Back to Horse – Pony School Mnemonic


A few months ago I was invited to write a piece for the catalogue of the Horse exhibition at Everard Read Circa gallery in Rosebank. The thought of venturing into cree-ha-tive writing was daunting, but I decided to dive right in. When I saw the end result – more a coffee table book than catalogue, filled with the most exquisite images – I almost platzed with joy and disbelief. What an honour.

Appaloosa, pommel, fetlock and girth – the secret words of the horse-struck child startle in my head the moment I clap eyes on him. Him. Her. The head has no body so it is hard to know. His her story is told by the plate glass and barbed fever trees. He her and me; we lock eyes, woman to prisoner and I feel the dizzy stirrings of ages old Horse love.

Horse is everywhere, the subject of my puerile desire flirts, with switching tail and bronze turd. She prances through flickered images of naked girl and Max Factor lips, changing her pace from canter to gallop and my heart judders.

I want to stay forever.

But he calls me on and I smell him now, hormonal sweat and glowing flank. The puppy-sweet soft breath from twitching muzzle. If I lean back I will fall into him and he will carry me. As no man has ever carried me.

I reach out to touch him and he is warm on cold steel; I turn and he is naked, then yearning from the walls as many-headed herd. He is mobile, metal twisted, filled with light and humour. She is shadows cast across white pages. He is donkey. She spreads her lovely bones and flies with wings of rib and gristle high above the fields and paddocks of my tender years.

And now she is at my feet, struggling with fawning hooves dancing yet shuffling. I want her to stop struggling but I’m afraid that if she does… if she does she will stop dancing. I dare not look away. But now I hear them see them from the corner of my eye; the dust is rising, casting a loud pall over the ochre heath. They are coming. Horse and Horse and Horse.

I am there.

Outside, life and cars and painters. I blink and turn and back. Recycled horses nod to drivers and passers-by as childhood scented hay skitters across the way. Oh oh oh the longing is deep now. But I cannot continue without circling the one-stumped soldier who owes his life to the drowning Horse; his tinpot form a testament to the quirks and accidental heroics of war.

I inhale the warrior woman’s saddle then up the helter-skelter path I follow the beat of his rumbling hooves, into the dancing lights where a table is laid with crop and sugar: treats for my Horse. I meet the gods who recreated him, who use their bodies to carry him as he has carried us across gentle fields and ever outward-leaning horizons. I see her stripped bare to sacrament – three times offered. Always taken.

I am stripped bare. I talk and I move, yet as my great lungs heave, I stretch to four hoofed corners, my head nodding and bowing without submission. My tail whisks, lazily.

 

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I raise my glass to women


(Lordy, but it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here. Just too – happily – busy in the real world. But last night I was so inspired by the events of the evening that I had write.)

I like being a woman. I like the way women work, in body and in spirit; I like that we can be lovers, nurturers, creators, adventurers, survivors – in ways that men can’t. I like men too; quite a lot actually. I love that they are the perfect counterpoint to women; I delight in the way they look and move and brood and play – but I still don’t fully understand how they work. I gather that that sentiment is mutual.
I recently launched, in a rowing-boat way, an informal social networking group for women. My motives were simple: much as I enjoy the chatter and information sharing of facebook, I have become increasingly frustrated by its limits. Obvious limits, such as presence. I’m more than happy to engage in banal texted chitchat, or to share a fascinating news piece online, but what I really enjoy is the leaning forward in the chair, sparkling eye contact, symphony of voices, crackling laughter that is the physical fabulosity of a gathering of women.
I was also intrigued by the idea of networking; supporting each other in our business ventures; sharing leads, skills, ideas and inspiration. And if we could do this once a month in a beautiful place, over delectable eats and glasses of bubbly, so much the better.
Three months on and my little dream is a gorgeous reality that looks like this:
Twenty or so women in varied modes of dress; in shoes stacked, flat, bedecked and plain. The hair is cropped and black, blonde and curling, greying and straight. The age between twenty-two and godaloneknows. The skills and interests veer from telling CEOs and government ministers how to dress and what to say to blogging about the wonders of Joburg. In between you will find writers, TV producer, floral artist, designers, entrepreneurs, trainers, a sociologist and one extraordinary wheeler-dealer who managed to negotiate the coup of the century so that we could all taste French Champagne and bite-sized delicacies on the splendid balcony of Emoyeni – for next to nothing.
I have to pause in my sisterhood praise singing to say a word or two about Emoyeni,  new home to one of SA’s top Frenchy food spots, Auberge Michel, and gathering place for celebrators with means. Situated in Jubilee Rd, Parktown and overlooking the world across towering cerise bougainvillea and luminescent lilac jacaranda, Emoyeni is without doubt, one of the most spectacular – and friendly – venues I’ve encountered. Even the car park is a work of art. Even the hand made crisps were delectable. (I must return for a hot and clarsey date with my man…)
Back to those women.
I’ve heard it said that a bunch of women is as mean as a swarm of wasps.  Perhaps this is so in some quarters. No, that was disingenuous of me. I have certainly experienced that vicious bitchiness when there is threat or sharp inequality present – and oft when there is intellectual imbalance. Then women can become the creatures of their ill repute. But generally, when the motives are mutual and interests common, women en mass are a beautiful thing: witty, delighting in each other’s accomplishments, generous in their praise.
This is the thing I love most about women: we tell each other how wonderful we are. Often. We laugh with each other. Often. We are sincere. Often. And we don’t have to bloody well explain ourselves.
I hope that this group of wonderful creatures  – now quaintly known as the Champerinas – continues to meet and share for the longest time. Childishly, I don’t want it to grow or shrink. I would like it to stay just as it is. Variegated perfection.