“Of Demos and Burning Countries” https://medium.com/@BeautysDaughter/of-demos-and-burning-countries-fab0d480a74d
If I could paint,
If I could sweep broad strokes of watercolour across canvas,
I would use blues and pinks and purples and oranges
To create a kaleidoscope
To tell without words about this thing.
Vibrant and vivid would be the reddish-violets
And the blue-pinks –
I would paint you sunsets that render you speechless,
The beautiful ones that sound like peace,
Look like beauty,
And feel like silence.
Alas I cannot paint; words fail.
So it must be that the inexplicable must remain concealed;
Call it unfathomable.
Hold me in your arms, Toni sang,
Play me all night long like that Spanish guitar.
He told me he draws inspiration from that song –
He said he would thrum and strum
Long-stroke, deep-stroke, maybe even a bit of a back-stroke…
No stopping till I beg to cum.
I believe him, you see
He has that look about him, that feel –
That aura about him that calls to the deep
Deep feminine within –
You know the one?
The one that says ‘Don’t play with fire?’
L’enfant du soleil, ain’t even scared,
I say bring it on, set me free.
I wonder though if he’s ready?
No really – someone should warn him, someone should tell him:
I studied at Thandiswa’s feet,
And my song is he,
One that I’ll play every night till three.
Who’s the instrument and who the maestro?
Perhaps a concerto? The third part’s God’s –
That’s no typo.
She walked through the door and set her bag on the floor next to the sofa, carelessly throwing herself onto the settee in just the way her mother had regularly disparaged. What kind of woman just throws herself onto things? You shouldn’t just let your body flop like that, it’s quite unbecoming. Sonto stretched out on the sofa, shoes kicked carelessly off, and put her arms behind her head as if in direct rebellion to the voice in her head. She closed her eyes and was getting ready to lay there as long as it took to get over the stress of the work-day, when the door opened again and Adam walked in.
His presence hit her with so much force that she was on her feet before she had even realized she was moving, their magnetism drawing them to each other the way a moth is drawn to flame. No; the way iron is drawn to a magnet: inexorably, but without losing any of what makes it iron, it remains unchanged, ironness intact. Adam was moving towards her, half his attention on throwing the laptop-bag he carried onto the small table near the door without it sliding onto the floor and damaging the laptop inside. The rest of him focused on Sonto as she walked toward him. He knew she’d had a hard day, could tell by the way her shoulders were unconsciously hunched in response to the tension knot at the base of her neck. She’d lived with that pain for so long she didn’t even notice it anymore, but Adam did. He always knew when she was in pain of any kind; he dreaded her period just as much as she did. He wanted to ask her what had happened, if she’d managed to meet the major deadline she’d had today, but then the scent of her reached him as she stepped into his space, her body fitting into his without hesitation, so sure was she of finding welcome. His arms automatically went around her, his head lowering to her upturned face.
They resurfaced a few seconds later, both smiling, acutely aware that not a word had yet been said.
-He’s going to think I’m sex-crazy, Sonto thought to herself, wryly.
Adam was just so stunned by the kiss, he was trying to concentrate on anything but her in the hopes that his sudden erection would go down quicker.
-She’s going to think all I ever want is to fuck her.
He stole a glance at her and found her looking at him. How could he think of anything else when she was standing right there, their bodies still touching, her arms loose on his shoulders, and the scent of her -! The scent of her! She owned several different perfumes and rarely wore the same scent on consecutive days, sometimes even layering two, so she always smelt different but to Adam she also always smelt the same. Under the applied scent there was always her own, heavy but faint, sweet but musky, he got only the merest whiff at a time, and no matter who, what, or where, it always made him hard. It was always strongest when he was kissing her, as if the scent was a path and by kissing her he was getting closer to where it led. Funny, the scent never got stronger even though he all but tried to climb into her body via her mouth, kissing her so desperately and thoroughly that they were both panting for air at the end of it. Sonto of course responded in kind, matching him, as it were and as she always did, stroke for stroke.
