Archive for March, 2013


Love Endures

Love floats by,

reaching,
tantalising,
meandering,

tip-toeing past pain,

leaping through walls,
weakening the barricades,

of the most private heart.

Love settles in,

trusting,
searching,
dissolving,

quietly beyond anguish,

erasing the desolation,
soothing a battered spirit,
enveloping the shivering soul.

Love stays, it is true,

love endures, as do you

The Women

(for the countless women, names unknown, who bore the brunt of Apartheid, and who fought the racist system at great cost to themselves and their families, and for my mother, Zubeida Moolla)

Pregnant, your husband on the run,
your daughter, a child, a few years old,

they hauled you in, these brutish men,
into the bowels of Apartheid’s racist hell.

They wanted information, you gave them nothing,
these savage men, who skin happened to be lighter,

and white was right in South Africa back then,

but, you did not cower, you stood resolute,

you, my mother, faced them down, their power,
their ‘racial superiority’, their taunts, their threats.

You, my mother, would not, could not break,

You stood firm, you stood tall.

You, like the countless mothers did not break, did not fall.

You told me many things, of the pains, the struggles,

the scraping for scraps, the desolation of separation
from your beloved Tasneem and your beloved Azad,

my elder sister and brother, whom I could not grow
up with, your beloved children separated by time, by place,

by monstrous Apartheid, by brutish men,
whose skin just happened to be lighter.

You told me many things, as I grew older,
of the years in exile, of the winters that grew ever colder.

You were a fighter, for a just cause,
like countless other South African women,

you sacrificed much, you suffered the pangs,
of memories that cut into your bone, your marrow,

you resisted a system, an ideology, brutal and callous and narrow.

Yes, you lived to see freedom arrive, yet you suffered still,
a family torn apart, and struggling to rebuild a life,

all the while, nursing a void, that nothing could ever fill.

I salute you, mother, as I salute the nameless mothers,

the countless sisters, daughters, women of this land,
who fought, sacrificing it all for taking a moral stand.

I salute you, my mother, and though you have passed,
your body interred in your beloved South African soil,

you shall remain, within me, an ever-present reminder,

of the cost of freedom, the struggles, the hunger, the toil.

I salute you!

(for the brave women of South Africa, of all colours,
who fought against racial discrimination and Apartheid)

A Mangled Heart…

Why do my tears not simply fall,

my heart mangled, cast along these empty streets
a wreck left to rust, bleakly lost in the blurry haze,
my dreams blowing in the dust of the passing days.

Why do my tears not simply fall,
weeping within, fractured inside,

memories of you wounding me still,
a void so vast no one else can ever fill,

cradling memories, glowing with your light,
as another day departs, beckoning one more,
barren, cold, hollowed-out wednesday night

A Nonsensical Scribble

A Nonsensical Scribble

Vivid colours,
straining, yearning,
closeted between hues,

weaving tapestries,
flowing through shades,
dissolving my swirling blues.

Rainbows merge,
singing plaintive dirges,
etched on dusty rough sleeves

urgent scribbles,
humming notes of woe,
hurriedly embossed on fallen leaves.

Melodies quicken,
words entombed in mouths,
fading, trapped in emerald green,

seizing dreamscapes,
blurring glimpses of truth,
slipping between visions unseen.

My heartbeat gallops,
committing ink to paper,
donning a smile blatantly comical,

I catch myself napping,
stirred by a nagging realisation,

the scribbles, much like the scribbler,
seem to be, quite humourlessly nonsensical.

SSRI’s and I…

… the sounds of thoughts clattering, my neurones sparking,
like Dylan said, my morning recedes jingling and a-jangling,

worn down by this leaden knot, tearing my insides out,
the cacophony drowned in a whisper, lost in a silent shout,

dreams and screams scratching the back of my dry throat,
caged in, liberation hovering like a mirage beyond the moat.

I claw my way, slowly, through a thicket of solitude,
feeling my emotions peeling, stung by unseen nettles,

crawling to an open field, to rest, beneath a sky ablaze with stars,
as my mind glides, brushing the soft grass as it peacefully settles …

My Wishes are Simple

My Wishes are Simple

My wishes are simple,
my desires few,

to gaze upon an ocean,
and marvel at a solitary drop of dew.

My wishes are simple,
my dreams not too grand,

to feel the waves teasing my tired feet,
with no footprints left in the cool, wet sand.

My wishes are simple,
my thoughts serenely gentle, calm,

my heart resting beneath a swaying palm,

healing my being, caressed by nature’s soothing balm.

Who am I?

Who am I?

Seeking absolution, I wander the alleyways of times gone by,

awash with wasted regrets, I crawl into the yawning crevasse,

clutching at straws as merciless time takes to the sky.

Drenched in the reeking stench of wrongs I cannot undo,

I scurry blindly through the maze,

seeking pain to convince myself that today’s reality is true.

Torn to shreds, my tattered mind bobs, weaves and swerves,

my fingers clawing at the jangled knots of my frayed nerves.

When does the moulting of skin cease,

crumpling dreams floating away with each passing breeze.

