Nella Freund

Sand in my panties

I never knew I loved the sea
growing up on mine dumps at high altitude
dry soil with gold dust
I never knew I loved the beaches, Clifton in
summer sun, ice water makes me lose my ankles
Plett’s lost beach, Lookout
that got swallowed by an angry river
snatching all my childhood memories
sand castles and rock pools
stolen sex on the whispering dunes
sand in your panties doesn’t feel too good
I never knew I loved the waves,
the curling walls of water that
boys surfed down while I bobbed over
the curves of the little waves
in the shallows, safe
I never knew I loved the smells
waking up to tingling fresh sea air
that brought a hunger for coffee and croissants
eaten overlooking an empty beach
after a long, long walk with wet toes
the smells of breakfast with the salty starfish brine
bacon and maple syrup and seaweed
I never knew I loved the sea, the beaches, the waves, the smells
when I was growing up on the mine dumps
at high altitude

Nella Freund

Angels fly free

There are angels when I write and my mind gets to release all the words that sit in my brain, remaining unspoken because sometimes my throat sticks and a barrier blocks the words that try to nudge my larynx into action; but the angels come with their bright light inspiration and set the sentences free as I write them on the page or type them on the computer, while the angels perch on my shoulders, grooming their wings and kicking their legs against my collarbone, helping release the images that flutter in the prison of my mind haunting my thoughts, making me feel mad with not knowing what to do with my life other than let the angels in, even though sometimes I get all sensible and pooh-pooh them as silly mystical creatures that can’t be ticked or filed in my study, but with them, my study becomes a sacred writing space in another realm on the other side of my mind in those wide plains where words roam as free as wild horses on a sun-filled beach as they gallop with reckless abandon, angels on horseback, their wings urging their steeds on, the wind bending their haloes backwards, hair flying free, smiling sunbeams of joy.

Nella Freund

Into the Night to Dawn

Night wind woman in the soft non-light of night
Dark indigo skies, floating over the world;
transparent arms cradling men into comfort
Breathes light into dreams

Traveling on the thermals of God’s soft breath
The moon’s rays touching her dusky skin, dawn comes,
a wisp of pale cloud dissolving into light
Night woman leaves

Nella Freund

I lie next to him, our bodies naked in the morning sunlight.  His skin is smooth. Muscles lie hard underneath. I want to break the surface and reach within his body; know it better. His mouth moves to my neck, butterfly kisses with soft lips. He traces the shape of my clavicle with his mouth. My limbs soften like butter in the hot sun, and I ache for his mouth to continue downwards. I want him to lose himself in the map of my body. He smells warm, male. I stir inside, a core awakening; my long lost, already mourned, wild and ecstatic woman. I turn my body to his. Slowly, gently, he enters me and we fit together like jigsaw puzzle pieces interlocking; I never want to let go.  

Nella Freund

If she starts flowing, she will infect the world
with gentle and intimidating determination.
Who will find her there? I may find her, even dead,
My long lost, already mourned, wild and ecstatic woman.
Nada Lagerstrom

My Wild and Ecstatic Woman

Daily routines in her daily life,
she is a master in the art of family
but inside,
her anima and animus
are barren and blocked;
she is scared to even go there;
if she starts flowing, she will infect the world

It might cause people to look at her
in a strange way;
friends might comment that
maybe they didn’t know her after all;
parts of herself she didn’t even know:
rather let them emerge, than fester in dank, dark pools.
She continues, with gentle and intimidating determination

“I’m trying to write a book”
They look at her as though
she tells them she swallows arsenic daily;
writing can be like a slow death in a quiet place,
alone, she might expire,
with all those words jumping in her head
Who will find her there? I may find her, even dead

I can resuscitate her,
tell her I love her,
breathe new life into her
I knew her once, but thought she had gone;
She will come back older, possibly wiser,
I have so missed her,
my long lost, already mourned, wild and ecstatic woman

Nella Freund

Blind writers

Blind writers; another guides us
into our subconscious, feeling our way
like disappearing through the back door,
wading through
our own marshes of self-consciousness.
Banish our social who we are,
every sordid beautiful, then write it all
on the page for our souls.
We have to forget, letting go
it’s a kind of detail
where the treasure lies dying
we might encounter brutal
selves, for all to see.

Selves, for all to see
we might encounter brutal
where the treasure lies dying.
It’s a kind of detail
we have to forget, letting go
on the page for our souls.
Every sordid beautiful, then write it all
banish our social who we are,
our own marshes of self-consciousness
wading through,
like disappearing through the back door
into our subconscious, feeling our way.
Blind writers; another guides us.

