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LOOP Issue 2

Poetry

Jim Bennett Marike Beyers Owen Chirinda Gary Cummiskey R. M. Francis Rosemund Handler Peter Harris Saaleha Idrees Bamjee Eva Jackson Aryan Kaganof Kobus Moolman Graham Nunn Kenneth Pobo

TEAROOM BOOKS


LOOP ISSUE 2: POETRY MAY 2013


Published by Tearoom Books 2013 Stockholm, Sweden Loop: Issue 2 Pravasan Pillay and Victoria Williams eds. Cover and graphic design: Jenny Kellerman Pillay Š Poems remain the copyright of the poet.


CONTENTS On the blue planet in the next solar system by Peter Harris...5 Three Untitled Poems by Kobus Moolman...............................6 A letter to Uncle Tongo by Owen Chirinda..............................9 The next call by R. M. Francis................................................10 Ten Years on by R. M. Francis.................................................11 Shard by Kenneth Pobo...........................................................12 Dindi’s Mom’s Lupines by Kenneth Pobo..............................13 Dindi Sees Her Father After His Funeral by Kenneth Pobo..14 The Geary Street apartment by Saaleha Idrees Bamjee.........15 Coda by Aryan Kaganof..........................................................16 Unfinished #67 by Aryan Kaganof...........................................17 My stuff by Eva Jackson.............................................................18 Untitled by Eva Jackson............................................................19 Exhibition by Rosemund Handler...........................................20 this is how it is by Jim Bennett................................................21 you just stand there by Marike Beyers....................................22 Tiger by Graham Nunn............................................................23 Doubt by Gary Cummiskey......................................................24 Part-time by Gary Cummiskey...............................................25 Contributors..............................................................................26


On the blue planet in the next solar system Peter Harris On the blue planet in the next solar system things are very different. No one loses their house, their sight, their spleen. The temperature is set at 21 degrees Celsius. The idea of killing fields has never materialised. Even though as I type, human skulls are being unearthed at Do Dontrai, don’t worry: on the blue planet in the next solar system everyone gets to eat white truffles and there’s no shortage of water.

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Three Untitled Poems Kobus Moolman 1. He looks in the mirror. One eye looks back at him, while the other watches something happening off in the wings. He looks out the window. Against the screen of night he sees his left hand pulling at something beneath a pile of papers. And suddenly he thinks how easy it would be for the chair behind his desk to plunge a sharpened slat into his back.

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2. With three hands he beats back the distractedness in his heart. It is not so much that he is alone. But that he cannot shake off the feeling of wanting to be with a stranger. He looks around for a sturdy handhold, one that will not come away from the wall if he grabs it with his whole life and pulls. Pulls himself up out of his unfaithfulness.

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3. He swallows hard and blinks. He swallows hard and clenches his fist. He clenches his fist to keep the panic from rising to his throat and choking off his oxygen.

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A letter to Uncle Tongo Owen Chirinda Dear Uncle Tongo When do you return? From the rumpy shops and small houses of Jo’burg Where you had gone to search for work? When? Did you find what you went searching for beyond the border, or your song is still the same, kukiya-kiya? Do you have anything to show for it or the Limpopo crocodiles spared you for you to spend the fruit of your sweat in the KFCs? Which is better then, mutetenerwa or the fat chicken from the restaurants? Did you arrive and find success bottled up for you in the streets? What will you become if you are to return? A good houseboy? A good chef? A thug? When do you return? Before I go I thought I should let you know Your father’s cattle were stolen, some died of foot and mouth, some of hunger. Your mother’s pole and dagga huts got burnt last summer, those that are left behind are nothing better than ruins. When do you return? 9


The next call R. M. Francis The next call holding the same notes. You decide sucking on your teeth. I’ll go on chewing at the marrow. Battle scar from a birthday card.

