Three poems: Qondiswa James

Qondiswa James


Crushed Somewhat

She is made of bone.

She finds herself in unfamiliar skin

and the laughter of her soul thinks

it could somehow claw its way out

She lives inside herself

and finds the sharp glare of the world

too harsh a light

and feels as though the entirety

could consume her

She is laid bare at times

and I find the blood of her veins is liquid sunshine

Other times she’s a closed door

and mostly smiles






I draft amnesia like the first novel I ever tried to write

Like it is the only thing between me and the spectacular

I sit at windows of clear sunshine

Tapping away at keyboard keys

Create. Invent. Build.

Ground up,

I erase

Edge of toenail peeking over big toe first

And up

I say to the eraser

Like I say to paper


I ink myself a blank page



(His) Things

  • You got used to leaving; you had made sure to practice.
  • There is a vague feeling like distinct loss, loosening. Today is better.
  • I will miss you, and keep you. It is settling in me: you are not mine.
  • By the time your scent lifts from my clothes, I am breathing.
  • It is finished.


Qondiswa James is something of a part time Theatre and Performance student who spends the rest of her time in clandestine corners with queer characters plotting the downfall of The White Supremacist Capitalist HeteroPatriarchy – because surely there is nothing else. She is a Black Queer Xhosa Woman living LOUD, disrupting from within the site of colonial conquest, ‘The Master’s House’: The City of Cape Town. She is a founding member in ‘To The Truth: Sizile (TtT:S)’ Arts Collective, a group of young black arts facilitators who collaborate with community theatre groups to impart creative tools, critical thinking and to share in knowledge generation.

Follow her on Instagram: @blqgrl.radikl

Accompanying photograph title: Seascape IX.  By Tatjana Baleta (contact: For more of Tatjana’s photos in this series, keep an eye on our Instagram!





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