Archive for June, 2019


The Girl in the Scarlet Scarf

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The Girl in the Scarlet Scarf …

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Her scarf was scarlet,
wrapped around her neck to keep the cold at bay,

she had her Rosa Luxemburg book tightly held to her chest,

I smiled at her,
she smiled back.

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We shared laughter and tears,
in that winter long ago,

we held each other close,
baring our scars,

weaving a life ahead for two souls out of time,

and then she was gone,

leaving me with just this paltry rhyme.

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it was as sudden,
as jarring as this scribble,

yet the memory of her scarlet scarf remains etched deep,

yet the dreams of our shared winter visit me often,

in my cold and desolate sleep …

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The Cost of Revolution …

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(in memory of the June 16th 1976 student uprising in South Africa)

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You hurled rocks, stones,
Molotov Cocktails,
Sling-shots against the brutality of racial oppression.

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You fell on the streets of Soweto,
Thokoza,
Kagiso,
Sharpeville,
Tembisa,

and countless more across this nation.

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Tasting the acrid stench of tear-gas,

Feeling the flesh ripped off your bones by their dogs,

Drenched by water-cannons,
Stung by rubber-bullets,
Whipped by sjamboks,
Shot in the head by lead,
Paid for by your country’s gold.

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You stood trial for Treason,
Facing the hangman’s noose,

You stood firm, you did not break,
Even though,
You had wives, sons, daughters, lovers, brothers, sisters, and friends to lose.

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The revolutionary dream burned bright,
In all your hearts,

Even as the jackboot of Apartheid,

Fractured your bones and tore your families into broken and splintered parts.

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You left your brothers,
Sisters,
Sons,
Daughters,
Lovers,
Wives,
Comrades and friends,

Seeking out foreign lands,
With only the ammunition that you held in your hearts, your minds and in your never-wavering hands.

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The enemy did not waver either,

Tyranny didn’t cease.

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2 AM knocks on doors around this land,
Meant to stifle, to intimidate,

Yet,
You took a stand.

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Hungry,
lost far away from home, pining for freedom and your loved ones,

Still,
You stood firm,
You fought on,

“Release Mandela and all Political Prisoners” was your cry,
In capitals in far-off lands,

You feared not the bayonet in the enemy’s hands,

The revolution was burning bright,

Even as the dawn of Freedom was in sight.

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Finally on a February day,
They released him and the joy was palpable, nothing stood now in the revolution’s way.

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All the while,
The enemy consolidated its power,

Paying off traitors,

Seeding violence,

Orchestrating mayhem to taint the noble cause,

And still you took the tyrant’s rifles and clenched their muzzles in-between your brave jaws.

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Never standing down,
Backing away,
Retreating to safe space,
The fire of revolution burned,
Spreading through the plateaus and valleys and townships and cities and villages in this pained land,

And still,

Still,
You held that Kalashnikov in your hand.

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And when that day of freedom came,

You felt the stirrings of joy and pain and yes,
Of shame.

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You felt the shame of leaving those you left behind,

You tasted again the pain,
Of economic hardships,
Of capitalism and its illusory promise,
Of a revolution left incomplete,

Till,
Every man, woman and child has enough to eat.

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A revolution still incomplete,
Where hunger stalks the night,
Where mercy,
And comradely solidarity,
Left last night on a first-class flight.

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You stand tall still,
Working as you always have,

Polishing the metal chariots of those you once bled for,

Still feeling the injustice,
Of not having the two cents more,

That deprives you of your daily bread,

And you try hard to remember,

Whether this is the revolution,

For which so many died,

The countless whose names remain unsaid,

The brothers and sister,
mothers and fathers,
Lovers and friends,

the martyred dead.

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(dedicated to all South Africans who sacrificed their lives, their families, in pursuit of the revolutionary dream. A dream that remains a dream to many, and a dream that will continue to be dreamed)

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She, and I*

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She, and I* …

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I met her in another time,

the bus-stop sheltering us from the slicing hail,

I smiled, she did too,

as the wind screeched a shrilly wail.

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Our bus splashed us with mud and we laughed,

we were never ones for fashion,

the books we carried were our escape,

the books were our world, our warmly hugged passion.

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I asked her if we could sit together and she said yes,

we were two awkward souls,

both uncomfortable in our very own dark holes.

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Our friendship blossomed in that unforgettable spring,

that humid year of lashing rain,

we talked and we laughed, we cried and we screamed,

we hollered at the world, wildly bellowing out our shared pain.

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We were never a couple, we did not hold hands, we did not kiss,

we talked of escape from this place of emptiness so bleak,

and at times we just shared the silence,

no words needed to speak.

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She was my anchor, and she said I was her balm, we shared a love of a different hue, as we danced in the monsoon rain,

our tears mingling with our gnawing pain.

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We laughed as we shared the stories of our lives,

we sat quietly when we knew we had to leave,

we knew the knife of our present sliced souls, and like butter, into hearts did cleave.

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We stood in the open expanse,

we cried, wishing each other good luck,

that one day so many moons ago,

and still,
now,

at this moment,

my tears flow …

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* – inspired by the Keane song “Sovereign Light Café”

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D-Day: France, June 6th, 1944.

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1.

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They were thrashed by the merciless sea.

They were drenched by the savage waters, their uniforms clinging to their shivering bodies.

They were mowed down as they approached the beaches of death.

The beaches of unspeakable horrors.

Gold.

Omaha.

Juno.

Sword.

Utah.

They were brothers and fathers and sons and friends and cousins and nephews and grandchildren and boys and men.

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2.

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They surged on, facing the metallic death of Nazism and Fascism,

they surged on and were cut into pieces of bloodied flesh and shattered bone,

yet they surged on.

They surged on so that we may live.

They surged on so that we may breathe the air of peace.

They surged on and on,

and on.

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3.

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Today their bones lie buried, along rows of crosses.

Today they lie beneath this earth.

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4.

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Today they live.

Tomorrow they shall live.

They who sacrificed their lives for humanity.

They shall live on eternally,

within us all!

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seeds

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seeds …

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swept up
by the dust

scattered remnants
of lives once whole

now
buried
interred

in cold dead dry ground.

seeds
swept up
by the dust

seeking a glimmer

of hope
of the promise

of
a better tomorrow.

seeds
swept up
by the dust

sinking roots
hoping to belong

somewhere
anywhere

fatigued
spent

waiting
hoping

for days
moments
tomorrows

a
time

a
place

where one
need not

be
ever smiling

and to be
always strong …

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Why I support Liverpool Football Club …

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1. Bill Shankly and the socialist ideal.

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2. John Lennon.

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3. Roger Waters.

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