Art and Literature for Africa and the World

-ness

-ness

Sunshine, and the veld is suddenly green.
More than green – feel the -ness-ness of it all,
the lush-ness, avocado-ness, verdure
bottled in a rich seenowwetoldyou-ness
unfolding across a pregnant hillside.

Hatching, emergent, oceanpearlgreen-ness
opens its arms in simple greeting, its
olive glow an embrace, new abundance,
the welcomehomeourhumanfriend-ness
of an elephant’s mountainous smile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Owen is author of eight poetry collections and editor of three anthologies. Originally from Liverpool, he moved in 2008 to South Africa’s Eastern Cape from UK, where he had been the inaugural Poet Laureate for Cheshire. He now lives in Kylemore in the Western Cape.

Stephanie Liebetrau lives and works in Port Elizabeth/ Gqeberha. She completed a Diploma in Graphic Design at Cape Technikon. Her evocative oil paintings & collages fuse South African women with natural elements to create hybrids that diffuse the boundary between the real and recreated. She explores themes such as Eco-Feminism and remains fascinated by the “fragile hieroglyphics” in nature’s design. Her work is often ekphrastic, inspired by poetry, scripture and sacred texts.

Two Poems

Two Poems

A Brief Account of His Escalating Petulance

His silence, at the start, a small nuisance
like gnats in a cramped kitchen.

His silence, a snorted Harumph, smug
sniggering from a secret room.

His silence behind a bogus smile
like a clown, or a hyena.

A silence whose tongue grows dry.
A silence that’s seen

its own shadow in forgotten things.
Silence with questions,

unanswered, coiled like a cottonmouth.
Silence that lies

in wait, that shakes its head
and points at someone else.

His silence, a behemoth in a glass factory,
broken pieces,

like so much rubbish and roadkill,
lie in its wake.

Silence that says you can’t go back:
it’s time to pull up stakes.

 

 

By The Water’s Edge

 

 A toad flicks its tongue
out and back
in a fraction of a second,

captures prey and
retracts its eyeballs
into the roof of its mouth.

Above, stars
flame and flash out,
their charred remains

reduced to the dust
on a picture frame or
his lately unused chair.

And I’m left bereft
by the sudden death
of love (first, the duplicity,

then, hurried desertion),
and by loneliness’s morbid
growth, heavy and slow.

Haunted, for days
I yearn to go back
to the edge of the water

and sit. I’m tired
of waiting for whatever
is waiting for me.

 

 

 

Lenny Lianne is the author of four books of poetry, most recently THE ABCs OF MEMORY, reissued by Unicorn Bay Press. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from George Mason University and has taught poetry workshops on both coasts of the US.  She lives in Peoria, Arizona (USA) with her husband and their dog.

 

Annette du Plessis is a South African artist who works in many different media, including embroidery. She has been awarded an FNB Craft Vita Award and a Certificate of Excellence from the Eastern Cape Department of Arts and Culture. She has been involved in several community art projects, serving some of the poorest communities in South Africa. Her work is in many private and public collections. Read more about her creations here: https://annetteduplessisembroideryart.wordpress.com/

 

Kayaking on Lady Bird Lake

Kayaking on Lady Bird Lake

Google me this,

you Ozymandian phalluses

rising from Lady Bird’s plantings:

 

who has done more—your Titans of Tech,

changing history with their (mis)information,

or one cosseted Southern woman,

caught up in the toils of a hardscrabble boy

from the hill country, but nonetheless

relentlessly persistent in her vision?

 

From a distance, your towers dominate,

but down here, almost in the water,

her little wilderness provides

heron and egret roosts,

turtle nurseries, cover

for a million bats or more

departing, in season,

on their nightly quest for corn moths—

 

a whole rich and fertile legacy

of urban biome that now,

uniting me with water,

earth, and gentle morning sky,

distinguishes my small vessel

from all the other plastic

floating in the lake.

 

Passing under the railway bridge,

I take the vibrant advice

of a graffiti artist: “BREATHE,”

remembering those who can’t now.

