Archive for August, 2016


fingers … … …

​fingers.




entwined,

                 murmuring silent caresses,

                scribbling gibberish,


high above the cresting hopes,

            awash,

                        engulfed,

in the deluge,


of softly soaked-monsoon kisses,


adrift,

           free,

                   fingers, entwined,


teasing responses,

                           enmeshed, fused, between undulating waves,

            crashing,

                            within,

                                        our wordless universe,


in unison,

                 fingers entwined,

our oneness,

                      together, now,


presently,

                 present,


like ribbons and bows,

wrapped,


intermingling amidst shades,

                                   merging into hue,


breathing each other,

                                      in,


all of me,

                all of you.





​your eyes sketch skies,

silken sandpaper,


your touch,


the smell of your hair,

seducing me,


avalanches of curls,

kisses like tributaries fanning out, eroding the cold hard stone,


in your arms, in your shadows of your form,


I am whole,

never alone.






stringed, strung,


theoretically plausible,

infinite universes within a bubble,


floating in the spaces between spaces,


where time, and days and kisses and tears and fears and smiles and anger and all of this and lots of that,


oh and faces,

all blurring into nothingness,



starstuff, is all,

agonisingly close, or chillingly far,


starstuff is all,

we ever were,


Starstuff is all,

we still are …


        ______________



inspired by Dr. Carl Sagan 

​so near, and yet so very far …




I hear the birdsong,

early in the summer dawn,


knowing you hear the same call,

of the flying hopes that soar through boundless skies,


feeling an instantaneous bond, forged,


strengthened, within,

with you,


as sure as daylight blankets each star,

you are with me,

within me,


so very near,

yet, still,

               so agonisingly far …

​for men everywhere …


Stop! Listen! Think! Act!


Stop!


Stop the abuse!


Of grand-daughters,

colleagues,

daughters,

girlfriends,

partners,

mothers,

sisters,

nieces,

wives,


all women.


Listen!


Listen to the voices!


Of grand-daughters,

colleagues,

daughters,

girlfriends,

partners,

mothers,

sisters,

nieces,

wives,


all women.


Think!


Think of how you treat,


grand-daughters,

colleagues,

daughters,

girlfriends,

partners,

mothers,

sisters,

nieces,

wives,


all women.


Act!


Act now to change yourself!


Stop! Listen! Think! Act!


The violence,

the abuse,

the rape,


stops when you stop,


the violence,

the abuse,

the rape.


Stop! Listen! Think! Act!


The violence,

the abuse,

the rape,


is perpetrated by,


grand-fathers,

colleagues,

boyfriends,

husbands,

nephews,

brothers,

partners,

fathers,

uncles,


men,


all men.


Stop! Listen! Think! Act!


The violence,

the abuse,

the rape,


stops when us men stop,


The violence,

the abuse,

the rape,


today, now.


Stop! Listen! Think! Act!

she came to me one night,

the stars breathing light,
caressing away feeling,

as i lay kneeling,
soothed deep until numb,

speaking words rendered dumb,
her kisses grew,

rampaging through,
tearing at a thudding heart,

sliced agonisingly apart,
eyes dimmed, tears streaming,

clawing at walls, imprisoned by dreaming,
breaking free, shackles broken, bent,

consigned to the now, this ever present,
plastic shell,

this enduring hell?

yet, yet, hope persists,

hope resists,
for as another year flees,
hope blossoms,
in fresh leaves,
defiantly dancing,

on living, breathing trees.

