Words Ablaze

What it means to me to write

stained glass windows tell a story
concentrate shafts of coloured light
onto hidden secrets in dusty corners
of the inner sanctum of my mind space.

shafts of light illuminate the silence

of this placid soul.

give her a voice.

let the radiance tell a story.

in this place filled with silence

and with warmth -

there is so much warmth!

these glowing embers...

Something was ablaze.

What is it?

Give it form

Bleed it out if you must

onto this paper

so that those on the other side

of the stained glass window

May also see the light.

© Sandisile Tshuma MMVI

Extract from Arrested Development by Sandisile Tshuma

I have been standing at Max's Garage for almost three hours trying to hitch a ride to Beitbridge. I am not the only one here though; there must be at least fifty people, maybe even a hundred. Or more, I don't know, whatever; it's hot and I am tired. The point is there is a sizeable crowd of would-be travelers with things to do and places to be and we are all waiting. Desperately. So much about life in Zimbabwe entails waiting. If you are serious about life, if you are a go-getter and you want to make things happen then you need to know how to wait. Seriously. You take a deep breath, put your "game face" on, brace yourself and wait. I had to wait two hours to get money from the bank to pay for my journey and now here I am waiting. Again. It's what we do. We wait for transport, for electricity, for rain, for slow-speed internet connections in dingy cyber-cafes in town where we check our mail to see if a nifty little website has found us a job in Dubai or a scholarship to an obscure foreign university, or anything really to get us out of here. And there is never anything, mind you, but you know how hope is. It never dies. So we tell ourselves that there isn't anything yet. We'll find a way out; in the meantime let's wait. If you are serious about your life, about surviving, about the future, then you sow some seeds, invest in yourself and you wait. It's my favorite oxymoron, arrested development
Arrested Development is my favourite oxymoron. It is also the name of an awesome old school Hip Hop outfit, it's one of my all-time favourite sitcoms and it is the title of  a short story I wrote during what I consider to be Zimbabwe's darkest and hardest years economically. It is loosely based on a road trip I took to Beitbridge border post to do some fieldwork on the town's preparedness to deal with extreme drug resistent Tuberculosis, XDR-TB in the wake of mass deportations of Zimbabweans from South Africa at the time.The story was published by 'amaBooks in an anthology entitled Long Time Coming and won an Honorable Mention at the 2010 Thomas Pringle Awards for the best short story published in a journal, magazine or newspaper in Southern Africa over the previous two years. It was also published in a South African literary journal Words Etc. and by Longhorn Publishers for a Kenyan pan-African short story collection for schools titled When the Sun Goes Down.

Extract from The Need by Sandisile Tshuma
I do not want to die. Lying out in the open as my organs shut down like the lights of a many roomed house going off one by one, what remains is an unidentifiable hope born out of the greatest instinct of them all, survival. If we do indeed find ourselves having lived out this scenario to the moment where you have chosen to kill me because you have no other way of expressing your sense of disenfranchisement then my sole remaining weapon will be my will to live. For one such as myself, an insatiable optimist for whom the future, unknown as it may, be is something to live for filled with the promise of something to do and someone to love and worlds beyond worlds, life is an imperative that is hard to extinguish. I cannot let go. And so the battle comes down to one last warrior, the one they call sentimental, the one accused of being deceitful but that supposedly breaks at the hands of cruel lovers, the one they say is lacking in people who do evil and think nothing of it, that is said to bleed when confronted with the intolerable suffering of others, that burns when you eat too much, races when you are excited and aches when a loved one dies... a muscle the size of a fist. All I need is a beat. I will. Not die. I will. Not die. I will...
The Need is chaos. It's a frenzied, panic-ridden foray into the mental recesses of a man on edge, who fears he is on the verge of becoming a victim of a crime against humanity. It's  unstructured, awkward, paranoid and uncomfortable, never settling into a steady rhythm. Because there is nothing structured, reasonable or comfortable about Xenophobia. The Need was published by 'amaBooks in Where To Now?

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I am making a point of not putting up the one negative review I received on Arrested Development because this is my blog and it's a happy space. No negative Nellies here thank you very much!

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