Nella Freund

The present door

The salty smell of roast chicken hits her nostrils as she shoulders open the big wooden front door, keys dangling in the keyhole; plastic shopping bags digging into her palms. The south easter blows her into the hallway, lifting her skirts, and she dumps the bags, belatedly remembering the eggs. She leans heavily against the front door to close it against the wind, the bully. Post lifts off the front table and floats onto the floor like autumn leaves. She picks up the shopping bags, steps over the post, hoping she crushes a bill underfoot, and walks into the kitchen where her son sits at the table, drinking Milo and reading a book. She puts the bags down on top of the dishwasher, more carefully this time, and notices that he’s left the Milo tin out, its lid off, next to the kettle. A fly buzzes around it. The milk carton stands there too, also with its plastic screw lid off. The fly lands on the spout of the carton. Her son hasn’t lifted his head yet, engrossed in his book.

“Hello?” she says in a loud voice.

He lifts his head and looks at her.

“Ugh ” he says and puts his head back down to the book.

“Well, hello there, how nice to see you, wonderful mother,” she replies, moves around the table to the kettle and switches it on.

He carries on reading and, without looking up, says, “Wha?”

She goes over to him and kisses the top of his head; he’s had his hair cut recently and the blonde spikes tickle her lips. She inhales – his smell is changing; he’s losing the innocent boy scent and becoming sweaty, manly. That’s all the contact she can have nowadays.

“Don’t worry, keep reading,” she replies.

Nella Freund

Buried deep within the recesses of my brain
Below that layer of inability
My writing is like the wind
I am being drawn out of this earth

Below that layer of inability
Something I cannot grasp hovers at the edge
I am being drawn out of this earth
Leaving behind the foam and bluster

Something I cannot grasp hovers at the edge
Chases over the landscape
Leaving behind the foam and bluster
My writing is a cloud

That chases over the landscape
As winged words flutter by
My writing is a cloud
Buried deep within the recesses of my brain

Nella Freund

I fall asleep

I fall asleep in violet
in its soft pale serenity,
dropping into the richness of purples tones;
I dissolve into colours of blue,
swimming through pools of gentian,
wandering through cerulean shades

I fall asleep in violet,
embracing me in indigo memories,
with images of crimson girly giggles
and bruised purple pain;
deep in the cobalt darkness lies the truth
but still I only fall asleep in violet.

Nella Freund

Out of the darkness

Pale sunbeams lighten her dark face,
soft as a lover’s touch along her back.
She steps out of the black midnight place.

Her body trembles, thin and spare as lace,
her limbs begin to thaw, go slack.
Pale sunbeams lighten her dark face.

She hesitates, stills, not sure of the pace,
yet she knows: there is a gaping lack,
and so she steps, out of the black midnight place.

Her life has gone in circles, round in a chase,
her body’s heavy, grey, a somber sack.
Pale sunbeams lighten her dark face.

People stare and wonder where she’s based,
and yet she knows there is no going back;
She steps out of the dark midnight place

into the light – scary, but oddly safe.
Her heart is beating, click and clack.
Pale sunbeams lighten her dark face.
She steps out of the black midnight place.

Nella Freund

The Shadow Emerging

The shadow self sat there for many years, waiting like a tokoloshe, scaring me at night by appearing my dreams, showing myself to myself. Now the shadow is stepping into the morning light, pale sunbeams lighting her dark face, her features starting to glow.

My self takes a good look at my shadow self. I am startled: she is so like me; she is me, yet I do not know her.  She is the one who feels life to its utter depths, dark into hidden places, and she experiences ecstasies in highs I thought were forbidden. The connection runs deep, at a primal level: this is my twin, my alter ego. I cannot live without her; for to truly live, I need to embrace my shadow as part of me; caress her gently with the softness of a lover’s touch down my back.

I cry when I look at her. Where did you go? What made you so unwelcome that you had to stay locked away behind prison doors, barely gasping for breath? No wonder you’re inhaling the fresh scent of life now, turning your face towards the rising sun, letting its warmth recognize you. Dark steps into light, night turns into day and I watch this miraculous metamorphosis like a child lost in amazement.

The large orbit of the pale moon fades in the indigo sky as the sun’s tender morning rays lighten the darkness. I watch as a butterfly struggles from the grey cocoon within me. I wonder at her beauty and dare not touch her in case I break a fragile wing; prevent her from flying.

Nella Freund

Hello, who are you?

