Mama: An Ode to an Invisible Love

By
Selabe Kute

This nostalgia is for all intents and purposes illegal. It wrongly straddles the inner plateaus of her memory, making the time-lapsed rifts and intangible remembrances a lot more palatable. Her toes are bruised, mostly from floor-mopped stances and street-riding spaza shop ventures. These floating pieces of nostalgia offer respite from nose-stinging daydreams of the dusty picture frames that petulantly decorated her hollow cupboard tops. I guess she realised the township had an ecosystem that chewed the ambitious-slaves and spared the self-subordinating ‘boys’ and ‘mamas’. Her memory distils this existence into a bipolarity of warm, summer-trimmed garden quips that turned into smelly, Minibus taxi creaks and idle commutes home. The smile that punctuated his buck-teethed ignorance in presence always managed to fill out the empty pockets of a two thousand rand salary in her heart. Her black-sheeped nostalgia could be traced around hasty memories of a small plate of quick sand-like pap and watery gravy, enjoyed on the peripheries of her employer’s home. With the moist gutter nearer to her than leopard skinned carpets she swept briskly.

During the days that provided the perfect cleavage between her and the itchy backroom she called home, she took care of a boy who hadn’t had the faintest idea of how to take care of himself. She left the frozen abode of her peripheral, seemingly inconsequential life – to mediate his. The foamy smiles they shared as her wrinkled hands washed his small, clear loopy back were the contextualisation of perhaps why she left her own off-springs at home, for him. His flimsy, privileged giggle shared the same air as hers, even for a second – they existed in unison, divorced from the fractured world that was strategically build for an engineered division.

‘Where are my toys, Mama’, he uttered with a leafy tremble, ‘Mo’Rakeng, boy’ she whispered pointing to the cupboard. His batman-sticker inundated cupboards were littered with the overbearing nothingness of material indulgence, far astray from the hollow food cabinets that curtailed her own home. Her invisible love.

There’s been a precarious darkness weighing heavy on the subtle shuffling he endeavours through life. I like the, looseness, in ‘shuffling’. It doesn’t have the particularly futile false-purpose that perhaps a ‘lives’ or ‘existing’ would requisite in defining how one endures life. He shuffles, albeit hastily and inconsistently through life, it just sounds cleaner. Less committal. The darkness however, alluded to in the tentative first few utterances of this piece, is perhaps elucidating of a visceral and long-winding symptom of birth – that being the search or arousal of ‘happiness’, or something I would theorise as a socialised myth.

He, nameless because what the fuck does it matter what his alias is, has perpetually shuffled, and shuffled, quietly and aimlessly through the sun-light pockets of depression some may call days and nights. He’s reached a certain and ingenious contentedness in the continual lease-agreement he calls his existence, a jumbled catalogue of fleeting moments and sterile thoughts, not weighted in the unpleasant and unceremoniously callus shackles that come with trying to harness this life with some kind of structure or direction or whatever the fuck will cause the subliminal erection of happiness. It’s humorous, actually, that this obese and merciless darkness still exists, amid all his shuffling, a darkness which is has been blackened by the world trying to find happiness in the absence of sadness. A logic that would suggest finding the Jupiter in the absence of the sun or trying to uncover death on the reverse side of slumber.


For More by Selabe Kute: check out his Website.

Leave a Reply