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sábado, 11 de mayo de 2013


Phillippa Yaa de Villiers
Phillippa Yaa de Villiers (nacida el 17 de febrero 1966)  es una galardonada escritora sudafricana y artista de performance. Ella es conocida por su poesía, que ha sido publicada en muchas revistas y antologías.
De Villiers nació en Hillbrow en Johannesburgo. Se la dio en adopción a los nueve meses de edad, aunque no se lo contaron sus padres adoptivos, hasta que tenía 20 años de edad. Se ha escrito mucho sobre la impacto de estas experiencias. 


Taller Than Buildings (Centre for the Book, 2006)
with Keorapetse Kgositsile, Don Mattera and Lebo Mashile, Beyond Words: South African Poetics (an Apple & Snakes project; Flipped Eye Publishing, 2009)
The Everyday Wife (Modjaji Books, 2010)
Editor (with Kaiyu Xiao and Isabelle Ferrin-Aguirre), No Serenity Here - an anthology of African Poetry (Beijing: New World Publishers, 2010.)

Me afeité la cabeza. 
Revelé el cráneo que el sino hizo pasar por las puertas de la sangre: 
¿el mayor error de mis padres?

Tal vez. Pero no soy la única
una refugiada de la legitimidad,
aquí estoy entonces, aquí estoy.

Soy la colonia del amor prohibido,
donde el hijo de África
y la nieta de Escocia
pasaron el ADN, negaron su prole:
maldito bebé, precipitándose a la vida.
¿Un caso perdido?

Tal vez. Pero no soy la única:
Una refugiada de la legitimidad
Aquí estoy entonces, aquí estoy.

Soy su matrimonio fantasma
hecho carne.
Soy su “sí, quiero”,
y sus votos no pronunciados hablan ahora. 
No hay anillo que adorne el matrimonio de mí conmigo,
es infinito y dorado.
En todos lados estoy sola, y ningún lugar es mi hogar,
les doy mi palabra,
¿a ancestros no escuchados?

Tal vez. Pero no soy la única:
Una refugiada de la legitimidad
Aquí estoy entonces, aquí estoy.

Publicado en http://imaginingourselves.imow.org/pb/Home.aspx?lang=3

Warning: Adopting a Dragon can be Dangerous

Please adopt me.
I'm asking you to co-opt the
question-mark. Make it yours.

Please give me your name.
Take me from my wilderness, and tame
my howling frame, remove my parasites
and feed my starving shame.

I am just passing through your home.
My roaming spirit seeking shelter,
but be warned, Samaritan: I am never
your subject, I am always
my own.

I will learn to submit to your syllables
and laws: I will contrive to
defend your cause
for my survival. But be warned:
listen to the whispers of my rebellion
you may lock me in a frilly room
and make me write your story a hundred times but
one day,
one day
I will leave
to find my own.

And if you fear my origins
and your imperial decree
will not release me
I will declare
a war of liberation
and perhaps you will think I’m ungrateful,
and I’ll do it anyway.

I will stage a coup.
I will hold you hostage
in your palace and
turn your guards against you.
I will light a fuse and then
leap out of my sweet
little-girl borrowed bedroom window,
wearing a garland of ammunition
and an AK.

I land on an abandoned station
with a faded name I can’t read,
with rusted rails carrying ghost passengers
to an unknown destination,
with benches, termite eaten to filigree;
a fake snakeskin suitcase on the platform:
bulging with
a creature
trying to settle,
this I know
is my

I lay down my gun and bullets.
From here I’ll end the revolution
rebuild my state
revise the constitution
devise new institutions.

But then
the suitcase
open at my feet,
blister my combat boots,
and I stand, scared, wringing my hands,
saying sorry, sorry, sorry, I didn’t know
I promise you I didn’t know
that I was a dragon,
trying to pass as
a human.

The imperial palace
smokes up the horizon
unable to reply: somehow
I am satisfied:
now that I know where everything is.
now that I now what I look like.
now I know why I was
always on fire.