Sonto turned and took Adam’s hand, leading him to the sofa. They settled on it, exchanging wisps of details about the day, both trying to be interested in the minutiae of the other’s day even though they were both rather eager to continue from where that initial kiss had left off. Adam could feel Sonto’s warmth as she leaned against him, seated as she was between his legs with her back against his chest, while he leaned on the sofa’s armrest, one leg propped up against the sofa-back, the other, like Sonto’s, on the floor. She was indeed between his legs, his rapidly-expanding sex trapped painfully against her spine. He tried to talk normally but he was distracted by his arousal. She was so close to him but of that elusive scent, only whispers, slightly more than imaginings.
Adam’s hotness hard against her back, Sonto felt herself moisten with each throb emanating from between his legs and ticking against her spine.
-What should I do, she thought. Pretend I don’t feel this?
She shifted a little and hearing his breath catch in his throat she sat all the way up and turned to him. Adam couldn’t speak. The state he was in, extreme arousal, meant that he could not have said anything without croaking his way through it. Sonto had half turned her upper body so that she sort of leaned on his leg which in turn was against the sofa back, and he knew she was looking at him. He couldn’t meet her eyes, embarrassed because he knew she felt him twitch and throb, and he hoped she wouldn’t do what girls usually did: call attention to his hardness with some quip and then pretend to be offended by what they knew very well was a compliment. Adam knew they were pretending because they always made the move to undress him first, eventually, and –
Sonto had said something and he’d been so lost in his memory he’d caught only the tail-end of it. Something about his hand, where? Dare he ask? Then she’d know he hadn’t been listening…
-Adam, your hand, isn’t it cramping?
His arm was trapped between their bodies in a somewhat awkward position and he hadn’t even noticed. He changed position, bringing his arm up to rest it on his raised leg. Because she was leaning on his leg, his hand ended up rather close to her shoulder and unconsciously he began stroking it. He could feel her relax into his touch and he marvelled again that this beautiful creature was sharing the cramped couch with him, her softness so attuned to his manly form that before he knew what he was doing, he was drawing her closer, moving in to drown in her once more. She leaned toward him to, and then stopped short. Her body between his legs meant that he could only lean forward so far but her position, the way she half sat half lay, her body leaning on his leg and half turned toward him made it a very uncomfortable position for kissing, or any kind of intimacy. The kiss could not deepen but for a few seconds their lips made contact, and again and again until Sonto drew back and in one fluid movement, got up off the couch.
-I hate uncomfortable sex she said, standing over him. Let’s go to the bedroom.
And she walked away towards the back of the apartment, not looking back once.
-Where did she come from? Adam sat a few moments, stunned by what had just happened but not sure why. Who was this woman? Where on earth did she come from?
Adam knew very well who Sonto was. She was his very own, his woman, but the relationship was still new, only a little over three months old, and he was still a little overwhelmed by her. It usually took women a bit longer than the two times he’d been naked with Sonto to get comfortable about matters of sex, but she’d made no excuses for her desires, almost wanton though they were; not even on the first day they’d met, that day when he’d broken every rule he knew about patient relations and brought her to a shuddering orgasm against his office wall.
Thinking about that first day only heightened his arousal and he got up off the sofa and took the path she had taken toward her bedroom at the back of the flat.
-Hurry up. A little smile, provocative; she patted the space next to her.
Sonto was still fully clothed on the bed, sitting up against the headboard. The only thing she’d removed was her pantyhose, which she’d left carelessly on the carpeted floor next to the bed. Seeing the silken item on the floor Adam thought he would keel over as whatever blood had remained in his head coalesced with that already filling his manhood. Sonto never wore panties with pantyhose.
He removed his belt and his shoes and socks, trying to decide as he did so whether to remove his pants as well. She was still fully clothed so what was the appropriate thing here? He took off the pants. No need to get them creased and besides, pants are the most awkward item of clothing for foreplay, almost as awkward, Adam thought, as the pause to condomise.
He climbed onto the bed and crawled toward her. She shifted a little, and then snuggled against him so that when they stopped moving, she was on his left side, her head nestled into his neck, her breath warm against his skin as her head rested on his shoulder. His left arm was trapped under her body but he was able to move it without disturbing her head. He rested it on her waist, gently trailing his fingers along what skin he could reach above the waistband of her skirt and under her shirt. His movement was limited, so he gently stroked where he could reach though it wasn’t very far.
