Tag Archive: Blues

All that Jazz

art from google


is it perchance

that moment

tattoed in my mind ?

our shared dance ?

a lifetime ago ?

in jazzy-smoked ol’ johannesburg town 


was it perchance

your smile

as gentle as the whispers of my perennial dream …

… your eyes

an ocean into whose smokey waters i yearn to drown

away from this

away from it all



away from this life

this daily


of vacuumed lies




of leaden skies

breaking the shackles

casting off the burden

of carrying it all

of shouldering this world

your world


feeling at times

like your back is

closing in

against a blank wall.


ah but enough of that talk

that talk of yesteryear

for now

i dream

i dream waking dreams

of that night

in whiskey-glazed

ol’ johannesburg town

of holding on

to that shared dance

is it that moment

that crystallised moment

is it



art from google

a legend has passed.

the father of rock ‘n’ roll is no more.

from the deep south of the KKK,

from the backwaters of Jim Crow,

Chuck Berry fused the songs of the oppressed, the blues, with his own genius, as he danced his duckwalk in well-trodden shoes. 

Chuck Berry may be no more, yet his name shall resound, his music shall live on, this much we can tell,

for Chuck made music just like ringin’ a bell …

Rest in Peace, Legend

for Chuck Berry (1926 – 2017)

​whistling blues … … …

she came to me one night,

the stars breathing light,

caressing away feeling,

as i lay kneeling,

soothed deep until numb,

speaking words rendered dumb,

her kisses grew,

rampaging through,

tearing at a thudding heart,

sliced agonisingly apart,

eyes dimmed, tears streaming,

clawing at walls, imprisoned by dreaming,

breaking free, shackles broken, bent,

consigned to the now, this ever present,

plastic shell,

this enduring hell?

yet, yet, hope persists,

hope resists,

for as another year flees,

hope blossoms,

in fresh leaves,

defiantly dancing,

on living, breathing trees.


Guthrie Ledbetter Seeger

well they ask me why I’m so sore,
they tell me racism ain’t a problem no mo’,

they tell me that,
they tell me this,

sayin’ it’s a new world,
they tell me to bask in a state of bliss,

but i ain’t cool,
i don’t buy the drool,

cos’ I’m talkin’ post-racial blues,
walk awhile in my ragged shoes,

wearing my happy face,
jus’ tryin’ to make it in this godawful rat race,

so don’t be tellin’ this,
quit tellin’ ’bout all that jazz,

cos’ I’m sick ‘n’ tired,
of the sterile razzmatazz,

cos’ I’m talkin’ post-racial blues,
fallin’ deeper as i ramble in my ragged shoes,

don’t be tellin’ me about the post-racial status-quo,
cos’ I’m sick ‘n’ tired of the whole damn show,

yeah, I’m talkin’ the post-racial blues … … …

I’m talkin’ self-indulgent blues,
ramblin’ and a-rolling along,
on cobblestones,
here and there along the alleyways of this life,

seeking not much,
as such,

a few scattered smiles,
after all the miles,
more open roads, less clogged strife,

caravan-serais of hope,
of peace,
where the din briefly does cease,

where simple ways,
of bygone days,

seem cooler than the respite of the shade,
as ages pale,

and as words fade,

I’m still a-walkin’ alone,
flotsam and jetsam blurring my eyes,

as sand gets kicked and the dust flies,
my heart thrashed against cold stone,

while the mirage persists,
the promise of free skies,

just there,
within reach,

slipping further into myself,
as the floodgates breach,

so don’t worry about me no more,

I’m still a-ramblin’ and a-rolling,

and know this too,
for it be true,

it is you,
who remains,

after moulted skin falls,
when the closing walls,
squeeze my straightjacket,

threatening to seal my fate,
into a vacuum-shrunk packet,

no, don’t worry about me no more,
my head is upright,
though my soul may be sore,

but I’m still a-ramblin’ and a-rollin’,

with you,

immersed deep in my core,
forever more …

fool’s corner

tongues dripping language surreal,

rendering eyes, heavy-lidded, glazed,

skidding, incomprehensible,

into the yawning unreal,

scores of ears deafened by words,
deadened by sentences,

inured by scribbles,

that conceal,

love, loss, work, and the sycophantic drool,

intravenously pumped,
through highways,
beneath the glare of lights,
bright, cruel,

dismissed, despatched,
zealously grinning, winning, sinning,

relegated to the corner of the fool.


