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Effort

My aim to was to have a claim to fame by the time the whistle blew to end the game. No excuses, no scapegoats on whom to lay the blame, just my will and my heart in a 5’9″ frame. Opportunities vanished as fast as they came and nothing is as sad as the memories that remain. I endured the pain and suffered the shame, fought through cramps, limps, aches and sprains, through bruises, fractures, grass burns and blood stains, I didn’t even notice all the friendships starting to wane. With fire in my eyes and a passion that made lions seem tame, dripping enough sweat to extinguish hell’s flame; I played in such a way that when I am dead on gone, your children’s children will not play the game without mentioning my name. #cantteacheffort

 

 

 

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Perfect!!!

If there’s one thing I’m perfect at, one thing that I have mastered on this Earth, one thing I can claim and know that I can not fail at it’s this… I am perfect at being imperfect.

I’ve seen some bumbling fools in my life, the likes of television characters Frank Spencer and Steve Urkel; those mini hurricanes on two feet that leave a trail of formerly beautiful things lying broken in their wake. I’ve seen flat-footed, “hurry-up-slowly” type of people like a friend who I won’t name simply because he is a friend and I don’t want to put him on ‘front street’ – people like him who don’t normally break things but lay heavy blows on them unintentionally because, well, clumsy is Marcus’ second nature to them and no matter how careful they try to be they seem to find a way to let Murphy have his way with them. Oops. Did I just accidentally call out Marcus Murphy?

I’ve seen certain characters who think that if they hold their tongue just right, close one eye just enough and use a slightly bigger hammer they can get that nail into the wall and finally hang that over-sized picture that’s been collecting dust behind the dresser for a year. Then a few minutes later, with a huge hole in the wall, a swollen thumb and the name of Jesus being used to punctuate the vilest of sentences one would sit and wonder how much thought was put into the whole process. Pardon me if I sound mean but I have come across some people who are dumber than a sack of hammers, those who seem to have the innate ability to throw a rock at the ground and miss nine times out of ten. The way they do this effortlessly frustrates me and at the same time makes me jealous of how they have the market cornered on ‘stupid’ and society just accepts that . Then there are those who are plagued by embarrassing moment after embarrassing moment have perfected the art of putting their foot in their mouths and walk at the same time. People whose brain seems to function out of sync with their mouths; usually the mouth takes centre-stage in this contest.

Then there is me, where do I begin? How about with my indecision, or maybe my procrastination? No we’ll start with the indecision which I feel is heavily linked to the procrastination. The more I am indecisive the longer it takes for me to get started so, I figure that one fuels the other but I just can’t come to a decision on which one fuels the other. Maybe we should come back to this debate later since there are other things to talk about. I have a hard time with oral communication and this difficulty leads me to express myself in writing. This used to be a problem for me when I was younger because I used to have untidy handwriting. Chickens would throw tantrums if anyone called my handwriting chicken-scratch; their dignity would not allow their food scavenging motion to be associated with my attempted at writing. I committed to the craft until I developed a legible form of writing, then I became complacent and got comfortable with mediocre handwriting.

I have a hard time making friends as I’m not a social butterfly, but once we get along, people have called me funny and easy to get along with. I have few friends so I know their worth and I cherish them. Though I may upset them, hurt them and disappoint them at times, the fact remains, I value them and I love them and it harrows me when I don’t measure up to their expectations which sometimes are unreasonable. Though I say I love them, I have to admit, I don’t think I really know what love looks like anymore. My most recent memories of it is giving it to someone who seems to be afraid of receiving it so their most natural response is to throw daggers at it and run away. This is a little off track but I often feel like I’m being judged by people because my sin is public knowledge and theirs is still under wraps.

There have been days when I’m a flat-footed Marcus Murphy trying hard not to have a Frank Spencer moment, but I often end up looking at the hole in the wall with the hammer on my big toe and my swollen throbbing thumb in my mouth is the only reason I’m not experimenting with ungodly last names for Jesus. Yep, I have my “sack of hammers” moments and they’re not pretty but I’ve learnt that the family portrait in the living rooms of the rich, is only how they wish they look. Perfect to the unsuspecting eye – but here I am undressing my character with words, words that I learned to write because of my shy and timid nature, that forces me to stutter sometimes when I talk and makes me more comfortable writing than when I do anything else. In this world of imperfection, I think I have mastered the art. Does that make me relatively perfect?

abstract by Tedd V

March 1, 2o13 – This is what insomnia does!!!