His other arm was behind his head. Funny that. He’d crawled up the bed toward her fully expecting that they would immediately go at it, but he was learning that Sonto rarely did what you expected her to do and even when she did, she did it in her very own strange way. Take for example the first day he met her. She’d come into his rooms as a patient and she’d somehow walked out leaving him with the scent of her sex on his fingers, and a painfully hard rod of flesh filling his boxers. He’d had to wait almost half an hour before it subsided –
-Orange, she said, quietly. She shifted so that her lips were near his ear and whispered again.
Adam thought for a moment but he knew he was going to have to ask.
-Orange? What orange?
He felt stupid asking, like it was something he should know, maybe something from an earlier conversation. Sonto would say seemingly random things and then connect them to a conversation from that morning or the day before or even the week before. That’s how her mind worked: random connections that weren’t really random and when she thought of something she’d say it. She never held anything back. You could trust that what she was saying was what she believed at that time. Adam loved that he never had to look for hidden meaning or ulterior motives in what she said. You might not know what she was talking about at first, but with Sonto you never had to worry that she was manipulating you into saying something in particular so she’d have a reason to get angry. Some women did that; Adam had long ago learnt that what a woman said was usually not at all related to what she meant. Sonto was teaching him that words could be taken at face value without drastic consequences and screaming matches.
-Our sex feels like orange.
Adam was confused and Sonto raised her head to look at him when he didn’t answer. The look on his face was the definition of quizzical and she giggled a little.
-What? He pinched her hip gently. Why are you laughing at me?
She was still giggling and she seemed to break into full laughter as she tried to talk.
-It’s just, the look on your face! And she kissed him. Long and deep, just like that. She broke off the kiss just as his hands were beginning to roam her body under her clothing. She was now half on top of him and she moved back to her original position, her arm across his chest and her head back on his shoulder.
-When we make love I see orange, she said. That’s the colour of our sex.
Adam wanted to ask what colour sex usually was, he was curious now, but discussing exes with women was usually a landmine and he wasn’t sure that Sonto was that different from other women.
-Orange? He asked, buying time to think of something to say. Why orange?
-Well, I don’t know. But I think of Orange and for me it’s the colour of heaven. Of grace. Orange feels like safety, warmth, peace…all the good things that heaven will be.
As she spoke, Sonto’s hand had been busy unbuttoning Adam’s shirt, and now she was gently teasing his nipples. First one, then the other, rolling them between her fingers, flicking at the little nubs of flesh, seemingly unaware of what she was doing. Adam was torn between stopping her and letting her continue. Sometimes her ministrations were so slight that it was almost unbearably ticklish, but just when he thought he’d have to ask her to stop, she’d use a firmer touch and it would be erotic, before becoming almost painful as she piched a little harder. He couldn’t anticipate what she would do next and his entire chest was beginning to tingle, not to mention the rod of steel formed below his abdomen. He wasn’t sure if he liked this back and forth between pleasure and pain, but on thinking about it, it wasn’t bad. Not bad at all.
-Orange though? He asked, with a half-smile. A bit childish, you know?
Sonto sat up, face serious, and looked down at him.
-Childish? Or childlike? I’m not sure about childish but I quite like the idea of childlike.
She put her forefinger to the corner of her mouth as she always did when she wanted to think uninterrupted, another quirk of hers that Adam had noticed without needing to be told, and that he respected. Interrupt Sonto during a finger-in-mouth moment and you were likely to get your head bitten off. Exaggeration, but the point was that when she signalled that she needed a few minutes of uninterrupted thinking, it was best to give it to her. She never took very long, less than five minutes, and she always came out of it with some rare insight such that Adam was always glad to have given her the time. It was always worth the wait.
She popped her finger out of her mouth and took a deep breath.
-Paedophiles are broken people. I don’t really understand it, the sexual appeal to be found in a child, which is what immediately came to mind when you said childish. She frowned at him. He opened his mouth but her raised forefinger stopped him.
-Childlike, on the other hand, speaks of innocence, of freedom, of being uninhibited yet operating within clear boundaries.
