Saturday, 31 December 2016


My New Years resolutions are to FINISH:
Pawning Pearl
Goddess Of War
and the Novelisation of Turquoise Moon.
So Happy New Year to all the Pearl maniacs!
Monday morning found Pearl and Simon sitting next to each other in Doctor de Bruin's waiting room. Simon sat, then stirred uncomfortably. The chair was too small. Tiny, really. Besides him Pearl was dead still, her hands clasped primly over her handbag, chin up, staring into nothing. At least it looked like it. Directly opposite her was a large poster for Family Planning advocating vasectomies.
Simon winced and instinctively cupped his hands on his lap. After a while Simon nudged her. "Pearl? Are you alright?"
Pearl turned her head with that same far-away look in her eyes.
"Yes, Simon. I am."
"Oh. Because you are so silent." Simon added timidly, "And usually, you know, you have quite a lot to say."
"I need to think. I have been talking so much lately, I haven't been listening to myself."
"Oh!" Simon was struck dumb by this reply. He looked around the waiting room. There was another row of chairs opposite them, all too small. Or at least, too small for him, but quite cheerfully coloured. The whole place was cheerful. In one corner a pile of toys was being pawed at by three toddlers and opposite Simon a very unprepossessing five-year old was entertaining himself by blowing bubbles of snot out of his nose.
The boy's mother sat next to him reading something in a discrete fabric cover. Probably one of those sexy books women were reading on the sly now a days, Simon nodded wisely to himself. Erotica...Now women were reading about sex too. What was the world coming to? He sighed and stirred again, glanced at the silent Pearl.
He wanted to reach out, take her hand; but he was afraid to break the fragile accord they had been sharing the last two days. Somehow the Nazi, Rat-shit, they had all faded into the background. The focus of their concern had been Thali.
Simon had wanted to explore possibilities, name the phantoms flitting through his mind: cancer, TB, anaemia, leukaemia, diphtheria; and a million possible congenital defects of the heart, lungs, liver...Simon had spent an agonising afternoon googling all the terrible blood disorders that can assail children.
Pearl had refused to discuss Thali's possible illness. "Let us face enemies only when we can name them. To worry before is energy wasted twice over."
And now Pearl sat in a silent reverie, obviously doing exactly that. He was about to nudge her when he noticed Snot-nose was staring at him, a damp well-chewed finger stuck in the corner of his mouth.
"Are you a giant?" Snotty asked.
Simon stirred again. His butt was getting numb. A peculiar sensation, and one he had never experienced before.
"No, I am not a giant."
"You look like a giant." Snotty replied, with an accusing tone, in a surprisingly deep voice.
"Well, I am not."
"Are you strong." the sweet child asked, "Or just big and fat?"
Simon was outraged "Do I look fat to you?"
"You look mighty big. And you have a bulge in your middle, like mom did when she was expecting Xoli."
Simon sat up as straight as he could in the tiny chair and sucked in his offending incipient paunch. "That is muscle. I am just sitting bent over, see? So it looks soft, but it's really not fat at all."
The sweet child looked him over scornfully. "You look fat, and OLD, and ugly too."
Simon gasped in outrage and was about to reply when Pearl took his hand.
"Simon." Simon savoured the warmth of her hand resting on his. It felt astonishingly light, and completely right.
"I...I have been foolish. I have no excuse except that...I am thirty two years old, unmarried. I have spent my life looking after old people. My mother, my grandmother and grandfather, my aunt. I was the plain one who stayed behind in the kraal when all the others left to live their lives."
Simon opened his mouth to reply and Pearl stilled him with a gesture. "I was used to that. It was alright. I had my books, my studies, my lovely old ones, I had a full life. Then my father came back after my mother died. He had no use for me. He took a younger wife. A woman who painted her lips, and her nails purple, and had a blond wig. I become an embarrassment, he wanted me out."
Pearl's eyes filled with unshed tears. "So, he sold me to Jonas' father. And you know how THAT turned out. And then there you were, like an angel, saving me, and I loved you straight away."
Simon opened his mouth again, and Pearl laid cool fingers over his lips. "And you opened up a new life and a new world for me. I was so happy taking care of you, then the children too. Then all these people started making such a fuss of me...Me, Pearl Chabalala, plain Pearl whom nobody loved, but was very useful. They were seeing me, looking at me, seeing a woman: desirable, admirable, lovable..And...oh Simon, I loved that! Because you see, for the first time, I was seeing me too, and liking me."
Simon said softly: " I think you very desirable, and most admirable...and very lovable."
Pearl looked up at him and smiled."As I do you. I apologise Simon. I have been silly. I have been wanting to be a girl, like I never was, instead of a woman. Now it makes no sense to play games. I love you Simon, and my heart tells me a time of terrible storms comes, and we must stand together with no misunderstanding between us, we must stand together in trust and strength and know we are honest and can count on each other, no matter what happens."
Simon was about to reply when a skinny man in a white uniform and fat red-rimmed glasses put his head around the door and called: "Mr and Mrs Chabalala?" Pearl jumped to her feet, but Simon had some trouble extracting his bottom from the narrow chair.
"I am Pearl Chabalala, and this is Mr SImon Thambisa. We are not married."
"Yet..." Added Simon, and took Pearl's hand.
The thin man looked a bit startled at that, and led them to Dr de Bruins's office. He announced them, then stood back and gestured them in.
Dr. de Bruin stood up to greet them with his gentle smile. He shook Simon's hand firmly and invited them to sit down. There were two brown folders on his desk. Dr. de Bruin opened one, took a deep breath and said: "Miss Chabalala, Mr Thambisa, I have the children's blood-work and the news are not what I would like. Isaiah is well, so I won't discuss him further. Thalie..." Simon squeezed Pearl's hand as Dr. de Bruin took off his glasses and rubbed a tired hand over his eyes.
"Thali is HIV positive, and she also has Aids."
Simon felt like a mite ground down by a giant's foot. Every particle of air in his body rushed out in a moan. "She is what?"
"Let's not beat around the bush. Mr Thambisa, the viral count is very high. Thali is dying."

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Weight Watching World

Some who pare and spare
And watch each crumb
Of love, consume
And give no more,
Slim of hips
And starveling hope;

While you and I
Who live and laugh
Such joy, are thusly
Healed by an incurable
Swelling of the soul.