Where is my voice? it got lost
in the mess of my fabricated selves
in the dance of different

voices, swayed by unspoken
messages  how are you?  fine
thanks, it’s like trying

to decipher hieroglyphics;
don’t let them get
my real voice, they’ll wrestle it

to the ground and sit on it.  I
was taught my whole life to be
someone I was not, so how

now must I learn to be myself?
sometimes I scare myself when
a real voice comes through, too

manipulative, too sexy, that one says
fuck too loudly at school functions,
she’s a bit wayward, that one

would sell her grandmother
for one more drink,
one more dance

hello there  who are you?

Nella Freund

Winifred and the knife

You know, she’s usually such a soft woman, Winifred is. Really well-behaved and well-spoken, but last night I saw a side of her I’ve never seen before. By gum, what a fine example of strength. I was fast asleep; it was about 3am, when suddenly I was woken by an ear-splitting scream coming from her.

I sat up, automatically alert. I saw a masked man standing on her side of the bed, pointing a pocketknife at her. Instantly my old Army training kicked in and I flexed my arms, ready to attack. “Stay very still”, I whispered to Winifred, but, believe me, before I could even finish my words, she screamed again and leaped out of bed and out the room. The intruder didn’t waste a minute; he ignored me and dashed after her down the stairs.

I grabbed my dressing gown and slippers and ran after them, only to find Winifred in the kitchen holding the big butcher’s knife I keep for slaughtering sheep on the farm. The man was frozen at the doorway, and his accomplice was standing near the kitchen window that had been forced open. My little Winifred – well, she is so small, after all – took a step towards the intruder, pointing the blade of the huge knife at his stomach and said in a low growl, “You call that a knife?” Well, I barely recognized her voice. Coming from a woman who’s never even split an infinitive in her life. “You think that’s a knife?” she snarled, resting the point of the blade against his trembling fat stomach, “No mate, this is a knife,” she emphasized as she jabbed the point lightly against his clothes.

Well, he dropped his little knife very quickly, I tell you. As he did that, I quickly moved in past him and grabbed his accomplice by the throat, in that Army elbow choke. Winifred kept the knife blade right at the man’s stomach; didn’t let up for a minute, even when she reached over with her spare hand for the mobile phone off the kitchen counter.

Right proud of her I was when the police came and took them away. They couldn’t believe such an old lady had scared off two men. Got to say, I look at her with new respect now. Jokingly told her that maybe I shouldn’t demand breakfast so quickly anymore. To think I’ve known her for fifty years and all along a fierce lioness has been hiding inside that little lamb of mine.

Nella Freund

Her Mother’s Lover

The scent of the cream roses in Kate’s hands rises to her nose as she stands next to Ben in front of the magistrate. The day has a hot misty haze to it, which hangs around Kate, making her silken skirt cling slightly, mingling with the heady scent of the roses. Her brain is foggy. This bothers her; she feels it shouldn’t be on her marriage day. She glances at Ben, unfamiliar in a dark suit, his neck embraced by a red silk tie, his hair as unruly as ever. The small cream rosebud in his lapel is drooping slightly in the heat and she sees a teardrop of sweat slide from behind his ear down his neck.

The scent reminds her of the lounge of the house she grew up in, where her mother always stood a huge vase of roses on the coffee table. She had them delivered to the house on a weekly basis, saying she was a happy to drive an old skedonk as long as she could always have flowers in the house. Her father used to laugh and say, “Anything to make you happy, my darling.”

Kate remembers a day when she was playing with her dolls in the lounge. The smell of the roses hung around her like perfume. It was hot and sticky, a Durban humidity saturating the air. Blonde Barbie wore a frothy white wedding dress, meringue-like, and her square-jawed boyfriend, Ken, a dark pinstriped suit. Kate wanted them to stand in front of the priest in the church to get married, but the cardboard box church wasn’t high enough and she had to cut its roof off. Then Barbie and Ken would not stand on their own, so she had to lean them on the floor against one of the floral cushions from the sofa, where they lay stiffly, their plastic hands touching in holy matrimony. Her panda bear was the priest and she had wrapped a white napkin around his rotund body to make him look more holy. He rested nonchalantly against the armchair in front of Ken and Barbie. Kate felt he wasn’t focusing on the happy couple, but she couldn’t get his beady eyes to look straight at them.

“You promised not to phone me at home.”

Her mother’s voice was a whisper, piercing the thick air with its clear enunciation.

Kate froze, sitting still on her heels. The heat clung to her like a towel. She listened to her mother standing in the hallway.

