Saturday, March 31, 2012

Prickly Pears are not in Season

My grandfather loves calling me names
names with no particular meaning
of no particular origin
he calls me to make him tea
with the milk he didn't bring
to fetch him drinking water
even after the long drought
a drought that seems to move wells further

My grandfather loves to call me
to bring him a half burnt piece of wood
to light his equally half burnt tobacco
and often his half burnt index finger
a half burnt piece of wood
that he hit my grandmother with
on Sunday morning
burning her only church dress

My grandfather has been calling me often
to scratch his back for he has taken ill lately
there are so many of us but he calls me
not because he loves me I bet
like all my cousins he enjoys the bullying
but I will scratch his back today
may be for the last time
my fingers smell of death
a mixture of sweat and Vicks rub

My grandfather has stopped calling me
In fact for twenty years now
In this silence I learn he loved me
may be only now in his grave
he might have loved me one day
like when he gave me a male chicken
well more like lent me his chicken
bribing me to keep a secret from grandma
for a few days we shared a secret
i was the special granddaughter
until i found the chicken feathers
behind his little farm house
my grandfather ate my cock

And I have erased all bad memories of him
and wish he could give me something else
steal it secretly and lie it was hit by a matatu
and the only memories of him are those of war
the Sunday morning wars with grandma
the end-of-month wars with mum
my uncles
my aunts
his demands for his share of their salaries
wars he fought for other people's causes
for reasons he didnt know

BURMA, K.A.R, M.I.A, WWII, Germans

And in Burma he forgot his brains
came home with a lie about his brother
the Albino brother he lied to us was German
and these fucking prickly pears
that have stolen a half my grandma's garden
and things keep happening in halves
in my family
a half portions of food
a half told stories of fathers
a half schizophrenic aunts
a half religious uncles
and Woolies has the guts
to tell me their prickly pears
are so expensive now because
prickly pears are out of season! GASP

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