Archive for March, 2018

Earth – Our only Home

Earth – Our only Home …

When shall we awaken from our inebriated sleep,

to hear the pangs of pain that our mother Earth does weep?

When shall we shun the myopia of selfish greed,

to realise that we pillage more than we ever need?

When will tear our sewn eyes open,

to tend to our mother, as she shrieks, bruised and broken?

When will we vanquish the actions of governments, the corporations, and all those who callously loot,

as they strip bare our Earth without giving a hoot?

Will it be in our lifetime, that we shall make a collective stand,

isn’t the hour of action now at hand?

Will we sit by quietly, intoxicated and enmeshed in our apathetic deeds,

while our mother Earth still gives of herself even though she bleeds?

Will we be that generation that condemns our children’s children to inherit an Earth plundered and diseased,

bestowing upon them a planet once bounteous, but by then long deceased?

Will we be the ones blamed for stripping our mother Earth bare,

in the blind pursuit of wealth, and without a care?

But there may still be time to stem the bleeding that flows from mother Earths veins,

but only if we seize this singular opportunity to yank back our profit-driven reins.

There may still be a few more moments, in which we can collectively unite,

beyond narrow self-serving interests, and by shunning our petty spite.

There may still be ways by which we can this beautiful earth tend,

across borders, if we realise that we are staring into an abyss, almost at the very end.

There still rests within our hands the power to right the obscene wrongs we are guilty for,

a sliver of a chance, a slight crack in the narrow, yet still open door.

But if we fail this Earth, we shall all be culpable in her agonising demise,

and then, there shall be no room for pretences, and no time for feigning fake suprise.

Because if we refuse to accept that the damage inflicted is man-made,

there shall be no shelter beneath which generations to come may bask under a tree’s shade.

And if we do not take action now, already long overdue,

to agitate against the rapacious greed of the few,

there will be no gardens in which our children may behold, the scintillating drop of fresh morning dew.

If we do not force our governments to regulate themselves and their kin, the beastly corporations, by raising all our voices to a roar deafeningly loud,

we shall be known as the contemptible ones, who watched the carnage against the Earth, while blindfolded by greed’s ugly shroud,

and worst of all, we made and still make merry,

sipping champagne, letting the heinous crimes be perpetrated in our name,

while in complicit silence, the ravaging, by us all, was allowed,

to our eternal guilt, and our collective shame.

A Raving Rant

A Raving Rant …

This moment in time, and the decades that have preceded it since the industrial revolution, have been studded with great breakthroughs in medicine and the sciences, among other ‘miracles’ of technology and human ingenuity.

However as we live in 2018, has the human race not become virtually inured to the ‘bigger picture’ – the ‘system’ chosen, or thrust down, being the system of profit at any cost.

Whether it be the grotesque arms industry or the equally grotesque Monsanto and Cargill and Halliburton corporations that wish to patent seeds – the very essence of food, and others of our world that have orchestrated an almost unbelievable feat of social and emotional and psychological control and engineering, or the corrupt leaders of governments pillaging the coffers that are meant to serve the people.

The fortunate ones in terms of material comforts and the rest that the ugliness of money can ‘do’ for them, compared to the 99% of whom we share this world with – those left out in the cold to eke out a miserable existence of the fight for just survival from hunger and the innumerable deprivations of poverty.

One need not look far.

The system and the placid and complicit acceptance of it has inured people to the point that hearts are hardened and that compassion has been dumbed down.

The self contained bubbles that ‘shield’ ‘successful’ humans from poverty and deprivation, but more frighteningly is the insidious injection of apathy and lack of empathy into daily life that has been the aim of the only-for-profit societies has done at the cost of fellow human beings who are stuck in 22 hour-a-day shifts in sweatshops and far too many dehumanising ‘work’ that is a necessity for the 1% to live the lives they do.

It is quite simple actually – earn as much as you can to buy the things you want and are ‘told’ that you need and make as much profit but at the price of the poor for no business or industry can run profitably if it gives its workers a decent salary or wages for then the grand aim of profit making is lost.

Don’t humans all live in cocoons?

In the office, a cocoon that makes human beings earn the money that is needed to live the life that is desired.

Cocoons at home in bubbles, surrounded by material possession that have been sold because of their ‘need’ and shutting out the ‘outside’ so-called ‘dregs’ of society, whom one gets irritated at when they knock on our cocooned bubbles once a week or so to plead for bread or some loose change.

Cocoons within ourselves, true feelings and emotions kept close in islands that are lonesome hearts because again it has been ‘sold’ to all that the McDonald’s ‘happy meal-life’ of always being ‘with it’ and always painting on smiles is the ‘way to go’ as people get more and more engulfed in the pressures of maintaining that lifestyle.

The pressure, or ‘persuasion’ to have kids go to the best schools, wear the finest clothes, have swimming and piano and other lessons where the parent, almost always the wife and mother, has to be on-call and on her toes all day juggling a career as well as being subjected to the daily grind of all of the above and more and then still having to prepare a meal or three – this makes the wife and mother exhausted both physically and mentally and emotionally and psychologically to the point when days are spent not really ‘living’ but just doing the ‘daily moms taxi runs’ for which we then need therapy and psychiatric medication for not all can bear all that and more without cracking or at the very least not being able to cope.

This anaesthetised ‘living’ – almost to the obscene point of even having the gall of comparing the 1% to the 99% because ‘look at the poor’ – they are so content and happy’.

No, the poor anywhere in the world are not ‘happy’ that they slog and sweat for long hours to return to shanties and urban ghettos in order to put some bread on the table – not even a table, as that is a luxury too.

So the system keeps on keeping on, piling pressure on cocoons separate from fellow beings and families and wives or husbands and mothers and siblings as the same cocoons are what family, friends, and people are ensconced in.

How can there be ’empathy’ in a system that breaks people down into compliant consumers and making sure that the cocooned state of meticulously crafted obliviousness, because how can humans ‘care’ for the ‘other-half’ when every hour of every day is precious and when the race is forever ongoing, always running and chasing time and being almost slave-like to the clock.

The system then further infects with the promise of bliss and joy if consumption of things people are made to think they need but really don’t – how many advertisements for alcohol are around which pummels all, where ‘The Main Man’ is surrounded by ‘pretty’ and scantily clad women – an ugly appeal to the basest of emotions – sheer unthinking lust.