Shattered hearts lie mortally wounded, unable to mend,

washed-up and washed-out, cast into a palace of indifference,

no enemies to be found here, swallowed up by pity, my perennially faithfull friend.

Who am I,

this shuffling carcass of flesh and bone,

enclosed in a fortress,

a prisoner by choice,

behind my impregnable walls of stone.

Who I am,

matters little as I count the hours of each frigid night,

as my salvation rests,

in the tomorrows yet to come,

while I refuse to surrender to the darkness,

for as long as I can see,

the faintest glimmer,

of hope’s flickering light

I Don’t Care

I Don’t Care

I don’t care,
if you’re battered black and blue,

I don’t care,
just as long as I can drink and screw.

I don’t care,
if you’ve lost your damn job,

I don’t care,
you’re just a kernel off the cob.

I don’t care,
when I see you begging in the street,

I don’t care,
I get to suckle on capitalism’s raw teat.

I don’t care,
about the elderly, the poor, or the weak,

I don’t care,
if the earth will be inherited by the meek.

I don’t care,
if the climate is warming, I’m so much cooler,

I don’t care,
in my penthouse I’m the boss, the only ruler.

I don’t care,
for those rolling for scraps in the muck,

I don’t care,

I really don’t care, cos’ I don’t give a fuck.

|
|

inspired by Bob Geldof’s “The Great Song of Indifference”

Consumption

Scurrying between gleaming malls,
sniffing through the latest bargains,
that are crucified onto sterile walls,

crawling amidst those sanitised aisles,
glazed eyes darting frenetically, hungry,
leaving not a trace on the polished tiles,

gnawing at the endless, dead queues,
shirts, skirts, jeans into trolleys flung,
then straight to the closet to be hung,

pompous odours foul each aroused breath,
scraping, bowing before these mute deities,
an intoxicated swirly haze of lustful gaieties ,

it never ceases, this relentless, frantic surge,
always unable to quench the insatiable urge,

stopping briefly, only for an occasional purge,

as we continue, & continue , to numbly splurge

The Beach of Promises

1.

Fingers entwined, barely touching,
turquoise waters teasing your dancing toes,

strolling along that serene deserted beach,
our promised dreams within aching reach.

2.

Hands clasped, holding on,
sea-breezes tickling the nape of your neck

walking together, alone, vowing to never breach,
the dreams dreamed on that faraway velvet beach.

3.

Hands in my pockets, alone,
traces of you linger, teasing,

lost in my scribbles, your memory fading out of reach,

my thoughts ablaze, now and then,
catching a whiff of your fragrance,

wafting through alleyways of nostalgia,
your hand in mine on our pristine beach.

Your Whisper

You whispered in my ear,

a breathy secret, hushed.

 

“I love you”, you murmured.

 

I said nothing,

lost, in your arms,

I found a home. At last.

 

“I love you”, you said,

I said nothing,

lost in my thoughts,

I found peace. At last.

 

“I love you”, you said,

words failed me then.

 

They still do

Where Wild Violets Grow

Where Wild Violets Grow

Scribbling these verses,
caressing your bare back,
simple rhymes,
flowing from my fingertips.

Scribbling verses,
sprinkling odes to fragrant promises,
your smile lightens the burdens,
off my heavy heart.

Scribbling verses,
soaked in countless kisses,
the moonlight waltzing on your skin.

Scribbling verses,
feeling you,
your love never ceases to flow,

through the streams of my mind,
to a place of our own,
where wild violets grow.

I Stand, Alone


I stand, alone.

Scratching for my truths,
peeling away the veneer,

I stand, alone, before this
impregnable cliff so sheer.

Cocooned in my solitary shell,
wrenching a smile from a tear,

I stand, alone, a little odd,
and definitely quite queer.

I stand, alone.

The Nameless

|
|

Slipping through the sieve of history,

the nameless rest.

Not for the nameless are roads renamed, nor monuments built.

Not for the nameless are songs sung, nor ink spilled.

The nameless rest.

Their silent sacrifice,
quiet ordeal,
muted trauma,

remain interred,
amongst their remains.

The nameless rest.

Not for the nameless are doctorates conferred, nor eulogies recited.

Not for the nameless are honours bestowed, nor homages directed.

The nameless rest.

They rest within us,
they walk with us,

in every step that we tread.

They rest within us,
they walk with us,

for their spirit is not dead.

|
|

“Your name is unknown, your deed is immortal”

– inscription at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier WWII in Moscow

|
|

Special thanks to my dearest elder sister Tasneem Nobandla Moolla, whose conversations with me about life as a non-white person growing up in pre and post-Apartheid South Africa prompted me to write this dedication to the countless, nameless South Africans of every colour, whose sacrifices and dedication in the struggle against Apartheid tyranny must never be forgotten.

My sister’s middle name ‘Nobandla’ which is an isiXhosa name and means “she who is of the people” was given by her godfather, Nelson Mandela, my father’s ‘best-man who could not be, as Nelson Mandela was unable to-make it to my parent’s wedding as he was in jail at the time in the old Johannesburg Fort. This was the 31st December 1961.

