the post mortem phase

so 5 days on, the ex and i are in the post-mortem phase.
he comes over and we make morning coffee and stand in the kitchen holding each other and crying. and we talk about what went wrong and how we still love each other, but that we realize that we were flogging the proverbial dead horse.
and he’s done me the cruel kindness of putting into words what i had started to perceive over the last few months. he loves me still, but he fell out of love with me. and i felt it. i slowly started feeling less attractive, because i don’t think i was attractive to him anymore. i felt him beginning to make less and less of an effort. i felt him looking at me with different eyes. and we drifted apart. and yes we do still love each other, but hearing him put into words what were merely  inchoate perceptions before, makes it so much easier to let go. because it’s not enough otherwise. though i’d hate to think that all along we were simply making do.
i wrote this poem about someone else, but it feels appropriate again now.

ebb tide   11.22.03

thoughts of you plague me

like a low grade fever

i cannot shake.

i awake to find you

creeping at the edge of consciousness,

whereas for you,

i am a task you’ve taken on,

then grown weary of

and i see you pulling back

like the tide rolling out,

ebbing with ennui.

i need to look into your eyes

and see myself reflected there,

magnificently magnified,

but i can not deny that

that’s not what i see

and it’s just not enough for me.

part of me feels a little like a failure because how could i let someone who loved me enough to follow me across an ocean, fall out of love with me? but a tango takes two. i’m willing to own my part, but i know that it was both of us who screwed up the choreography and to thoroughly mix my metaphors, let the ship run aground. and i’m letting go. i’m scared of living alone in this 3-bedroom house, with a swimming pool and a garden and 2 big dogs which are now all solely my responsibility, but there’s also a simplicity about knowing that if i don’t do something, it’s not going to get done. so i do it. yesterday, i cleaned the dog-hair out of my car, i scrubbed the algae which has been accumulating forever out of the pool, i vacuumed and cleaned and organized, because now it’s all up to me. and there’s a lot more to do. and i’ll do it.
i got proactive and started taking a sleeping pill in order to get some rest. and night before last when i woke at 3a.m. to a massive thunderstorm (yes, i’ve not missed the fact that it’s been raining non-stop since we ended), the following poem came to me. i typed it out on my iphone, then turned over and went back to sleep.
Bounce  nov 8.08
I have the resilience of rubber.
Been bounced so many times,
Yet refusing to break.
I tend to forget that sometimes
When I’m vulnerable.
What seem
Like cracks start to show,
But the truth is,
I’ll rebound.
Throw me up against the wall
And I might fall,
But I’m going to
Bounce.
and instead of curling up into a little ball, i stretched out and took up the entire bed. because i could. it doesn’t change the fact that i’m sad, that  i’m hurting, that there are going to be a lot more tears, but i’m not going to wallow. even at the moment that l told me he was moving out and i felt that excruciating hole open in my chest, i felt my world both contract and expand, though i see the capacity for expansion as so much bigger.
last night, seeing that i was suddenly without a partner for the nando’s 21st birthday celebration i’d alread rsvp’d for, i called up a friend and got him to be my +1 for the night. and i bumped into my good friend K, also an actor on a very popular soap. i’ve known him since i was 15 and we’ve always said we were twins, and it was so reassuring to look into his face and see the love for me reflected there. and it was such fantastic validation to have him take me in his arms, look me in the eye and sincerely remind that i was beautiful and vital and make me vow not to forget that. and i won’t.
once again, i’m on the bound, and i’m going to bounce.
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the morning after…

it’s the morning after the night before. my first of many nights alone in the house, knowing that this time he’s not coming back. the first day of the rest of my life.

and i’m so sad.

i was wise enough yesterday to call my good friend deon for some support. we went to another friend’s birthday party over at claire johnston of mango groove’s house, while l was moving his stuff out. everyone was wonderfully supportive and didn’t mind me crying when i needed and claire and i connected like we’ve known each other forever. and i drank enough punch to knock out a horse, though it didn’t stop me from waking at 2 and wandering the house for the rest of the night. just like the night before.