Manuela Cardiga

Monday, 21 November 2016


America thought that banning words banned sentiments.
In the last few decades we have seen the canker of "political correctness" and "right-speaking" infect the American society - and by extension the world -to the point where people police their speech with fanatical diligence. It began with banning words like nigger, chink, homo, spik, retard... Which seemed wise, didn't it?
Are you shocked to read those words typed out? Why? People have been saying them all lately, in fact screaming them out in paroxysms of hate and release from constraint.
Did banning the words ban the sentiments? Or did it drive them underground? The unvented resentments, those festering feelings were not resolved or acknowledged. That vile infection of racism, misogyny, and discrimination pulsed under the dark scab of that psychic wound. The flesh healed, and weren't we proud?
How evolved and civilized we were, how egalitarian!
We were "giving" minorities "protection", defending them from ugly words that might hurt or damage their self-esteem and social standing. Or was it our own image of ourselves we were really defending? Were we avoiding the telling mirror of unguarded words? Freudian slips, as it were...
Over the decades the scar over that wound grew tight and hot, pushed high by the pulsing pus of hate fermenting under it...And now a finger prodded and the flesh opened a vile and venomous mouth. Out spilled all those hidden and denied sentiments, and America is shocked, horrified.
The Nation founded on the principals of humanism;  equality and the pursuit of happiness as Universal rights, founders in self doubt.
It has elected an acknowledged and unapologetic racist, a man who despises women, a man who hates any one of a different race or religion, culture or ethnicity quite openly.
Everyone asks: "How did Trump get elected?"
Easy! America voted. You can shield yourselves behind the story of the complicated rigmarole of the Electorate College, or you can face the truth about Trump.
AMERICA WANTED HIM. The very same country that elected Barack Obama 8 years ago has now elected his antithesis.
Obama was a man of colour, and wasn't America proud? Only decades after the vicious unacknowledged civil war that was the Civil Rights Movement, America elected a Black man as President.
As it happened, his colour was not relevant. Obama was a man for his people, whatever colour: American-born or immigrant. A man of dignity, integrity and with a grace that raised high American prestige among the international community.
Now we see the volte-face, the ricochet: a boor, a beast, a cad in a flashy suit with a fat and pouty mouth who has lived a life of dissolute and public privilege.
So again, WHY?
I think that festering unacknowledged hate, anger, fear and resentment grew as Obama ruled.
I think every hidden racist forced by "political correctness" to swallow their words, to smile and mouth pretty platitudes raged at the idea that a Black man ran the White House, gave executive orders, made decisions for them, in their name. A "boy" ran the greatest nation on earth, sat in the chair of slave-owner Washington, and he did it well.
So now they have elected a man who openly accepts the support of the Klu Klux Klan... Need we detail Mr Trump's curriculum yet again?
He is the scream of protest of that unvented, unacknowledged hate. He is who America is, whether they will, or not.
Meet the true face of America today, masks off.
Ban the ghosts; admit the hate and prejudice and fear, lance the abscess and finally start that healing process.
Speak the words and you remove their power - forbid them and you drive them deep into the subconscious where they become the seeds of rage; the goading spike, a rallying cry for the haters, leading to unthinking violence and death.

Manuela Cardiga

Saturday, 5 November 2016


In the waiting
Silence of winter
Fallow lands
Lie under darkness
Dreaming yet
Of the cutting thrust
Of the plough
Slicing furrows
Of painful hope
Planting tremulous seeds
Of fragile tenderness
Into its dormant heart.


Sunday, 23 October 2016


1 beer
3 cups of flour
1/2 cup of sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup melted butter
sesame seeds

Sift the flour (very important), add the sugar, the salt and the beer and stir it until it is one sticky mess. Put it into a buttered bread-tin, pour the butter over it and sprinkle with the sesame or your favourite mix of seeds and nuts.

Pop into oven at 180ºC and bake for 45 minutes or until done.

Slather with oodles of salty butter and EAT!

PS: If you make it with Guiness or similar  the result is quite different but equally delicious!


Monday, 17 October 2016


first silver
tears of rain
through cobbles
glistening  grey
puddles of pain


Sunday, 16 October 2016

ELLE KLASS' "Ruthless Storm Trilogy" comes to a mind blowing conclusion!

Book III
Tommy's Deception

Tommy and Eilida meet again at Flashers. The local college bar and their friendship develops quickly. Then a student is murdered in her dorm, another victim of the Hurricane Killer. The assailant is on the loose when Eilida’s apartment is broken into and she runs to Tommy for safety. 

She discovers Tommy's  birthday is the one day that makes her soul cry but is it only a coincidence?

The cards stack against him as she finds Tommy is hiding Astrological charts and Evan’s map, material that would have solidified a case against the Hurricane Killer; and Eilida discovers a ring that went missing the day she met Tommy at an astrology convention was present at Evan O’Conner’s murder scene. 

Did Tommy kill the monster? 
Or is he picking up where Evan left off? 
Will astrology give her answers?

The nightmares of Eilida’s past rush forward and everything points toward Tommy...


Unable to sleep and wanting the memories to leave him, he sat up in bed, then trudged towards the steps. Eilida stood close to the sliding glass door, her back towards him. The step creaked beneath his foot as she spun her head around. Her small frame jumped and the plastic glass in her hand dropped to the floor, water spilled everywhere.

Catching her breath. “You scared me.” She dropped her head and looked at the water puddled on the floor around her. “I’m sorry. I’ll clean it up.” She raced towards the kitchen. All that happened before Tommy could get a word out.

Rushing into the kitchen, he clutched her hand and drew her in to him. Small trembles emanated from her body. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

She peered into his blue eyes. “It’s not you, its storms. I was facing my fear.”

Anger rose inside Tommy. He hated Evan for what he did to her and the other girls and their families. He hadn’t decided if the dead ones were luckier than the victims Evan left alive. Chelsea Mora was an example. If she hadn’t suffered, would she have sought a boyfriend who was an abusive punk asshole?


Friday, 14 October 2016

If you like killer-thrillers and sexy suspense this is for you! ELLE KLASS did it again!

ELLE KLASS' "Ruthless Storm Trilogy" 
comes to a mind blowing conclusion with

Book III


Tommy's Deception


Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it is a mark of intelligence and courage.

Thursday, 13 October 2016


what monster
dare defile
this whole and holy
flesh, a child?


Saturday, 8 October 2016

PRELUDE TO A WINK - Coffee, pencil, chalk, ink

Happy Birthday to my Angel

Today is the 8th of October and a very special day for me, my friend Trudie's birthday.