​and when this shroud,

the skin we moult,


traversing eons, sipping kisses, lapping tongues,

mingled meadows of scarlet red,


the standard waves amidst,


the smoke, the swollen pollen, detritus of ills-scarcely-forgotten,


to flutter on the ramparts,

aloft, again,


for the pot simmers,

and the light of hope glimmers.

let us walk,

knowing not the paths ahead,


let us talk,

knowing not each others tongues,


let us breathe,

the simple joys of life,

away from shredding strife,


so, take my hand,

in yours,


and let us walk and talk,


through many tears,

and an occasional smile,


as we walk on,

and on,


past our final mile …

​awakening


the caress of hair

whispered dreamily


swirling symmetry

between hungering mouths


lips tongues

intertwined


basking in this moment

holding onto each kiss


for dreams cease

only to be left


aflutter

in the willowy haze of diluted time


leaving the detritus:

merely wasted time 


behind …

” … so you’ve been broke, and you’ve been hurt, show me somebody who ain’t … I know I ain’t nobody’s bargain, but hell a little touch-up and a little paint, I ain’t lookin’ for praise or pity, I ain’t searching for a crutch, I just want someone to talk to, and a little of that human touch, just a lil’ of that human touch …” – Bruce Springsteen, ‘Human Touch

                _________

do you revisit those sultry summer nights,
sweet sweat pouring off your skin,
your hair fanning an eternal fire,
toasting deep within,
ever since I saw you, standing at our old train station,
wearing your red beret,
and paging through a book by Emma Goldman,
somethin’ ’bout the tragedy of women’s emancipation,
we stood there in the pouring rain,
wishing we could race down the cobblestones on a renegade lane,
to take us away, from the stasis, the bruises, and the pain,
we laughed, we cried,
we held onto each other,

yearning for freedom,

from the straightjackets they tried to wrap around everyone’s brain …

Well, that was all those years ago,
when love meant something more than a ten buck stage show,
now the guys at the watering-hole tell me that you’re a big deal today,
it looks like you’ve packed Emma Goldman, and all your other books away,
perhaps they remind you of our younger selves,
it’s a pity that you’ve grown so large that there’s no room left for me on your neatly lined shelves,
ah but I still remember the woman that you once were,
but now you’re  weighed down by your pearls and your faux-fur …

I wonder if you even think of me at all,
the boy who promised to be beside you,
always,
f you ever were to stumble, or to fall,
or has your new gucci-clad crew,
stripped you of your soul,
as you laugh and drink and screw,
I wonder if you even remember my name,

or have you buried me along with all that you once were,
out of sanctimonious shame …

… I’m still here, where you left me, festering in this rotting old town,
unemployed since the years when those stock-tickers went plummeting down,
today as I stand in line for my warm bowl of soup,
the TV on the homeless shelter wall says it’s going to get worse,
cos’ even the banks have flown the coop,
well, I think of you often, as I lay my head on the cold ground,
tasting your soft lips as our tongues waltzed around,
but tonight I kiss my bottle of moonshine,

that keeps me company while the sophisticates wine and dine …
I know you’ve forgotten all about me,

cos’ you’ve got futures to trade,
blue-chip stocks to sell,

so sleep tight tonight, my darling, in that penthouse where you dwell,
I’m used-up now, there ain’t nothing more I can say or do,
I’ve run out of yarns to spin, I’ve exhausted all the stories I once could tell,
so all that I can offer, is a silent fare-thee-well

​on the cusp.





trawling turquoise seas,

cast adrift,

                   your eyes caressing fitful slumber,

                        whispering paens,

           soothing the ache,


of this weary traveller,

parched,

               thirsty,

                            alone,


cresting waves,

                           treading water,

             hither and thither,


a tattered heart,

                             a wounded soul,

        bathing my being,

                                      nestling,

       in cocooned dreams of your sugarcane lips,



seeing,

            feeling,

                         tasting,

                                      your breath,


soaked in visions of you,


the mirage,

                    a crescendo fanning flames of desire,

                                            of love, lust, tremulous fingers,


brushing your hair away,

sipping kisses,


consumed by the furnace,

your body, mine,

                                    entwined,


hungering for your tongue,

fiery,

         insistent,

                         true,



soaring above vagabond skies of blue,

             unshackled at last,


             craving only you …

​The Standard Model …





bygone kisses

hungry breaths



all

our

lives



all

our

loves



all just

a couple

of particles


like

me and you

as we model



standardly

entrenched



and

as we

strum

plucking strings


while

hearts go busily about

rearranging things




as

particles do

I remember her beret,

on that rainy day at the bus-stop, 


she said that she had grown tired of the pretences this world demanded,


we spoke of Marx and she smiled, for I was much younger then, wearing it all on my sleeve,


she smiled, and we spoke till she had to leave.


