Archive for August, 2019


shamelessly verbose blah-blah …

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Fractured tears cleaving through humanity’s cheek,
billions of muted sighs escape gagged mouths unable to speak.

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The callous few giggle, clinking glasses filled with blood,
the savaged many drown in the bleeding flood.

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A ravaged earth bellows out in fatigued pain,
as the broth thickens on the obscene gravy train.

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Conscience dumbed down by grotesque greed is layered on like rotten butter,
while these ostentatious words scurry into the bottomless gutter.

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What further horrors are in store, heaving with price tags on repugnant canned shelves,
when in the midst of the ordered orgy we flay our very selves.

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What can be done to treat the million festering wounds,
nothing but insipid soup clattering on charitable spoons.

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We are doomed if we refuse to cower,
as the toxic rain slays the earth after every cantankerous shower.

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We are doomed if we continue to cower,
suffocated by the sewage spewed from every gleaming ivory tower.

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We are doomed, we are condemned, we are silenced, we are with knots of hate willingly bound,

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we are the raucous deaf, snuffing out mother earth’s every excruciating groan, every imploring sound.

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I don’t Care*

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I Don’t Care.

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I don’t care,
if you’re battered black and blue,

I don’t care,
just as long as I can drink and screw.

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I don’t care,
if you’ve lost your damn job,

I don’t care,
you’re just a kernel off the cob.

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I don’t care,
when I see you begging in the street,

I don’t care,
I get to suckle on capitalism’s raw teat.

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I don’t care,
about the elderly, the poor, or the weak,

I don’t care,
if the earth will be inherited by the meek.

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I don’t care,
if the climate is warming, I’m so much cooler,

I don’t care,
in my penthouse I’m the boss, the only ruler.

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I don’t care,
for those rolling for scraps in the muck,

I don’t care,

I really don’t care, cos’ I don’t give a fuck.

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* – inspired by Bob Geldof’s “The Great Song of Indifference”

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dawn slides 




momentary slides,


of lifes’ exquisite times,


at times,




are dusted, burnished,


shedding the weight, baggage,




of random strings,


at once,




flinging me opposite you,


in a dream i relished,




not long ago,




so know this, if nothing else,


those moments within me reside,




today, now,


as timely as the coming in of each dawns tide … …

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Talkin’ Neo-fascist Blues …

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The odour of fire and hate that I smell across our earth,
reeks of an obscene neo-fascism that is being brought to birth,

for as our world’s lungs are clogged and in flames,
and as hard-won democracy is tear-gassed and gored,
millions of our sisters and brothers are being put to the sword.

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When the mathematics of 370, of tariff fluctuations flung here and there, of the nauseating billions siphoned and looted,
while hungry mouths and empty bellies are silenced and jackbooted,

even as they scapegoat the poor, the destitute, the ninety-nine percent,
even as they call us the toxic, fifth-column diseased brigade,
it is their rapacious greed that pummel us to the ground, as they sip their cocktails in their ostentatious shade.

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While constitutions are ripped apart, and religions are poisoned into many a hornets hive, lo and behold we must celebrate that at long last, our sisters are allowed to drive,

and this isn’t the madness of emotions laid bare, this is the careful crafting of hate, of communalism, of religious bigotry, of patriarchal injustice, of us and of them, of prejudice chiselled with venomous care.

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For when the richest countries dehumanise the poor, when their presidents and so-called leaders strut conceitedly, with the puffed-up ugliness of a drunken bar boor,

when the weak are threatened, the rich coddled, when the beaten down are beaten down ever more to the blood-caked floor,

the time has long past to boot these fascists out of the door,

to reclaim our streams, our seeds, our shared waters, our collective commons and so much more,

and to finally shutter the shutters, to tear down the walls they build, because our world is not their 24/7 convenience store …

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yes, I’m talkin’ neo-fascist greed and racist, misogynistic, grotesque nationalist hate,

yes, I’m talkin’ the jagged edges of discord, the realpolitik of tribal, divisive, casteist sandpaper that is meant to grate,

yes, the erosion of shared humane principles, the corrosion of the internationalist ideal, the dumbing us down and flaying us into submission, the never-ending braying that this is and will always be our fate.

