Archive for September 8, 2016

Mandela in Kerala

Madiba in Kerala.

A comrade from the southern Indian state of Kerala shared the following anecdote with my father sometime in the mid-1980’s in New Delhi …

… On a trip to his home state of Kerala, the comrade said,

“…I was on a small fishing boat with some other comrades, we were going to an anti-Apartheid meeting that had been organised in a small town.

During the course of the boat ride, I kept hearing the boat-man’s voice, as he was singing, and quite loudly too, a song in Malayalam,

And I kept hearing what sounded like the name ‘Mandela’, over and over again,

So I asked the boat-man who or what this ‘Mandela’ was?

“You come from the city, and YOU don’t know who MANDELA is?

​life sways

walking the tightrope

on the cusp of departing night


always hoping

that the day to be

be gentler

less harsh

more humane

that the day to be

be bathed

in hope’s light

Men shield from heaven’s drops of tears,

marching it while playing their matches
thinking they glow like the rainbow.
… Haven in the moon while shooting the sun.
… Shading from earth’s camera with their umbrella.
Man is an hill hiding from the sun.


willowy brushstrokes

conjured sketches




hewn between forgotten morns




against another













hope blazes










and always


surrendering to the eternal promise




that promise of a new dawn breaking …



our open sky

rippling strings

bound together


falling stars


murmured melodies

emblazoned across shared tapestries

alive with colours




softening the stings

of all that was

all that is

all that has been

​she comes to me, in moments desolate, the warmth of her balm a soothing pleasure under the swaying palm,

she comes to me in moments painful, her presence infusing my emptiness with sense,

she comes to me in minutes, hours, days,

and though she may be a million miles away,

it is her who quells my nights, it is her who brings solace to my waking day … … …

” … 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,
if 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

​darkness in my eyes,

snatching away sight,

floundering from day to night,

searching, ever searching for the light.

bruised and broken,

jarred by callous words spoken,

what am i?

a human being, or a mere token … … …

​when cinnamon skies fall

swirling down

settling gently

on marshmallow clouds

of chocolate whispers

velveteen murmurs

form crisp peppermint kisses

hazelnut dreams still burn bright


the feeling

feeling roars and rages

and so

may it rage forever on

through rough oncoming tides


through ensuing epochs and ages 

​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 … … …

​Why does the sun dry up so many scattered tears

Slipping down the coarse cheek of a million hushed fears

Where no one is scalded though the searing fog clears

While prayers are mutely spoken even as the end nears

We shatter and scrape on demented knees

Blindly begging for mercy as it silently flees

Searching listlessly for salvation drowned in the breeze

That spits at the soft rose suffocated by a wheeze

I know now what I need never have known

Of hope that was trampled before it had flown

Into a wasted sky filled with hate that could drown

The giggling of the crowd and the crying of the clown

A hope so fragile its wings were of brittle glass

Ripping the veneer off the sewers of class

Twisting the fabric of the weighed and costed mass

Who numbly waited hoping that it too may pass

For when shards of that hope in all hearts scurries away

To a darkness where crowded night is emptied off the heaving tray

’Tis then when sewn eyes behold that doleful day

When all shall tear at each other while on demented knees we still pray

For a lifting of the veil of that wilful deceit

That’s wrapped up in a flag swollen with conceit

While the limbs splinter in the claw of a winner’s defeat

Yet still the drums roll for the ill-fated souls chose never to retreat

From that drenched battleground where blood flows through a sieve

And love’s lost song plaintively begs for a reprieve

From eternal loss which into raw emotion does cleave

Only to slip through the fingers and like grains of sand leave

The Whispering Leaf

Infinite tendrils,
weave exquisite patterns,
forming an immaculate, delicate sheaf,

while morning’s dew whispers,
tales of forgotten woes,
left scribbled on every leaf.

Murmurs float gently,
across solitary trees,
to distant forests deep and dense,
teasing the waving grasses,
while coquettishly inflaming every sense.

Listen! For the murmurs whisper to us all,

listen carefully,
as the whispers recall,
the crushed memories of the lovers’ call.

For the whispering leaf shares,
a story that may travel,

to you, to me,
if we still our minds,


gaze upon each leaf,
and quietly marvel.

​a bipolar scribble … … …

thoughts racing, taking on the whole world so cruel and wide,

‘I’m fine, I say, I just have to decide’,

do i stay in bed again, swirling down a maelstrom of gloom,

or commencing the spring-cleaning of my already spotless room,

ah, decisions decisions,

far too many to divine,

‘I think I’ll scribble endlessly on, because really, really, really, I really am just fine’

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