we met at that bus-stop many times more,


sharing our laughter, our pain, of the knots that cut deep into our core,


she always wore her beret and she was fierce, brave and steadfastly traversing the murky waters of being a wage-slave,


we promised each other we wouldn’t be like the rest, not even in our grave,


ah but that was many moons back, when life was starkly coloured white and black,


I wonder where she could be now, and I hope she is as she was back then,


when everything wasn’t just about love and light and being zen,


I wonder too were we to perchance meet, would she pull me close out of the grime stained street,


or would she walk on by, leaving me to my own devices,


after decades of being whittled down, after making all the right choices … … …

tiny splashes,

toes teasing toes,

as the rain lashes,


dancing under moonbeams,

hazy lazy clouds dripping nectar,


cheek to dripping cheek,

your hands in mine,

your eyes sparkling with a fire divine,


dancing barefoot in the rain,


with you, my whole, my own, my life,


dancing with you,

barefoot in the rain,


toes tickle toes,

far from this life’s pain,

away from the strife,


with you, within you,

I have found renewed life … … …

​midnight memories,

assail,


splintering dreams,

scattered along the trail,


my heart,

wedged between the curtain rail,


left behind,


my heart:


’tis with her,

’tis always been,

hers to find … … …

​on your skin, scribbling odes to love,
angry, lost, empty,

raucous, pristine, encompassing love.
on my heart, scribbled odes embossed, etched, engraved,
yearning, pining, aching,
for you … … …


destiny

fate


somewhere

someplace


alfoat on honeydew petals


mere strands


filaments


years trickling through

fingertips


lost whispers

dreamed caresses


awake

alive …



smouldering

ablaze in the cauldron


of


destiny

fate


of convergent wisps

sprinkling kisses


on your

honeydew lips

breathless … …

​breathless, laboured

               tortured


each breath

                     swallowed


greedily gulping gasping


each breath

                    stolen

                               without you

​your fingers

mine


sketching dreams

scribbling hopes


my fingers

yours


holding back

resistant


knowing the path ahead

littered with thorns


oblivious

knowing


the path ahead must be walked


alone at times 

but never lonely 


not with you by my side

evoking a belonging felt true and deep


inside

 …




time

erodes


loves lives hearts

souls spirits selves …





time

mends


wounds

souls


a salve

a balm


knowing

in the end


there is always


only


stillness

silence


peace

and

calm

these interwoven veins

dna

double-helixed


microscopically

binding


me

you


us

all


through

this common

shared

truth:


‘I am because you are’*


all of us

together

as one


me

you …


… uBuntu*




  


* – uBuntu is an isiXhosa/isiZulu concept that espouses the “belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”

imagine … … …

a beach of solace


the lapping waves

tickling our bare toes


softly powdered sand caressing our feet


a carpet of palms

waltzing in the breeze


imagine …


you

i


setting sail on distant seas


far

far

away


bidding adieu to the emptiness of yesterday


sharing each other

knowing that your

smile


stays with me

within me


through

tomorrows we have still to see


sharing

our slice of peace


through

laughter

tears


through

joy

fears


to

bloom in earthy hues


when thunderstorms pass


blossoming into fiery scarlet


kneading away

our hollow suburban blues …


for ’tis in your smile

that my mirth resides


imagine …


your head on my shoulder


ready to face all

oncoming tides



imagine … 

​misty tears fall on splintered parchment


history simmers


the shackles of centuries cast off


the chains of oppression shattered


embracing new horizons


dawning

and

trusting once again

in that unfinished dream


of less famished tomorrows

scribbling verses

on her bare back


my fingers

rhyming

each flourish a caress

etching odes to hope

across the canvas


of her warm skin …



her breath

inflamed


seeking


fingertips

lips

sashaying in the evening breeze

dancing free

abandoning trepidation


what do i know

as 

fingers flutter


over undulating peaks

valleys …


softly

gently


as soul meets soul

she who is

half of my whole

she who remains


my perennial

meditation






 …





straining to hear

the thud-thudding of your heart


amidst this cacophonous crowd.