Trudie and I became friends at Tech, where we were both studying Fashion Design, and our friendship continued long after. We discovered, much to our delight, that we were ALMOST twins! Trudie was the elder by a mere 7 days: her birthday was October 8th. More astonishing to us: her Mother was in Lourenço Marques the very day before she was born, where my Mother resided. We imagined these two bellies sailing past each other, unaware that their passenger’s paths would cross again and again.

We shared all the usual experiences: fell in love, out of love, had our hopes dashed or uplifted. We were like synchronized swimmers: I moved to Portugal, she to Germany. We clung to each other in our homesickness, our stubborn decision not to go back, even though we longed to; even though our hearts were breaking. For several years we exchanged letters, phone calls, she spent holidays in Portugal, I in Germany. Trudie got married, I went to Germany for the wedding (she wore a pretty blouse I had as “something borrowed” for the registry) and after that, somehow, we lost touch. Time and again I tried to reach her. My life got complicated, as I presume hers did too.

Then a couple of years ago I signed on to Face Book. I did so in the expectation of finding all those dear faces from my past I’d lost touch with; and the first face I looked for, and the one I did not find, was hers.

Trudie Ristau had passed away at thirty-six.

What can I say about my friend? The first word that occurs to me in relation to Trudie is “generous”. Trudie had a generous heart. She was the kindest person I ever knew. She was generous with her friendship and her love; and she was generous in her judgments, sometimes to a fault.

She was devoid of both of deceit and self-deception and she faced adversity with courage and a zany sense of humor. She had the biggest smile I’ve ever seen, not a polite little curving of the lips: never! Trudie’s smile was a huge (generous) GRIN; actually a grin and a wink.

Did I say we were almost twins? We were the oddest pair, for I am a chubby 5 foot 2 brunette and she was a very tall (well over 6 foot) statuesque blond and looked rather like a Norse Goddess in repose. My Mother called her “The Valkyrie”.

Of course, no-one ever saw Trudie in repose: she barreled through life with her long legged stride and bouncing enthusiasm; an endless appetite for fun. She moved in the center of a standing wave of chaos: weird and wonderful things happened to her, minor events burgeoned into cataclysms; all with hilarious results. She made everything seem somehow larger than life, bigger, better, brighter. Everything she did, she did with an amazing devotion and energy. But somewhere along the way my dearest girl got sick.

She had a husband and two toddlers by then, two girls. I can only imagine what she went though, the anguish and the pain. Trudie and her sister had been raised by her Father, and one of the things she missed was that mother/daughter connection. I imagined the idea of her daughters’ going through the very same experience must have been the bitterest pill to swallow.

But do you know? Her husband and her sister have told me that her determination was unabated, her grin undimmed. The Doctors and Nurses from the Oncology Department would “swing” by her room at shifts’ end to “bathe” in that smile, that joy. Even on her last days, when she could no longer speak, her light still shone. Her grin, her love.

You cannot imagine the impact her passing had on me. I found myself asking: what have I done with my life? How she must have longed for one more year, and what had I done?

She's made me reevaluate everything.
I started living again, reaching for my dreams, for happiness.

In the last few years, I’ve done all the things we two talked about on those sultry evenings, sitting on the back steps of Steel Street in Durban all those years ago.

I wrote  books,wrote a play; designed book covers, graphic novels and illustrated two Series of children’s books, I am writing this Blog, putting myself out there, getting published, taking chances.

On a personal level, I've taken a lot of steps and done many things inspired by her. I’ve learned to demand the love and respect I deserve in my personal life. I can do no less.

Trudie's changed my life so much. Her courage has given me such strength. I've started living, doing all the things I've been afraid of; valuing my life, myself so much more. Giving myself. This is what she taught me. Waste no time, love as much as you can, keep smiling.

Thank you, my dear, for your light, your joy, that gorgeous grin.
I miss you.

Happy birthday and sleep tight my warrior Angel.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016


ME: Ines has just discovered fractals, and she freaking out

IVAN: What are fractals I've heard the word before

ME: Ok...Imagine an object, like a snowflake, and you zoom in and the fractional parts of the objects are identical to the whole, infinitely.


ME: So the closer you zoom in the more there is, like the universe see?


ME: The inside is the outside, small is big and never ends, so she's freaking out.

IVAN: Yep, as above so below.

ME:So I says that's what poetry is.


ME: Some math dork discovered what peeps have been drawing in mandalas for thousands of years. This shit is what art is for.

IVAN: Yep.

ME: They try use an artificial language (math) to describe what art describes: the ultimate equation to the theory for everything will be one image -like the sight of the holy grail- that will be so overwhelming and so comprehensible at first glance that the spectator dies.

IVAN: The observer sees himself: BANG!

ME: Yep! So funny the search is circular: always the same and then forgotten, so it can begin again like time - circular.

IVAN: Exactly, we drink from the cup of forgetting, so we can remember on each awakening.

ME: Yes! I think that quantum waves are tubes so the particles travel-surf back - and forward too -
only back and forward depends on a fixed point see? and there IS no fixed point anywhere and it all spins and sways like the dervishes. That is what I think.

IVAN: I think i need a drink now.

from "Conversations with Ivan Shapiro"

Thursday, 22 September 2016


i have been
black faces
all my life


face after face
an endless parade
a race to unfold
dark power
in smooth slick spill
oily ink on the
whitest empty page

i think i will
single them out
one by one
fill each page
with one face
out of the dark

would you like to play
the analysis game?
make the complex plain
give the thing a name?

shall we say:
the subconscious fear
of a white child in Africa?
fearful fascination
with the forbidden?
a gulp of guilt?

or is it just
the worse of all:
unexplainable magic
summoned faces
from the past
slivers of the future
peeking through
shattered barriers

magic spray-painted
in blood on brain
on the only cavern
inside which
we still cower
freeing the ghosts
planting strange flowers
or giving birth
to a multitude
destined to build
mythic towers


Monday, 19 September 2016


you can beat up
your children
boil up the cat
cheat on your taxes
we don't care
about that

you can steal
from the poor
cheat on your spouse
be an all-round shit
an unbearable louse
but whatever you do
be sure not to screw
someone the same
gender as you...

oh no!
that just won't do!
goodness, no!
the dirt
the hurt
the slur
the unbearable stain
on the family name!

yep, don't you dare
to insinuate
the love that dare
not breathe its name
exists out of those
magazines and blogs
and reality shows
with people with fake tits
and pink plastic clogs

let's not forget
our etiquette
stand up straight
bow from the waist
and lie till you die
about anything
you like
but don't ever
admit grandma
was a dike...


