Archive for April, 2016


adrift, alone,
fleeing callous hearts of stone,

cast away, casting off,
shackles gnawing at the bone,

seeking,
yearning for,

somebody to call my home … … …

a common thread.

myriad strands, bind us all,
inextricably dissolving in an ocean of humanity.

threaded links, double-helixed dna,
scraping away notions of superiority.

uBuntu = i am because we are.

enough said.

The parched and thirsty,

still walk the soul-less avenues,

and the alleys of want and hunger.

 

Empty and barren,

coursing through heartless streets of need and despair.

 

“Change will come”,

said the promise of Freedom and Democracy and of Capitalism with a Conscience.

 

“change will come in time”.

Yes.

Change comes.

Sometimes,

when scratching through pockets,

for some change.

May Day!

A distress call,
echoes over the seas,
working men and women,
shackled, bound by wage slavery,
rise, as one, united, voiceless no more.

‘all frequencies jammed’,

‘we apologise for the inconvenience’

May-Day!

Freedom!

The shackles have been cast off.
Chains broken.

People once squashed,
under the jackboot of Apartheid,
are free.

Free at last!

Freedom came on the 27th day in that April, 1994.

Freedom from prejudice.
From institutionalised racism.
From being relegated to second-class citizenship.

Freedom came and we danced.
We cried.
We ululated as we elected
our revered Mandela.

President Nelson Mandela. Our very own beloved ‘Madiba’.

Black and white and brown and those in-between,
All hues of this rainbow nation,
rejoiced as we breathed in the air of freedom and democracy.

Today we pause.
We remember.
We salute.

The brave ones whose sacrifices made this day possible,
on that 27th day of April,
18 years ago.

Today we dance.
We sing.
We ululate.
We cry.

Tears of joy and tears of loss.
Of remembrance and of forgiveness.
Of reconciliation and of memories.

Today we pause.

We acknowledge the tasks ahead.
The hungry.
The naked.
The destitute.

Today we reaffirm,
that promise of freedom.

From want.
From hunger.
From eyes without promise.

Today we also wish to reflect
On unfulfilled promises
On the proliferation of greed.
On the blurring of the ideals of freedom.

Today we say

We will take back the dream.
We will renew the promise.
We will not turn away.

Today we pledge
To stand firm
To keep the pressure turned on
To remind those in the corridors of power,
that we the people need to savor the fruits of the tree of freedom.

And till that time,
when all shall share in the bounty of democracy,

We shall remain vigilant,
and strong.

And we shall continue,
to struggle.

And to sing out loud:

“We shall overcome”.

hidden between fragmented shades,
mingling in the folds of thought,

dreams ceaselessly wander on
soaring above today’s tumult,

as this afternoon fades … … …

refugee

stifled by the throng,

fleeing strangled yesterdays,
human being weaving,
simply searching,

to belong.

they do not see me at all,

as I walk through these desecrated avenues,

of soul-deadening frenzy,

I see them all rushing past me,

and no matter how hard I try to holler and to call,

they do not see me at all.

it seems at times, that invisible am I,

for when I reach out, and shriek out, and when on my knees I crawl,

they rush past me,

for they do not see me at all.

I have tried to raise their ire, I have taunted and goaded them, till exhausted and fatigued, to the cold damp ground I fall,

still they rush past me,

for they do not see me at all.

I stand mutely then and wave my hands all around while scribbling verses in my unintelligible scrawl,

and yet they rush past me,

for they do not see me at all.

they rush past me, knocking me over without ever looking back,

and then trampling over my fallen form, they look past my limp crumpled shadow, as they whine on in their monotonous drawl,

for they do not see me at all.

and when at last I see them look my way, and as a flicker of recognition crosses their faces,

I wish to crawl back into my nothingness,

where they cannot see me at all … … …

A 10-Minute Scribble of Hope

the morning dew glistens on feathered petals
alive with promise

the moments past, having past, are soaked up by
the streaming rays of sunshine

the wounds of yesteryear are soothed and wrapped
in fresh layers of quiet peace

all my aching yesterdays are quietly consigned
to the deep recesses of memory

haunting me no longer and tormenting me no more
as I shed the weight of the cross I so reluctantly bore

for tomorrow is alive with new hope

of gentle laughter
with quietly sipped joy
of sweet memories yet to be woven
and whispered songs yet to be sung inside
of scribbled poems yet to penned
and joyous tears yet to be cried

for tomorrow is alive with new hope

of sweetly scented roses blooming all around
and murmurs of delight in moments yet to be realised
of warmth and depth and freedom from pain
and of lost touches of myself once again sought after and found

for tomorrow is alive with new hope

of a new beginning devoid of the guilt of past decay
and of freshness in the very essence of this new day

with lilting melodies floating on the silken breeze
while banishing all pain and setting the mind at ease

for tomorrow is alive with new hope
and this very hope is what keeps the gloomy nights afar
for the emptiness is lit up with the shimmering of a solitary star
and it’s this very hope that I hold onto with my dear life
never to give in again to bleak thoughts of mental strife

and so hope it is, and hope it must always be
that keeps the sanity within and sets my soul free