 

It is a prayer that the world

will not prove disposable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lorna Wood is a violinist and writer in Auburn, Alabama. Her poetry has appeared in Angel Rust (Best of the Net nominee), Coastal ShelfEscape Wheel (great weather for MEDIA), and Poetry South (Pushcart nominee). She has also published fiction, creative nonfiction, and scholarly essays. Find out more at amazon.com/author/lornawood.

Griet van der Meulen was born in 1956 in the province of Mpumalanga, where she has a small gallery in Graskop, mainly to serve as a platform for local artists, who otherwise would not have the opportunity to exhibit their work. She has taken part in many local and overseas exhibitions in Canada and Germany. In 1991 she was awarded the Schweikerdt Prize for excellence in painting. In 2001 the Mpumalanga Government and German Frauen Kunstforum sponsored her for a residency in Dortmund Germany. Griet also lived in Ottawa for four years where she was part of a group of artists called The Women’s Environmental Network. She has taken part in various exhibitions, and her work is on permanent display in the Graskop Gallery.

Destiny News

Destiny News

for Bob Fox (1943-2005)

 

When someone knocks

on your cranium in a dream

you should open your eyes

and pay them attention.

Like taking a forkful

of a moist slice

of coconut cake after

the server at Denny’s

plops it wobbly on the table.

So, hello again, Bob,

your moustache dense like

a warm bowl of morning

oatmeal and your breath

burned into the skin

of your CDs.  The idea

of your leaving

still tucked away

in my glove box,

the helium

in your tutelage

made us all rise.

You were no

Yiddish journalist but

Meigs County cropper who

detested the stuffiness

of gentleman farmer

and shaped subway

fables even past

the ninth inning.

Now it’s elsewhere

stirred by a mystic

dream board—

so hello, middle-

of-the-night visitor.

You’re still strongly

in deed, fresh

as the news, traveler

on destiny’s meridian.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rikki Santer’s work has appeared in various publications including Ms. Magazine, Poetry East, Slab, Slipstream, [PANK], Crab Orchard Review, RHINO, Grimm, Hotel Amerika and The Main Street Rag. Her work has received many honors including six Pushcart and three Ohioana book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her tenth collection, How to Board a Moving Ship, has just been released by Lily Poetry Review Books. 

Stephanie Liebetrau lives and works in Port Elizabeth/ Gqeberha. She completed a Diploma in Graphic Design at Cape Technikon. Her evocative oil paintings & collages fuse South African women with natural elements to create hybrids that diffuse the boundary between the real and recreated. She explores themes such as Eco-Feminism and remains fascinated by the “fragile hieroglyphics” in nature’s design. Her work is often ekphrastic, inspired by poetry, scripture and sacred texts.

 

Greenmarket Square, Saturday Morning

Greenmarket Square, Saturday Morning

Hi  am Andile

I aM ashamed

but   Hungry

Pleaz

Help

God

BLessed

 

I’s not asking for money just ten rand for a stukkie brood or a hot chocolate.

Ek vra mos. I’m not going to rob you, I’m only asking.

Why does everybody say no today?

Dit lyk my julle mense het jou ubuntu by die huis vergeet vanoggend.

Even God doesn’t want to buy kak for me today.

Dis mos maar net so.

Hey CASH FOR GOLD lady, you are the queen of my world.

 

 

 

 

Stephen Devereux is a professor at the Institute for Social Development, University of the Western Cape, where he recently completed a MA in Creative Writing. One of his poems won third prize in the National Poetry Competition, 2020.

Born 1976 in Durban, South Africa, Tanisha Bhana is an interdisciplinary artist who also practices as a financial attorney. Through her use of photographic montage, she composes a new visual narrative with layers of charged images. She has participated in numerous collaborative projects, most notably the display of works with poet and activist, Dr Rama Mani, for the performance-dialogue on “War, Women and the Human Spirit”, at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Canada, in June 2014. She has been awarded several awards including the New and Multi-media and Photography Award by the Thami Mnyele Foundation in 2013. She regularly participates in group exhibitions locally and internationally.

 

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