Sunday, 18 September 2016


The difference between a military victory and a moral victory is usually the body count. Generally speaking, people who are right dont reach for a gun: those who don't have a leg to stand on ALWAYS reach for a club or a rifle as a crutch...

Unfortunately the latest fashion for the cowardly as well as morally challenged seems to be a bomb.

Manuela Cardiga

Saturday, 17 September 2016


red cherry drop
of poison smile
slash of black
slant-luster glance
under swallow-wing

grace bows
elegance trades
icy jade-blossom
bonsai-twists a kiss
credit card-goodbye

Manuela Cardiga

Friday, 16 September 2016


i shape my face
to the expected farse
pin charm in place
like some dowager
pinning a shawl to cover
slips and stains
of wasted time

the pin strikes deep
through weave and skin
nevermind! i cry
with a dizzy smile
the yellow stain
of disappointment
shows up less;

so let me bleed
bright rubies instead.

Manuela Cardiga

love is water-sweet
to the thirsty

love is bitter-salt
in the desert
of absence

Manuela Cardiga

I close my eyes
and home-sick geese
stitch their desire
across the skies

I close my eyes
and fleet-winged,
love dies.

Manuela Cardiga

there is a bucket
with a hole in it
the shape and size
of the moon

i fished for that moon
in the well of Urd
and lost a dream
snubbed a toe
tore a scheme

there is a heart
with a hole in it
whole and broke
and blood and stone

there is a hole
and the light
of the moon
bleeds out

there is a pin-hole
and the bucket drips
drips the last drop:
no hope.

Manuela Cardiga

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Tigger and Thoreau: Same-same...

ME: "Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too". That's the philosophy book for me. Just because something is simple doesn't make it's simplistic.

IVAN: Simplicity, magnanimity and trust: Thoreau.

ME: Too intellectual for me, this guy. I dig Tigger

IVAN: Which guy?

ME: Thoreau.

IVAN: No he ain't!

ME: Ye he is! Is he orange and does he bounce on his tushie???

IVAN: He is a tiger in man-clothes!

ME: So....Thoreau is really Tigger in disguise?


ME: Never read Thoreau. Tell me about him.

IVAN: Ah! Thoreau! He was a sensualist and an observer deluxe, and his language is poetic. He wrote for himself.

ME: I like him already.

IVAN: Yep, you gonna love him. Very practical guy, he could see, he was awake.

ME: Was he happy?

IVAN: Well, he was a cohort of Emerson's. Lived in Emerson's garden.

ME: Those da dudes that waffled on about autumn leaves and boinked women with long flowing tresses from them Pre-Raphaelite paintings?

IVAN: Yep.

ME: Them were happy dudes, then. That was before it was fashionable to be artistically tortured by genius and commit suicide by booze and drugs.

IVAN: Absolutely.

ME: Cool! So, Tigger and Thoreau...Same-same...Fancy that!

from Conversations with Ivan Shapiro

Monday, 12 September 2016

Between the continuation of another species and the survival of a single human child, I pick the child.


There is a hysterical Protect the Fluffy Animals fanaticism that absolutely drives me WILD.


Frankly this kind of anti-human chauvinistic selective blindness makes me nauseous. Mankind has been an influence on their biosphere for less than 10.000 years and has had a palpable impact for less than 200.

Millions of species have gone extinct in the past 500 million years and many more will do so in the next - WITH NO HELP FROM US!

As far as I can ascertain we are probably the only species who actually gives a flying fuck about ANY OTHER SPECIES.

YES, we have an impact. Is it evil? NO. It is called the natural development of a predatory species to fill all available spaces in an ecosystem.

Everyone's current pet-hate (which is what set off this little rant of mine) the poachers are doing what is perfectly logical for a predator in the Natural World: hunting to provide for their young.

Do I condone what poachers do? Not at all, I agree that we should protect species, but that is, in fact, an unnatural situation stemming from human self-awareness and a sense of compassion for the less resilient.

In truth, we are favoring the continuation of species that has been unable to adapt to a change in conditions. Human influence on the Earth is no different from an Ice-Age, and animals that cannot adapt to adversity die. That's how Life with a BIG L works.

Place things in perspective, please. This kind of unthinking knee-jerk, bleeding-heart attitude is completely irrational.

And please stop saying that "animals are pure and sensitive and naturally loving; humans are evil"
Have you ever seen the images of an orca pack hunting down a gray whale mother and baby?

The Orca will drive the mother off and drown the baby and eat only the tongue. They spend hours on it. There are easier and faster ways to get their protein, yet they invest energy and time in this.

The body of the baby whale is discarded, you understand. They eat only the tongue. As a delicacy or a trophy, take your pick.

Want to start shooting Orcas on sight as cruel and mindless poachers, predating on an endangered species?

And never tell me again that humans are "abomination". Look around you.

Our society is filled with people who would not be equipped to survive in a "natural environment". Their continued existence is due to human compassion and selflessness. We defend our weak. Animals bend to the Natural law of the "survival of the fittest".

In Nature, amongst the "sensitive and loving" animals the sick or disabled are abandoned or become early victims for predators. Protected animal species still exist because of Man. If Humans are evil monsters "abominations in the sight of God" (I quote directly!) NONE of them would even be thought about let alone protected.

I have a child, and I work with children. I am privileged to be in daily contact with the very best of Humanity. As a Human, I am a top-end predator with progeny to protect. I tell you frankly, between the continuation of another species and the survival of a single human child, I pick the child.

By the way! I also eat meat with great gusto AND I own a vintage Mink from the 50's I inherited from my gran.

I would not go out and buy one now - but I wear the one I own.
I will not apologize for myself, my nature or my instincts.

If you don’t like it, sod off and unfriend me.

P.S.: If you are a Sensitive Bleeding Heart outraged by my post I must warn you that as an expression of my insufferable Human self-centered shitty "the world-is-mine-attitude" and natural intrinsic hard-hearted bitchiness, any remarks I don't like will be removed.

If we wished in truth to expunge certain ills from our society we would be more effective in targeting the people who make the unpalatable or criminal activities commercially viable and completely irresistible in the poverty-stricken Third World.

So if we wished to eradicate things like child-prostitution, human or animal trafficking, or the raising of drug crops we need to remove the wealthy end-consumers AND give the poor of the world alternative ways of earning a living.