My Madness, Me

Madness

Confined by this straight-jacket,
strapped in, numb and dumbed,
a washed-out, has-been, also-ran,

body, eyes, the equilibrium of mind,
rattling like stones in an old tin-can.

Still, I am,

I am,

and I am unchained,

my dreams taking flight, soaring,
above these claustrophobic walls,
of synapses, and dungeons of stone,

swooping through green valleys,
taking a detour to savour the joys,

soaked in torrential, evergreen memories,
of a younger man, with passion in his bone.

I am.

My wings unclipped, unshackled, free,

I am, and though I am unable to see,

I am.

At long last,

me.

The Sound of Distant Ankle Bells

Memories of those delicate tinkling bells,
casually fastened around calloused feet,

take hold of my waking moments,

and fling my thoughts back to a distant time,
where folk-songs were heartily sung,
joyful, yet hopelessly out of rhyme.

I barely saw her, a construction labourer perhaps,
hauling bricks, cement, anything, on a scorching Delhi day,
while in the semi-shade of a Gulmohar tree, her infant silently lay.

A cacophony of thoughts such as these swirl around,
yanking me away from the now, to my cow-dung littered childhood playground.

Now, a lifetime of displacement has hushed the jangling chorus of the past,
to a faint trickle of sounds, as distant as an ocean heard inside tiny sea-shells,

and,

I know, that the orchestral nostalgic crescendo, rises, dips, and swells,
as tantalisingly near, yet a world of time away, as were the tinkling of her ankle-bells.

She

She smiled, gently,
her warmth infusing me,
with a serene stillness of time.

She settled, slowly,
in my waking thoughts,
a soothing balm of simple joy.

She remains, scribbled,
on the walls of my fractured heart,
memories of happiness that once breathed…

…and is no more

|

|

The Petty Posh-Wahzee – Liberation & Ostentation

|

|

The Not-So Distant Past:

The fallen fighters for freedom, are unable to turn in their graves,
their battered, fragmented bones, mixed with a handful of torn rags,
are all that remain, a mute reminder of their selfless valiant sacrifice.

They endured brutal Apartheid harassment, detentions without trial,
torture in the cells, and mental anguish when loved ones disappeared,
they left their homeland, to continue the struggle against racial bigotry,
while countless others fought the scourge of white-minority rule at home.

Nelson Mandela and many, many others, spent their lives imprisoned,
on islands of stone, and on islands of the cruellest torture, yet they stood,
never bowing, never scraping, they stood, firm for ideals for which they were prepared to die,

and many, many comrades did die, at the hands of the callous oppressor,
and many, many comrades perished in distant lands, torn from their homes,
while the struggle continued, for decades, soaked in blood, in tears, in pain.

The Present:

19 years have passed, since freedom was secured at the highest of prices,
delivering unto us, this present, a gift of emancipation from servitude,

a freedom to walk this land, head held high, no longer second-class citizens,
in the land of our ancestors, whose voices we hear and need to heed today.

I do not care much for fashion, Lewis-Fit-On and Sleeves unSt.-Moron,
yet the ostentation that I witness baffles even my unsophisticated palate,

our ancestors’ plaintive whispers are being dismissed, left unheeded, as
we browse the aisles for more and more, always for more and yet more.

Asphyxiated by the excess of the Petty Posh-Wahzee, we find ourselves,
perched precariously on the edge, of a dissolution of all that is humane,

babies go hungry, wives are battered, our elders left in hospitals for hours,
I cringe as I scribble these words, perhaps too sanctimonious and preachy,

yet I know, deep in the marrow of my brittle bones, I know, I know, I know,
this tree of freedom planted by the nameless daughters and sons of Africa,

needs to be shielded, nurtured, protected from our very own baser impulses,
so that the precious tree of freedom, may bear the fruit that may feed us all,

for if not, then we are doomed, to tip over, and into the yawning abyss, we shall fall.

The Tears of the Clown

A veil of smiles,
worn effortlessly.

Tuning out the blurring din,
alone in the cackling throng,

never hoping to belong,
though pining to fit-in.

Peeling off the thin facade,
feeling the pained charade,
melting into the dim parade.

Trickling effortlessly down,
over the strained contours,

of a spurious laugh,

the tears of the clown,

rehearsed, rehashed,

form an unending cold stream,
dissolving the lingering traces,

of this simple boy’s dream

Within Me

Flowing through the rivulets of my everyday thoughts,
memories of you surface, gasping for air, breathing in,
permeating, absorbed by the pores of my ageing skin.

Famished, greedily gulping mouthfuls of fractured life,
awash in distant yesteryear, when your feathery kisses,
banished the vacuum, dispelling my anguish and strife.

You are eternally carved, and embroidered into my soul,
I wash ashore, smashing against the boulders of the now,
seeking solace, begging for absolution with my empty bowl.

The book of fate is sealed shut, the tea-leaves have been read,
nothing remains within me, the burden of smiling has been shed.

Now I am stranded, between dreams and the empty years ahead,
searching for forgiveness, in the miles I have yet to wearily tread.

%d bloggers like this: