Tag Archive: bigotry


A Poem for Jawaharlal Nehru

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Pandit-Ji*

1.

The moon cast an enveloping shadow over the teeming multitudes,

as they made their tryst with destiny**,

with you as the bearer of the light,

and at the stroke of the midnight hour,

you emerged an icon, from the long and desolate night.

Long years had passed,
since those humid evenings spent,
languishing in jail,

yet your mind remained unshackled,
putting words on paper in the dim candlelight,

as the gaudy glare of empire began to pale.

2.

Today,
you live,

within us,
though not amongst us,

and,

your discovery,
your glimpses,

smoulder within me,

your immortal words,
my compass.

I am now,
the soul of nations,
once suppressed,

that have,
found utterance.

I am now,
me.

I am now,
finally,

free.

       _________________

* – ‘Pandit-Ji’ was the name that Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India, was respectfully called.

** – excerpts from Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech on 15th August 1947

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untitled

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.

capitalism 101

capitalism 101

when it breaks,
shatters,

rendering souls mute,
hearts in tatters,

does it bother you at all,
that for you to rise,

so many must fall.

scabbards

scabbards.

1.

aren’t we all,
at the heart of it all,

just scabbards.

mere,
just,

vessels,
into which,

we pour
our hope, love, fear,
desire, prejudice, anger,

scabbards all,
right at the heart of it all,

filled to the hilt,

brimming with jingoistic murderousness,

bloated on bigoted hair-trigger rage,

primed,
ready to slay,

in the name of something someone,

some entity deity belief oldage, newagey, or thought-up yesterday,

sounding needlingly familiar,

a few words,
names,
hearsay,

primed,
coded,

prepped to slay,
itching to strike,

that
first blow,

shock & awe!

drawing first blood,

drop by drop,
bleeding out,

blood spilled,
again, and again.

2.

the colour of the bloody rivers in flood:

red.

red to the hilt,
brimming the scabbards,

scabbards,

mere,

and finally,
just maybe,

perhaps,

just.

the glitterati

the glitterati feast,

neatly,
dismembered spirits,

salving consciences,
bidding to
purchase redemption,

for continuing crimes,
that don’t make the headlines,

business as usual,

the glitterati,
lost in a fine-wine haze,

sparkling carats dazzling,

leaving the dregs behind,

as the
blindness slowly slithers,
sinking talons,
gnawing at the bone,

while the sweaty, bloody,
the pained,
lost,
the far, far too many

batter and shatter,
hacking away,

deep beneath our gleaming golden city

for pieces of glittering stone

lost, i am …

lost, i am …

i am lost,
have been for quite a while,

cast aside,
tossed,
amongst the rubble,
of those of us who didn’t work hard enough,

study as much,

slog and strain like the good people i see,

walking past me,
everyday,

thinking to myself,
where did i go wrong,

was i not as strong,
as the good people i see,

who walk past me,

feigning ignorance,
or maybe not,

perhaps just not being able to see,

my tattered rags,
my blistered mouth,
my feet, bruised and scabbed,

my soul, my dignity,
savaged, and stabbed,

so i am lost,
in this ocean of humanity,

that walks past me,
everyday,

and it still gnaws, i have to say,

after all these years,
having shed my quota of tears,

it is i,
who embodies these good peoples fears,

why,
i still ask,

why don’t you see me?

the other half

the other half.

dregs, urchins,
the unwashed,

people,
almost, though not quite …

epithets pummel the pummelled,

elements torment the tormented,

hate, mistrust,
conceit, greed,

yours and mine,

fuels:

the diesel of hate,
the anthracite of apathy,
the hybrid greed:

as the beast of indifference gouges,

for the beast has needs,

it hungers,
it scavenges,

it continues,
evermore,

to feed.

fleas

sweltering,
trapped,

saltwater all around,
fleeing death,

surviving death on the seas,

to be greeted,

as fleas.

tripped

tripped,
brought to ones knees,

fleeing beds of nails,
shrapnel pockmarked dreams,

crossing deserted seas,
swallowed up,
regurgitated by merciless elements,

to be washed ashore,
dead,
cold,

broken,
lifeless,

on countless,
pristine tan-soaked beaches,

invisible,
unseen,
hidden in plain sight,

mute,
hushed,
silent,

as the soul of dumbed down,
traded,
inebriated humanity,

bellows,
howls,

and screeches.

