SAVE YOURSELF hysteria inhaled through the nostrils, induces a rude awakening for the caught off guard when breakdown finds a host it crawls inside a nerve emerging as a restlessness from deep fissures of human nature caressed by soft determinism of an impending doom salvation seeking refuge beneath the breath of a whispered prayer fearful eyes tightly closed seeking deliverance free will’s fingers stumble across a beaded rosary ruthlessly severed there are no more limits here only bridges left burnt in the heat of the moment surging blood stream steep gradient gushing left lingering in the air is a persistent urge to run. A Chinese Businessman after Jose Hernandez Diaz in the early days of the virus, a Free State man was said to have come into contact with a Chinese businessman. It was never disclosed where in the Free State, all that was stated on record is that an unnamed man had come into contact with a Chinese businessman. by that evening's bulletin, it was confirmed that a 32-year-old South African man had become the first case of local transmission. the report continued, stating that following their meeting, the 32-year-old fell ill with a mild fever, shortness of breath, lethargy & a slight dry cough. earlier in the same afternoon, the statement had first emerged from a health official who said there was a case of the first local transmission in South Africa. by the late evening panic setting in, a hashtag #whereisthechinese raging like wildfire, jokes about a mysterious Chinese businessman making their rounds , some even hiding a legitimate desire to whistleblow & point-out the businessman's whereabouts. the next morning, the department of health tweeted an apology for an erroneous report that had been circulated. it stated that on further verification and testing, the positive case was in fact negative. within the split second it would take to lift a finger, moments before said finger touching down, the fate of one Chinese man balanced on the backspace button. inside a moment, with room large enough to doubt whether the businessman existed. suspense surrendered to a sudden guillotine-like fall, the finger came down. on the ends of tips touch & right at the very instant, with very little fan-fair, the evasive businessman vanished into thin air. The Nature of Things after Rethabile Masilo I see soil and find skin, skin can be beginning & ending in the ways of this world, skin can sound like sin to some ears, on the nature of things, on wisdom the secret of why rivers runs why the world turns instead of staying still the necessity of why rain must come down the way I seem to resonate with overcast clouds. in her wisdom umakhulu used to say ‘lomhlaba uyahlaba’ ( or the world is sharp ) & perhaps a truth of this world is suffering, one slow process of a thousand cuts like the Chinese torture method of Lingchi, the rain leaving through each opening. in the wilderness the grass grows wildly the callousness of vines seeking sunshine on the nature of things & gardens I lament the grass that can no longer grow after having been cut too deeply waiting for the rains to come on the nature of things, the slow process of soon to feeling the bones harden annual rings of wooden oak growth rain for other gardens home soil suffering from drought. hands have held waiting for so long chestnut palms rough, a sweet serenade the way some sounds need an even deeper listening to coil around the senses caressed, held & surely there must be some good reason why I have chosen to firmly hold the soil & continue to feel.
About the Author:
Sihle Ntuli is a South African poet and classicist living in Durban. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Classical Civilisations and has previously lectured at the University of the Free State, where he was awarded the 2019 CTL Innovation Award for Curriculum Design and Delivery.
His poetry was shortlisted for the DALRO Poetry Prize in 2017. He most recently became the author of the poetry chapbook, Rumblin in 2020. He has had work published in South Africa and across the African continent on notable journals such as Lolwe, Down River Road & The Johannesburg Review of Books.