Until then, it really is no use ranting and raging against the poachers, the pimps or the opium farmers as "inhuman monsters deserving death" - and how many of the ranters have ever REALLY felt true and desperate hunger? Not going without a meal or delaying the satisfaction of a craving for calories for a few hours - but cramping hunger that feels like your body is consuming itself, and seeing that same feverish agony in your children's faces?

Go after the rich consumers, rant and rage at the hidden monsters in the First World, why don't you? You would be astounded to find how many are friends, neighbours or people you look up to as successful, wealthy, reputable and admirable...


Thursday, 8 September 2016

Gospel of the Goddess Book I (vii): So did my Goddess yield her Holy Rage and step aside from the Path of War and Strife for the embrace of a simple man, and a gentle life as his wife.

She sits opposite her father. It is twilight. She raises a tea-cup to her lips. It is tiny, fragile. Strange golden dragons cavort and writhe under her fingers, every scale proud. In the cup the tea is red-gold, aromatic, scented steam rises in the cold room.

Across from her is the cold man, wiping fastidiously at the lips nestled under his mustache. There is only the soft click of the spoons, the porcelain and the clock ticking in tune. They do not speak. They never speak.

A knock. "Come!" he cries - and John enters. He looks flustered.

"Sir, the Stable Master would speak with you." Her father frowns perplexed and annoyed.

"I don't discuss Stable matters at my table. Tell O'Neill that." John nods and departs. Her father picks at a small comfit, and raises his head at a new knock.


It is John again, scarlet faced. "Sir, I'm sorry Sir, but..."

"Well? What is it?"

"Mr. O'Neill said he does not discuss private matters at the Stable."

Her father throws down his napkin, "The cheek of the man! Send him in! "

Her father rises, takes a cigar from his box, rolls it between his fingers, lights it. Never does he look at her, not once.

"The cheek!" He cries again, and looks at the wall, to the left of her shoulder, never ever raising his eyes to her face.

A third knock, and John ushers in Seamus. Seamus O'Neil, in a worsted suit.

"Sir," He nods at her father, he looks at her, right in the eyes, "My Lady."

"Well, O'Neill? What is it? Something wrong with Termagant’s Child? Are the stables on fire?"

"No, Sir. I wished to speak to you on a personal matter."


"Sir, I have been in your employ for sixteen years now, you have my measure as a man. I am a respectable man, Sir, and a hard worker. I am an honest man."

"What is this about?"

"Sir, I am not a poor man. I am not rich, of course, but I own my own land, free and clear; I am beholden to none."

"Are you wanting a raise? Is this what you are on about, O'Neil?"

"Sir, I am not as young as I might wish, forty-two, Sir." Seamus suddenly grins, "But I have all my own teeth, my bit of land, with a house - modest, but mine- and a small stable with some likely foals. What I mean to say...I am here Sir, as an honorable man, asking you for your daughter’s hand."

Hilary hears a gasp, realizes it is her own, breaking the deadly silence. Her father is speechless by the fire, the cigar forgotten between his fingers. Seamus O'Neil stands dead still. There is no fear in him. He is as unperturbed as she has so often seen him, with a raging horse under his hands. He is, as always, himself.

Her father draws in a great whoosh of breath. "Get out. Now. You are insane, or drunk. I will disregard this. Get out."

"No, Sir. I won't. Not without an "aye" or "nay" from you.

"You dare? My daughter? I will not dignify your insolence with an answer!"

"Sir, I love her Ladyship. The love of a good man is no dishonor."

"Your presumption is! You are fired! And refused, should you still have any doubts about that."

Hilary rises, steps into the fight.

"It is not for you to refuse, Father. I am twenty-and-eight. I am of age." She turns to Seamus, "Mr. O'Neill, I accept."

A wash of scarlet swells her father’s face. "Slut!" he screams, and the chords of his neck strain at his shirt collar. "You refuse good men, and fornicate with Irish scum?"

Seamus steps closer to him, to the fire. "You'll not speak to her Ladyship so in my presence Sir, father or no. There has been no fornicating. I am a true man, Sir. But aye. I am Irish scum. As was your good Lady's Gram. As for you Sir...Are you not as Irish-born as I am?"

"Out! Both of you! And as for you, Hilary, not a penny of my money will you see, not one!"

"I have no need of your money, Father, I have my own, from my Mother. And as Mr. O'Neill has assured you, he is not destitute. You need not concern yourself on my account."

"Concern! You have ruined me! Ruined! I will be a laughing-stock. My daughter fornicating with stable-hands!"

Hilary walking to the door, pauses there and turns back with that grace so at odds with her bulk.

"Why, Father...You can always tell them that was a taste I acquired honestly, from your blood. From what I understand, you too rather enjoy fucking stable-boys."


Manuela Cardiga

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Excerpt from "GODDESS OF WAR"

Gospel of the Goddess
Book I (i)

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was War.
I am the first Disciple, the Dark One, the Follower in the Shadows, and I heard the Holy Words of the Goddess from Her very lips; from Her Dreams I drank the Gospel, the Revelation and the Prophecy.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was Woe.
Even Gods are born, for such is the Fate of all speaking things. 
The Goddess was born as her father's only child: An odd, embarrassing, and peculiar child; but his heir, none the less. They named Her Hilary, a name of honour in the family. The name She would bear in Her human life, the name destined for a beloved daughter, a once much desired and longed for daughter. (ii)

Hilary had been born in a welter of dark blood, a presage to her future. She had been born on the exhalation of her Mother’s dying breath - a tragedy that was common, prosaic and fitting; for childbirth is ever women’s battlefield, and yet none gather from it honour or recognition of valour.

She was born to the wretched screams of her father's pain, her mother having fallen into the stuporous silence of the death-sleep.
Her blueish infant flesh was laved by indifferent hands; she was warmed and declared likely to live and handed to a woman whose only qualification for nurture was the copious outpouring of her breasts.

Of sensibility or tenderness of feeling for the new-born she held this woman laid no claim. She proffered her nipple to the eager mouth with a wince of distaste, and a turning away of her face. The avidity of the child's noisy suckling in that chamber of death disgusted her; the starfish clutch of the minute hands on her flesh repulsed her. She found the child's pallid translucid skin, the virulent red of the fuzz covering the pulsing skull repellent. This was a changeling, surely: Born in blood, destined for pain.

Thus was Hilary welcomed into the world, and this was the loving embrace into human society that Fate and circumstance reserved for her.