I love her…

I’ve heard it said that love is blind, but if that is the case can someone please explain love at first sight because I remember the first night I laid my eyes on her. How she looked pristine yet I knew she couldn’t be; no way on earth could she be faultless and spotless not matter how innocent she appeared. This precious jewel’s beauty caressed my pupils and she effortlessly lifted the heavy bags from right under my eyes, no lies, she was exactly what I had long waited for and at the same time what I had long feared.

Often-time I wish some moments in time could be captured, put in a little bottle and kept for later in that kitchen cabinet above the stove. Then once in a while when days get a little dull, I would just reach for that bottle of time and spice up my life. I guess if that was the case then we really wouldn’t enjoy life the way we are meant to. What incentive would we have to make the most out of every moment if we can reach for that bottle and relive the old moment when ever days aren’t as we would have them.  So, as beautiful as the first sight was, as captivating and as breath taking as she was at that second, I’m glad I didn’t have a camera to take a picture with, that way, I was focused on that moment and enjoyed it, instead of trying to focus the lens and missing the joy of the moment.

Perfection belongs only to God, so it seems so odd that she could seem more perfect as she became more flawed. I braced my self to hold her and as the tips of my fingers touch her supple skin I experienced sensations that are quite inexplicable. Ambivalence is and understatement yet it is the only way I can label it. There was the excitement you get when you receive a gift, the curiosity and anticipation of all the subsequent moments exploring this new gift, I could foresee laughter, giggling, smiles,  hugs, kisses, cuddling, taking strolls and a lifetime spent just learning about each other. On the other hand, I could foresee long nights of fussing, a battle of wills, a lot of crying, a lot of frustrations and the dreaded disappointments. The great thing about this is that I knew right from the first moment I saw her that I loved her. Not only that, I also knew that I would love her until the day I die. I’ve been waiting for her for so long and tonight I finally set my eyes on my daughter… Call it blind, say it happens at first sight, say what you may about love. I don’t think you can explain it in word. Some things you just have to feel.

abstract, by Tedd V.   (UNREVISED)

Gorgeous [Beautiful alt. vers.]

 Her eyes are as indescribable as the blend of colors at sunset on the edge of the summit viewed from the deepest darkest corner of the canyon. So soft, so warm, so bright and so beautiful . I just want to stay here and gaze into them till the day after forever. If sliced bread were truly as amazing as everyone makes it out to be, it wouldn’t be worthy to hold in comparison with her smile. It’s the best thing on this side of heaven; in the midst of all the noise and rushing it’s like falling into an oasis while searching for shade in the desert. She has a way of extending the edges of her mouth, slightly pouting her lips, exposing just enough whiteness of her teeth, and ever so slightly elevating her cheeks while widening her eyes to the genesis of crows-feet and just holding it there, oh yes, she knows just how to hold it there,  with perfect poise, in a perfect balance that accentuates the sparkle in her eyes. Sometimes she sings to me, new songs that I’ve never heard before, and I’m sure she composes them especially for me. So calming are they, I bet even angels lean over the balconies of heaven bright-eyed and smiling, with both cheeks in their hands just enjoying the sweet melodies. I don’t know much about music, but I know enough to say that hers is the voice I want to hear in every song because every song needs an alto pitched perfect for her voice to sing. Sometimes I make her laugh, I mean really really laugh. I’m in love with the sound it creates, in love with the picture it paints, in love with the feeling it gives her……

…. this is just a teaser. Read the complete revised edition of the story in the upcoming book, Long Way Home.

by Tedd V

Fearless

Some may see risk, I prefer to see an opportunity for a void to be filled with excitement; be it a physical or emotional manifestation. Time and again our logic tells us not to tread those unfamiliar waters, our commonsense bids us remain in these comfortable corners, do not disturb the dust on the unexplored path. But what is logic any way? What is commonsense? It’s that thieving feeling you have before an uncertain victory; the feeling that if followed makes that uncertain victory  a definite defeat. The reasoning within oneself that subconsciously says, “Aim low, you are not among the elite that has the strength and skill to aim so high.” How many times have you let fear govern your decisions? Fear should introduce you to faith, and faith works best when it is blind. When you close your eyes to all the possibilities of falling and trust that God has given you the ability to walk. Life and its experiences are all a great risk. You have to close your eyes and take the plunge. Live unstoppable, like the kids doing back-flips on  back of mattress. Dare to have a face among the faceless, a name among the nameless. abstract.

