Bye-bye, Miss Muscles
DARK, low clouds hiss and spit. There’s a gale-force wind and some random drops of rain.
It’s as if the sky is metres from your head, so low are the swollen, sullen heavens.
They match your unruly feelings, these moody mad blues so crazy they make you cry.
Definitely not weather for a barbecue, a method of open-air cooking that South Africans call a braai.
This chicken you’ve marinated for hours, this bird, it must go in the oven, Kaftan One’s little oven, at Skala.
It fits in, just. It’s lying on its back, open-legged, in red wine and olive oil.
Chunks of a whole fresh pear wallow in honey. Fresh thyme and oregano nestle in the fruit; they stick to it, they’re glued to a delectable dressing on a sheet of meat.
Pepper. Some garlic. A bit of this, and that.
The Kaftan One, from Norway, is keen to learn how to build a fire.
She wants to know how to grill and bake food on smouldering, shimmering coals.
But not tonight, Josephine.
Next week, you will give a lesson at Villa Sappho, the Kaftan One’s colourful cottage, down the road from the Kouitou Hotel, a unique establishment indeed.
You will demonstrate your prowess with flame and food.
On this occasion, tonight, Miss Muscles and Krolle, her dog, are the stars of the show.
They shimmer in the glimmer of goodbye.
You, the Kaftan One, Madame and Miss Muscles are just about to start dinner — your knives and forks are poised in mid-air — when there’s a knock at the door.
In walks The Grunter.
She sniffs and snorts as if she’s got no tissues to blow her nose.
WTF? What’s with this woman who’s taking over Miss Muscles’ flat?
She’s sitting next to you but you dare not look at her.
Maybe this is a Nordic cultural practice? Who knows?
Later you notice the snuff box on the table, between you.
Ah. So that’s what all the nose pnuematics is about.
It’s not a late night.
Miss Muscles, Krolle and the Kaftan One are driving to Mytline the next day.
The departing ones will stay at the Sappho Hotel in the island’s capital, and leave from the airport at the crack of dawn on Saturday.
You don’t go with them, as you say you will.
You stay at home, to gather yourself about you.
Two Albanian sisters are here. They’re cleaning windows, washing the floors.
They slosh water everywhere.They shake their heads when you proffer cloth upon cloth.
E5 an hour, each.
Madame pops in to make sure they’re doing their job, then she too waves and leaves.
She’s on her way to unblock her chakras, to paint them free in a village nearby.
You? You waddle around in words. And let them swamp you.
You must be careful not to drown.
ps: I am finding that writing a blog every day is utterly exhausting, intellectually and emotionally.
I need time to assimilate and to integrate, to chill, and to not be preoccupied by its contents 24/7.
This is why I will publish Afrodykie’s blog only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, starting from today.
I have a lot of typing to do too, ie inputting reams of poems, pre-computer writing and so on.
After that, I intend to collate my life’s work, and to stack it in a coherent order: poems, journalism, interviews, short stories, film scripts, etc. It is published and unpublished work.
I also intend (please sweet Jesus, and all the gods and goddesses) to complete what I believe to be compelling stories, the ones I have started over many many years.
Retrospect and experience will make them rich, in texture and tone.
I will also need to do some journalism (maybe a feature a month?) for possible publication.
Hello. I take commissions. Hello. Can anyone hear me? Yooohooo!
So! This work is going to involve a lot of sitting around, and hours and hours of sweat in my office.
You know what they say, one percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration…
I imagine I am going to need longer than six months to do this, and to complete it.
It may take the rest of my life. This lifetime! Whatever. It must be done!