A wish to you as you retire from this day
as fickle sleep quickly hops and slips away

may slumber embrace you and comfort you, my friends
for she eludes me and I know not how to make amends

and may the dreams you dream
be scented sweet as over you the sheets are drawn
and may your night be peaceful
and may you awaken to a promising new fresh dawn

Alone with only the
lonesome notes of a faintly soft tune
Once known and now a mere murmur
Carried by that veiled gracious breeze

Alone with only the
Doleful sighs of the turtledoves
As they console the weary mates
Nesting in the solitary willow trees

Alone with only the
Dirge soaring up and beyond the walls
Creeping through the ivy covered steps
Of that barricaded fortress of the heart

Alone with only the
Mournful whispers echoing along the halls
Of the crumbling mansion of memories as
The moments prepare to once more depart

Alone with only the
Promise of a new dawn that may be awaiting
the shattered soul of a battered frame of being
as it clambers up the slippery slopes of eager hope

alone with only the
abiding memories of that long lost truth that was
soaked in each pore and was imbibed greedily so
as it unfastened the dangling spectre of that rope

alone with only the
memories of then and the memories of now
swarming through a mind numbed with pain

alone with only the
thoughts of all that has passed and all the travails one has yet to face
while the heart is fortified still and resolute to go on against the grain

       

She,
remains just out of focus,
an elusive portrait,

etched in the corner of the mind’s eye.

she,
sometimes strays into view,
a blurred mirage,
of burnished words cast in indelible dye.

she,
steals fragments of each day,
a welcome thief,
of emotions left in some dusty space.

she,
scatters my poems in the breeze,
an invited spell,
that vanishes into the wind without a trace.

she,
renders me mute and so often blind,
the wild dreamer,
a seeder of impossible thoughts in the mind.

she,
brings the elements of nature to me,
a gentle healer,
she unfolds my thoughts setting them free.

she,
comes and goes as she chooses,
an untamed spirit,
soothing the very place that she bruises.

she,
rouses me in nights of empty slumber,
a murmured breath,
brushing my cheeks with kisses too many to number.

she,
remains to me the enigmatic one,
a burning riddle,
yet she stays with me as each torturous day is done.

she,
my heart knows not why she stays,
my consistent constant,
filling up my nights and consoling my days.

she,
deserves so much more from fate,
the truest soul,
she loves too much and knows not how to hate.

she,
arrives again tonight as I lie awake,
a thoughtful shield,
my coat of armour in a world far too fake.

she,
stays with me and within me stays still,
the true one,
and to dwell deep in my soul is where she always will.

she,
from whose cup I have so greedily drank,
a giver of life,
I have not the words with which to her wholly thank.

she,
knows how desolate a world this can be,
my sustainer of hope,
and of life and of breath is what she will always be … … …

Bereft of hope

stripped-off pieces
of memories
fall silently
to the barren floor.

bereft of hope
beaten and battered
slithering to
the emptiness below.

bereft of hope
clinging
clawing
grasping
clutching

onto a sliver
of a whisper
of a promise
on the wind.

bereft of hope
that sliver
of a whisper
of a promise
on the wind

may just
be
hope itself

Tattered scrolls lie lifeless,
beneath a wreath of memories.

Torn fragments of spirits departed,
litter the moments in between.

Fractured hopes,
crushed desires,

swatted away like annoying murmurs.
They return to whisper,
an endearing lie.

That buds of passion,
bloom,
to forever die … … …

Your orders may come now…

…or at 19h45 this evening.

