Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Mister

Enlarge poem

Mister, you crinkle off my broeks
like a yellow sucker wrapper,
calling me precious
(or, precocious, I can’t tell which
with the crackle of this cellophane hymen
caught snapping like a lid on your mouth).

You are as thready as a wear in the leather,
puffing from the crook of your collapsed chin,
asking to “let me run one of your powder stockings,
cobbled, down my shin”

until, with one fowled swoop of your sciatic,
methuselastic,
hip-replacement-in-the-attic arm,
you sit me slap on your knee, how old are we?, say pretty,
pretty in your yellow dress!
(and, of course, you can guess the rest).

I am bucked and perched, my ‘bit chest fresh,
my patent white feet swinging wide-soled and sweet,
while one finger, thick and sticky as a popsicle,
is slid in to check if the dough is ready.

But you like to crack the inside soft,
with a little time to spare,
and I find your tweed hands itching and
plying my two dumpling knees apart
as if to trace by heart a start on a sore that isn’t even a scab, yet.

I could slip you in, flaccid, to the side, I offer,
but it seems there’s cutting in you still
(or at least, enough to slick one smooth slice between).
So I seep you all out, mister, yellow and mean.

Genna Gardini

Featured Poem:

The Archivist

Enlarge poem

The past clicks us into focus.
There’s a slid-hinge to the edit.
In this photo, your father frames you
like a fish he wants to remember-
slipped and tin, temporarily pliable,
propped on his knee.
Let’s take your brother, here,
blue-faced and stuffed, full of berries out the
bottom of the backyard, off the bramble
of his foot, rolling from the cabinet’s
carpet like a gum to its tongue,
small and sand-favoured;
his cheek still a linen chest of flesh
before he turned himself down
for girls who developed with their legs poised
stern as oars. They were his wife. Their skirts
unassailable septums, bone-walled. And their
factory-lit health, a tythe
I find myself paying,
and saying,”What’s honest is what lines it,
is the advertorial milk blanket of your insides,”
while my friends ask “Is this how shit always is?”,
and listen, and wonder, what fresh therapist
will chug the construction belt of their counsel,
tap court shoes square and cocked, to knock
the morse code of medication, and send us
nearing ourselves, for three months, or about.
So, I smoke the scalpel of memory, instead,
and scour love in its clot, as time consults
like a ruler. And each inch knows this
is the telling. This is the business of my life-
to talk that bread out of its dripping
with the small, sauced animal of my knife.

Genna-Gardini

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

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Biography

Genna Gardini is a writer based in Cape Town. She won the 2012 DALRO New Coin Poetry prize and was chosen as one of the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans for 2013. Gardini has had two plays produced at the National Arts Festival, WinterSweet(2012) and Scrape (2013), both of which won Standard Bank Ovation awards. She was selected for the Royal Court Theatre’s South African Playwright 2013 – 2014 programme. Her work as a poet has been published widely, both locally and internationally. She works as an arts writer for various publications, including the Cape Times. Gardini is currently completing her MA in Theatre-making (Playwriting) at UCT.

Genna Gardini

Genna-Gardini
Genna-Gardini

Biography

Genna Gardini is a writer based in Cape Town. She won the 2012 DALRO New Coin Poetry prize and was chosen as one of the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans for 2013. Gardini has had two plays produced at the National Arts Festival, WinterSweet(2012) and Scrape (2013), both of which won Standard Bank Ovation awards. She was selected for the Royal Court Theatre’s South African Playwright 2013 – 2014 programme. Her work as a poet has been published widely, both locally and internationally. She works as an arts writer for various publications, including the Cape Times. Gardini is currently completing her MA in Theatre-making (Playwriting) at UCT.

Mister

Enlarge poem

Mister, you crinkle off my broeks
like a yellow sucker wrapper,
calling me precious
(or, precocious, I can’t tell which
with the crackle of this cellophane hymen
caught snapping like a lid on your mouth).

You are as thready as a wear in the leather,
puffing from the crook of your collapsed chin,
asking to “let me run one of your powder stockings,
cobbled, down my shin”

until, with one fowled swoop of your sciatic,
methuselastic,
hip-replacement-in-the-attic arm,
you sit me slap on your knee, how old are we?, say pretty,
pretty in your yellow dress!
(and, of course, you can guess the rest).

I am bucked and perched, my ‘bit chest fresh,
my patent white feet swinging wide-soled and sweet,
while one finger, thick and sticky as a popsicle,
is slid in to check if the dough is ready.

But you like to crack the inside soft,
with a little time to spare,
and I find your tweed hands itching and
plying my two dumpling knees apart
as if to trace by heart a start on a sore that isn’t even a scab, yet.

I could slip you in, flaccid, to the side, I offer,
but it seems there’s cutting in you still
(or at least, enough to slick one smooth slice between).
So I seep you all out, mister, yellow and mean.

Featured Poem:

The Archivist

Enlarge poem

The past clicks us into focus.
There’s a slid-hinge to the edit.
In this photo, your father frames you
like a fish he wants to remember-
slipped and tin, temporarily pliable,
propped on his knee.
Let’s take your brother, here,
blue-faced and stuffed, full of berries out the
bottom of the backyard, off the bramble
of his foot, rolling from the cabinet’s
carpet like a gum to its tongue,
small and sand-favoured;
his cheek still a linen chest of flesh
before he turned himself down
for girls who developed with their legs poised
stern as oars. They were his wife. Their skirts
unassailable septums, bone-walled. And their
factory-lit health, a tythe
I find myself paying,
and saying,”What’s honest is what lines it,
is the advertorial milk blanket of your insides,”
while my friends ask “Is this how shit always is?”,
and listen, and wonder, what fresh therapist
will chug the construction belt of their counsel,
tap court shoes square and cocked, to knock
the morse code of medication, and send us
nearing ourselves, for three months, or about.
So, I smoke the scalpel of memory, instead,
and scour love in its clot, as time consults
like a ruler. And each inch knows this
is the telling. This is the business of my life-
to talk that bread out of its dripping
with the small, sauced animal of my knife.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

Mister

Enlarge poem

Mister, you crinkle off my broeks
like a yellow sucker wrapper,
calling me precious
(or, precocious, I can’t tell which
with the crackle of this cellophane hymen
caught snapping like a lid on your mouth).

You are as thready as a wear in the leather,
puffing from the crook of your collapsed chin,
asking to “let me run one of your powder stockings,
cobbled, down my shin”

until, with one fowled swoop of your sciatic,
methuselastic,
hip-replacement-in-the-attic arm,
you sit me slap on your knee, how old are we?, say pretty,
pretty in your yellow dress!
(and, of course, you can guess the rest).

I am bucked and perched, my ‘bit chest fresh,
my patent white feet swinging wide-soled and sweet,
while one finger, thick and sticky as a popsicle,
is slid in to check if the dough is ready.

But you like to crack the inside soft,
with a little time to spare,
and I find your tweed hands itching and
plying my two dumpling knees apart
as if to trace by heart a start on a sore that isn’t even a scab, yet.

I could slip you in, flaccid, to the side, I offer,
but it seems there’s cutting in you still
(or at least, enough to slick one smooth slice between).
So I seep you all out, mister, yellow and mean.

Comments

Your email address will not be published.