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Yet we will rise!

We rise as one!

We rise and we resist,

yes,
we must rise today,
before it is truly, far too late.

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leaving it all behind 

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leaving the din of this city far behind,

away from the strangling grind.

she asked me “what are you hoping to find?”,

“you”, ” i said,

“if you don’t mind” …

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Our mother with Comrade Nelson Mandela’s mother

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The 15th of August 1934 and 1947

( dedicated to our late mother Zubeida ‘Jubie’ Moolla, and to all the women, the mostly unsung heroines in all the struggles for freedom across the world )

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Our mother was born on the 15th of August, an auspicious day, in the winter of 1934.

Thirteen years later, also on this auspicious day, in the summer of 1947, India cast off the yoke of colonial oppression.

These dates, though a decade apart are bound together in our family, hewn together by the happenstance of fate.

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The threads of the struggle for freedom, the hunger for liberation, the thirst for democracy, the ache of sacrifice, are intertwined.

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The valiant freedom fighters faced the brutality of the enemy head-on, staring down the barrels of the imperialists with chins held high, relinquishing the comfort of inaction for the battle for those eternally noble ideals – the struggle against oppression, the quest for human dignity, the emancipation of women, the conviction of being a part of a greater cause in the service of humanity.

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The struggle for liberation in South Africa and in India left many martyred souls, many more victims of appalling cruelty, the harrowing pain of families’ torn apart, the parents and children ripped from each other, the savagery of torture, the massacres of the innocents, the decades spent in prison, the years spent in exile.

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The names of the martyrs bear witness:

Solomon Mahlangu.
Bhagat Singh.
Ahmed Timol.
Rajguru.
Vuyisile Mini.
Prakash Napier
Sukhdev.
Steve Biko.
Victoria Mxenge.
Yusuf Akhalwaya.

Just a few names of the many more who gave up their youth, cruelly executed by the merciless foe.

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The torch bearers of the struggles, are forever etched in our minds, always kept close to our hearts, for these were the giants who inspired countless more to join the just cause for universal human dignity.

Their names are legendary:

Nelson Mandela.
Lillian Ngoyi.
Jawaharlal Nehru.
Sarojini Naidu.
Walter Sisulu.
Mahatma Gandhi.
Dorothy Nyembe.
Oliver Tambo.
Charlie Andrews.
Ahmed Kathrada.
Sardar Patel.
Govan Mbeki.
Nana Sita.
Chris Hani.
Aruna Asaf Ali.
Andrew Mlangeni.
Margaret Mncadi.
Sucheta Kriplani.
Ruth First.
Subhash Chandra Bose.
Joe Slovo.
Raymond Mhlaba.

These are but a few of our eternal flames – the flames that shall burn bright in the hearts of all freedom loving people.

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Our mother was born into a politically active family. Our grandfather a fierce opponent of racism and sectarianism in all its grotesque forms.

Our mother grew up in this cauldron of political agitation.

Our mother married our father and a daughter and a son were born, while Papa made his way in and out of jail, Mummy was left to tend for the infants, Tasneem and Azad.

Our parents were forced into exile, with their beloved young children left behind in the care of loving maternal grandparents, uncles and aunts.

Mummy as a mother suffered harshly and went through many breakdowns, being separated from Tasneem and Azad. I think only people who have been apart from their children will understand the pain of a mother.

People often think life in exile was easy. It was not. Papa was with MK and travelled continuously. It was mummy who was left with her thoughts, her grief, her pain and suffering knowing that her children were suffering by not having parents like normal families do.

People also called mummy ‘cheeky’ with a quick and bad temper, but can anyone understand the pain of being separated from ones own children and not becoming angry and feeling broken.

What Tasneem and Azad had to suffer through only they know. No one who has not been ripped away from their parents can ever ever know the effect that pain and pining has on the children. Today we see people whose kids go for sleepovers with friends and already the house seems empty and already the parents and the children miss each other and WhatsApp each other.