Deprived of love - the natural and necessary aliment for every soul - none the less, Hilary thrived. Healthy and stubborn as a weed she grew at an unprecedented rate, and in an era when children died with monotonous and distressing regularity for the slightest of complaints, she was hardy and husky. Strength of limb and lungs assured her of all the necessities that can be guaranteed by ferocity and vociferous complaint.

She grew, she walked and sooner than expected - she spoke.
As the only female in a household of men, Hilary was treated at times as a male, at others with a clumsy confusing deference to her female condition so at odds with her physicality and her personality as to verge on cruelest mockery.

At the age of four she was aggressive, unlovely and unloving. At four she had been aware she was a killer, had cringed in her bed while a drunken man with her father's face screamed at her, screamed and cried, tears and snot combined to soak into his mustache.

“She died, my love died...And what did I get for it? What did I get? You killed her, you little monster! Why didn't you die? Why didn't you die?” He had nearly fallen, clutched at one of the bedposts, stood swaying, and staring down at her. Then he cried out, “Helen!” he bent over, vomited at the feet of her bed, fell. Hilary had inched down to see him sprawled there, his white shirt soiled and crumpled. “Helen...Helen...I am so sorry...Helen...”

Yes, she had been a killer. The next day she had gone down through the kitchen, to where the cook's tabby nursed her kittens, and taken one. She took the kitten out to the broad back lawn, down to the pond, and held it under the water until it drowned. It didn't take long, and it wasn't hard.

She had sat and sucked at one of the long scratches on her hand inflicted by the tabby, and watched the little striped thing float away. 

She was a killer, she had killed her mother, she had killed her father's heart, now she had killed a tabby's kit. And it felt alright. It felt peaceful, sitting by the water watching death, and being alive.

Manuela Cardiga

Wednesday, 31 August 2016


Crash of light
Shatter night
Pausing paw
Quiver nose decides
Slanting glance
Flounce disdain
Tail of flame derides


Tuesday, 30 August 2016


flock of swallows
razoring towards the dawn

shattered angel ascending 
yearning ecstasy
before light-fall


Monday, 22 August 2016

If there is even one other fool in the world who believes in trust, then there is the proof that there is a foolish God who created them...

from Conversations with Ivan Shapiro

Friday, 19 August 2016



War-drunk Boudicca
Released a Hare
From under her cloak,
Set it free to watch it flee
Before her bloody chariots.

The idiot Hounds slavered,
And gave chase
The Gods favoured
The moment and the reaping
Of souls was great.

And yet I wonder,
Did the Hare know what it was?

When it screamed-
A streak of lean
And desperate meat
Before the avid jaws
Of the Dogs of War-
Did it see what it was?

Or did it fancy itself
Lord of ferocity
Master of atrocity
Leader of the Pack?

Did it see
Its own escape-velocity
As killing-desire?
Did it believe itself

Was the flea-bitten,
Scrofulous Eater-of-the-Dead
Deceived into believing
It was a Warrior instead?

After the battle
It is Victory Day.
Medals are pinned
On mangy fur
And the Hounds of War
(pups following
the enticing scent)
Bay envious approval.

The War-Master smiles,
The Hare preens and dreams
It is the Alpha-dog,
Leader of the Pack,
When all it is is
The death-lure,

Sporting with pride
Its ridiculous ears
Nose twitching
At imagined fears
First contender
Of the Death Pool:

The Officer,
The Tool
The Fool.


Friday, 12 August 2016


Experimenting with painting with coffee, turmeric and paprika...

The sadness of goodbye, and the endurannce of the silence empty of a beloved presence.

My father left on his great journey 11 years ago today.

Quoting one of my ghosts explaining death and grief to a child:

“Life is short, but love is long, Isaiah. Everyone has a path, and because we love someone we can't understand why their path goes left, and ours goes right. We want to travel with them always, but at that place is where they turn to travel another way. Not because they love us less, or we need them less. And it hurts. And it's scary, because now we travel alone. But the love stays with us. And later on, we meet other people on our road and more love grows in us.”

“Like us and you and Mr.Simon.”

“Yes. And you know, I think one day we find everyone we have loved on a road somewhere. So we walk, and who knows? Next bend we find something new to love and to love us.”


Manuela Cardiga

Thursday, 11 August 2016


Humans fear change more than they love freedom.


Slavery is crushing but always the enslaved are in greater numbers than the enslavers. The step towards freedom is not taken out of fear not only of violence...but from fear of freedom itself, fear of responsability, and decisions.

Whatever enslaves us, be it an unjust regime, a human and beloved oppressor, an idea or tradition, or a substance addiction; at some point some form of agreement exists or rebelion would be explosive and uncontrollable - and change would be inevitable.

Humans fear change more than they love freedom.



It interesting to note that though people are eager to claim emancipation from oppression as a Right, they are less eager to embrace the necessary sacrifice - the hefty price always paid in the responsibility of taking on the burden of our own destiny.

So if we wish to be free we have to be willing to do without the subtle benefits and protections of submission.

We must trade in the comforts of predictable pain and own the mistakes we make - as much part of our liberty as the benefits of grace...

Eleven years ago tomorrow my Dad went away. 
I miss him so much.
He was my best-friend, my one unconditional supporter, he believed I could do anything.

He was a kind.and, intensely shy man, a man of his word, who lived according to a strict code of honour, a fighter. He made every single day count: every single day, right to the end, he fought for his life. He did it with humour and dignity.

Everything I am I owe to him, I hope one day I will be worthy of the faith he had in me.


Thursday, 4 August 2016


She saw that many people had underneath faces: supple, strange beguiling. She knew that trust was a dream she could no longer believe in. So she took her magic words and her terrible strength and made a great spell so no fear and no fury or monstrous claw could reach her, and so she was safe.

Manuela Cardiga

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Sad to say I was so right...


So who now speaks
With tongue of angels
When brass trumpets
Sound the tune?

Sayest thou TRUMPET?

Dire and portentous
Warnings Trumpet
Through the shivering
Aether contaminating
Thought and souls
Of the "common" people...
But do we listen?

We shiver and grimace
And feel superior
Is it no so? 
My brothers and sisters
Of the evolved soul...

We sniff and stare
Down our well-bred snouts
Even as the Brassy Creature
Pouts-mouths indignation
Drains the abscess of rage;
Mines rich veins of fear
And blue-collar pain.
Digging deep to gain
A few more votes
To win the Nation.