‘Shoot to kill’
‘Engage the enemy’
‘Hold the line’
‘Break up the gathering’

‘Ready, aim, fire’

but you have felt too

the stab of hunger
the bite of thirst
the bayonet of loss
the wound of despair

but you have seen too

the pain in a mother’s eyes
the grief in a father’s face
the incomprehension in a child’s down-cast look

‘Ready, aim, fire’

but you, the nameless soldier have heard

the cries of the grieving family
the wailing of the widowed wife
the quiet agonizing sound of the child’s weeping

‘Ready, aim, fire’

your orders may come now
or at 23h30 tonight
or tomorrow
or the day after that
or next week or month or year

but you have seen and felt and heard too

the agony of a peoples’ simple desire
the hurt of a nation long bludgeoned
the wounds of your stolen generation

so when that order comes

now

or at 03h30 tomorrow morning
‘Ready, aim, fire’

let your humanity muzzle your rifle
let your conscience dismiss the order
let your better side come to the fore

and let your very own people, your mother and your father, your sister and your brother, your son and your daughter, your friend and your lover
let them live
let them be
let your rifle fall to the soil of your beloved motherland

o’ nameless soldier.

a hollow shell …

a hollow shell

of tangled synapses

sparked into gradual madness

which drowns out the truths of the day

as the mind reeks of the rotten sad moments

that swirl in the rancid soup of forgotten dreams

dreams that once traced a gentle path of innocence

dreams that reached for pure love’s tender touch

dreams now paralysed but once vivaciously alive

what became of those fresh dreams and hopes

as they lie mustily on dusty bookshelves

torn into shreds by time’s fine scimitar

devoid of the touch of raw passion

when all that remains of love is

a hollow shell

reading auras, counting the tea leaves, seeking answers to the grand questions, on irises dilated and on batik-print sleeves,

fascinated by the glitz and razzmatazz wrapped up in bite-size portions,
not unlike snake-oil and magic potions,

im lost and broken i said, we’ll fix it as long as you want to be fixed, that is, caveats galore, disclaimers even more,

none of that for me,
don’t be sellin’ me the one-cure-for-all,

even though i stumble,
and even though i fall … … …

barefoot on a talcum beach,
alone, not lonely,

with the breath of oceans’ caressing balm,
soothing pained memories away,

to the swaying of a solitary palm.

barefoot on a talcum beach,
alone, not lonely,

feeling the brushing away of past turmoil,

on a quest for solace, ever so hard to find,

yet comforted by the crashing of the waves,

as the tide washes away pain,

and leaves despair far, far behind.

barefoot on a talcum beach,
alone, not lonely,

drenched in a sea-breeze of mist,

that hushes aches of bygone moons,

tasting the salty tang on my lips,

as the burnished sun,
over the distant horizon,
swoons,

and dips.

barefoot on a talcum beach,
alone, not lonely,

searching, ever searching,

for a slice of solitude,

as memory bids adieu,

reaching under the sea so vast,

and seeking comfort in the depths,

while embracing,

tomorrows to come,
wishing that they be true.

barefoot on a talcum beach,
alone, not lonely,

seeing my truths drown,

as they slip beneath turquoise waters,

feeling my heart ablaze,

with a passion that rarely falters.

barefoot on a talcum beach,
alone, not lonely,

knowing that I am home at last,

wishing the waves would wash away,

the defences that once stood,

like an impregnable wall.

barefoot on a talcum beach,
alone, not lonely,

I have found,
at long last,

my final port of call …

dusk falls,
sprinkled shadows lengthen,

shrouding the evening,

cloaking the wildflowers, wrapped in idyllic darkness,

awaiting the new dawn … … …

serenity beckons,
a mirage of soft blues, flaming scarlets,

colours ablaze with placid compassion,

wishing for nothing much,
beholding the wilting rose, weakened by the autumn sun,

at rest, peaceful,

waiting alone for the coming of spring … … …

parallel lines

lost, broken,

alone,
in a foggy crevasse,

wedged between

sanity | madness | anguish.

i lose, break,
memories taunting,
waking thoughts,

stripping me

bare | naked | exposed.

i survive, barely breathing,

slipping deeper,
into nothingness,

feeling little

| shattered | numb.

i am incomplete, without you,
fatigued,

gnawed by

emptiness | desolation | pain.

i persist, each breath futile,

crushed, yet alive,

comforted knowing only,

that you breathe | you live | and  love.

sleepy willows reach, branches heaving,

weighed down, outstretched arms bearing the burdens,

yet ever welcoming,

to the solitary bird with tired wings, settling on a tipping branch,

seeking respite … … …

🐹    😊     🌻

image

monday not my day

air caresses the flute,
unseen

leaving not a trace
of itself.