Furthermore, every two years or so a new car model is unleashed with again advertising that seeks to ingrain the relationship between ownership of a particular thing, in this case a car to the ‘idea’ of the ‘ideal family – kids in the back seat having a laugh and the pretty wife looking over to the broadly grinning husband – so one has to have that car to add that ‘missing contentment’ to ones already cocooned lives.

The so-called cosmetics and beauty industry is probably the best example of all where an industry ‘sells’ their idea of their ‘ideal woman’ to women – maybe it’s maybelline that makes all desirable and pretty and not a hair out of place or maybe it is l’oreal because ‘you’re worth it’ and a worthy consumer also to make one desirable to whom – the man – always the man.

The louis vuitton handbags and the de beers diamonds, the ferraris and the chanel ‘haute-couture’, the mansions with 20 rooms for a family of 5, the ‘need’ to always ‘look’ the best and to attend parties and weddings shrouded by the ‘best clothes’ and for what? For the simple wish to look ‘better’ than the ‘rest’. Not to look presentable – nope – but to make a ‘splash’ and to be talked about with awe.

Of course all of this applies to men probably even more so as they have hand made saville row suits for their daily work lives and their thousands of dollars on their wrists for a clunky thing that just tells the time – the time that they have so very precious little of because to buy into the system is to aim to fulfill all that the system offers – first a toyota then a bmw and then a ferrari.

The patriarchal entitlement and the gender-based violence that countless women are subjected to by the very people they love and live with is a cancerous tumour that needs to be excised now, not tomorrow, but now.

We talk incessantly about the ‘need’ for simplicity and contentment while actively pursuing the very opposite.

The rituals of religion, all of them, overshadowing the very basic teachings and humane tenets that all religions espouse.

We are led to believe by the clergy of different religions that it is okay to amass wealth as long as ‘charity’ is ‘given’ – such an obscene word in itself making people feel so powerful with wealth that they may ‘give’ alms to the unfortunate poor.

The words of Dom Helder Camara – a Brazilian Archbishop, come to mind, who said the following:

“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist”.

If that statement resonates within anyone reading it – it means all is not lost at the altar of greed and imperialism and neo-colonialism and wars for oil and profit and influence.

It means that human beings are not totally lost in the temptation-filled cesspool of wealth and of power and of influence and of greed at any price, even the price of the blood of the miner who digs and dies to extract the shiny stone that has no earthly use other than being an ostentatious statement of which ‘class’ and what strata of society one ‘belongs’ to, and perhaps most grotesquely the shining little stone is tied together with ‘love for another person’ – the expression of love for another being that shiny shimmering cold and dead stone.

All is not lost when the countless human beings who are actively serving their fellow humans, not by flinging some charity their way, but but educating and imparting the skills needed to live a better life or to simply manage to feed their children and do so in a dignified way, and not being reliant on the alms of the ‘altruism’ we hear so much about in this world of pure unabashed greed and of standing and kicking down others to reach higher and higher on the ladder of ‘success’ – for every winner in the this system there have to be many many losers – that is built into the system.

What can we do about this gross obscenity we live in and pursue and are a part of, not because we are all greedy but because to eke out a living is to trample on others, giving us almost no choice.

What other systems of governance can we turn to in order to effect real and meaningful change.

Not many at all. Communism was tried and failed. Protectionist isolation was tried and failed. And a few more also tried and failed.

If there is a ray of hope it has to be that the people, us all, rise up to demand social equality for all our fellow human beings – even at the expense of our own personal cocoons being punctured.

A system of professional and free universal health care for all. A system of free and compulsory education for all.

A social contract between the government and the people that we may not all live lavish lives but that the lives we shall lead shall not be on the backs of those whose only crime was the accident of birth into poverty.

This may or may not effect real change – and certainly will not obliterate all the ills of this unjust world but wouldn’t it be a worthy goal to aspire towards – the service of our fellow living beings – our human family, the fish in our seas, the grandeur of nature and animal species not killed for profit, and for the active search for and working towards a world that is ecologically healthy so that future generations do not look back on us as those who failed not just each other as human beings but this entire planet called earth and the millions of other living beings and trees and plants which we share the world with.

It will take time.

But is it not a point from which we make a collective start moving forward.

I think so.

PS: On the other hand, who am I scribbling this for?

The ‘other half’ may not get to read this, they would need a cellphone and that too only a phone that is recent enough to run apps at the like which of course means a price will have to be forked out for a data-bundle – so I am obviously the 1% – as always thinking and believing that ‘I’ know what is best for ‘them – the poor of the world’ and ‘I’ again as always am speaking to you and I and not the ‘other-half’.

So no, this is most definitely not for ‘the other half’ who live and are beaten down by the system daily, and who certainly doesn’t need someone like me to spout the above with the presumption of knowing what their life is like every day.

So maybe it is just for me and for you.

Or maybe and probably more close to the point, it is just me absolving myself of guilt for a few hours or a day just because I scribbled something that mentions the words ‘system’ and ‘capitalism’ and the other platitudes people like me throw around when the convenient time presents itself – obviously after a steaming cup of not just any but the finest tea while lying on my bed surrounded by the very wealth and privilege I rail against.

Or it is even more subtle and dangerous – my attempt at appearing to sound like a humble man of sorts – not that any of this hasn’t been said and written a million times before but again to assuage my guilt and of course to puff my ego and my cigar a little more – scribble something about inequality blah blah, again sipping fine tea from a fine cup lying on a fine bed propped up on fine pillows surrounded by fine views of nature and far removed from the cacophonous ‘other’.

Yes, because I will rail against ‘my own’ but never shall I surrender ‘my life’ to be a part of the whole.

That would be so much more difficult and would mean yanking myself out of my own comfort zone, so instead, it is far more easier to just scribble a rant, because I am so ‘progressive’ and ‘liberal’ and filled with the most humane of values.

To quote Bono of the music group U2, in the song “Silver and Gold” from the album “Rattle and Hum”.