Adam was nodding to her words. She was right. Their love-making was abandoned and joyous, but there were things that were never done, things that Sonto had decided were taboo and about which she didn’t even entertain discussion. On first hearing that she never gave head Adam had been sorely disappointed but on reflection, and now that it was three and a half months later, he’d realised that he didn’t even miss it. She was right. Their lovemaking was markedly pure, almost spiritual, something he’d never thought about, never examined but that he’d always known anyway, somehow. Sex with her was never complicated or fancy. It was clean, satisfying, it felt familiar yet every orgasm was different. He didn’t know why but thinking about it now, in light of ‘orange,’ he was beginning to see the childlike quality to their union. It lay in how freely she gave herself, all of herself to him, never holding back, always ready for him, never even attempting to stifle her moans -loud moans- not even that time when they made love in the bathroom during that party. He wanted to ponder this a bit more.
He looked at Sonto who was still sitting on her legs on the bed next to him, and he was once again hit by a wave of longing so powerful that for a moment it felt as though the bed actually rocked a little, like the earth itself had wobbled.
Sonto was taken aback. For a second there she’d heard the blood pound in her ears and felt a burst of heat flash through her core. She knew she was getting wet, wetter. She’d stopped Sending to Adam, it was much too intense and she never knew if she’d be able to control the Sending. More than once she’d Sent in his direction only to end up at his mercy, control having been wrested away from her and firmly grasped in his hand. She never admitted, not even to herself, that she actually loved it when that happened. That she loved not being in control of what would happen next, that Adam made her feel protected, like she could be free, carefree as she’d never been, and still be safe. She’d never told him this of course, she wasn’t ready, but deep down where she kept her secret secrets, she knew that she’d found something special, rare, with Adam. He made her feel all woman without even trying to be all macho. She didn’t often look into his eyes because when she did her world would go off-kilter, just as it had a few seconds ago. Sometimes his touch would do the same, sending her into a frenzy of longing so intense that nothing but him bringing her could ease it. And, oh how she came and came when he brought her. That’s what had happened the first day she met him, when she’d thought she was in control right up until she found herself pressed hard against the wall, his one hand at her throat and the other busy in her secret place. She’d clung to him, hearing her own moans as his fingers, first one, then another, dipped and stroked and rubbed, until the spasms took her and left her drained, knees weak. To be fair, she’d started off teasing him that day thinking her magic would protect her, but how could she have known that he would respond that way?
The memory brought a slight smile to her face and more throbbing at the meeting of her thighs. She knew this feeling, knew that it would only get deliciously worse…
She leaned towards him, and kissed him again, straddling him as she did, so that his boxer-clad hardness was right against her naked sex. Rocking gently so that he rubbed against her sweet spot, she teased his nipples as he brought his hands up and under her clothing, to toy with hers.
Why has there been no new international style in 50 years? Because the new ideas, the new needs are not yet clear. (Hence, we content ourselves with variations + refinements on Art Deco and, for refreshment + fusions, parodistic — ‘pop’ — revivals of older styles.) (8/8/1975) -Susan Sontag
The time has come. We don’t just need new names, we need new voices.
The old voices spoke: see! Hear! We let the poets speak;
Speak they did.
They were heard: the world changed.
Life was good, impi yombangazwe yaphela, kwathwa tiritose.
We, for the most part, thrived.
But then the world changed again, and those voices could no longer be heard.
So we sought new voices; we ran.
In a trickle then in a flood: our version of the Great Exodus.
What is Pharaoh’s army compared to persecution and death by starvation on one hand, an electric fence and crocodiles on the other? We too sit by those banks and sing ‘I am a conqueror’, even as we accept defeat, weep as we remember the land of milk, grain and honey.
Started with adventures with crocodiles and now we here.
Yet, what prize?
The loneliness, the otherness, the cold grey damp? Is this what they fought and died for?
Could it be that their time is past? Those old voices no longer resonate, are no longer calls to action. When last were you moved to act, really act not just click the ‘share’ button?
Sokuyinselele: what are you willing to live for?
We need new names, oh yes.
Call me warrior, Amazon, victor, conqueror, because I am all those things and more besides.
But call me Fear too for it rules me. Call me yella, coward, call me soft, for I am that too.
If I weren’t and if you weren’t we would not be reminiscing over the things we have lost, but we would be fighting hard for the restoration of the harvest: amagatsh’ angathel’ iz’thelo ayophosw’ emlilweni: hold the thorns, thanks.
We need new voices.
