Three From Imago No. 1, Spring, 2008
This week marks the final stage in the resurrection of the literary journal, Imago.
Imago publishes the works of UCT past and present students and staff. The journal was started by Peter Merrington, in 1981, during his time as a junior lecturer at UCT. After he passed it on, the journal struggled to survive and eventually seeped through the cracks. Now it has resurged and will hopefully be with us a while, though this depends on your support.
If you would like to take a look at a 1981 version of Imago it is housed UCT’s African Studies Library under BA 821.9108 IMAG. Contributors to the early editions of Imago include Geoffrey Haresnape, Peter Knox-Shaw and UCT English Department’s very own Rodney Edgecombe.
Imago is on sale now for R30, but currently only available from me until further plans are made for efficient sales and distribution. We are even planning a book launch for the near future. In the meantime, submissions can still be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please contact me if you would like to help fund the journal in some way or if you would like to advertise in Imago.
Contributors to Issue No. 1, Spring, 2008
Simon Abbott, Diane Awerbuck, Leila Bloch, Kyle Fullerton, John Higgins, Karen Jennings, Matthew Kalil, Jordan Kantey, Matthew Koehorst, Emma Lombard, Peter Merrington, Masande Ntshanga, Redvers, Farrah Schwab, Oliver Strang, Nick Wicht
Three from Imago No. 1
Old Transvaal Stories
(after H.C. Bosman)
She wore a cotton frock; he saw a green lily kiss
the ghosting moon.Young men’s hearts were
won by waltzes on a pianola, and the widow shot the
windows out behind the house; slow, the claypit
sucked an old man’s kindness into whip-like
turns of love.Termites keep season with the maize.
Paraffin tins are district fashion for gardenia
(or katjiepiering) and camellia and tuberose;
and the horse found its own way home, and held
its counsel when the dominee would know what
made his daughter sing so sweetly in that night.
- Peter Merrington
from Kommst Du Mit?, Or, The Key to Davey Jones’s Locker
On the ferry I met a boy, who told me, when pressed, that he was going home for the Easter holidays.‘Where are you from?’ I asked him.
‘Dumfries,’ he said, and expected me to know where that was. I guessed Scotland. He was nineteen,and his parents were waiting for him with the car at the other side, in Harwich. They were going to take the motorway and head north.
‘So what are you doing in Germany?’ I asked him.
‘I’m in the army,’ he said. I gaped.
‘Everyone has that reaction,’ he smiled, and his white teeth showed between his red lips.
‘What army?’ I asked, stupidly.
‘Er, the British Army.’
‘But why are you in Germany?’
‘That’s where they sent my regiment.’
‘Yes, but why are they in another country? Is there a war on that I don’t know about?’
‘Not yet. But there might be.’ His skin was so white, this soldier boy, and his mouth was red as a poppy flower. I did not see anything pass those lips for most of the two days we were on the ferry, aside from the gum that I gave him.
‘So what do you do there?’ I asked him. I could believe that he owned a PlayStation: I could not believe that he routinely hurt people.
‘I drive tanks.’ He made steering motions with his white hands.
‘And you’re ready to kill someone?’
‘I don’t want to, but I suppose that I will,’ he said slowly, and shifted his long limbs in his seat. ‘I’ll have to see.’
‘What made you decide to join the army?’ I asked him.
‘Didn’t go to school much, did I?’he said, and smiled crookedly with his red mouth.
‘And you didn’t think that maybe you were going to need an education at some point?’
‘I do now. I didn’t then.’
‘How old were you when you joined?’
‘Ja. They don’t really allow that now. It’s changed in the last three years. Now you have to be eighteen.’
‘What’s it like?’
He shrugged. ‘It’s like any job packing shelves or flipping burgers. As long as you do your job, no one has a go at you. It’s a laugh. And the pay is good.’
‘What is the pay, if you don’t mind saying?’
‘One-eight. In pounds. I don’t know what that is in euros.’
‘A month?’ He nodded.
I wanted to take him by his thin, spoiled shoulders and shake the sense down into him, distil the love and hope that preclude hurt. I hated every blessed thing that had failed to carry him across his early life like stunted St Christophers. I hated his parents, absent or no; I hated his dead church and his lax school, and the girls already running to fat who wanted him to have cars and houses before they would look him in his ghostly blue eyes.
- Diane Awerbuck
My Mardi Gras heart;
All dancing girls and death masks.
You move gently past.
- Matthew Kalil