so

i close my eyes


and

i see you


floating on clouds

unfettered

free to just be


your wings spread proud

unclipped


skipping

hopping

across sunbeams


sketching your open sky


bathed in

colours vivid

alive


fiery

earthy

warm

fierce

gentle


each 

brush stroke


infused with hues


from 

the palette of your dreams …












Parched lullabies seem jarring,

gentle persuasion an assault,
quiet understanding reeking of decay,
fatigued under this skin in which I must stay.

Dreams of moulting,
shedding the hubris of crafty words,
flushing away all famished rhymes,
ripping the fibres of an ink-stained past.

Knowing.

Always knowing,

that honey-soaked kisses, seem destined,
breathlessly,
never to last

Embers fade,

disappearing into the hushed night …

Petals wither,
falling on the soft grass …

Words pale,
obscured by the anguish within …

Faces blur,
dimmed by the galloping years …

Kisses lose,
the urgency of those bygone depths …

Feelings recede,
lying dormant in shielded vaults …

Love loses,
fatigued after numberless skirmishes …

Pain flees,
seeking new wounds to inflict …

Scars remain,
sentinels against,

the dilution of memory … … …

Why him, they ask her …

​why, they ask her,

why him?

she always says the

day we met

and spoke

and laughed

she felt

all she needed to be was herself



William Dalrymple, author of ‘City of Djinns’ inscribed my copy.

Inscription reads “from an adopted Dilliwaala to Afzal, a real one”


😊

👍

Love, Mania, and Verse


The pendulum swings,
while the mania in my head,
strips me bare and yanks me,
into the cauldron of love.

Once again,
never divining the tea leaves,
knowing, always knowing,
the gnawing knots of unease,
that curl into a fist.

My isolation is a shield,
a suit of armour,
tightly clad around my self,
once worn,
then discarded,
taking its place,
on my barren shelf.

Love, mania and verse,
coalesce, beseeching me,
with timeous forewarning,
not to tread into the quicksand,
that slippery bog of promise.

Yet,
in times past,
in moments present,
tis’ that very promise,
that I cling to.

At times I lose,
myself in the crowd,
revelling in the solitude found there,

at times I claw,
my way back to the now,
aching for the pain that stings,

the buried voice that sings,
dirges to forgotten emotions,

scribbled verse that flings,
the toys out of my cot,

while I wait,
for the mania to stop,

knowing,
always knowing,
that it shall be,

merely a matter of time,
before the other shoe,
must, as always, 
drop


my starved eyes, aching for a glimpse of your smile, ready to beguile, their thirst quenched, seeking simple joys, not million dollar toys, finally, coaxed the ocean of your eyes, to reveal the kernel of truth beneath the veneer of lies, so love me now, today, where fractured dreams are made whole by the sea spray, plunging deeper into the ocean shimmering in your eyes, hoping we may breathe, like the terror of time, high on up into blue skies, where love roams unshackled, in that ocean so deep,


in your beautiful eyes … … …

tattoo … … …

An imprint of you remains,

mingled in the blood racing through my veins,

hewn into my flesh you stay,

a chiselled tattoo from our long-lost yesterday,

deeply branded by your entire being,

rooted to a memory incapable of fleeing,

torn, and twisting inside my skin,

the pain screeches like jangling cans of tin,

a desolate nightmare this agony feels,

with a phantom whiff of your sweet breath my soul reels,

now that you are gone, lost within a labyrinth of illusions,

your voice swarms inside my desperate delusions,

scratching, clawing layers of past moments spent with you,

you are a part of me, an unfaded, vivid tattoo,

and as my dreams of you frantically race,

I am unable to erase,

the blazing picture of your exquisite face,

so let me be, and leave me to burn in this furnace of my hell,

I should have known better,

but all that matters little,

because it was for you, that I fell

A Child of War

 
as she lies bleeding,

the girl who skipped, hopped to school,

all of nine and a half years old,

with ribbons in her hair and a laugh that was her father’s pride.
 

