Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Gary Cummiskey

Featured Poem:

I wish I had known Bob Kaufman & Basquiat & The woman in the flat upstairs

Enlarge poem

I WISH I HAD KNOWN BOB KAUFMAN
Against the tides
For you my love
I have fallen asleep with my mouth full of light
As the hours continue
this is grave confession
with pages of madness
and music fit for the bay
PUT OUT THE LIGHT
This school hovers round me
There are BIRDS
BIRDS
filled with good times and jazz
Into this house
The sound is off-key
with the song of a
sunflower
to make a sad portrait
There are public signs
and lonely poets
dripping with MAD SAXOPHONES!

BASQUIAT
Jean-Michel
We are the ones that massacred morning
We are the ones that made colours commodities
We are the ones that let the junkies die
The ones that ate off polished silver and spat quietly into the corner
We are the ones that wiped the words off the wall
and sent love sprawling
into the gutter
We are the ones that faked success
We are the ones that dragged dreams from the night
We are the ones that ravaged the summer
We are the ones forever
outside
Basquiat

THE WOMAN IN THE FLAT UPSTAIRS
The woman in the flat upstairs is in her bath.
She is wrestling with a crocodile.
She intended the crocodile to be her lover
But he has turned into her predator.
I can hear the bathwater running and her thrashing about
In the bath, it could be the heat of ecstasy with her lover, the crocodile
But actually it is a fight for her life.
The thrashing of water and muscles becomes more audible
As I listen intently.
I do not bother to stir or raise the alarm.
I can hear her cry out like she is having an orgasm
But in fact the crocodile has grabbed her throat in his teeth
And is holding her underwater to drown her;
That’s what crocodiles do.
Once she is drowned and silent and motionless
He commences to eat her
But leaves half her body behind.

I wish I had known Bob Kaufman & Basquiat & The woman in the flat upstairs by Gary Cummiskey

Download the audio file

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (0)
  • Pride (0)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (1)
  • Reflection (1)
  • Captivation (2)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (0)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

Comments

  1. Gary is an amazing person and writer. He introduced me to the type of poetry which I otherwise would not have bothered to read. Congratulations on your various achievements my friend

    Faradieba Rasdien Snyman
  2. Beautifully written works, Gary … and a great project, to have the words walk off the pages, and into sound via Badilisha. Encore, please continue!

    Hetta Pieterse

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Gary Cummiskey is a South African poet and publisher living in Johannesburg. He is the editor of Dye Hard Press, which he started in 1994.

He is the author of several poetry chapbooks, including Romancing the Dead (Tearoom Books, Durban 2009), Sky Dreaming (Graffiti Kolkata, India 2011) and I Remain Indoors (Tearoom Books, Stockholm 2013). In 2009, he published Who was Sinclair Beiles?, a collection of writings about the South African Beat poet, co-edited with Eva Kowalska. An expanded and revised edition of the book was published in 2014.

Also in 2009, Cummiskey compiled Beauty Comes Grovelling Forward, a selection of South African poetry and prose published on the US literary website Big Bridge.

His debut collection of short fiction, Off-ramp, was published in 2013 and was short-listed for the Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award in 2014.

His work has been translated into French, Greek and Bangla.

He is currently editor of the South African literary journal New Coin.

Gary Cummiskey

Biography

Gary Cummiskey is a South African poet and publisher living in Johannesburg. He is the editor of Dye Hard Press, which he started in 1994.

He is the author of several poetry chapbooks, including Romancing the Dead (Tearoom Books, Durban 2009), Sky Dreaming (Graffiti Kolkata, India 2011) and I Remain Indoors (Tearoom Books, Stockholm 2013). In 2009, he published Who was Sinclair Beiles?, a collection of writings about the South African Beat poet, co-edited with Eva Kowalska. An expanded and revised edition of the book was published in 2014.

Also in 2009, Cummiskey compiled Beauty Comes Grovelling Forward, a selection of South African poetry and prose published on the US literary website Big Bridge.

His debut collection of short fiction, Off-ramp, was published in 2013 and was short-listed for the Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award in 2014.

His work has been translated into French, Greek and Bangla.

He is currently editor of the South African literary journal New Coin.

Featured Poem:

I wish I had known Bob Kaufman & Basquiat & The woman in the flat upstairs

Enlarge poem

I WISH I HAD KNOWN BOB KAUFMAN
Against the tides
For you my love
I have fallen asleep with my mouth full of light
As the hours continue
this is grave confession
with pages of madness
and music fit for the bay
PUT OUT THE LIGHT
This school hovers round me
There are BIRDS
BIRDS
filled with good times and jazz
Into this house
The sound is off-key
with the song of a
sunflower
to make a sad portrait
There are public signs
and lonely poets
dripping with MAD SAXOPHONES!

BASQUIAT
Jean-Michel
We are the ones that massacred morning
We are the ones that made colours commodities
We are the ones that let the junkies die
The ones that ate off polished silver and spat quietly into the corner
We are the ones that wiped the words off the wall
and sent love sprawling
into the gutter
We are the ones that faked success
We are the ones that dragged dreams from the night
We are the ones that ravaged the summer
We are the ones forever
outside
Basquiat

THE WOMAN IN THE FLAT UPSTAIRS
The woman in the flat upstairs is in her bath.
She is wrestling with a crocodile.
She intended the crocodile to be her lover
But he has turned into her predator.
I can hear the bathwater running and her thrashing about
In the bath, it could be the heat of ecstasy with her lover, the crocodile
But actually it is a fight for her life.
The thrashing of water and muscles becomes more audible
As I listen intently.
I do not bother to stir or raise the alarm.
I can hear her cry out like she is having an orgasm
But in fact the crocodile has grabbed her throat in his teeth
And is holding her underwater to drown her;
That’s what crocodiles do.
Once she is drowned and silent and motionless
He commences to eat her
But leaves half her body behind.

I wish I had known Bob Kaufman & Basquiat & The woman in the flat upstairs by Gary Cummiskey

Download the audio file

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (0)
  • Pride (0)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (1)
  • Reflection (1)
  • Captivation (2)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (0)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

Comments

  1. Gary is an amazing person and writer. He introduced me to the type of poetry which I otherwise would not have bothered to read. Congratulations on your various achievements my friend

    Faradieba Rasdien Snyman
  2. Beautifully written works, Gary … and a great project, to have the words walk off the pages, and into sound via Badilisha. Encore, please continue!

    Hetta Pieterse

Your email address will not be published.