a gentle melody,
lilting notes,
echo invisibly,

fused
by passionate breath mingling with air,

unseen … … …

at times lost in the cauldron, at times raging against the fates, these moments we weave, we arrive and we leave, hearts splattered across the dining room floor, showing dignity the door, these moments of madness, sheer lunacy at its core, painted on smiles and words a festering sore,

left to moult, in the sun,
never to come,
between us and our hollow fun … … …

incoherent (like life) …

slipping through empty breaths sliding down on bent knees scraping raw flesh against cold skin hollow kisses falling to the desolate floor swept up discarded trashed recycled churned out strewn littered alongside barricaded hearts yearning to feel again to touch to taste to ache to be human once more to know to believe that one can feel that one can hear and see and dig beneath the veneer of sophisticated tinny smiles flinging around casually barbed words meant to jab gnawing at the core of all that makes us human the sting of tears the taste of salt the dripping red bleeding off roses in quaint gardens pruned to perfection yet dead inside numbed into comfortable complacency as the world turns threatening the linearity of time that prays for returns while this heart this soul this being within the cauldron of palpable loss simply burns

quislings … … …

collaborate with the forces of reaction,
jumping on the bandwagon of dissatisfaction,

saying this, saying that, uttering platitudes best left unsaid,

the quisling squirms, ingratiates, worms his way through the political plains,

seeking power, status, the bounty of power and the intoxication of wielding its reins, he says this and that and heaven knows what,

while camouflaging his own decrepit moral rot … … …

u n t i t l e d

leaving the past behind, tucked away neatly in hard to reach closets,

wishing it all away,
memories gnawing to stay, in mothballed kists, and through times’ mists,

shedding, moulting skin, flaked off again today,

living anew, afresh,
with pain an echoing memory of far, far away … … …

The invisible blade – a poem by my young niece.

Another hateful speech
Echoed inside his mind,
So apparent, so clear,
Stinging as it played over and over,
Like a stuck record inside his head.
As each tear slipped from his eye onto the stone floor,
His pain became a realization.
Those words as sharp as weapons,
Like smithereens of glass embedded inside his head.
The skies cried with him that day,
Reflecting the grey of his eyes.

With a knife at his wrist,
And a prayer from his lips,
He was ready to let the blood drip until he no longer lived.
He closed his eyes to dream one final time,
And in the silence, in the dark,
He understood that he didn’t need them to understand,
He understood that different was also beautiful,
He was also beautiful.
And in that moment,
A conflagration ignited his self hatred to ashes,
As his lesion mind began to repair the crevices and cracks that caused him to break.
He stood up in a confident demeanor,
the deluge of nefarious words tried to drown him once again but he kept afloat, fighting the currents in this sea of detestation.
Those tiny cuts healed inside his head and he embraced himself for a new beginning.

i need no pity,
no earnest sympathies,

hearing the birds singing in the trees,

enough to raise these spirits to the skies,

sans pain, sans beholding eyes … … …

talkin’ unseeing blues … … …

morning breaks,
sketching earthy hues,
lacing up my well-worn shoes,

beholding the colours of the dawn,
fantastical glimpses of a solitary fawn,
at peace with nature,
heralding the golden sunrise,

i see it all,
through unseeing eyes … … …

meandering,
skipping over,
bubbling through the streams’ flow,

all this grotesque gaudiness washed away,

if we only,
hop,
skip,
and peacefully tread,

along the path unbeaten, the course nature needs us to stitch together, thread by echoing thread … … …

the hunger for freedom raged,
armed struggle waged,

daughters and sons,
lovers and friends,
sacrificed lives, life, families,

today we hear homilies, tales of misty yesterdays, of the birds and of the bees,

respectful homages to the valiant who fell,

still, the hunger for freedom rages,
to the tolling of the bell,

for water, jobs and food, electrification in the neighborhood,

while the few stack up their heaving plates,

the many are flung to the fates,

yes, the battle for freedom still rages,

for decent housing and dignified wages … … …

image

love is pain … … …

love is pain,
bitter as the piercing rain,

love is pain,
crashing like a freight train,

love is pain,

yet,

yet,

i hunger to love,

again … … …

image

this cat digs Chomsky

🐹

👍

🌻

apology … … …

i had thought i thought about you,

i had felt i felt your pain,

i had thought far too much.

i had felt far too little.

i am sorry … … …

The Nameless (for South Africans of all colours)

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.

the pit … … …

when in the pit,
the gaping crevasse of empty dread,

i try, i really do,
to derail the freight train, to seek hope in the deep, to silence the murmurs, grappling with the now, lost in the maelstrom of jagged thought,

when in the pit,
the yawning hole swallowing me whole,

i try, i really do,
to fill the void, the hollowness of unfeeling, reaching for slivers of redemption slicing through my fingertips,

when in the pit,
the vacuum of pain,

i try, i really do … … …

waiting … … …

waiting,
for paint to dry,
embers to cool,

waiting,
trapped in a straightjacket,
the perennial fool,

waiting,
battle fatigue crashing all around me,

waiting,

to be … … …

she is searching

she looked here and there, beneath park benches, atop kitchen units, in the misshapen clouds above, the random dirt underneath her shoes.

