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This Is How It Is

by Lara Kirsten / 19.07.2013

Lara Kirsten is a classically trained pianist and poet. For the past 4 years she has traveled and performed extensively throughout South Africa. Her passion is very much channeled into breathing life, creativity and sensuality into the Afrikaans language. She often combines poetry with movement, visual art, photography and music. She’s also known for thinking most poetry sounds better when performed in the nude, especially this one.

Dit is soos dit is

die volgende gedig kom tot sy reg as dit in die naakte liggaam voorgedra word

dit is soos dit is
in die vlees van my siel
is dit waar die woorde broei
en wat lug soek in die eter van die
naakte siele soos wat hulle saam uit die velle
van mense gebore word

ek kan
nòg meer vel
nòg meer vlees
veel meer as wat ek hier voorgee

dit is soos dit is
die vlees in die naakte warmte van sweet
wat deur skadu van kostuum in ‘n hel van klugspel
bedek word
word verwring tot ‘n ongenaakbare
banale maskerade

wat is dit wat ek wil bedek met
die weefselkleed van die skaamte?
wat is dit wat jy wil bedek met
die weefselkleed van die skaamte
wat die skone vel van sonsoen en
reënval wil weerhou
wil weerhou van die wonderwêreld van sensasie
wat so direk tot die sielshuid spreek?

dis in die waarheid
– die naakte waarheid –
ek vasgevang word om my self uit te druk
soos net die naakte waarheid kan

in die holte van my selfheid
hou ek my vas aan die wande van my vel
– slegs aan my vel
hang ek vir my lewe

Translation: This is how it is

this poem comes truly to life when it is performed in the nude

this is how it is
in the flesh of my soul
is where the words breed
where it searches for air in the ether of the
naked souls as they are born together
from the skin of people

i can
be more skin
more flesh
much more
than you are perceiving

this is how it is
the flesh in the naked warmth of sweat
that’s covered
by shadow of costume in a hell of deceit
becomes contorted in a merciless
banal masquerade

what is it that i want to cover with
the cloth of shame?
what is it that you want to cover with
the cloth of shame
that shields pure skin
from sunkiss and rainfall
that shields pulsing skin from the wonderworld of sensation
that speaks so directly so the soulskin?

it is in the truth
– the naked truth –
in which
i am enclosed to express myself
as only the naked truth can

in the hollow of my selfhood
do i hold onto the edges of my skin
only from my skin
do i hang for my life

*For more on Lara Kirsten and other Pan-African poets please visit Badilisha Poetry X-change, produced by the Africa Centre.

*Opening image © Dirk van Rensburg.

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