“Am I buggin’ ya – I don’t mean to bug ya”

May we stand Tall

As we make our way through this life, these finite years, with their share of tears, of strife,

the cruelty we witness, the pain we see, the sorrow we feel, may we remember to never give in, however foul or fair, may we not despair, may we never kneel,

beyond the jitters and the odd titter, may we stand firm, never bitter,

past the jeers, jabs, and the cackles, however many times we may fall, may we arise, to shake of the fetters,

and may we always, always stand tall

Life, love, and sweetly aching blues

caught red-handed, stealing moments,

a mere nanosecond, of hastily borrowed time,

yes, I stand accused,

of a past, pockmarked by shrapnel skidding off the many alleyways of my life,

yes, I plead guilty,

helpless, engaged in a duel with destiny and time,

wasting away,

scribbling verses in the sand, devoid of an iota of life’s maddening, yet irresistibly seductive rhyme

Aching to Ache

Aching to Ache …

Clawing into myself,

digging, scraping, scratching a phantom itch.

Amputating feelings, thoughts, emotions,


always excising love,

to feel some pain,

for once, to feel the ache, the heartbreak, the anger, the desolation, the loss, the pangs of remorse,

to feel anything at all,

not this numbness,

these tattered synapses, this inured state of anaesthetised unfeeling, the brittle thoughts that shatter, painless, when I stumble and crash, and fall.

I ache for the ache, pining to pine, hungering to hunger, bleeding fragments of myself, only to bleed, to feel,



The Deluge

The Deluge …

finally the deluge,

skipping rhythmic heartbeats,

leaving behind rats racing on frenetic city streets,

caressing lonesome weeds, sprinkling crystal beads on gently waving reeds,

soft sprinkling rain,

a soothing balm banishing pain,

lulling, cajoling, comforting weary evenings,

glistening leaves

on rain soaked trees,

hope afloat on the misty breeze,

each blade of grass shimmering,

rough diamonds strewn about,

the rainbows in every drop  glistening,

settling in my heart,

softly lilting touches of peace, of truth,

hushed promises of a new start

of finally being a part,

as the rains sweep away,

the debris of the now,

the numb detritus of  yesterday.

h o p e 

hope …

Morning dew glistens on feathered petals, alive with promise.

Moments past, having passed, soak up streaming rays of sunshine.

Wounds of yesteryear soothed, cocooned,

in fresh layers of solemn peace.

All aching yesterdays consigned,

in deep recesses of memory.

Haunting me no longer and tormenting me no more,

as I shed the weight of all I so reluctantly bore,

for tomorrow is alive, awash with new hope,

of gentle laughter dipped in quietly sipped joy,

of placid memories yet to be felt,

rising to my feet at last, for far too long have I in sorrow knelt.

Whispered songs yet to be sung, scribbled verses yet to penned,

joyous tears yet to be cried,

the incessant call of the ache, ready to be defied.

Tomorrow is alive with new hope,

of sweetly scented roses blooming all around.

Murmurs of delight in moments, warm, unshackled from pain,

lost touches of myself once again sought after, finally found.

Tomorrow is alive with new hope,

a new beginning devoid of the guilt of past decay,

absorbing freshness of essence of a new day.

Lilting melodies floating on the silken breeze,

banishing all pain, setting the mind at ease.

Tomorrow is alive with new hope,

hope that keeps gloomy nights afar,

even if the emptiness is lit up,

with just the shimmering of a solitary star.

It is this very hope that I hold onto with dear life,

never to give in again to bleak thoughts of mental strife,

hope it is,

hope it must always be,

keeping the sanity within,

setting my soul free …

metallic tastes burrow deeper into me,

‘I am lost’, I say,

as leaden weight blankets my vision,

and emptiness looms with frantic precision,

‘i am lost’, i say,

once more,

driving the stake deeper and deeper,

into my innermost core,

leaving me impotent,

torn, broken,

a shade lost amidst the myriad strands,

of tomorrows yet to dawn,




in the vice grip of yesterdays pain,



against the grain,

of cultured norms,

polished forms,

that dig,

and stab,

skewering moments,

lost forever,

in the paradise of thorns,

where desolation stalks the empty spaces,

etched on numberless faces,

battered and beaten down,



snatching odd breaths,

as the edifice itself,


tugged below,

into the quicksand of oblivious horror,

where suns dipped,

and emotions get shipped,

onto that barge,

stammering on a river,

cut to pieces,

shred, diced and sliced,

sliver by agonising sliver

Bipolar Blues

Bipolar Blues …

Why are these lies by me casually spoken, my mouth torn, bruised and broken.

“I am fine”.

No I am not fine.

I’m as fine as a dung dusted shoe is from a shine.

I’m not fine, I’m lost, between harsh dreams and silent screams.

A cacophony of noise, jarring and bland and dull,

not enough to even feel, left thoroughly numb and null.

At times sinking in a dark empty void, of all hope devoid,

at times, my mania spiralling wildly out, when not even I know, what I am scribbling about.

When prejudice and hate are spewed forth,

in conventions and meetings and living room lounges,

humanity shudders.

When doctrines of superiority and racism are flung,

in talk-shows and Q & A’s and town halls and pillow talk,

humanity recoils.

Hate speech is not free,

it enslaves minds, infecting countless folk,

hate speech is not free,

it denigrates the dignity of swathes of humanity,

who are still trying to shake off racisms’ tyrannical yoke.

Hate speech is not free.

Hate speech is not free speech.

a l o n e

Alone …

Alone with notes of faintly remembered melodies,

once known, now mere murmurs,

carried by the veiled breeze,

wafting over oceans, spanning stormy seas.

Alone with doleful sighs of turtledoves,

consoling their mates,

weeping in willows,

as the howling wind of fate billows.

Alone with dirges soaring beyond walls,

creeping through ivy covered steps,

to the barricaded fortress that is my heart,

discarded, left, festering on broken hearts’ cart.

Alone with mournful whispers,

echoing along halls,

of crumbling mansions of yesteryear,

tearing at the chains of imprisoned fear.

Alone with

promises of a new dawn,

somewhere along the slippery slope,

embraced by the perennial thoughts of a new hope.

Alone with jabbing memories of interred truth,

flailing, gasping for air in so many tears shed,

dispelling the spectre of a stifling rope,

blinded by the mirage of being able to cope.

Alone with memories of then,

thoughts of now,

swarming through a soul that refuses to bow.

Alone with travails yet to face,

the heart fortified, resolute to go on,

crawling on boulevards, no longer a part of the numbed rat-race.