the irony, the ambiguity and ambivalence is that while i’m mourning the end of what was meant to be forever, i know we had come to an impossible impasse. while we both wanted the same thing, we got lost in our own heads and never made it happen together. and then there are certain things which are non-negotiable for me and others which are non-negotiable for him. there’ve been times when i’ve been ready to walk away, times when all i’ve wanted to do was leave, but we stuck it out and now i feel hopelessly mired. it is so much harder to let go.

but still, it’s 4 years worth crying over, so i’m giving it it’s due and grieving. though i’ll be ok. i’ve been through much worse and come out the other side. so i’m not running away. i’m feeling what i’m feeling and honoring that. i’m owning it.

and i know that everything’s going to  be alright. the slogan for the last week was “change”, wasn’t it? well, a change has come. and without a struggle, the chrysalis cannot become the butterfly.

at least lack of sleep has always brought out the poet in me.

watching love walk away     nov8.08

we sit
on the sofa.

side by side,
yet worlds apart.

your words sink inside me
like stones.
we’re in  a ship descending
into a sea of regret,
while on the horizon lie
tomorrows that never will be.
my tears will not stop
and so the waves overwhelm.

the ship starts breaking apart .
reality threatens to drown us both,
as clinging to flotsam
we float,
a part of each other
no more.
no longer us,
now just you and me.
we’re both still mouthing
“i love you”
and
“i’m sorry”,
but the distance between us deepens.

despite our best intentions,
despite everything we’ve tried,
on the shore, far off,
in the distance,

we  can see love.

and it is walking away.
(pic removed)

A wake  Nov 9, 08

I am holding a vigil
For us
A wake for what was
I am staying up these long nights
Sleepless
My eyes wide
My heart hollow

There’s part of me
hopes that you are sleepless too
But the better part
hopes you are sleeping sound
And resting in peace.

the things we take for granted/just another day in jozi

you walk through the door
and there’s a look on your face
that’s strange.
something’s been
rearranged since the last time i saw you,
since the last cavalier
goodbye.

“didn’t you get my message?” you say.
i explain the mundane inanity
of a phone forgotten at work.
“mine’s been stolen,”
you say, your voice flat and calm
as you regale me with a nightmare of doors kicked in,
and men with zipties and guns.

in my mind flash horrific scenes of
“what might have been”.
but like you, i am numb.

i look at you and see the violence reverberate.
“shhhhh…”, i say,
pulling you close.
“shhhhh…”.

as i hold you
i cannot help but feel imaginary bullet wounds,
i feel the holes rent by that knife.
i see one more hole ripped huge in the fragile silk
of this parachute,
our life.

and yet:
i also feel the things we take for granted.

and i am grateful for another chance.

the shadow of dark wings – 9.11.2001

yesterday was september 11th.

https://i1.wp.com/www.coping.org/911/history/pictur2.jpg

mention that date and i flash immediately to where i was when i first got the news.

september 11, 2001, my husband and i were still asleep in topanga, california when we were woken by a distraught voice through the answering machine, telling us to turn on the tv. still half-dazed, we pointed the remote and the next moment the room was flooded with the most horrifying images. i know here in south africa, people cheered at the sight. i don’t understand that. my immediate thought was for my husband’s family in new york and then the sheer horror of all those people trapped in those buildings. it was horrendous and i don’t think the world will ever be the same.

i was never eager to gain an american passport, but after that day in 2001, i became an american citizen. partially so that i could have a say in who next occupied the white house (even though my first american vote was an exercise in futility), but i identified with all those incredible americans who are not yahoos, who are against any kind of war, who, when you meet them, will embrace you with wide open kindness, generosity and spirit. even though i’m born african and that will never change, i’m glad and proud to be one of those americans and whether i get to live on american soil again or not, i will always be glad of the welcome and opportunities i received and still do, everytime i return, and i will always miss the love and friendship i was given so unreservedly by those americans so generally and stereotypically, reviled by many around the world. i’m glad i know otherwise.