We laugh and peer
Through the rarified air
Of our Ivory Tower
At the teeming weeds
Determined to flower
As the Upstart Creep
Greedily grasps at power...

We laugh, and laugh
Sure the right will prevail;
We laugh knowing
The foolish multitude
Will follow-swallow; 
Nibbling at the democratic
Carrot-creed, even
As we brandish
The ignorance-stick...

Oh we laugh, 
We joke
We poke 
Derisive fingers
At the well-crafted
Colourful Clown
Designed to catch-detach
Our silly sheep
From our rational
Sensible lead,...

We laugh and I remember
German intelligentsia
Laughing at another jester:
Short and bug-eyed
(Liebeling! Have you ever
seen such HAIR?)
Leaping and screeching
And spitting poison and despair.

We laugh 
And I remember
German intellectuals
With a superior sneer
Smirking at an hysterical
Fool and a wagging finger,
With full faith in the good sense
Of the German People...

So laugh, 
And write 
An erudite account
Of why such Demagogues
Must fail
Will fail
Need fail.

As we polish
A well-turned phrase,
And our complacent leaders
Laugh on their way
To the bank;
As others once laughed
On their way to
The camp.

Manuela Cardiga

Friday, 1 July 2016

There is no Death. There is no end, there is only a moment when we take a deep breath, a pause before we begin again.

You ask: is there Life after Death?
There is only Life after Life.

We are immortal ambition in a sleeve of flesh, so when our sleeve becomes ragged, we wear another.

The moment we call Death is only the space of a breath when we stand naked; that one breath, before we join the dance again.

Manuela Cardiga

Monday, 27 June 2016

Tradução para Português! MANscapes...

- Quando as mulheres sofrem abusos emocionais, como eu e tu, Clara; uma parte de nós aprende a acreditar que somos indignas de amor, que merecemos o mal que recebemos. Então nós entregamos-nos a pessoas como o Walker. Que nos amará, oh sim ... Mas ... Não é amor bom, Clara. É amor vampírico. Amor que dói e nos sobrecarrega, que nos suga as energias, que se alimenta das nossas almas.

Os dedos magros de Sylvine acariciaram suavemente os cabelos de Clara úmidos de lágrimas, e ela sussurrou:
- Então como meninas magoadas contamos a nós mesmas a velha história do amor incondicional para nos consolarmos: temos de dar de nós, e dar generosamente; e então um dia, aquele amor mágico vai transformar os indignos em merecedores.

Ela fez uma pausa,
- Mas sabes, Clara, quem nós acreditamos que não merece amor, quem queremos transformar, não é aos outros, é a nós mesmas.

- Não ... - Clara gemeu.

- Sim. A verdadeira transformação só acontecerá - a felicidade, Clara! - quando aprendemos a aceitar o amor como a dadiva de outra pessoa. Quando finalmente aceitarmos que merecemos receber por direito do nosso valor aquele mesmo amor que damos e damos tão obstinadamente sem esperança de retorno.

tradução para Português:
MANscapes: Journey into Light

Manuela Cardiga

SURPRISE!!!! "Desire's Detective" jumped over a million positions in one day in AMAZON'S paid ranking....

Amazon Best Sellers Rank:

#111,713 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#866 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

#10248 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical


In glamorous 18th Century Versailles someone is murdering the Court Jesters.

Courtesan turned Detective Noelle de Jouissance is ordered by Louis XV to investigates the hideous crimes, and finds herself embroiled in the sex-mad Royal Family erotic secrets; her virginal sidekick - novice-nun Desiree - is being pursued by the King's lecherous brother; the King is out to seduce the Queen and her Mistress, and the only clue to the killer's identity is a tattoo on his scrotum...

"Desire's Detective" is a tongue-in-cheek take on the sexy shenanigans of Louis XV's sinful court; a heady mix of comedy, drama, eroticism, murder-mystery and historical tit-bits that are guaranteed to be totally inaccurate.

A deliciously raunchy Historical Romance!

Saturday, 11 June 2016

SCREAM!! MURDER IN D-MINOR JUMPED 150.000 positions overnight in Barnes and Noble to 10.133!

Murder in D-Minor
Publisher:Manuela Maria Manuela Cardiga
Publication date:03/10/2014
Sold by:Smashwords

BookSales rank:10,133


Wednesday, 8 June 2016

GOLEM OF PRAGUE still climbs in AMAZON!

#522 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > Jewish

#647 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical > Jewish

#681 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 15 minutes (1-11 pages) > Literature & Fiction

So flattered my little story has found an audience!

Saturday, 4 June 2016


the slipper dropped
from a dainty foot
said they,
but i think
that foot
was most likely
by the hard journey
of a desperate life,
scarred by the burning
heat of the kitchen's
cinder path

the slipper dropped
but the hand within
the matching
shimmering glove
was better suited
to scrubbing an iron
fender than to receiving
the tender kiss
of princely love

the slipper dropped
and the fantasy melted
the crystal shattered
under the hammer blows
of the ticking clock

the slipper dropped
and sinewed arms
lacking the charms
of a velvet-sweet
porcelain maiden's
gathered up
the unravelling 
drab rags 
of an hour's treasure

the slipper dropped
the mice abandoned
the sinking dream
and she trudged home

Manuela Cardiga

Friday, 27 May 2016

Waiting is harder to do than doing.

From "Conversations with Ivan Shapiro"

Thieves of hearts
And body parts
None of us can spare
Livers and lights
And love-blind eyes
And tinted tresses
Of flowing hair.

Thieves of hearts
And reason leading
To unwise treason
Betrayal of the frail
Bonds of trust
Unwise desires
Watery lust
Corroding rust
Seeping though chinks
Leaching love
From weary hearts

All this and more
I've heard before
So girls heed my advice
Stop up your tears
And lonely fears
Fix that make-up
Close your ears
To snivelling pleas
Put on your
Sharpest heels
And kick
The bastard out


Monday, 23 May 2016

Once we stop fighting and yield to magic every step takes us closer to who we were meant to be, and to where we should have been had we not so stubbornly - or cowardly - turned away from that path.


Saturday, 21 May 2016

We must learn patience, because God sends the richest gifts last.


Saturday, 14 May 2016

IVAN: There is no mystery, you know. All that Magic is is God's love manifest in the world.

from "Conversations with Ivan Shapiro"
When it becomes imperative to deny an unpalatable or dangerous truth, the best and easiest way to do so is not by attacking it - which would only entrench it more deeply and make it even more likely to be believed - but to discredit the teller of that truth, and so dismiss it unchallenged.