Alone at home, this weary traveller,

walking tall in icy sleet, no longer terrified by slicing rain,

tying shoelaces on pockmarked boots,

to forge new alleyways ahead,

though always alone,

and always, always against the grain …

compassionate capitalism 101 …

stemming the loss,

dripping red,

arterial spray,


amidst anaesthetised shades,

of souls once alive,


dancing under pale moonlight,

pausing only for cauterisation,


of too many wounds.


dripetty-drip ceases,

consciences lobotomised,

and as it has been,

and as it is now,

and as it may be,


numb faces,

tango deeper

into the hollowness,

the cacophonous void,


signed and sealed,

of deals done,


souls sold on

profitable leases

aching …

aching …

she is real. i know she is.

she kisses my days. she caresses my nights.

she is real. i know she is.

she wraps her gentle breeze around me. inflaming me. and i stand still. ablaze.

lost in the whirlpools of her eyes. drowning in the kisses she sprinkles.

she is real. but not with me. she is real. but not with me in this life i carve out, as i squander regrets, wishing i could find a voice to shout.

she flits in and out of view, her beauty imprisoned me decades ago, now i have no clue where to go, whether to breathe a new life anew?

no, most definitely not, i will cherish her kisses, even though they were but a few. i still taste her mouth, as fresh as the morning dew.

she is real. she always has been. a fiery comet blazing across the canvas of my life, blank though it was,

she poured stardust into my heart, killing me with her touch, even as our moments were broken, weaving between clocks and time, after we had in each other, wildly melodic passions awoken.

she had been real. as real as these tears blotting my cheeks, as real as the half-empty bottle that of stale bourbon reeks, as real as these thorns that stab my feet as i try to walk, as real as the needles that silence me when i want to talk.

as real as a love caged in a box, the muffled voices distant, faint,

while her hair filled the skies with pastel paint.

she is real. she is. she is real, she always will be.

she is the one,
who set my soul free.

that gentler way …

sometimes in dreams, this world feels a much gentler place,

where hunger stalks nights and days no more,

where we share this earths gifts,

more equally

less greedily, 

a gentler place,

where we have bid farewell to war …

sometimes in dreams,

I taste the hope,

of a gentler world,

where songs of joy may be heard each day,

a gentler world

where we all,

all of us, together,

as one,

strive to find

that gentler way …

( inspired by Pete Seeger’s “Last Night I had the Strangest Dream” )

South Africa: Human Rights Day 21 March 2018 …

Today we celebrate our shared humanity,

through smiles and tears, the ache of the past and the hopes of today, and of tomorrows yet to dawn.

Today we share our Africanness, our blood enmeshed within each other – bright red thumping through countless veins, 

reminding us of the spirit of uBuntu – I am because we are,

we are because of each other, fellow travellers through the travails of life, 

seeking not riches nor title, seeking the bright sunshine of peace, banishing the darkness of strife.

We are one people, myriad hues of the rainbow enveloping us all,

lending a hand to each other,

every time we stumble,

each time we fall …

schmaltzy scribble





alfoat on honeydew petals.

mere strands,


years trickling through


lost whispers,

dreamed caresses,


alive …


ablaze in the cauldron,

of destiny,


of convergent wisps,

sprinkling kisses,

on your

honeydew lips …

Bigotry is Binary

Bigotry is Binary …

Instilling fear,
sowing terror,
masked bigots seeking to silence us all.

Injecting prejudice,
fomenting discord,
crass politicians tearing at us until we fall.

Celebrating bigotry,
entrenching hate,

schizophrenic fascism gestates,

sinking fanatical talons into diseased thoughts,

feeding the beasts of divisiveness,
sowing racism,

as the doctrine of superiority mutates.

Bigotry is binary,

there are no shades of grey, no colours of the rainbow humans may behold today.

Bigotry is binary,

you’re either white or not right,

my religion is superior, yours is a blight,

my country right or wrong,

your culture inferior, mine bright, a shining beacon of pristine light.

All these many heads of the hydra,

from dinner tables to corridors of power afar,

spawning monsters reared to prey,

while bigots of all shades,

spew hate,

as they, their very own humanity slay.

my poem “Old Sof’town” published in “To Breathe Into Another Voice: A South African Anthology of Jazz Poetry” – Edited by Myesha Jenkins

Published by Real African Publishers.

Old Sof’town*


In old Sof’town,
the jazz struck chords,

the jazz lived, it exploded,
out of the cramped homes,
rolling along the streets,
of old Kofifi,

in tune to countless blazing heartbeats.

In old Sof’town,
Bra’ Hugh breathed music, Sis’ Dolly too,
and Bra’ Wally penned poems that still ring true.

In old Sof’town,
Father Trevor preached
equality and justice,
for all, black and white and brown,

and all shades, every hue,
even as oppression battered the people,
black & blue.

In old Sof’town,
the fires of resistance raged,

‘we will not move’ was the refrain,

even as the fascists tore down Sof’town,
with volleys of leaden rain.

In old Sof’town,
the people were herded,
like cattle,
sent to Meadowlands,
far away and cold and bleak,
as the seeds of resistance,
sprouted and flourished,
for the coming battle.

In old Sof’town,
the bulldozers razed homes,
splitting the flesh of a community apart,
only to raise a monument of shame,
and ‘Triomf’ was its ghastly name.


In Jozi today,
we remember those days,
and those nights of pain,
that stung our souls.
like bleak winter rain.

Yes, we remember old Sof’town,
as we struggle onward,
to reclaim our deepest heritage,
and build anew,
a country of all hues and shades,
of black and of white and of brown.

And yes, we will always remember,

and yes, we will never forget,

the price that was paid,
by the valiant sons and daughters,
of old Sof’town,

those vibrant African shades and hues,

of black,
of white,
of brown.

* Sophiatown was also called Sof’town and Kofifi.

More about Sophiatown:

Apartheid destruction of Sophiatown:

truth reborn

truth reborn …

in bruised, raw patches of harsh, agonising pain,

blindly twisting against tightening restraints of grief,

reaching deep inside,

the empty heart’s vault,

there emerges the shimmering of a hope ever so brief.

An abiding hope that blazes with radiant intensity,

a hope that unshackles chains that releases,

a scorched mind and soul,

the restless torment inside,

bursting forth,

surfacing, reaching for bliss to finally grasp.