(this is a poem i wrote at the time)

fragments 911/9.11 sandi schultz

Click to view full size image

image by andrew jan hauner

tomorrow is late
for the clocks were stopped today
time evaporating in a fiery ball
and with it all we know
of how a life is lived
a ghostly gray oblivion holds sway

so many vivid lights

flickering
…off

today fear took flight on grim wings
a grisly nightmare from which we

shaken,

cannot wake

the mind rebels
my mind repels reality as if any moment now
i’ll see the credits roll
relieved i’ll find that this is just
the spill of celluloid unspooling
a blockbuster

the world is rapidly unhinging
our souls are singed –

indigo tinged with rue
People horrified by the attacks on the World Trade Center
frozen faces mirror my feelings
the gashes of tear-stained stricken eyes
horrified hands aghast clasped
over silently screaming mouths

“this is the way the world ends
this is the way the world endshttps://i0.wp.com/www.julyseventh.co.uk/images/jamesmayesmissing-510pix-w-2007-06-28-1422.jpg
this is the way the world ends…”

tomorrow is late
and despite our hopeful waiting
for some
today will never come

we are standing in the shadow of dark wings
we need to send out the light
we need to bend back the black
we have been to the depths

now let us ascend

silent scream

edvard munch - the scream

i’ve not been blogging the last few days as i’ve been feeling particularly inarticulate and speechless. every time i turn on my radio (which is where i’ve been getting most of my local news), i seem to slide deeper and deeper into indigo, a shade way beyond the blues.
we, as south africans, are faced with overwhelming questions to which nobody has the answers and i’m left feeling frustrated and powerless. south africa used to be THE  symbol of infinite possibilities, of the seemingly impossible made possible, of the power of forgiveness, of unity, of transcendence. i understand the frustration of the disadvantaged at promises not kept, services not provided, but my mind boggles at the differences in perception that exist, at the willingness to mutilate and murder and steal, at the inability to see another human being as exactly that; someone’s mother, father, brother, sister, child. as a mirror of ourselves.
i hear horror stories from every source as mounting fear and paranoia build. more and more people carry pepper spray. my (peace-loving) boyfriend wants to buy a gun. i really don’t know what to do. i know if we all do a little, it can add up to a lot, so i go through my closets. i see what warm clothing i can spare for the people who now have even less than the little they  started out with, but it feels so trifling. i know: there, but for the grace, go i.
i wish i had answers, but when i open my mouth, all that comes out is a silent scream.
if you have any ideas as to what we need to do, please feel free to comment and let me know.
lately i feel… (a poem i wrote during another inarticulate spell)
lately i feel incredibly dumb
like my tongue’s been nailed to a board
like my brain’s been robbed
of some of the best knowledge
once stored there
words which use to roll
around my mouth at will
now will not come
lie lost as worlds beneath stilled waters
and will not come
even when sought
no matter how i prodding poke
my prying oar
still the glassy surface steely holds
and will not reveal nor
yield
it’s hoard
image: the scream, but edvard munch

phoenix

this afternoon the green room at work saw a few of us actors sitting around watching the news –  aghast at the details being revealed about the austrian who imprisoned his daughter for 24 years, fathering 7 children with her.
Josef Fritzl and Elizabeth Fritzl

i’m speechless.  i can’t allow myself to dwell on it too much. at least i wasn’t imprisoned – i managed to escape… that poor woman wasn’t as lucky. so many other women aren’t as lucky. all i can do is shake my head at the fact that the devil comes in so many different guises. first natascha kampusch, now this… once again a reminder why i have such a strong reaction to men who try to control me.

never again. never again. never again.

phoenix

Pederast, paedophile –
you sick fuck!
You suck!
or at least
that’s what you made me do –
and more.
much worse.
I was only four –
how much more innocent could I be?
And yet, like a vile snake, you defiled me!

No, I take it back.
That image of the snake
is my totem now,
though not like yours;
no violent, hissing thing,
but the one, tail in mouth –
the orobourus,
symbol of strength and rebirth,
now my defense,
my familiar….

You took so much.
Your touch left me besmirched,
and lurching
into what’s supposed to be a life.
Well, enough!
It’s time to shed this grimy skin –
I’ll reveal the one,
untouched, within
and like the phoenix, I shall rise.
The only ashes left,
are yours.

I am a slave,
emancipated,
joyfully dancing on your grave.
I’ve escaped the crack and lash
of your whip
and my sisters are joining me.
The ones, head-shaven,
are growing their medusa-locks
and others you thought inside ripped,
not anymore –
we’ve slipped this yoke
with our phoenix-feathers flying,
death-defying.
You’ll see….
We are setting ourselves free.
(phoenix image and poem COPYRIGHT – SANDI SCHULTZ)