Beyond Touch – Poems by Arja Salafranca

Part 1 – Indigo Streets

Portchie's Gallery and Tea Garden from the lapa's side
Portchie’s Gallery and Tea Garden
Image by: Surona Lubbe – Gallery Owner

I’ve come to this party long after everyone’s gone home, I believe, because Beyond Touch was published in 2015 by Modjaji Books and Dye Hard Press. And I would still not have read any part of it had the author not been generous enough to give me a copy after two lovely hours we had spent together at Portchie’s Gallery in Pretoria.

Living up to my claim of #insatiablecuriosity, I dipped into bits and pieces of it over the course of yesterday and read Part One in its entirety last night before bed. This is, therefore, not a review of the whole collection, but my first impression of only the first part. The other parts have different themes, so, watch this space over the next few weeks.

I wanted to call the first ten poems ‘slices of life’. The titles certainly create the notion of slices. Slices of European life, even, to be more precise:

Arja Salafranca - Author of Beyond Touch
Arja Salafranca
Image by: Arja Salafranca
  • On the trains
  • The sandwich eater
  • St Albans Cathedral
  • Indigo streets
  • Pet shop in Málaga
  • An apple in Munich
  • A woman in a pink bikini
  • Dachau
  • The English cemetery
  • Rowing on the River Thames

But as I read the series, slices felt too structured, too precisely defined to describe my distinct feeling of tumbling. Head over heels into one colourful scene after the other. Granted, Dachau and the cemetery were not as bright as the pink bikini, but colours they were, nonetheless. And every time, just as I found my feet, making a snippet of sense of the life before me, the next poem sent me tumbling again.

Photograph of 'Beyond Touch' by Arja Salafranca and the text of one of the poems in the book: The Sandwich Eater
The Sandwich Eater by Arja Salafranca
Image by: Helene vd Westhuizen

Kaleidoscope, I guess, would be more appropriate. Glimpses of colour and meaning as you turn the tube, and just as the images come into their sharpest focus, you turn the kaleidoscope too far and the image falls apart.

It was only when I closed the book – half-dazed with too much to digest – that I noticed the cover. A perfect kaleidoscope in motion.

#bookworm #impressions #helenereads #arjasalafranca #beyondtouch

Watch this space for Part 2 within the next two weeks or so.

But if you can’t wait, you can order the book from Modjaji Books

  • Please respect Ms Salafranca’s copyright on this poem. She was kind enough to let me publish it as a teaser.
  • Photograph of Portchie’s tea garden kindly provided by Surona Lubbe, who owns the gallery in Pretoria.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Safrea or its members.


3 Responses

  1. It takes a special talent to create and write poetry. It takes a special genius to publish a book of their poetry. Such a one is Arja Salafranca.

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