Knowing uncertainty is everywhere makes us bolder.

from "Conversations with Ivan Shapiro"
History is a interlocking web of ongoing events, bringing us to the present as we perceive it.
What happened 400 years ago has repercussions NOW, and the ripples still travel; move past us
and onward into the future.

from "Conversations with Ivan Shapiro"
You can bend numbers any which way, and statistics are slaves to every liar.

A lot of lies can be "proved " true, but truths can never be disproved.


Sunday, 8 May 2016

The friends you have are the truest mirror of the person you are.

From "Conversations with Ivan Shapiro"


this anger
that thrums
in my throat
i swallow
i choke

this hate
that blinds
my sight
this scream
this rage
this spark
of insane

let my heart
let that
moment go

let my breath
in and out
let that calm
the fists
let the rage end

and i can be
myself again

Maanuela Cardiga

Excerpt from "TURQUOISE MOON" BOOK I: LEILA - Chapter III

Cyprus - St Joseph’s Convent - Lanarca

“You may have come here as postulants, hoping to escape the world, its sorrows, its burdens, its choices,” Sister Dominick pauses, “ You think to seek refuge in God; but there is no escaping service to humanity, and only by this service do we truly serve Him.”

Silent in the back row, Sister Mary Joseph runs her fingers over her rosary. In the quiet recesses of her mind she chants: Hail Mary full of grace…

“Your prayers are priceless, but your talents are needed. You are needed.” Sister Dominick’s gaze roves over the impassive faces in their starched frames.

“There are people in pain, the whole world is now struggling to find itself again in the aftermath of war and chaos. We are sending sisters to Palestine, to Africa, to India. We are sending women to serve God by service to our brethren. We look for women with the courage to heal the flesh, so they can reach the spirit - touch the lost soul within.”

Again those agate eyes seem to seek our certain faces. “Obedience to God’s will. That is what you vowed, my Sisters, so I set you a challenge tonight. Search in the silence of your hearts, ask God for a sign. Hearken to his call, my Sisters, and answer it with love.”

Love. Sister Mary Joseph frowns. Love. She has come here for the warm comforting embrace of God, for consolation, for forgetfulness, not to risk her sanity again in love.

“We come as brides, to serve for joy, and so let us serve.”

She kneels, she prays, and she waits. Her rosary, her counters of forgetfulness - each prayer a submersion of her self in holy silence - hangs from her hands; and around her waist under the coarse stuff of her shift, where modesty prevents even the Postulant Mistress from detecting its existence, hangs the turquoise on its scarlet thread.

The answer comes, as she knew it would. She was made for service, the whispering call is imperative.

Come, Leila, come to pray, come to love, come to serve. Come to Africa.

She will obey, and she will serve God in love.


Manuela Cardiga

Friday, 6 May 2016

Turning from pain, we turn from joy, abandon life and leave love behind.

from "Turquoise Moon"

Manuela Cardiga

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Playing the Fool...

The Fool was always wise, and by being "the Fool" he was free to tell truths that would have seen other men executed.

Fools were exempt from judgement, yet free to judge.


Monday, 2 May 2016


Willie S says
There are plots
In number five
Alas he is a man
And wrong, of course,
There are as many plots
As there are smiles;

Characters, however,
There are only three:
The lover
The fool
And the villain
Who is free.

You are the lover
The fool am I
And the villain
In our history is time.

We grieve because we loved someone enough to give ourselves. That is a good pain.

Sometimes I think grief is the only thing in the world that is evergreen. Loves fade but never that wrenching pain of missing someone who's gone away.


Sunday, 17 April 2016

Friday, 15 April 2016

The Beloved Country still cries but the tears are born of shame, 
unrelieved and unconsoled by the dignity of pain.


Friday, 8 April 2016


"This is a personal attack!
You are discriminating,
despising and deriding me
Because I'm Black!"

"Nonsense!" cried I
Overcoming the shy,

"I despise you
Because you
Write nothing
There is nothing
About THAT!"


Monday, 4 April 2016

Poetry into LIFE! Patrick Glassel and Alice Wanders performance art and experimental music combined!

I was overwhelmed when Patrick Glassel and Alice Wanders incorporated my poem "No Evidence, No Crime" into their project! The result is stunning, eery and haunting.


Do you all
Remember Alice?
Big-eyed Alice,
Chaste Alice,
With her blue ribbon
And her pretty dress?

How we were al
So impressed...
That Lewis Carroll
(such a kind man)
Took silly Alice
And made her a star.

Twinkle, twinkle little Alice,
Twinkle from afar!
So Alice twinkled,
But I wonder
Did she cry?

When Uncle Lewis
(such a patient man)
Took her boating
Or walking in the park,
When his hands
Wandered so;

Or even just his eyes,
Did Alice shrink?
Was that
The magic potion
He made her drink?
The poison brew
To make her think
Something was wrong
Something absurd...

That she was a bad girl
Getting upset,
Raising a doubt,
When he was such
A kind, patient
(affectionate) man.

Yes, I think
He poured it out
Into a pretty chalice
And served it to us
With charm:
(such a witty man)
The pain and the fear
And bewilderment
Of silly Liddell Alice
And made himself
A star.

Manuela Cardiga

Thursday, 31 March 2016

CHAPTER I - Jerusalem, Jordan December 1947

There is a man leaning on the counter, a man like a bundle of twigs. He is thin, with the long odd shape of his teeth pressing through the scant flesh of his face, like an animal's muzzle, all the angles of his skull explicit agony to the flinching eye.

Leila glances away. She looks down at her clasped hands, but his presence demands her attention.

He is thin, but there is a wiry desperate strength to him. His eyes burn, and as he leans to speak to the man beside him, spittle wets his arid lips. He raises the thick glass to his mouth and drinks. The ridged curve of his throat convulses, He grins, and scrabbles avid spidering fingers at his arm where the blue ghosts of numbers are obscured by the raked wounds of his constant scratching. His voice is high, he laughs, there is a ferocious hunger to him.

He is unbearably ugly, repulsive. His macula are mute reproaches to her happiness; that at this moment of desperate struggle when survival is the only permissible desire she is alight, afire with passion, in love for the first time in her life.

In this place where the remnants of a people stand to fight for their last chance at life, ready to pay for each grain of sand with blood, she is a girl aglow.


by Manuela Cardiga