By Tedd V. Inspired by Dr A. Blalok.

Long Way Home: Ch 1

Time flies when you’re having fun. I’ve heard that so much I’ve started to believe it and that statement suggests that the opposite is true. When you’re not having fun time seems to drag. In reality time is the most consistent traveler known to man; constantly moving at an unchanged pace regardless of circumstances or surroundings. Many have tried to capture moments with the fanciest of video or photo cameras but the fact remains, a moment can not be captured, recreated or reproduced. Once it’s gone it’s gone. It took me long enough to learn that lesson and even now, I find myself trying to relive certain experiences but failing to have the same emotion of the original moment.

I remember the day I finally reached home after a nine year absence. The best way to see how much you’ve changed is to go back to a place that has remained the same. I remember how the high pitched squeak coming from the old greaseless axle always annoyed me. When I was younger I had tried to use the left over chicken fat to lubricate it but to no avail. After a couple of hours of running back and forth to the water well and to the stores on grandpa’s donkey cart, the quick fix would wear out and the squeak seemed to be a little louder. That day was different though, it had a piercing effect; a sound that harrowed my very core. It made me cringe, almost similar to my school days, when Miss Nyawiri would scratch her fingers on the chalk-board to get the students’ attention when we were making noise. Funny enough, I listened to it with a smile on my face. Almost the same way someone smiles when they hear an old favourite playing on the radio. Diana & mom were on their way back home from the collecting fire-wood. She looked very different, but held that captivating smile still. Mom looked more or less the same, except for the grey hair and deeper wrinkles.

I used to be the one to go and fetch the water, and I didn’t enjoy it when mom came along. She never could mind her business, and I couldn’t stop at the soccer fields to see the boys playing. She didn’t approve. “You shouldn’t hang around those boys Vera; you need to be concentrating on your school. You’re still young and you’ll have more than enough time to date boys once you finish high school and university,” she’d always say to me. Sitting there watching her talk to Diana made me feel nostalgic. I couldn’t help but smile as I pondered on the many trips she took with me and never failed to give me advice; at the same time I was smiling I felt stupid too for not taking her advice. I could have saved myself a lot of heart ache and trouble by listening to her.

Pain had brought me back to my senses and back to my home, but pride would not be seen. Sitting there waiting for them to get home but not really looking forward to talking to them was the height of ambivalence. I knew the moment would come when I had to meet with them, but I so much wished I could postpone it indefinitely. The squeak was getting louder and louder, and the louder it got, the more I cringed. The more I cringed, the faster I felt my heart beating, the faster my heart beat, the shorter my breath. I was nervous, the same way one would feel when a handsome stranger approached with the intent to strike a conversation. Yet this nervousness was ridiculous because it was my family I was nervous to meet. Louder and louder grew the squeaks, and I felt myself stand up and move to a hiding spot. My nerves couldn’t take it anymore; before I ran away from home I had done everything but let mom down. I knew she was heartbroken by my decision to leave, especially by my reason and method and I just couldn’t bear to look her in the eye and see that disappointment that I had caused, not even after nine years of absence. Louder still and even louder until I could hear their voices; they sounded so sweet. I just wanted to go out there and talk to them, but the shame was so overwhelming it had me glued in the thicket.