A hope that aches in the deepest caverns of the heart,

that desolation may soon be dispelled,

with soothing feelings of a dawn.

A hope that the bleak emptiness,

swirling around the vacuum,

may be filled with hope anew,

clinging to

fresh feelings of truth reborn.

The Art of Word-Jacking …




Three words,

lost to us.

Plundered by the few,

stripped naked and ravaged,

pummeled into submission.

Three words,

taken from us.

Usurped so casually,

stolen and cleaved,

left meaningless.

Three words,

strangled and violated.

No more.

Not today.

Today, we reclaim the ideals,

the billion voices,

all straining to be heard.

Today, we take back our truth,

our collective aspiration,

still yearning for the harvest.

Today, we sing the hymns of freedom,

as we gather at the gates of justice,

while mourning the paralysis of democracy.




Three words,

that we shall wrest back.

Three words,

that have nurtured our dreams.




Three words,

for which we all have bled.

Three words,

word-jacked and abused,

that are ours once more.




Three words,

that shall remain tightly wrapped,

around our collective core.


wordlessness …

shards of everyday life slice through,

cleaving flesh,

splintering bone,

battering the ramparts,

chiselling away incessantly,


shaving off pieces,

bit by bit,

tearing muscle,

frying synapses,

charring hope,


only the 

inevitability of endlessness,

the tide of desolation,

washed in,

soaking dreams of diesel,

fueling storms that rage within,

deep inside yourself,

where there is only you,

where all the pain, and all the loss,



and the terrifying thing is:

that it is all very true …

“why are you here, you filthy immigrant” …

why are we broken by spoken barbs,

spewing out of sewers cloaked beneath acceptable garbs,

while the blades of splintered humanity are sharpened into lethal shards,

of ‘my country right or wrong’,

under the comfortable charade,

the vulgar parade,

of clinging onto feigned piety,

dragged pitilessly along,

weaving new lies, obfuscating what is right and what is wrong,

waving flags tainted with blood, on and on, as the pain never ceases to abate,

wielding blood-soaked swords to behead, to oppress, to subjugate,

the many who have forever been on the wrong side of the fence,

the other side of the tracks,

nakedly vulnerable outside the gate,

shut out of the dream,

pummelled by untruths of working hard, doing more, and shutting up,

carrying within, the ghastly pain, a mute scream,

stuck beneath merciless clouds,

because we need the money,

the greenback,

the notes,

the coins,

the oil,

the designer innerwear that barely shrouds,

the racist cacophony of the hate-filled crowds,

the stench of putrid opulence, of festering greed,

of capital and influence and power ripping out each humane seed,

by the by, shutting out the opportunities for a better life for all,

because when love,





the yearning for something better,

is a lament, a plea, a beseeching call,

for respect,


for the numberless,

always shoved down, yet standing tall,

the banished, cast away into the currents of the seas,

as every war makes human beings as you and I, like insects scatter,

viewed live on tv screens, but that does no longer matter,

to be swept along islands of stillness,

young children lying dead on pristine shores,

while the picture goes viral, and the shares, the views and the likes soars,

a child not lucky to ride the waves of random happenstance,

when just “making it to safety” is a mere throw of the dice of chance …

so yes“,


that is how I got to be here”,

the immigrant says.

Stephen Hawking

(1942 – 2018)

imprisoned in his wheelchair, the body shackled by motor-neurone disease, his intellect perched on wings, always flying free.

A failing body never allowed to be a hurdle, as the mind posited theories of astrophysics no one else was able to see.

The vastness of his spirit forging ahead, a mind bound not by gravity,

Professor Stephen Hawking roamed the vast inter-galactic sea.

Black holes and the curvature of space-time, grand hypotheses calculated, before a cup of afternoon tea,

his words not of conceit, but of standing on the shoulders of giants, a testament to a generous humility,

the world has lost a scientist, a curious mind ever flowing, always remaining true to the need of rigorous proof, a physicist who has rendered all words of praise and superlatives empty,

such was the power of his intellectual heights, of a giant,

as we mourn his passing,

as we acknowledge the falling of a titanic, towering tree.

(inspired by the words of Dr. Carl Sagan, and many other scientists and biographers)

for a mother

For a Mother …

She left me,

with only the thoughts of her embrace to warm me,

in frigid mornings of tomorrows yet to come.

She left me,

with her words of tender truths to shroud me,

in the coming evenings of stabbing sleet and hail.

She left me,

yet she stays forever within me,

in my waking dreams

and in my restful thoughts,

she stays forever within me,

she remains an abiding part,

of the love,

the pain,

the tears,

thus we shall never, ever be truly apart.


Shackles …

I shall be free of these shackles that bind me, the hazy smog that blinds me, the storm clouds that always seem to find me.

I shall be released from this desolate cell that cages me, the societal yardstick that gauges me, the hollow facade of the passing parade that enrages me.

I shall be free,

I shall be released,

free at last,

to witness the truths I have yet been unable to see.

(hope always)

the thorns and the rose

the thorns and the rose …


The petals unfurl, a rose awakens into sublime light, perched on a tender stem, studded with the sharpest thorns.

The flaming, scarlet rose, knows not that the thorns, jagged razors, are silent sentinels, offering a sheath of oblivious solace.

The thorns shield the rose, uncaring of their visage, they are the ramparts, willing protectors, of the delicate burden they carry.


If only the thorns of my life, assured me with a semblance of safety, guarding me from the howling storms, the merciless sea of this, my life.

if only I were enveloped by such thorns, weather-beaten, yet buffered from this wretched cauldron, this yawning void in which I writhe.

talkin’ jo’burg city blues …

alone in this teeming city, surrounded by souls gone cold, we weathered the storms that lashed, we absorbed the barbed words that slashed, harsh times when dinner plates were empty, huddling close, feeling as desolate as the solitary rose, still we made it through, we held on to each other, knowing our love was true, we found work and we slogged till dawn, our only wish was for a kinder fate to be born, we have waited a while for those dreams to come to pass, shredding our hopes like shards of glass, was this the hope that drove us here, to share this single room, in a city of ugly gaudy tinsel meant to smother the gloom, this was not our dream, not mine nor yours, when we embarked on our seemingly never ending course, to build a life hewn from the promise of a better tomorrow, well we have waited through morrow after morrow, we are waiting still, for the fates to be kinder, to keep away the frigid winter chill

a ball and some feet …

I remember those days like yesterday, of bare feet kicking an ancient ball around, learning to dribble, swerve and to like the greats’ sway.

