We have seen this all before | A poem

We have seen this all before

isis

Let them come with their guns

Their bullets,

Their swords;

In their rage, they forgot that

we kindled the first fires,

invoked the first storms.

Let them polish their steel

by the light of our moons

whispering stuttered starched fears

Soon, soon.

 

Since the first forms stirred

Our wolves have watched,  

As they loaded their bombs, their bows, sweating,

forgetting

that it was us who parted the seas

to give them the lives they’re defending,

It is us who ruptured, over, and over

to forgive their crimes, a thousand tired lies

Us that dug a thousand graves

For all kings fall

And all kings die.

 

Us who, beaten never broke,

Throats slit hung beheaded never choked,

Shattered, regrouped, regathered, reincarnated,

softly serrated, sharpened by patience;

celebrated, desecrated,

and yet

ever gracious,

Impregnated, assassinated,

but never

annihilated.

 

We wait

Caressed by our most faithful lover, death;

we’ve died a thousand times and will live a thousand years, yet,

and by the light of our moon

we make love to the sound

of them sharpening their spears;

A quickening of breath,

A softening, soothed by our lover’s cold caress.

Let them draw their knives,

Let them come for us,

bless.

 

When the bomb goes off goes off

Flames burn the night carnelian, agate

It’s in the fire they see reflected, their fate,

The spoils of victory a lie, truth seen ever too late

Our serpents watch their armies march, stumble, lurch,

prostrate;

Still they press on behind a specter in the name of the word

to win, to win and there, the ghost of a king fallen

on his own sword,

maimed, shamed, once great, now a fallen name

haggard, worn, flags torn, the once-prized first born.

But all kings die

As sure as dawn,

A life for a lie;

So it all carries on.

 

Let them come with their guns,

Their bullets their swords;

Let them come,

We are waiting

We have seen this all before.  

 

Write to Alex: Dear Alex, I don't like you. You're a bitch.

Dear Alex, I don't like you. I think you're a bitch and that you're mean. I preferred your content when you were Cape Town Girl - it was more fun, entertaining, and useful. You should be more positive. I liked knowing where to eat and where to shop. Now you speak to people in a way I don't like and it pisses me off. Who do you think you are? PS that shit you said about Joost vd Westhuizen was kak out of line. He's my hero and so what if he cheated, he was a great man. You deserved the death threats. I hope your burn in hell. An ex-fan.


Dear Ex-fan

I'm sad to see you go, but not really. You sound like the kind of person who looks to external sources to make you happy - for example, the behaviour of other people. This will set you up for extensive misery, and a sense that life is forever disappointing you. If it's not me pissing you off, it will be some guy at work who talks too loud, or the woman in your book club who reads faster than you. This is something that you will have to work on, and is sadly, not my problem. Which brings me to my next point.

My problems. I have a lot of them, maybe ninety-nine, maybe more, but you are not one of them. I don't even know you, and along the long lonely road that has been my life and career, filled with hard work, drudgery, highs, lows, love, loss, awards, failures, laughter, death threats, death and accomplishments that bring infinitely more reward (building companies, brands and writing books) than doing restaurant reviews, you have been nowhere in sight. Who do I think I am? Well, I know who I am. I've worked hard, fought hard and thought hard to become the kind of person who does not rely on outside approval for my sense of self-worth. Much of this has been on my own steam, without much external support. When you face and overcome life's challenges on a regular basis, you develop resilience and internal strength. So it's again bizarre that you think I should care about your opinion. This indicates a strange kind of entitlement on your behalf. Why do you think that I exist to entertain you? Is this because you are used to women being 'fun, positive and entertaining'? What is this obsession with positivity? Have you stuck your head outside a window and seen the state of the world lately? Are you telling me that I should be delusional? But most importantly, why do you think I should care about your opinion, especially when I know for a fact that you have done so very little with your life? (Google provides). Maybe seeing a psychologist can help you understand your sense of entitlement and need to control and criticise me better. They will also help you see that your entertainment, fun and positivity is entirely your responsibility, and not up to anybody else in this world.

As for Joost. I am sorry that your hero worship for a man whose skills amount to throwing a ball around quite well exceeds your respect for this woman's right to free speech. This woman, who has watched her female friends be screwed over, cheated on, fall victim to sexually transmitted diseases and be raped by men exactly like this. Some of those men being their partners and husbands, and - gasp - men described as 'legends'. But I am not surprised. These men are protected by a strong wall of people just like you, who are willing to silence and maim anybody who criticises their right to do whatever they want without consequences.  While on the flip side, women in the public eye are subjected to public roasting for minor transgressions such as sending some emails (God bless you Hilary Clinton). And in this case, sending some tweets. I stand by my opinion like you standby your ball-fondler and his dirty torn underwear. It is very sad that he got motor-neuron disease, I agree. Also, Here is a link to a study linking motor neuron disease with the use of methamphetamines. Cat - the drug he was using on camera with that lovely lady he cheated on his wife with - is a methamphetamine. Maybe you are hating me for being unsympathetic. Why? Because women should be sympathetic? Always? To a fault? What kind of housewife folklore is this? It makes no sense and is just bad logic. I have a deep respect for science, namely Newton's Third Law. Are you familiar with it? Give it a Google. We do not escape our consequences, and extensive psychotherapy of my own has helped me stop being emotionally attached to this. Again - back to point one where your own attachments and ways of viewing the world are being projected onto me. 

Anyway, thanks for writing. I hope things get better for you and that you learn to manage your expectations of other people better. I really hope that you learn this skill so that you can be happier in life. Hating people is not good for the soul, and can cause cancer. I don't have a link to a study for that one, but I am pretty sure it's true, just by way of personal observation. 

Stay well. Alex. PS Hell is lovely this time of year. Very warm, not too much wind. I am very pleased with my tan. X 

This One Time Literary Dinner hosted by Writer's Write

I was invited to be a guest at one of the Writer's Write Literary Dinners on 21 May. You should check them out - I'd definitely go to the next, especially if you're an aspiring author. The idea is they host a dinner somewhere awesome - this was at 10 Bompas, which was fantastic - and they invite a published author to be interviewed and to speak about their writing and how they got where they are. So I chatted to the crowd - who were so fun and friendly and interested in writing and my book - about how I wrote This One Time.  You can read the interview and post on it from Amanda Patterson if you click here. I had so much fun - it really was a great evening, and you should get yourself to one of those dinners if you can. 

This One Time Launch @Book Lounge Cape Town

So Eskom kindly arranged for us to have load-shedding for that extra horror ambience. Despite the darkness it was a great night - Lauren Beukes hosted the conversation, describing This One Time as 'Misery for the social media generation', and claiming she was so engrossed in reading it she almost forgot to feed her daughter. We had a lot of fun and a lot of cake and Brodie Lomax Wolf cocktails. Mervyn Sloman you are such a star - thank you for hosting an incredible evening.