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Ten Years on R. M. Francis Can she fight the razors? She cannot now temper all of the boys, the missed, the undone – Now that the curbs are damp, the small amusements simper, Limp manifestos of labour years on. How can she hear that same rusty trumpet now as she barely flinches at sirens? It is just a shrug that she spins, all the frowns grip her in their lukewarm cauldron.

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Shard Kenneth Pobo Dindi slips on a greasy floor while picking up her order of steak, Caesar salad, and spaghetti— no one helps her up. Reid, a glossy magazine by a bed, bursts in, “Hey Dindi, your table is screamin’ where’s our food?” She trembles back to her table, apologizes. “Get us another server!” They get one. And a free dinner. Her boss, Jenny, says, “This is coming out of your pay!” And stalks away— Dindi nods, knows that if she quits she’s homeless, the bank a glass shard just under her bare foot.

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Dindi’s Mom’s Lupines Kenneth Pobo While ironing, she remembers her mom’s lupines by the side of the house. One May day, just to be mean, her friend Marsha stomped on them, ground them into the dirt— and went home for lunch. Dindi’s mom cried. Marsha apologized. Dindi started playing with Andy Reed. And found out she loved baseball.

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Dindi Sees Her Father After His Funeral Kenneth Pobo He dashes down into the center of a John F. Kennedy rose, white and fulsome—layers peel and peel and pull him in, waves from a petal, goes down deeper, plummets—still waving even as he falls apart.

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The Geary Street apartment, San Francisco Saaleha Idrees Bamjee Life leaks through the walls slips in through the window along with the theme from Braveheart and the colicky baby pee finding porcelain two flushes a cough some guitar chords canned laughter bubbling under the paint.

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Coda Aryan Kaganof She used to wake me up. “What’s wrong?” “I thought you were dead.” Ten years later she called up: “You were my great love. I used to watch you sleeping. I loved you so much it hurt. What happened to us?” It was devastating hearing her voice. I was irritated. Felt no emotion. Nothing. Just wanted her to get off the line.

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Unfinished #67 Aryan Kaganof Last night it struck me That the only poems That Matter Are the ones the poet never wrote down. It was a comforting thought So I stopped writing this one

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My stuff Eva Jackson The blue-rimmed plates, the roasting pan; All of the mugs except for the ones from France. The Pauper’s Cookbook, with its recipes for something, Peas and ham And cream in large amounts. The real towel, and the towel that’s a rag now For mopping up spills, The first-aid box of out-of-date, undated pills, All the furniture, which harbours Two-tone grains of woodworm larvas? Larvae, and they’re adults now In any case. The landlord mustn’t know.

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Untitled Eva Jackson This goes out to the quiet landlady Walking around her tenants’ house while they are out Lifting and dropping Her crucifix shining.

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Exhibition Rosemund Handler A figure dwarfed by an ancient landscape physical and psychic wounds reflected in the face of another the shock of your body turning on you the collision with mortality carved in lines on your chest a slow painful healing a desperate urge to be as before while becoming during and after breast cancer a man awakened to suffering to the grace and gift of each day. a sense you are no more than a grain of sand and a will to survive your life in eight shots

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this is how it is Jim Bennett warm fingers carve through its hard cold surface the shape of a house a group of stick figures a garden hills behind then the melt joins and it becomes a water mirror reflecting clouded sky this is how it is when you paint with fingers on ice

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you just stand there Marike Beyers you cannot rip it out so you just stand there your hand inside your chest feeling its horrible wetness falling with each breath you just stand there as if your shoes were the centre of the world

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Tiger Graham Nunn We are the oldest people waiting to have our photograph taken with the white Bengal tiger. Teenagers in front of us pat the tiger on the back stroke the strong line of its jaw. But when it’s our turn I freeze. The trainer reminds us to rub the back in just one direction, or like all cats, it will raise a paw to let you know you’re doing it wrong. I start to sweat. The tiger’s eyes are feverish and the air in the room smells like meat. You tell me to hurry up the seal show starts in less than ten minutes, so I run my hand down the tiger’s back. Its ears flatten and a sound like distant thunder rolls in its gut. The trainer tells us it hasn’t made a sound all day. But it speaks to me. I lick the sweat from my top lip and you laugh and ask me if it tastes like tiger. Later, when we are watching the seals jump through their hoops I grab your hand and say it’s you that I could taste. The fear of rubbing you the wrong way, salty and raw.