Repeat after me

Life is a language lesson: we try to discover our names. 
The adopted child invents her history: the only way to become is first to be. 
We create a shape that then starts to fall apart. 
I am a brown land, an incontinent continent, secreting pearly musk and ribald rivers of blood. 
What I am called is not who I am: a name is a fence around a field of nodding concepts, rich wildflowers, some of which sting and others smell like heaven. I am more than all of this: I laze under fluffy clouds, drinking deep sips of the sky. Whirlwinds and floods toss my hair and irretrievably alter my features. I have not charted all my latitudes yet. Many systems exist on me, subsist on the spinning energies: forests of language, biospheres of sense and sensibility, people lost and people discovered. Artefacts are buried in me: once I unearthed a decaying trunk filled with illegible scrolls that disintegrated as soon as they came to light, their origin a mystery, leaving me guessing again. I am excavating my frozen tongue, my intimate civilization. As I discover it, it starts to die; in the ruins, inscrutable roots. As I write I dissemble, make my self, unmake my self:

a mussel spurts ink 
ancient walls collapse into
the infinite sea

Eating for Two

Hunger grumbles,
fragrant food seduces
the stomach
genteel lips conceal gushing saliva,
our eyes journey to the Sunday chicken.
We look away to pray,
amen gives way
to flashing knives and gnashing teeth.
For now, hunger retreats.

The tourist asks
why Africa is hungry.
Divided the heart:
we don't know how to answer.

hunger humbles,
a beggar reaches into
the cold skies of a stranger's eyes
as hunger tumbles
into a gutter of stuttering 
half-baked dreams 
and aborted fantasies
and bumbles plans
and scrambles opportunities.
And hunger stumbles
along blocked synapses,
bumps its head repeatedly as
bulimic greed
dry heaves
its simulated grief,
and stuffs images of lust
into a seething cavity
of need.

The tourist asks 
how we plan 
to solve the problem.
Subtracted the stomach: 
we don't know how to answer.

hunger, the farmer
sows rows of skeletons,
and waits for an empty harvest.
Hunger builds a boat of bones,
casts a net of starving eyes,
people drown in dust, without resisting.
There is no second course;
dying fragments loaf 
along the desert's shore.

The tourist is the authority.
They know how to stay alive! We are still learning.
Politely we wipe our mouths and give thanks for what we have
received, pronunciation, and chicken, on Sundays.
the cells of 
we don't know how to answer.

We live by killing.
We can't explain. 
Perhaps hunger will come to our table one day.

But by then,
most probably, 
the tourist will have 
gone away.

Song of the dead

Pity the man who fell down in the marketplace,
arrested by death in the bright of day. Innocent, 
condemned to the common law of fate:
pity the man.

Life is just a shelter for the soul.
Life is just a shelter for the soul.

Pity the daughter in the white room, who left her
illness in the envelope of her flesh. We,
the living, she
the bereft:
pity the daughter.

Life is just a shelter for the soul.
Life is just a shelter for the soul.

Pity the dead, their privacy made public
by the absence 
of their breath.
Pity the living: 
the thin fabric of life just a tear away
from death.

Life is just a shelter for the soul.
Life is just a shelter.

Shacks collapse and mansions fall
but each time a new baby is born
a new spirit comes in from the cold

Life is just a shelter for the soul
Life is just a shelter for the soul

Hell in a handbag

My mother's handbag matched
her earrings, matched 
her shoes. 
From time to time she lectured me
on universal truths.

Truth number one: your body is a temple.
And matching clothes 
impose a doctrine: 
organized religion.

Truth number two: a woman always knows.
Aloud I wondered what the hell that meant,
Impatiently, [her pocket vanity
reflecting puckered lipstick narcissistic],
She replied:
you'll understand when you grow up.

Truth number three: it's she who decides, the woman.
Only power, like perfume, should be sensed rather than smelled.
She powdered her nose and said:

Truth number four:
discretion is the better part of virginity:
ladies know that a secret is a weapon.

So I told her one.

Truth number five:
Mother, at six years old I was raped.

Her blue eyes wide she replied:
that's terrible, dear. Then:
it's happened to all of us, my child.
We must throw it in the dustbin
and only keep the good memories,
we must move on, move on.

Truth number six:
We didn't speak about it again. 
It became an accident, and
talking tore open the dustbin to reveal
the mess of broken flesh
the chaos of emergency
the onlookers faces painted blueredyellow white
by the ambulance lights:
complexions bruised by curiosity.

Truth number seven:
At eighteen I fell pregnant.
She said to me regretfully:
you've lost your innocence.

And I replied:
save it for the deathbed, darling.
This woman knows
that truth's gone to hell in a handbag
matching dustbin, matching earrings,
matching silence:
the invisible accessory.

Lips painted shut.
Pain blown into a discreet tissue and discarded like mucus.
I have knelt at mother's knee
imbibing certainty, like milk.
And the milky way has gone sour
Because of 
universal truths.

Truth number eight: 
I have grown and now I know
that power, unlike perfume 
is only power when it's felt.
A smashed bottle on the bathroom floor
Is not the sweet sense of surrender, 
But a broken child who was never held.

The truth is not a token.
I've set fire to the temple.
The flames shout out in tongues
the words you left unspoken.

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