Poet: Marcia Peschke

Marcia Peschke is an Ulsan based, South African writer, teacher and water baby whose current work uses the forms of Autoethnography and Performance Art. Her work generally explores longing, loss and gender-based violence. She has her Masters Degree in Drama and Performance Studies and was previously a Junior Lecturer for the DUT Drama and Production Studies Department. She has directed plays including Sarah Kane’s Phaedra’s Love and Sir Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange.

My name is me

I am 7 when I think the world of love. Love, you tickle the holes in my socks.  Love, I thought you were what the edge of my seat was made for. I am 7.  Our tongues collide and the bittersweet feelings are exchanged.  He tasted what I hate - myself.  I struggle against his weight but it feels like hell is empty and all the devils are in him.  Like an ocean he rises over me.  As I push his hot shoulders I refuse to make love with his eyes.  As I bleed the dream persists, history, his story, my story of that day is inked blood on my bed sheets.  They tell me not to report him - you’ll embarrass him. It’s not ok to promise comfort.   This man tears my life into pieces so that people will find it hard to read me so that I’ll be forever walking with strangers keeping this shameful ink on me.  So that I will find it hard to read my body.  So that I become the sacrifice.  For years I think there is no mythical burning underground world.  This is hell.  We’re the things in Dante’s painting torturing each other.  When I tread through my winter storm I’ll be past my days of nothingness.  Past my loveless appetite for destruction, past my immeasurable sadness.  When my body has had enough of bloody gestures I will become the faceless.  My body will wear his dirty business.  I will lie on a cold floor hearing myself cry and my perfect death will be masqueraded on the earth. I’m the small change you didn’t care about dropping.


How to make an opulent mess

The only thing that acknowledges my attention is the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

or 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, or some variation of switching off the stove.


It’s the only kind of tense rhythm my body has perfected. A perfect

routine. A routine. A routine. A routine.

1,2,3,4,5,6. 1,2,3,4,5,6.


I take two steps back, but the rhythm demands my attention.

Demands me to repeat all the same actions in the same routine. How

to make strange nervous rhythms in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 steps. I take in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

breaths. Is life such a nervous routine?


Here is the thing with knobs and dials. In six steps I must count zeros

on this strange machine.


1, 2, 3,4,5,6.


Like Genuflection I must keep the routine. Bade me to repeat 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

I repeat the mechanism until I am part machine. But the non mecha

mechanised mechana-bot and all other variations 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 cries out

in absurd silent screams - the lights in my stove are beaming.   


Trapped in a wine box

Triggers are real live shotguns.

His drunk mouth reminded me too much of the wine stained lips of Mars, so he could never kiss me.

My dreams are cheap. They’re made of boxed wine, stained walls carrying the stink of stale rotting cigarette buds and the cold stares I have inherited.

This is the weight under the dark of my eyes.


All the hiding places in our minds

What worth wonder is in your veins?

It’s the hope you see in me.  It’s the plague in my blood which I love and hate.

In your mangled body and misshappen mind, it’s all the wonderful things you say

when I’m completely away.  


And one teardrop from me would make you see

If only I could end half your misery.  So that you wouldn’t die with your heart out

because it failed on you.  


So with tattered hands from me I can only make you see the tears you inspired


From me.


The Woman

When my mother passed away I was a girl.  She was a big strong tree.  We did not know something had crept into her body.  My father was sick and now my mother was sick too in a body that time made weak.  In the winter she lost her leaves and could not grow them back.  Instead of a tree that used to sway with the wind, constant chills brought on shaking and the more my mother shook, the more the leaves fell.  My mother became a thin figure, no flowers grew over where she stood.  Her bark began to spoil with bumps and spots.  I often stand in the rain and think by myself what should I do? Many trees have fallen like this; many trees will not grow their leaves back. When it rains I hope the mud will swallow me.