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Doubt Gary Cummiskey It’s true I saw her in the moonlight lifting doubt out from her mouth

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Part-time Gary Cummiskey I’m thinking of taking a part-time job in a brothel. I’ll stand at the door and offer to draw portraits of the clients as they enter and again as they leave. If they buy both they’ll get a discount.

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Contributors jim bennett lives near Liverpool in the UK and is the author of 63 books, including books for children, books of poetry and many technical titles on transport and examinations. His most recent poetry collection is The Cartographer / Heswall (two poetry sequences) (Indigo Dreams, 2012). marike beyers lives in Grahamstown, keeping busy at the National English Literary Museum. owen chirinda is a 24 year old poetry and prose writer. He was born in 1989 and most of his work is inspired by the suffering and predicaments of the common people in his country. He holds an Honours Degree in English Literature from the University of Zimbabwe. gary cummiskey lives in Johannesburg. He is the author of several poetry chapbooks, including Sky Dreaming (Graffiti Kolkata, 2011) and I Remain Indoors (Tearoom Books, 2013). His debut collection of short fiction, Off-ramp, will be published in 2013. He is also the editor of Dye Hard Press. r. m. francis is a poet living in the North East of England. He was born in the Black Country and studied English Literature at Portsmouth University. He has placed work with many poetry magazines both online and in print. rosemund handler has written four novels, all published by Penguin. Her first novel, Madlands, was written during her MA in creative writing at UCT. She writes short stories and poetry, which have been published in various anthologies. Her third novel, Tsamma Season, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize Africa 2010. Her latest novel is Us and Them, published in 2012. peter harris is studying for a PhD in the subject of the military service tribunals during World War One. He has had a steady number of poems, short stories and reviews published in a range of magazines and e-zines over the past twenty years. saaleha idrees bamjee; food pornographer and papyrophile based in Johannesburg, learning how to read and write through Rhodes University’s MA Creative Writing programme, blogs at www.saaleha.com

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eva jackson loves compaction but doesn’t find self-summary easy. She is not necessarily saying there is something wrong with you if you do find it easy, just that it ain’t natural. She’s in the development sector. There are pinpricks of light torn in the sky where, if you look through, you can see other sectors, turning slowly like glow worms on a big dark leaf. She often writes short poems that enable the unsaid to get out and have a party. When stressed she gets freakishly metaphorical. aryan kaganof is a project of the African Noise Foundation. His poems do not pay the rent. kobus moolman has published five previous collections of poetry, as well as several plays and an anthology by South African writers living with disabilities. He teaches creative writing at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. His most recent collection is Left Over (Dye Hard Press, 2013). graham nunn is the founding editor of Another Lost Shark Publications. He blogs at www.anotherlostshark.com and has published six collections of poetry. In 2011, he was the recipient of The Johnno Award for his outstanding contribution to QLD writers and writing. kenneth pobo had a chapbook published in 2012 by Finishing Line Press called Save My Place. Forthcoming this year is a new chapbook called Placemats to be published by Eastern Point Press. His work appears in: Orbis, Datura, Nimrod, Indiana Review, and elsewhere.

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Also by Tearoom Books Glumlazi by Pravasan Pillay Knock Knock Jokes Pertaining to Common Human Ailments by Pravasan Pillay Romancing the Dead by Gary Cummiskey Reader Digest: Poetry and Recipes eds. Pravasan Pillay and Victoria Williams I Remain Indoors by Gary Cummiskey www.tearoombooks.blogspot.com



Loop: Issue 2