As I reached for the organic cucumber, a woman wearing
a polka dot dress over pajama bottoms and bunny slippers
grabbed for the same one.
With our hands clutching opposite ends of the vegetable
as if it meant the difference between survival
and a slow wasting death,
we locked eyes in a grim battle
of foraging supremacy.
“Go ahead, take it,” she said, shaking her head.
“What does it matter? Who needs a cucumber?
Haven’t you heard? It’s the end times.”
Review by E. Kirshe
Mandela and The General focuses on one stitch in Nelson Mandela’s legacy. In 1994, as the first post-Apartheid elections approach, and black South Africans are ready to take power with Mandela as their president, a militant faction of white South Africans – the Freedom Front – are ready to riot and fight to the death if need be. Attempting to avert a massacre Mandela held a series of secret meetings with Constand Viljoen- a former general of the South African army and later leader of the right-wing Freedom Front party.
“We must strive to find a political solution that reconciled White fears with black aspirations.”
As leaders of opposing factions they have the pull to keep their people from becoming violent and through reason, Mandela convinces Viljoen to reel his people in, to create true peace and not “the peace of graveyards.”
The book is told mainly through Viljoen’s recollections pulled from an interview author John Carlin conducted with him. The focus is on Viljoen, how he agreed to head the “white resistance”, how his twin brother helped broker the talks, and how Viljoen ultimately came to think of Mandela as “the greatest of men”. The story also serves to underpin what made Mandela capable of fostering this respect even from an enemy.
This is the wall of his memory
A photo to his disappearance
Pale, washed out with years
Yet, still, there he must be found.
His laughter haunts the echoes;
Not too far, she too remains;
A moment so long ago, outside
Of the time they both knew.
There, I will stay, searching
The nooks, the crannies, the seams,
For a signature has been apposed
Perhaps only a sketch of a life.
Palimpsest, the scientist
Will uncover every layer
Of the story finished too soon;
Unshroud a death only in rumors.
His skin reddened by the attacker
Weather of all seasons,
A shirt wearing spots of inks
And many chapters untold.
He laughs into the thickness
Of an unfathomable fortress,
Only from time to time, to
Emerge and wink at finitude.
It is his wall, the cover he built
Upon which his portrait lasts
Author of his biography.
Artist’s Statement: My name is Darrell Urban Black, I was born in Brooklyn New York, My artistic pursuit started at an early age around five years and as a teen living in New York, Long Island I produced some 500 drawings. receiving much encouragement and support from my mother, who worked in a mental hospital. She bought me paper, ink and pens. In 1980 I joined the National Guard in New York only to transfer in 1988 with the Regular Army continuing my artistic pursuits and In April 2001, I was nominated by the German government ‘for this year’s prize for promising young artists’. The idea came from Dr. John Provan of the Zeppelin Museum in Frankfurt. For the exhibition entitled ‘The Zeppelin in Art, Design, and Advertisement’, held between May 11 and July 30, 2000, for an artwork titled ‘The Invasion’. I’ve had many local, national and international group art exhibitions and have artwork permanently displayed in a number of art galleries, museums and other institutions in America and Germany.
I look kind of grubby and I want to apologize for that. I’ve been here all night. In jail I mean and I didn’t shave. I’ve never been in jail before and I’d like to go home. Grace thinks — Grace is my wife. Grace thinks they’ll let me out soon. I sure hope so cause I don’t feel very good. I have a blood problem. I can’t pronounce it but the Doc told Grace it’s very serious. He says there’s a new drug that could help but it costs lots of money and the Medicare don’t pay for it. Grace called the drug company and asked if they could do something but they said they couldn’t. Grace thought maybe if we went there they might help me. So we went there, but no one would see us. Grace thought if we hung around maybe they’d feel sorry for us or something so we sat in the waiting room. Grace read magazines and I spent the time staring at this big blank painting on the wall. Well it wasn’t really a painting; it was a blank canvas ya know. “Nice, isn’t it,” says the girl behind the desk. “What,” I asked? “The painting,” she says – “the Caudio, – don’t you love it?” “When’s Mr. Caudio gonna finish it,” I said? “It is finished,” she said. “But there’s nothing on it,” I said. “Of course not, that’s why it’s called, Nothing.” I asked how much did Nothing cost. “Three hundred thousand” she said. “Caudio’s bring very high prices.” I asked why someone would pay all that money for a painting that isn’t a painting. “Because it’s important,” she said.
just pretend to listen
to the sound of
and nod affirmatively
when being scolded
by the scalding
heat of another person’s
spoken with either
the ether like pitch
of a helium inhaler
Three pieces by W. Jack Savage. “We Won!”, “Time in the Garden,” and “That Spot Off The Beach.”
W. Jack Savage is a retired broadcaster, educator and actor. He is the author of six books: three novels, two short story collections and the autobiographical The High Sky of Winter’s Shadows (wjacksavage.com) In addition to his writing, nearly eighty of Jack’s drawings and paintings have been published world-wide. Jack and his wife Kathy live in Monrovia, California.
Remember, last month, how it was October and we were taking Halloween submissions? Well now it’s November and we are taking holiday themed submissions through December! January will be bleak.
You can win the glory of the Internet by sending us your holiday writing and art. What makes you feel warm and fuzzy? What do you hate about the holidays? Love? Celebrate? Ignore?
Tell us and we might be less furious.