Just then sun seemed to mimic me, a few minutes earlier it had been blazing mercilessly, but now it began to sheepishly retreat behind a mass of neoteric dark clouds. I couldn’t help but notice what a fine young lady Diana had grown into. Her demeanour was far from what I had remembered her to be. Her step, her tone, her everything; she just had this commanding presence about her and it was really hard for me not to rush out and hug her. I missed her so much. All the talks we used to have, the little secrets she shared, and the advice I would give her. “Looks like the crop will see some more rain mom, I’ll get the clothes off the line, they should be dry by now,” she told mom and with a wide smile on her face she slid off the cart and made her way to the clothesline which was in my direction. Mom proceeded to unload the firewood at the kitchen before loosing the donkeys into the kraal. After nine years of being Lord knows how far away from home, my sister was standing less than 10 metres away from me. All that stood between us was a thicket, space and my shame. Tears of joy trickled down my cheek, and as I sniffled, I caught her attention. She drew closer to the thicket to investigate the sound, and I realised that seeing me might startle her so I made a move…

sample- by Tedd. V

thando lwam’ ngolwakho.

Like red paint with a slight touch of white, carefully soaked in your dreams and then dexterously stroked into a masterpiece on canvas. A piece of art in the shape of a heart, you can feel the emotion by following the motion of the brush-strokes. Every blush notes the lush quotes of silent heartbeats begging to be heard. Not heavy yet there is a lot of weight to it, not hard, just firm and deliberate enough to make this heart drawn look heart-felt. When I see it I can only think of your heart pounding hurriedly in the presence of mine & I can only wonder how deep those brush strokes went into that canvas, I mean, how deep your love really is.
My officiousness leads me to imagine what love really looks like, when you peel off that red paint, beneath that resplendent surface, what does it look like. So I undress it slightly to address it lightly and we’re left with just the canvas. Now, when I look at this canvas called love, it looks like when your pair of beautiful brown eyes wanders across a crowded room and collides with mine. Immediately, we’re blinded to all else in that room, and all we can see is ourselves in each other, and each other in ourselves. It looks like, you and I, walking, on rose petals, hand in hand in the warm breeze the garden of life, barefoot of course, what’s the point of walking on rose petals if they don’t touch your skin? Love looks like a field of daisies, pansies and lilies, you & I, a couple of butterflies and the setting sun. Love looks like that day we sat on the park bench and you fed me strawberries, and as you finger rested on my lip; I couldn’t get your touch off my mind. And I don’t even like strawberries, but I eat them now, hungrily, and remember that moment, that touch. I like what this kind of love looks like, but this is only skin-deep. I want to go deeper so I peel the canvas off, now let me look at love.

Your love, looks like, you, frustrated with my stubbornness, tired of repeating yourself, only to find that you’re patient enough to tell me one more time. And my love looks like, me waiting tirelessly for you to get dressed, even after you’ve changed your outfit 3 times already and the show starts in 19 minutes. Our love looks like, us fussing and fighting for three hours, until we both look at each other, smile and realise that we’ve both forgotten what we’re fussing about anyways. This love looks like me, sitting in my room, thinking about you at 3:08am, and I haven’t had a wink of sleep yet. Yet, I want to go deeper still, beneath the flesh, right down to the core, I want to see the more, much more, deeper than the frame that holds love up. Now love looks like me sitting right here, right now trying to figure out how much I really love you, cause you said something hurtful yesterday. I don’t know how you could ever think i don’t pay attention to you.

I know it takes you exactly 2 seconds after you open the door to say, “honey, I’m home.” 9 seconds, after you take your shoes off, you plant a kiss on my left cheek in the middle of the kitchen floor. I know you always skip the second step when you go up or down the stairs because that’s the step that our puppy died on. I know, I turn my head to the door at least 15 times between the time I get home and the time you do. I know even though you put on a brave front, you can’t fall asleep unless you can feel me next to you. It takes you 6 seconds to exhale completely when you’re scared, and I know that where ever we go together, we’re never more than 60 seconds away from each other. At the end of the day, I come to a point when I want to take a good look at love. So lets put the flesh back on, cover it up with the skin, dress it back up and, coat it with that red paint. And see what love looks like. Love looks like you, in a red dress, like the red paint, with a white ribbon tied around the waist, holding my hand, looking into my eyes, and me, looking so deep into yours, I see past your red dress, past the red paint. Even deeper, past your beautiful skin, past the canvas. Deeper yet, past the frame, past the bone. It looks like your heart, and me clinging onto you because you’re the only one of you I have, so let me look at you damn it. How much do I love you? I’ll let time do the telling…

 

-abstract by Tedd V