The Sea is pissed off.
The Sea is PISSSED OFF with this place and there’s the sound of:
“Whoah, have you seen the tide? It’s like hectic. Is this normal?”
The Sea is pissed off with Cape Town, at war with the seawall meant to keep her out, meant to deny access to the land that once provided her a bed.
Cape Town is accomplished at that.
Separation’s got into the cartography of everyone’s souls.
The Sea bangs her head against her wall.
The wall is a grey bureaucrat, and on the other side, the city sits dividing itself further like atoms, dividing so far that one day the bomb will explode.
She thought, she thought, The Sea did, because now she is PISSED OFF, when she “allowed” herself to be colonized, she thought… to gift a part of herself, she thought (Let me tell you, she’s pissed OFF!) But for this? Having to stare, she stares all day with her watery sometime fuming foaming eyes, at houses made of glass and rich.
The Sea has land reclamation on the brain. She’s rallying and raging, spitting up an old sandal, retching, she is retching up plastic bags and my nephew asks, he’s five, he asks, “Why is there so much rubbish in the sea when the seals and the sharks have to live in it?” I try.
I try but I can’t and now I apologize to my nephew and The Sea.
The Sea continues to rage at me. She looks at Cape Town like the place itself is a murderer and we are both its accomplice.
That she, The Sea, she had to hold Robben Island in her arms.
It had to separate.
Sep Ar Ate with her might that we chose to use, that we chose to make use of, that we chose to, to Cause it, make itself part of…
We kidnapped The Sea and used her as our slave.
“Oh come on. You’re being melodramatic. Oh come on. You think the sea cares? Oh come on. We need to move on from this. Look! We have a Promenade!” Cape Town says.
She rants and rages high, threatening one day to swallow us. She has been sending us messages.
She swallowed a poet back then. The Sea swallowed her and now?
We have gone so far that we can no longer hear her words nor the sound of The Sea swallowing her.
“Oh come on,” Cape Town snorts.
I walk along The swallowing Sea. I walk along her wandering. She curses me with thoughts. She traps me here. She laughs at my legs and my lungs. She tortures me with my own past. She throws me the image of me, sitting with him on the beach. I look at us. I can’t hear the words we are saying. I can’t see if we’re crying. We swim to forget, to apologize. The water is unforgiving. We freeze in the hot sun. I cannot hear the words we speak because there weren’t any. We sat there. Frozen in the sun.
I walk along, staring into the Ocean Eyes. I walk into an old friend running and think I do not even recognize him but then I do. This is another trick of The Sea. She makes you forget how well you know people when you see them at her edge. We stand there talking about words or with them or something. I am not there but watching from the horizon in a hammock hanging between two clouds. We part and I remember somehow that everything will be fine.
I walk along.
I never met her
She died before my birth so that maybe I am actually her.
She visits me.
She was stuck in Landlocked Inland in a place where women
by birth guilt
were placed under house arrest.
She looks at me looking at The Sea.
She says thank you.
I say, “What about what we’ve done? What have we done?”
She says, “Take a moment. Before you blame yourself for The Sea. Take a moment and smell her.”
I take a moment and breathe her in.
The world goes salt watery like a tear drop.
The world longs for a moment to just cry it out.
I walk along. I have a memory and wonder if it’s too complicated to even remember it. I walk along and remember, because I must, remember growing up and visiting The Sea from our home in Johannesburg where The Sea didn’t come.
I remember it and there was a ragdoll of a horse and it smelt a smell like childhood.
And a man that led us on the horse on the beach.
He had a mouth the size of a laugh that never ended.
The man was called Madala and it was the late 80s and all of us
(the man, the ragdoll horse and me)
were in a State of Emergency by The Sea.
I walk along and The Sea feels like the past when it covered this space I am walking on.
I ask The Sea to help me know.
I ask her to help me know where to put things.
I ask her if she received any advice from the poet when she swallowed her. Did they talk philosophy?
I ask her if she is ever going to swallow me, and immediately retract the question.
I ask her how one stops the work of one’s ancestors but still honours them.
I ask her if she’s pissed off.
I asked her why we ever crawled out of her and whether it was a good idea.
She hugs me for a moment and retreats, leaving a shell, a piece of kelp and an old sandal to remind me of something.
 In 1935, “The reclamation of 480 acres of land on the foreshore was started. This included the expansion of the harbour and the expansion of the central city by some 270 acres.” – http://capeinfo.com/cape-town-history
 Madala means “Old Man” in Zulu
“The Sea is Pissed Off with Cape Town” by Deborah Vieira is part of the Entropy series titled, Citizen Cartographer: Autopsies of the Self and the City edited by Laura Vena. The series is inspired by Walter Benjamin’s concept of the bio-map, an embodied mapping of the self in the subjectively experienced city that weaves memory and movement over the ever-changing topography of an urban space.
Deborah Vieyra is a South African writer and film and theatre practitioner. She has co-created a participatory documentary on gender-based violence in Cape Town entitled The Stories that Tell Us, and has had her work published in the South African Theatre Journal. She has a cat that plays fetch, a Canadian lover who doesn’t, and a MA in Applied Theatre Arts from the University of Southern California.