviously as terrified as I was. No, no photos to prove it, I had my hands full. Here is one from a South African website:
photo from biodiversityexplorer.com
It was a cute mouse with white stripes on its back. Probably the same one that was teasing our house-imprisoned cat, Caspian, by running back and forth along the side of the the glass sliding door. A mouse with a sense of humor deserves an open field and not a bathroom prison – or poison!
So I let it out at least 50 metres away from our door. No doubt it will find its way back to cause more mischief. 🙂
Here is my silly doodle of it. haha