                 murmuring silent caresses,
                scribbling gibberish,

high above the cresting hopes,
in the deluge,

of softly soaked-monsoon kisses,

                   fingers, entwined,

teasing responses,
                           enmeshed, fused, between undulating waves,
                                        our wordless universe,

in unison,
                 fingers entwined,
our oneness,
                      together, now,


like ribbons and bows,

intermingling amidst shades,
                                   merging into hue,

breathing each other,

all of me,
                all of you.

when you kissed me

when you kissed me,
beneath our african skies,

fattened drops of nectar – heavenly rain,
like honeyed-corn,
fell upon us,
blurring our eyes,

drenching you,
and i,

together, momentarily,
and eternally,

though perhaps still,
’twas illusory,

a sliver of time,
razor-edged, real,

perched between:

passionate reason,


desirous rhyme.

on time: the big deal

another new years eve,
that time,

the big deal, the hype,

the big deal, the razzmatazz,
getting sozzled,

new years eve ?


           is this the price,

the label,

                the tag,

        the bottom-line ?

moulting the skins, the shedding of the masks, the casting away, not off, of times’ collected detritus,


that old shot in the arm,
the morale-boosting, fix-it in-a minute happy fuzzy fix,

fortifying the chattel,

           rebuilding the ramparts,

solidifying strategies,

                 in the trenches,

                    perhaps ‘love’ ?

not that lie.

peddle it not to me.

not anymore.



bidding another year adieu

and when i see,
breathe her, her softness a whisper away,

she knows the ache, i fear,
of wanting,
needing perhaps,
the feeling of feeling dear,

not much,
soothing warmth,

our warmth, a light autumn shawl,

her fingers, mine,
tracing sketches, scribbles,
our waltzing fingers entwined,

shedding this year that wasn’t, or hardly was at all,

like so, so many yesteryears,

now long passed,

quietly, threading catacombs crumbling into dust,

gently, reverently,
laying it down, leaving it all far, far behind,

a few shared moments,
of gentleness, warmth, solace,

of pure, innocent, delicious, alluring promise of bliss,

so rare,
            priceless, almost,
            too rare to find … …


times’ grating

           in my eyes

without seeing much
         yet having seen:


and you
                    all i need to see … …


’tis been an eternity,
since i met you,

your eyes,
                 into whose deep
                 cascading within,

                 i would gladly

plummeting into,
all of you,

within you,
your thoughts,

your dreams,


oh i would indeed,
if these were not mere scribbles,
                 empty, hollow,

bereft of hope,
entombed in sorrow … … …



on the futility of time …

on the futility of time …

                     one more chiselled notch
                           carved in my heart

          drawing blood
          raw wounds

          just as

         another year

          another year … … …





each breath

greedily gulping gasping

each breath
                               without you

… … … … … … …

there may be no answer,
from you,
from times’ tick-tocking rhymes,

it matters not,

not anymore,

i would truly be blind,

were i not to feel a lost sliver of a breath,

of hope,
addictive …

so i bid you farewell, for now,

who knows,


our paths may,

someplace, sometime,
seek each others’,

however difficult,
those paths may appear,

we may,
yet, still meet,

as sure as this approaching dawns’ hopeful light,

dispels the bleakness,

of yet another lonesome night … … … … … …

a new year beckoning …

a new year beckons, thusly a scribble on trodding onwards 🙂

we have been hurt,
battered by time,
by fate,

we have been stung,
by harsh tongues wagging,

                         harsh tirades borne, colder words, mere words,

meant to jab,
                 until spirits are torn,
                        broken …