“No, she’s here. Her pottery class was cancelled.”

“No, of course you can’t.”

Her mother’s voice suddenly became more insistent, reminding Kate of the voice that tells her she must eat her broccoli for supper.

“We’ll work out another time. Soon.”

“I miss you too.”

Her voice softened and Kate felt her stomach contract. It wasn’t her father on the phone. Her mother didn’t talk to him like that anymore; they either just shouted at each other or left silences that hung in the hot air like clouds around the house.

“I love you”.

Kate heard her mother put the phone down and she picked up Barbie quickly.

“Naughty Barbie”, she said picking up the blonde lifeless bride. “I didn’t hear you say, “I do”.”

Her mother walked into the lounge, bouncy in her step, flushed like Barbie.

“Oh Kate, I didn’t know you were here. How nice, you’re playing with your dolls.”

Restless and distracted, she stood looking out of the lounge window, rubbing her right thumb over her left hand. Kate stared at her back.

“Who was on the phone, Mom?”

“Kieran’s mother. She just needed to know something about school. Come and have lunch.”

Kate flung Barbie back down on the cushion next to Ken. They wouldn’t be getting married today. She picked up her panda bear, ripped his white bib off his front and threw him onto the armchair. She bashed Ken and Barbie’s heads together, making Barbie’s white lace veil fly over Ken’s head and hide his face.

“Stupid dolls,” she said, “I won’t let you get married because it’s not nice.”

“It’s not nice.”

Kate hears the words reverberate inside her head, as she stares through the haze in front of her and sees Ben mouth the words, “I do”. She shakes her head slightly, feeling the small buds laced through her thick curly hair wobble. His face comes more into focus, the face that has convinced her marriage might be all right after all. The magistrate’s bored voice drones on like a lazy bumble bee in the heat. Her mother went to the grave with that secret. Kate never found out who had transformed her into someone Kate didn’t know. Her parents had stayed together until her mother died, their relationship fading into a silent amicability.

She looks away from Ben to her father. He is standing further back in the magistrate’s beige office, next to Ben’s parents. He looks much older than he did back then; a smaller, greyer version of the man who kept supplying his wife with roses through it all. He stands proudly in his dark suit, slightly moist-eyed. He smiles at her and nods.

She concentrates on Ben’s deep blue eyes, takes a deep breath, inhales the strong scent of the creamy roses and says, “I do”.

Nella Freund

Esther’s Flagging Libido

Esther’s libido had vanished into the sweaty depths of peri-menopause. The only fantasies she had nowadays involved packing a suitcase and getting on a long-haul flight without her family. Her only self-pleasure was a butter croissant and full cream milk latte at Melissa’s once a week. Somehow, that was even more satisfying than masturbation had ever been. Although she still felt the same guilt. She couldn’t escape her convent upbringing and the demands of a fashion conscious mother.

Esther’s marriage was comfortable, like a pair of old leather shoes that had molded themselves over time to fit perfectly. The most bondage in them was a stretchy pair of laces that held everything together. Esther could walk miles in her marriage; she just couldn’t orgasm much. It all seemed too much of a bother even to try anymore.

Then one day her libido came back. Like a light being switched on, her nipples rose to the occasion, straining against her t-shirt and her flesh between her thighs, non-descript for so many years, flooded with an unexpected warmth. An arm brushed against her at the breakfast buffet on a Tuesday morning at Melissa’s. Denying herself the sinful pleasure of the butter croissant with jam because of her sagging waistline, Esther was spooning natural muesli, all oaty and healthy looking, into a bowl. Then a man’s arm rubbed against her right breast as he stretched forward past her for a side plate. Esther’s libido awakened like a giant from a ten-year slumber, it roared back to life. She gasped and almost dropped the bowl. Muesli flew everywhere. She looked at the man next to her. He looked back and blushed slightly.

Oh God, no, he’s young, she thought.

Give me some! shouted her libido.

He had the smooth face of a thirty-something year old, just experienced enough to have developed interesting cragginess around the eyes. Sandy hair, brushing the collar of his white collared shirt, dark brown eyes shaded by stupidly long eyelashes. Freckles on his nose.

Sorry, he said with a grin, I didn’t mean to do that.

Esther’s fanny glowed with pleasure and smiled. I didn’t know it could smile, she thought to herself as she spoke, No, don’t worry, I was in the way. Let me pass you a plate.

As she leaned over the counter, her bowl of muesli hit the side of the table and broke, shattering onto the floor, scattering oats and little brown seeds onto their feet.