as she lies bleeding,

shrapnel lodged in her torn stomach,

she stares at her skipping rope,

as her blood soaks it the colour of cherries her mummy buys.
 

as she lies bleeding,

she sees people all around thick black smoke,

blurred visions of scattering feet, shoes left behind,

hearing nothing but the pinging in her smashed eardrums.
 

as she lies bleeding,

she slips away and then she is dead,

a mangled heap of a nine and a half year old girl,

whose laugh was her father’s pride.
 
 

as she lies bleeding,

for even in death she bleeds some more,

shrapnel wedged in her torn stomach,

stealing the light from her bright little eyes.

as she lies bleeding …
in jallianwala bagh in ‘19,

leningrad in ‘42,

freetown in ‘98,

soweto in ‘76,

jenin in ‘02,

hanoi in ‘68,

beirut in ‘85,
raqqa now,

aleppo still,

gaza too.
 

as she lies bleeding,

a little nine and a half year old girl,

whose laugh was her parent’s pride,

we know she’ll bleed more,
tomorrow and in many tomorrows yet unborn,
with shrapnel in her stomach,

ripped open and torn.
as she lies bleeding … …

‘normal’

​they said she was opinionated, they said that she was loud,

they said she was too feisty, less prone to being a ‘normal’ woman, to listen and to keep her views to herself, they said she was too independent, less ladylike, far too manly.

I loved her because she was opinionated, loud,

I loved her for being feisty, less prone to being a ‘normal’ woman, to speak her mind and to shout her views to the world, I loved her for her independence, for who she was.

she was fierce, not macho, strong not manly,

I loved her for all of that and more … … …

mired in the bog … … …

​mired in the bog, unseeing eyes staring into the fog,

what becomes of a soul so filled with strife, that all of life, seems with tension rife,

what becomes of the soul that yearns to be whole, clawing at the freshly dug hole, a tomb of dreams torn apart, the cemetery of joys meant only to depart,

what becomes of the heart, swirling in the maelstrom of regret, cursed by the burdens of not being able to forget,

what becomes of the man, desolate and empty, devoid of yearning, as day turns to night, and night to day,

what becomes of it all, when hope scurries away … … …

you and i

​waiting for you, with quickening pulse,

desirous, anticipating the brush of your lips against mine,

kiss me deeply, i shall do the same,

today, and in our tomorrows yet to be teased out of time … … 

​weathering storms of fate, walking boulevards smooth as slate,

the hurt remains, the pain jabs, the emptiness sheaths,

while in the corner the beast of apathy growls, pants, and breathes … … …

​walking on shattered splinters, crushed glass piercing my soul,

your tender touch offers respite from the pain, freeing my soul,

to be once again,

whole … … …

Veils

Embroidered smiles, chiselled conversations,

banal, hollow,

the cacophony of practised apathy,
smothering,
whispers of the forgotten,

as smiles abound,

with coffee and croissants 

Searching,

in the debris of the past,
scraps of casually discarded emotion.

Searching,

in hastily trashed yesterdays,
an inkling of moments flung away.

Searching,

in heaps of rubbished words,
that tiresome sigh of defeated thought.

Searching,

in the layers of moulted skin
the wilting self that once was true.

Searching,

in the reflections between the ripples,
for the whispered pangs of roaring desire.

Searching,

in the blank eyes streaming endlessly,
an echo of the faintest sigh of new life.

Searching … … …

love | found

​hold me tight, she said, let us leave the cruel fates behind,

we embraced, clinging onto a love once too rare to find … … …

life turns … … …

​life turns, a coiled  tightening spring,

shattering souls, tormenting hearts,

life turns,

and all vows do hollow ring … … …

You are resting now, and may you rest well forever more 

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