Then came some tattered sports shoes, as we nursed our aching ankles, our excruciating shins, ignoring our mothers’ calls for us to get back right then and there, as we trudged on, proudly showing off the bruises, returning home, always ready with a million and one excuses.

Then, in what seemed like an instant, we were old enough to follow the worlds’ game …

Paolo Rossi scoring three goals, and breaking my 10 year old heart as Italy sent Brazil home in Espana 1982 …

Diego Armando Maradona slicing through England after his “hamd of God” insanity, to score his second goal of the match, the most exquisite goal in history in Mexico 1986 …

Roger Milla taking Cameroon and Africa and all of us into the heavens in Italia 1990, the old man a “super-sub” …

Roberto Baggio missing a penalty for Italy in the final at USA 1994, collapsing on his knees as Brazil took the trophy home …

Zinedine Zidane heading two goals to lift all of France in 1998, to the echoing chorus of “zizou-zizou” …

Ghana so heartbreakingly close in 2010 South Africa, being thwarted by some of the worst unsporting behaviour by Uruguay on the field of play …

Andres Iniesta scoring in the Final of 2010 for Spain against the Netherlands in my own Johannesburg’s Soccer City, lifting the World Cup high in our African night.

Today, much older we are as decades have past, our ankles and our shins in pain, thanks to encroaching age, still the memories flood back, through all the intervening years, the ache of having shed our fair share of tears.

Yes, it will always be our beautiful game,

the peoples game,

in the African sunshine,

under the Brazilian skies,

beyond all borders, in icy winter sleet,

in the pouring buckets of rain.

It is the beautiful game,

and may it always, and forever so remain …

lost and found …


i was lost,

scrambling for scraps of love, of life,

desolate, empty, my heart seemed destined to ceaseless strife,

lost in between murmured promises and yearning for free abandoned flight,

only to be cast aside in the deep dark of night.


you found me,

strewn across festering boulevards,

you picked me up as i lay broken,

your love breathed life into my deadened soul, 

after all the trite words were casually spoken,

your essence,

your being, lifted me,

my heart once more in free joyous flight,

you found me,

you saved me from myself,

you ushered in spring days,

after so many a corrosive night.

you found me …

the physics of love

the physics of love …

made of starstuff*, you and i, the random crossed paths of our orbits, reaching deeper into the quarks and gluons that bind us together, tiny strings, weaving a tapestry of oneness.

made of starstuff, you and i, intertwined synapses flowing through neural networks, somehow, in the ways of the cosmos, fusing these two beating hearts together.

made of starstuff, you and i, the unfathomable meeting of mind and soul, beyond the knowable, yet forging the knots, linking us in an unending entanglement of distilled love.

made of starstuff, you and i, the touch of our lips, the feel of our heartbeats, the brushing of our fingertips, remaining so inexplicably unquantifiable,

and felt,

so deeply immeasurable.

( * inspired by Dr. Carl Sagan and by Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson )

International Women’s Day 2018 …

She walks alone,

barefoot in paddies of rice,

enduring backbreaking work for some precious grains,

in blazing heat, in soaking rains.

She walks alone,

in Johannesburg, with a bruised body, and a black eye,

battered by his fists the previous painful night, while the children cowered, for all the young ones could do was cry.

She walks alone,

along the streets of neon hazed diseased Manila, on sale, on display,

her human rights torn and thrown away,

she walks past the decaying hedges of rotten London, her hidden pain invisible to the eye, ground down at the altar of profit, slogging incessantly till the day she will die,

she treads the crowded pavements of brutal New Delhi, where men in perverted wolf-packs roam, her family in fear if she will ever reach home,

she is there, across the vast pampas, the savannah, the plains, on continents the world around, in villages and small towns, where merciless misogyny abounds,

she sweeps the winding back-ways of the grimy favelas, the first to be killed by that stray bullet of lead, while the politicians and so-called leaders do crocodile tears, unashamedly shed,

she is alive drowning in the glitter of ostentatious Jeddah, where she is regarded as but a servant from across the seas, where she must know her place is to be always on her knees,

she lives along the false boulevards of that ugly Los Angeles town, where movie moguls and stars of the silver screen, assume she is a rag doll, abused even today as she has always been,

she waits at check-points in occupied Gaza, her dignity trampled underfoot, her life teetering on the edge of the blade, as F-16s prey and prowl overhead,

she is abused as a sex-slave in pious countries across the world today, covered in garb that is pitch black, while she is expected to spread her legs while lying on her back,

she survives across borders where her young body is mutilated in the name of tradition, under the cloak of culture, that allows the man to always be a vulture,

she is viciously raped in places far too many to mention, bound and gagged and left for dead, while a complicit society barely turns its shameful head,

she is molested by those in power, abused by the very relatives she feels comfortable with when she is only 10 years old or five, by the predators living amongst us, smiling as in plain sight they thrive.

She walks alone,

bearing the burdens of a mother and a daughter,

of a cook and a servant,

of a wife and a lover,

even as she is called a whore, a bitch, a slut and a slag, 

always a minute away from being the males’ punching-bag.

She walks alone,

through your streets and mine,

standing up as she is struck down,

loving her children as the bruises on her face turn purple,

staying afloat while inhumanity jabs and prods and yanks at her to drown.

She feeds the little ones with morsels of cooked beans and rice,

never getting from this patriarchal greed-infested world, her fair slice.

She walks alone,

in factories and in mills and in buses,

in schools and in brothels and in horrific places in-between,

where the silence of us all renders her invisible, and cruelly unseen.

She walks alone,

staying alive on the alms of the so-called charitable,

violated by those who from the pulpit preach,

spewing pompous sermons while off her they continue to leech.

She walks alone,

my sister and yours,

my mother and yours,

my lover and your beloved.

She walks alone,

a slave to norms, culture, religion and caste,

jailed by society in its sickening cage,

the first to be skewered by disgusting, acceptable, despicable male rage.

She walks alone,

but she is the conscience of me and of you,

fighting the world in hunger and often in despair,

a world that has long abrogated its responsibility to care.