Tasneem and Azad never had that luxury.

May my nieces never forget the sacrifice mummy and daddy made and the pain of that time that can never really heal.

So may we try and spend time just thinking how it would be for the grandchildren if they had their parents suddenly taken away from them and then having to live with uncles and aunties, and grandparents.

These are the scars of history.

These are the wounds that never heal.

These are the sacrifices that go unnoticed.

These are the gnawing ache that history often forgets.

These are the experiences of countless mothers and their children.

This is the price paid dearly for the freedom and democracy we share today.

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The 15th of August, a day of celebration of freedom in India.

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The 15th of August, a day of reflection for our family in South Africa.

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Long live the Women’s Movement!

Viva the strength and power of the women!

( dedicated to Zubeida ‘Zubie’ Moolla, and to all the women, the unsung heroines in all the struggles for freedom across the world )

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Our mother with Comrade Nelson Mandela

The Conceit of a Man…

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How dare I stand before you, a man – to recite a poem on women and about the rights of women the world over?

Am I not the perfect caricature of that man – who deems himself capable, and so very able, even entitled?

Yes, aren’t I that man who thinks he understands,

who believes righteously that he knows what it has been like, and what it is like being a woman in this crass, misogynistic world.

The man who presumes to know and to empathise about countless women’s deeply personal and painful truths that they live each day, not just at times,

I am that man who thinks it possible, even admirable of him to scribble out a few rhymes.

Isn’t this what caricatures like me have always done – speak on behalf of, or drone on about women, their struggles and the need of the now, the forging ahead in the countless battles yet to be fought for the emancipation of women,

yes caricatures indeed, us men who beat down with bloodied fists the very same women, for whom we hurl a few slogans around, utterly meaningless as they fall to the blood stained ground.

But never will I admit to the profanities I have spewed, in-between off hand chats with male friends, those chats about how many chicks I have screwed.

The man before you stands and pontificates about all that women need – the liberal manifesto – equal pay for all, the right of a woman to determine what is best for her body, the calling out of the lewd catcalls and the uncouth slow-eyed once-over leering stares, shamelessly violating the woman, even as she with contempt at them all glares.

The man, oblivious to the hypocrisy, prattles on and on, speaking on behalf of women the world over, so attuned to their struggles, harping and carping, about feminism and women’s lib, all the while with a self-congratulatory tone so condescending and glib.

Ah but the facts speak for themselves, and they stack up time and time again, from time immemorial, to today, to a backdrop of the shrieks of collective pain.

The time has come and long passed, for the facts to be driven into the consciousness of every man, every boy, every girl, every person this wide world around,

if for once, we may actually, onto a sliver of hope hold, it must be to accept our complicity in this sorry parade, while dusting off the grime and slime of this endless charade.

The facts are brutal, they speak for themselves – the facts are grotesque, screaming to us all,

for as the worn-out adage goes, we stand together, or together we will fall.

The facts are plain to see, they condemn us for our inaction, the facts are unalterable, they will never be what we want them to be, even as we sew our eyes shut not wanting to see.

I should perhaps apologise for not being more positive, and for being so abrasively cynical,

but I would rather say what I’ve said now,

and say it ever more,

because somehow I feel,

the platitudes will be dished out on Women’s Day and whenever our consciences are pricked,

by news reports of the unspeakable crimes of the savage treatment of women, the truths we live with daily, the said and the unsaid, the unspoken behind-the-picket fence abuse,

where no matter what we may think, it is us men who shroud ourselves behind the veil of complicit silence, seeing only what we choose.

Yes, so I would rather say all of this, gagging in this stench of rotten egos laid bare, as the truth we unpeel,

instead of gurgling out more lame, old feel-good, and utterly meaningless spiel,

while us men, the chosen ones, the patriarchy at its most hideous,

still, and for quite a while longer, I’m sorry to say,

expect the woman to always kneel.

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