Voices to calm the fear and fan the warrior spirit into flame.
The time has come for those voices. Not the voices of yore that spoke of dry seasons and thorny harvests, but new voices that speak to where we are now.
We need voices that understand the multiple advanced degrees and the craving for sushi and the slam nights and the walk of shame.
We need voices that understand the suburbs and can make sense to us in our perches in the upper echelons, rubbing shoulders with difference-makers, being difference-makers, at least of a sort.
We need voices that understand the power of a #hashtag and why WiFi is a need on the 2015 iteration of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
We need voices that will be as that of the shepherd to the sheep. This is a new generation, it needs a new shepherd.
The time has come to sing that song you thought should never be sung, to write that story, and paint that picture. The time has come for a new art, for a re-birth and re-construction of what has been destroyed. Let the voices speak in stone and wood and in ink and on canvas. Let there be a din as the new sounds are heard and echoed.
Let them throng the streets as they haven’t done in a decade and more, in response to the voices.
We need new voices.
Let them speak.
In the past
I used to worry whether things would last.
Then I grew up
And learnt that the goal is to sip daily from that cup.
For as you sip,
In the river of eternity you take a dip –
What is life but an act of balancing on that knife?
On this side
The heavenly glide
Where all is glory,
But on that, the slide,
The descent into all that is gory.
I once wrote an account of the feelings I experienced upon confirming that I was indeed pregnant. I related how in the days leading up to taking the test I convinced myself that if I were ‘gravid’ as a doctor friend termed it, I would make use of the legally available TOP services, and indeed I thanked God that I lived in a country where this was an option. I told how on taking the test and confirming what I’d been suspecting for about two weeks, I felt overjoyed, excited and yes, blessed, which was not at all how I’d been expecting to feel, and how, from that point on I began thanking God for my fertility and good health and not least for the fact that I had a job and somewhere to live. I put the post up on my blog and one of my girlfriends said via email: how brave of you to put your story out there like that.
I don’t only write because I want to put myself out there, although I do believe that every writer is somewhat of an attention-junkie no matter how loudly they proclaim otherwise. It’s true though: I write because words turn me on in so many different ways, because my words are like my babies and I’m proud of them and I want the rest of you to be turned on by my words as I have been turned on by the words of others. It’s sheer egoism and there is no shame in it – all writers, all creatives in fact, are to some degree looking for that affirmation.
I write because I have all sorts of crazy going on in my head and if I don’t get it out I will, I am certain, go certifiably insane: the feelings people, the feelings. I write to express whatever it is that is choking me, strangling me from the inside, the words crowding my brain and making me feel like I daren’t do anything else until I’ve got them out of my mind and onto paper or more commonly these days, onto OneNote. I write to stay alive. I write to express what I feel, what I desire, and yes, even what I fear.
I write because I want to connect with people, because I have a story to tell that I think someone needs to hear so that they can know that they are not alone in whatever they’re going through. Other writers have given me comfort and succour when I needed it, have been my friends when I was lonely and alone, have helped me chart my path when I felt lost, have fed me when I was soul-hungry, have helped me make sense of this increasingly nonsensical world. I write because I want to share my way of looking at the world, because there is more than one way and this way might be just the perspective somebody needs to move from where they are to where they want to be. I write because we’re all looking for something, perhaps someone, and writing I like to think helps me help others as others’ writing has helped me. And so, I write.
I write because I want to be heard but more than that, because I want to be understood. I write because I have things to say not just to all the people who will somehow find their way here, but to you with whom I rendezvous in those still hours when the day is still becoming itself, when it's not even a day yet but still the night before. I write to share my heart and my mind with you, because sometimes, not often, we meet people with whom we want to walk the road less traveled; because I want you to understand not just my state of mind but also my state of heart; because I want you to hear the thumps my heart makes in the darkness and listen to the spaces between my breaths. I write because I have fears that need to be conquered and joys that need to be celebrated; without words flowing between us how else would you know these things? I write because I have questions and answers, because you have questions and answers, and words are a lovely form of exchange. I write because being with you under the lunar rainbow grows all sorts of things in all sorts of places; because I want to be with you under the solar moon and see what grows from that. I write because I'm not supposed to say these things even though these things need to be said. And so, I write.