She walks alone,

and though helpless to you callous men she may seem,

be warned that she is not alone,

she will not allow herself to be ground to stone,

for she is awake,

and that alone should make us men in our shoes quake,

and though she may seem powerless as she at times weeps,

she is breaking down the complacency of the slumber as mankind sleeps,

she is rising and in rising she will slay,

the beasts that in mens’ hearts lay,

she will demand her rightful place,

for every mother, sister, daughter, wife, lover,

every woman has a human face.

So be forewarned, as she stands up tall to be counted,

as an equal,

of this our common human race.

I am Woman!

I am Woman!

Just when you think you’ve broken me,

with your cowardly fists,

with your diseased tongue,

I will not cower.

Your fake macho shell does not frighten me,

your violence will not silence me.

I am I,

the mother,

the sister,

the partner,

the woman.

I am woman,

powerful and strong.

I am me.

The very thing you can never be …

Our shared African Rain …

When we kissed, beneath our shared African skies, you doused me in the cauldron of an aching desire, as you lit within me, a scorching, eternal fire.

When our bodies writhed, a dazzling confluence of two souls, you tantalised me with many a whispered ode, keeping me company through my vagabond journeys, on this my eternal abode, the yawning desolation of the lonesome road.

When your heart beat against my chest, our bodies a union of love, I sailed the waves of passionate need, imbibing your essence, my constant companion on infinite alleyways tread, as I hobbled further, never knowing what lay ahead.

We were one on that distant Jo’burg night, merged with the rumbling thunder of the African rains, free with gay abandon, breaking the chains, letting go of all stifling reins.

The beauty of those nights of togetherness may be faded sketches on the carpet of yesteryear, though it has always been you, as it always shall be you, my true love tucked away in my heart, kept close so the memories of you may never depart.

Today I yearn to be swept away by you once again, escaping these meagre scribbles that barely rhyme, these paltry words that too many an emotion confine,

to be one again, our souls pining with one another to entwine, our hearts unshackling the knots of all these years, our cheeks no longer feeling the sting of trickling tears.

I want to taste the yearning on your lips, to be woven again, into the tapestry of our exquisite embrace, to banish the distance between us, this void, this empty space.

I wish to hear our hearts beating to that old, sublime refrain, dispelling at once, the pangs of our hearts’ gnawing pain,

to be once more bathed, in the nectar of our shared African rain.

Comically stumbling, mumbling my words, a vise grip tightly knotting my being entire, deliciously aflame, incomprehensibly desirous, succulently inflamed, catatonically bedazzled,

feeling that feeling deep inside my hearts core,

an indescribable feeling,

that this is true:

Is how I felt, when I first saw you

Our eyes mask many a sorrow within,

splintered hopes, tattered dreams,

lost in the folds of ceaseless time,

whispered murmurs, ebbing in the tides of fractured rhyme.

Still our disjointed verse has woven a path for better or worse,

holding each other close, through the travails of the years,

our wrinkled faces smiling, even as the end nears.

i d e n t i t y ?


scattered beings.

unlike trees,

tentacled roots,

firmly entrenched,

in this earth,

we walk alongside trees,

embroiled in turmoil,

we hate, waging wars,

we discriminate:







rootless, we flounder,

racing through lives, unencumbered,

seeking a home,

eternal exiles, uprooted,


skidding, smiling,

killing, proselytising,

inured by dogma,

anaesthetised with masters’ degrees in prejudice,

basking in the illusion, that we, us,

that I am surefooted,

yet remaining exiles,

all, together,

bound by gravity, unable to soar into boundless skies,

tearing each other apart,


my country right or wrong,

my religion the only one,

my culture the best,

my tradition superior to all the rest,

my book the word of god,

smugly uprooted,

unlike trees,

deeply rooted,

fanning out like banyans, free,

not us,

paying dues, settling scores, doling out fees,



meandering through bylanes of isolation,

smug, arrogant,

I am assuredly surefooted,

in the only truth of my culture,

my tradition,

my race,

my people,

my religion,

my god …

have we forgotten the trees,

chopped down,

without sorrow,


once firmly rooted,

now flotsam, jetsam,

like I, you, him, her, us and them,

uprooted, snuffed out,

dragging along dead wood,

pompously preaching the rootedness,

of culture,

of tradition,

of race and of religion,

while we remain,

exiles all, blasé and smugly surefooted,

sowing division,

waving flags,


my country right or wrong,

ignoring the lesson of the trees,

of what it really means to be firmly rooted,

posturing instead, ideological fantasies, religious fancies:

I am right,

and thus,

you are all wrong …

Fading a Little

Fading a little every passing day,

peaceful thoughts slipping away,

fleeing to the wild grasses,

where blazing flowers sensually sway.

Fading a little,

feelings aching to be embraced,

numbed by stings of accumulated clutter,

destined to swirl down fate’s yawning gutter.

Fading a little,

desires strewn like scattered leaves on desolate pavements,

with numberless lonesome hearts invisible in cold tenements.

Fading a little,

tomorrow’s words unspoken,

the trepidation, the fear remains, that they may already be torn and broken.

Fading a little,

taking an eternity to mend raw streaks of despair,

the sharp shards of so many a wound that we all share.

Fading a little,

ever seeking a gentle heart,

to belong, to simply belong, if only just, as an infinitesimal part.

Fading a little,

trying to be human, for my pain is not just mine, yours not just yours

dreaming of us walking hand in hand, far away from life’s deafening roars.

Fading a little,

the mirror a haunting spectre of advancing age,

after all these decades, still seeking release from the vacuum of this glittering cage.

Fading a little,

through the harsh years that have gone before,

would you fade with me for just a little more?

Fade a little more?

stepping into the twilight of life,

would you fade with me off the precipice of this blade’s knife?

Haven’t we, after all, weathered the pain, the desolation,

the thousand cuts of life?

A Child of War

A Child of War.

As she lies bleeding,

a girl who skipped and hopped her way to school,

all of nine and a half years old,

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

As she lies bleeding,

shrapnel lodged in her torn stomach,

she stares at her skipping rope,

blood soaking it the colour of tomatoes her mother buys.

As she lies bleeding,

she sees human shapes all around, thick in the black smoke,

blurred visions of scattering feet, 

shoes left behind,

hearing nothing but the pinging in her blown-out 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 parent’s pride.