she looked here and there, traversing highways, combing alleyways, scars camouflaged by cheap makeup, in rest rooms, in swirls of her ice-cream.

and when they asked her what she was constantly searching for, she told them all, in almost a whisper:

my dignity

she smiled at me,
two broken souls set adrift on a rudderless ship,

she smiled at me,
together ours shall be a shared trip,

casting off shackles,
anchorless on the high sea,

far from it all, as far as the eye could see,

she smiled at me,
broke not broken,

watching the tides, where no words need be spoken,

she smiled at me,
into the future we have set sail,

together, we shall make it, through wrinkled skin and many moons that may still pale

reduced to heaps,
ashes billowing in the winds,
laying bare the scars, reflected in eyes of deadened defiance,

‘love’ ‘trust’ ‘respect’

mere words dripping placatory platitudes,
its written in the stars, they say,

no.

it is written here.

by us,
you and me,
us all,

here,
now.

?

just asking.

from where do tears stem,
saline dripping from countless eyes,
crashing down numberless cheeks.

as the passing parade continues,
and of apathy reeks.

Mama Panagiota – Salute!

They call her ‘Mama’, and Panagiota, 82, says refugees are her family now.

The Greek villager hosts 5 refugees in her house in Idomeni, and more visit each day. She welcomes them warmly with home-cooked food, hot showers – and limitless grandma hugs.

“I have company in the house, I talk… we laugh… even though we can’t understand each other.’

From UNHCR video

uBuntu

sundancing in the rains, a simian matrimonial celebration, rolls across the boundless plains, chased steadily by the nectar, the rainfilled clouds, of uBuntu, of our shared African rains … … …

r  e  d  u  x  . . .

we always left the trash, methodically sorted, outside, though having failed we still tried, defibrillating, this corpse, these huddled cells, shocked until dead, then shocked some more, reviving it all instead, living, existing, with mortal trepidation, unknowing dread, trodding down alleyways endlessly tread, staring behind while goose-stepping ahead, severing a reinforced thread, weighed down by lead, marching ever on, spilling crimson red, across canvas, symphony, words to be read, this moment, now, presently, living to regret, squandered moments, tears shed, over contrived verses scribbled instead, as we thank Capital for our daily bread, writing fatally flawed scribbled verses, most definitely best left, quietly unread … … …

empire

image

art by banksy

crackling embers of empire,

spew noxious toxicity,

lashing,
weatherbeaten faces,

scratching,
gnawing,
crunching marrow,

burrowing deep,

slaying,
praying,
selling,

wearing down,
laboriously,

chilling the furnace of principle,

doused by carbonated fizz,

rendering consciences inured,

consciousness cremated,

ash rising,

ascending,
exalted,

amidst hazy,
blurred,
just out-of-focus,

silhouettes of humanness,

shred,
minced,
chewed,

spat out,
cast aside,

stripped off the moulting skin of greed,

left out to bleed,

as vultures skulk,
& currencies’ sulk,

– markets open,

– the horde pounces,

scalping,
remnants of dignity,

as sweat pours off backs,
& as innocence roasts in shacks,

as the cacophony grows ever more shrill,

buy!

buy!

checking-in all humanity,
left to suffocate,

in a cashiers till,

as we writhe,
entwined,

savaged & ravaged,

by the diktat of Profit,

while,

innocence starves,
emaciated,
discarded,

flung into the cesspool of want,

trampled upon,
barbecued on Capitals spit,

while hollowed souls,
wracked by inert life,

seek respite,
from want,

hunger,

from ceaselesss,
merciless strife

when the guillotine drops, when conscience is bought and sold in makeshift shops, when today is a curse, and tomorrow may be worse, what use these paltry words, this impotent scribbled verse ?

why are these lies casually spoken, by mouths torn, bruised, broken,

“I am fine”

no i am not fine, im as fine as a dung dusted shoe is from a shine, im not fine, im lost, between alluring dreams, and silent screams, sometimes a duet, mostly a cacophony of noise, white and bland and dull, just enough to discern, that humanity is null, humaneness void, and of all conscience, devoid … … …

image

'illusory art' by Maya

the interlude … … …

the interlude … … …

a wasted breath, numbing the core, lost in echoes of desolation, pain that has stung many times before.

[  interlude  ]

pain must recede, as it does, night gives way to dawn, peace trickles in, just, and continue on we must … … …

image

'illusory art' by Maya

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