Oh God, sorry, what a mess!

She could feel linseeds between her toes. When she looked down, she saw his beautiful black polished lace ups were now covered with oat powder and bits of dried fruit. He laughed and bent down. Esther also bent down, trying to wipe the bits off his shoes. Their hands touched over his left shoe and his flesh burned through her hand. She pulled away quickly and felt herself blush again.

Pull yourself together, she thought, what’s wrong with you? But her libido laughed back at her, a careless, reckless laugh.

I hope you don’t have an important meeting now, Esther said to him as she wrenched seeds out from between her toes and the soles of her shoes.

He smiled at her, his eyes crinkling slightly at the edges, making his lashes conglomerate into dark caterpillars. His front right tooth had a tiny chip in the bottom. Only just now, don’t worry. I’ll go and wipe it off with loo paper.

Esther stared at his hands. He had a broad gold ring on his wedding finger and pale white nails. You have such white nails, she said as they crouched on the floor.

He looked at them briefly and then back at her. I’ve always had. It’s probably some dreadful deficiency in me.

Zinc, Esther replied. Usually white spots on nails are zinc. You must have one huge zinc deficiency. She had to physically restrain her right hand with her left to stop it from touching his wrist.

Maybe we should get up now, he said, I don’t think there’s much else we can do here. Someone will have to come and sweep the rest up.

Sweep me up! Esther’s libido shouted at him and her nipples winked.

Esther gave a slight groan as her knees cricked when she straightened up. She pulled her jeans down. They were squashing into her fanny in a way that was making her even more aware of it.

Are you okay? He said, putting his hand on her left elbow. Her elbow screamed with delight.
Funny, I didn’t know that was erotic spot, she thought.

She smiled at him. I’m fine. Don’t you know the definition of being middle-aged? It’s when you give an involuntary groan every time you sit down or stand up.

He looked at her, his left eyebrow slightly raised with a smile hovering on his lips.

Nice lips, she thought.

Well, no, of course not, Esther added, you’re just not middle-aged, are you?

No, I’m not.

They stood looking at each other, Esther still clutching bits of broken ceramic bowl in her left hand. A waitress came over with a broom and took the pieces out of Esther’s hand. She startled – she hadn’t noticed the waitress.

She looked at the man still standing in front of her. You had better clean your shoes, she said.

He looked down at his watch. She looked too. Golden hairs lay across his tanned wrist. She restrained her hands again, clutching them tightly.

I had, he said, or I’ll run out of time.

Here, I’ll help, Esther said, suddenly decisive. I’ll get a cloth from the kitchen for you. She turned around and walked away from him, noticing that her hips were swaying slightly with each step. Her body glowed as though it were on fire. She could feel him watching her.
I want more, her libido shouted like a petulant child.

Clean cloth in hand, she came out of the kitchen swing door and bumped right into him.
Come, she said, into the bathroom. We can clean them in here.

She led him into the bathroom and walked over the basin on the right hand side of the room. She heard the door close. She opened the taps to dampen the cloth and looked up in the mirror above the basin. His dark brown eyes were staring right at her. He smiled. Esther looked down, her body flushing with an energy she hadn’t felt in years. She turned off the taps, squeezed the yellow cloth and turned around. She walked back to him, as he stood waiting. Every step seemed to take an eternity.

Here, she said, holding out the damp cloth.

Thanks, he said as he took it and dropped it on the floor. He stepped forward, right in front of her. Esther’s body tingled; she could feel the heat from his body.

I have to kiss you, he said.

You shouldn’t, she replied as she leaned her body forwards.

It seems Esther’s libido hadn’t forgotten anything, even the old orgasm trick. The white tiled floor was cold and hard but her body didn’t notice. She hadn’t wanted anything quite so badly in a long time. It felt like she was on fire and the fire had to be extinguished. When they sat leaning against the cold wall afterwards, catching their breath with their legs stretched in front of them, she reached for his hand and stroked his pale white nails. They were smooth, like perlemoen shells. His hands were unblemished, the skin smooth.

What’s your name, she asked.

Sebastian. And yours?


She leaned over and kissed him lightly on his smooth cheek.

Thanks, she said, standing up, that was the best breakfast I’ve ever had here.

She walked back to her table, where her handbag still stood and the open magazine she had been reading. The waitress came over and said, Could I get you your muesli now, ma’am?

No thanks, she said, I’ll have a croissant and jam and a creamy latte, please.

Her libido sighed in contentment.