As she lives imprisoned,

shackled in the dungeons of oppression,

the thirst for freedom burning bright,

firm in the belief that her people shall one day seize freedom’s light.

As she lies bleeding and hungry and treated like dirt,

in Syria,





The Congo,

in Favellas,

and in far too many more places to mention,

in slums the world over,

in ghettos,

refugee camps, 

confined to the horrors of fours walls, always closing in.

She is the innocent victim,

of religious bigotry,







that plunders the innocence from her once sparkling eyes.

As she lies bleeding,

a little nine and a half year old girl,

whose laugh was her parent’s pride,

who always walked by her mother’s side,

we know she will bleed more,




with shrapnel lodged in her small stomach, ripped open and torn.

As she lies bleeding,

A Child of War.

Ghouta: Rivers of Blood

Ghouta: Rivers of Blood …

Blood flowing,

soaking the streets,

oozing out of stomachs, shrapnel piercing an 11 year old daughter,

where a few metres from her, a father lies dead,

his deceased eyes fixed on her mother,

who is cold as stone a few feet away.

Who killed this family, these parents and their daughter in a market place where they went to buy some tomatoes?

Who spilled these rivers of blood, these crimson streams flowing out of human veins,

who opened these floodgates,

of horror,

of grotesque violence,

raining down metal, splintering the flesh, of the living,

maiming, savaging, blowing out candles,

of life in mere moments.

These deliverers of death come from the skies,

they sneak through alleys in the middle of the night,

they are as human as you and I.

They merely “follow orders”, that same refrain heard through epochs of war and death and the callous disregard for the life of a human-being.

The war machine runs ever so smoothly,

well-oiled by vested interests,

fed by drummed up narrow nationalistic fervour,

whipped up by the politicians, the leaders, the religious zealots, the economy of war.

The daughter will bleed some more, the father and many fathers, the mothers and countless other mothers will continue to be shredded into dead meat,

unless you and I,

us and them,

all of us we who lay claim to be human,

until we say no,

no more the arbitrary bloodshed,

no more mothers tears shed,

no more looking away, betraying, desecrating,

the memory of the numberless dead.

(dedicated to the people of Ghouta, and the many ghoutas where human blood is shed in the name of corporate greed, religious fanaticism, nationalistic hubris, and hate)


scribbling verses on her bare back,

my fingers rhyming,

each flourish a caress, etching words of hope,

across the canvas of warm skin.

Her breath

inflamed, seeking fingertips,

lips waltzing 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 …

I love her …


she found me, when torrents raged, splinters gnawed,

she found me, when my wings were shattered, my heart tattered,

she found me, when I was desolate, when nothing mattered,

she found me, in the depths of despair, deep in the maelstrom, gasping for air,

she found me, trapped in the quagmire, blind in the clutches of the fog, a captive in that indifferent bog.

She found me.


She reached down, her hand outstretched, infusing hope, picking me up when I was unable to cope,

she pulled me out of the emptiness of that swarming hive, the abyss of loneliness, when I no longer felt alive,

she helped me stand, with my hand on her shoulders, her body and soul bearing my weight, just when I had given up, surrendering myself to the crevasses of frigid fate,

she fed me, nourishing my soul, as I imbibed her warmth, she dug me out of that cavernous hole,

she led me into pastures green and alive, awash with colours radiant and bright, when all I knew was the void of night,

she held me, in the cocoon of her embrace, her hair a waterfall drenching my face, feeling reborn in her bounteous embrace.


I was not worthy of her, and the delicate gentle balm she cocooned me in,

I was not worthy, lying in that discarded alley, of her enveloping me in herself deep within.

I was not worthy, of her healing ,

I was not worthy, of her tender love, her unconditional gift of distilled pristine feeling.

I was not worthy then,

I fear that I am not worthy now.

Still, she loves me,

and I love her from the deepest recesses of my core,

for it is she whom I shall love,




what are we if not just human?

Beings flailing through the quagmire of life,,

embroiled in emptiness so stark,

hoping to find some solace, some peace,

stumbling along in the dark.

What are we if not just human,

grappling the torturous grind,

stabs of reality wounding us each day,

enduring hollow platitudes,

cloaked in the veneer of strength we portray.

What are we if not just human,

filling the void with trappings of convenience,

deluded that it will dull the pain,

buffering us from truths that surround us,

losing ourselves within our selves,

celebrating the meaningless ornaments that we attain.

What are we if not just human,

no more and no less,

praying for a salvation beyond this realm,

buying redemption with lofty intent,

crawling in apathetic inebriation,

always on our knees, our backs forever bent.

What are we if not just human,

trying to make sense of all we feel inside,

while in truth the masks we wear,

shrouds ourselves in cocoons to hide.

What are we if not just human,

clinging to scraps we find here and there,

what are we if not just human,

jarring ourselves to care.

What are we if not just human,

rekindling the humanity that resides in us all,

refusing to look away while those around us slip and fall.

What are we if not just human,

striving for a world less harsh, more true,

what are we if not just human,

never forgetting that we all bleed red,

him, her, us, and me and you …


he wept.


he wept for hilarious coincidences.

he wept for hearts torn out, trampled upon, and set alight by forces of indifference.

he wept for the lonely.

he wept for those creatures like himself, tucked in their rooms high on solitude, feeling bereft, achingly longing for something more.

someone more.

he wept.

he wept for dried and shrivelled daffodils.

he wept listening to ‘this charming man’.

he wept for the spongy lines.

he wept for the dialogue, insufferably banal and boring as can be.

he wept for them.

he wept for the muddied, soaked, fractured, throbbing, rehearsed pulses of conversational sub-genres.

he wept for himself.

he wept for his narcissism, egomaniacal, puffed up and bloated on hubris.

he wept. i wept.

he wept for us all.

i still weep.

sipping from your bounteous chalice,

nectar, sustenance,

imbibing tender love,




thirsting for more,

of you,

hungry, needy,

transcending this life,

all these cardboard smiles on parade,

this mock shambolic frigid charade,

thirsting for more,

of you,



for within my being, your love is a beach of solace,

as gentle as the tides kissing the shore,

for you, are my all,

you are hewn into my very core.

Burnished by the copper sun,

countless petals fade,

as another day is done.

Petals lulled to rest,

as am I, assured,

that the morning dew is due to come,

invigorating life,

and for fleeting moments,

banishing all strife.

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