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The Immigrants Void – Sculpture by Bruno Catalano

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http://brunocatalano.com/sculpture-bronze2/sculpture-en-bronze-bruno-catalano.php?galerie=1

young refugee

an immigrants lament …

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gazing at the sky
i often wonder why,

birds soaring,
high in the open sky,

are free to fly ?

is it that they have wings,
for i too have wings, friend,

so,
i often wonder why,
huddled against desolate sleet,

and,
i often wonder why,
buried under flimsy newspapersheet,

that i too have wings, friend,

i too have wings!

it is just that
my little wings,

are my tired
little feet …

        _____________

(photograph of a Danish border guard playing with a Syrian girl)

seeds

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seeds …

swept up
by the dust

scattered remnants
of lives once whole

now
buried
interred

in cold dead dry ground.

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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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“am i buggin’ ya, don’t mean to bug ya” *

isn’t it tiresome
exhausting

to keep on
keepin’ on
hearing
seeing

bad news

all day
all night

must become irksome
to say the least …

(pure horror) not another mass ISIS execution

(pity) not another image of death on a beach

(apartheitude) not another african-american killed by the police

(pure unadulterated pity/well-meaning) not another endangered animal killed by trophy hunters in the savannah …

ad nauseum
ad infinitum

( clicks ‘like’👍 on a friend’s post

a cutesie pic of a couple walking on a beautiful beach, on a perfect summer day

somewhere in the mediterranean )

     _______

* from ‘silver and gold’ off u2 album ‘rattle & hum’

the immigrant at home …

the immigrant at home

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fatigued
pained

cast adrift
shunned aside

living
existing
on
islands of despair

deprivation
death

human beings
you and i

who just yesterday
or perhaps many lives ago

were
hounded
persecuted
jailed

cursed
spat on

rendered
alien at home

and
then

lost at sea

mere cattle
to be hauled

onto desolate cages

mere cargo
in the
economics of flesh

and
who
now

are
everywhere

cursed
spat on

and
told

to go home

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silence swells
drowning out the ceaseless chitter-chatter of days

innumerable
lost somewhere along these pathways

and having walked upon a few

and
crawled many more

i too
feel

that feeling

of feeling
bereft of hope

ah but

sprinkle some dreams coated with lies

glazed over
empty hollowed eyes

avert your sight
when they
stare at you

all cold
and
washed-up
and
dead

their
cold gaze

questioning
perhaps?

… questioning
us who feign death

on many a similar sun-drenched beach

while still squeezing in

4 hours a week
of community outreach?

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lost in this ocean
of complicit howls

wails
hollow words
crocodile tears

it has no meaning
this life

these breaths we consume

nothingness
it is

just
half-muttered realpolitik …

one dead kid on a beach

… so that’s what it takes

more effigies
paraded on 24/7 TV

go look up the word ‘blowback’

and perhaps

unlike aylan
who was fed to the sea

you atleast

may
finally be
able to see

what really is
and not simply what you want it to be …

when tides of innocence wash up

dead
cold

empty on terra firma

why don’t i shudder
why don’t i care

‘cept for churning out some paltry scribbles

as the charade continues

as the world

salivates
& dribbles …

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maropeng & the cradle of humankind* …

shared hopes
on
bloodied earth
of
common dreams

winding along myriad streams
whose
source is here
beneath our multi-hued feet

flowing
into a shared humanity
this shawl that should encompass us all
by
binding us together
a species with blood that is red
always red

for
we are all

the children of Africa

branched off
spread wide

but
of this soil
and
of this earth

foreign to none
hewn as one

so tell me again
what was it that
you were saying about “the bloody foreigners”

        ___________

*

Maropeng is a Setswana word meaning ‘returning to the place of our origins’

https://www.google.co.za/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.southafrica.net/articles/entry/article-the-cradle-of-humankind-gauteng1&ved=0CLMBEBYwH2oVChMI9rmAuazexwIVR4kaCh2uWQuy&usg=AFQjCNHs2O4mPw5TG94YGxFA4EBjPJlnPA

bloody foreigners …

bloody foreigners …

these bloody foreigners

zimbabweans
somalis
angolans mozambicans syrians
pakistanis
turks
congolese
rwandans
indians

etc etc etc et al.

these bloody foreigners
flooding our clean streets

taking jobs away
from me and from you

ps: aylan kurdi was a bloody foreigner too

the migrant …

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i couldn’t bid my beloved farewell

i didn’t hug my mother

i had argued with my father that morning

then

i left
fled
crouched
starved

and
died

in a lorry in austria

a boat off the coast of libya

washed ashore
cold and dead

i am that migrant

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