• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 01
Image by

You and Your Chimneys

That's me waving from the back of the boat as we leave the shore that did not welcome and did not expel. We expected nothing less. Watch me untangle myself from the past fifty years, unraveling away from the island. Have we said enough goodbyes? Those are the chimneys and the rooftops. Bye-bye, chimneys. Ha, the novelty of a chimney, after so many lands lived in and then we arrived, clamouring to shore. Hello, island. That's me emerging from the water like the fish they say begat us. This is from whence you came, fish in the sea, the offspring of those who dared to walk. Travel back far enough and you'll see our ancestors, fish on dry land. Hello, shore, hello, rocks, hello, sand. Hello, island. You cannot imagine the languages I've gone through to get here, a velcro of tongues, manoeuvring my way through crowded markets and the back streets of shopping malls. Say that in Xhosa. Say that in Russian. Say something in your language. What is my language? Goodbye, English (language). Goodbye, English (people). There's a limit to. There's a limit. Bye-bye, island. I write to you from this side of the ocean to admit that there are days when I miss your chimneys and bridges, the straight lines of your existence. This is how I came to you on my belly, a serpent out of Eden, terrible things witnessed, so close to the action. We are all witnesses [hello, English (people)] no matter how isolated, no matter how jagged the rockiness of our shorelines. We are all standing in the concentric circles of immorality. Watch us pull away from the shore. Goodbye, shore, goodbye, island, who knows what language we'll land up in next. Thank you for coming to wave us goodbye before you head back to your sofas where the wood crackles reassuringly behind the grate and smoke rises – hello, chimneys – to cover your cities in a veil of. It's hard to see from this distance. This is me extracting myself. Floppy disk from drive, video cassette from player. I have it all on record. I arrived with nothing and now I leave with a memory stick under my arm, tucked away to avoid thinking about you. It's cold here in the middle of darkness so we huddle closer.


You and Your Chimneys

There is nothing warmer than this frog-spawn of proximity, eyes growing bigger as we adjust, reach for something beyond the haze and nothingness of the lighthouse on your shore, so we turn our heads away from it and face whatever might be before us, a new land on which to hatch.