… still,
           we endure,

           we hope,

      we may be lashed.     against fates’ ropes,

           we endure,

we cling on,
                     to dreams,
                     shared hopes,


we shall rise,
              staggering perhaps,

                but standing,
                never kneeling,

however painful,
                              or sorrowful,

times may be,
for we shall stand,


we are together,
offering each other,

a warm, soothing hand … …


your strength
                          your resolve

your resilience
                          your warmth




to soar
            boundless skies

    and i

          who have shared
                                 or two,


were it not for you

           gentleness sublime


            in stolen moments

my unseeing gaze meeting

         inviting eyes …

talkin’ gay abandon blues … …


they tell me I’m pretty,
fellas always telling me I’m cute too,

oh but they weren’t, aren’t,
nowhere as irresistible as you,

it ain’t the way you do your hair,

oh no it ain’t the way you dress,

and it sure ain’t cos’ you’re a smooth talkin’ fella,

oh no,
it ain’t cos’ of any of that and much more,

i got the blues for you,

staggering away from my liquor store,

so say its true, its eatin’ me up inside,

say it so there ain’t no place i can slip away and hide,

or say nothing at all,

that’s the ache of the blues,
ain’t never gonna know,

if life is gonna kick you down,
if you’re gonna stumble, and fall,

or if you’re gonna be as you have always been,

standin’ proud, tall,
stoic, but never just a wall … …


talkin’ nugget-o-gold blues … …

stolen glances,
hearts aflame,

oblivious, blind,
reaching out,

aching for,

not much,
but everything,

everything human,
not much,
but everything human,

eyes meeting eyes,
the furnace of your being,

your breath scorching me,
desire like tinder,

an oasis in this desert,

of my life,


smiles, tears,
pain, fears,

joy, happiness,


ah, but you see,

where you are,
right now, presently,

is where i saw you last,
in dreamy waves of wishes long past,

yet, still alive,

living today, now … …

… … so may i join you,
and all that i know to be true,

cloaked beneath monsoon skies,

to share,
to quench roaring flames,
of need,

biddin’ adieu to yesterdays shames,

singin’ these blues into our shared night,


intense, never dense,
and all that jazz,

though oftentimes,

laying it all bare,

devoid of frills,

of candy confetti-meaningless razzmatazz … …

been a long time walkin’
my long tongues been a-talkin’

blistering my feet
slipping and slidin’ down church street

lookin’ for a job
with decent pay

and here’s what all the signs say
ain’t no jobs round here today

so keep on a-walkin’
and a-talkin’

braggin’ and a-baggin’
yappin’ and a-waggin’

knowing there ain’t no place
that’ll bear my kinda face

cos’ i know there’ll never be
home for a-hobblin’ one like me …

For Pete Seeger, Huddie ‘Leadbelly’ Ledbetter and Woody Guthrie…

It was a long time ago
when you put your words into song.

‘This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender’ you scribbled on your old guitar.

You wielded that banjo and guitar as weapons,

fiddling out a hail of truth.

Of solidarity.

Of immediate calls for peace.

You said of Leadbelly, that ‘Huddie Ledbetter was a helluva man’.

You sang and spoke through dust clouds and relief lines.

You taught us all, to seek out hope wherever we can.

And when they tried to call all of you ‘goddamned reds’,

you sang on ever louder and louder, rattlin’ their prejudices as they slept in their plush beds.

You rode and you rambled and thumbed your way around,

this land that is my land and your land too.

For you believed all this earth was shared common ground.

And when you sang of overcoming one day,

the injustice and the pain that you witnessed along the way,

they branded you a commie,
a pinko,
a nigger and a Jew-lover.

An enemy of the state.

While your banjo and your guitars wrestled their blind hate.

‘This machine kills fascists’ you etched on that guitar as well
but they were all deaf,

for they could not hear the tolling of the bell,

‘the bell of freedom,
the hammer of justice,
the song of love between your brothers and your sisters’.

And they knew not that they were the ones who would sizzle in their own bigoted hell.

And then came the marches.

You were there too.

Marching and singing with Dr. King in Birmingham and Selma.

And you faced their ugly spit,

their venomous rage,

their clubs and sticks and knives,
but you always knew,

that your cause was just and that the truth would one day prevail.

However long it may take, you would never give up.

You sang and you marched and you strummed yourselves,

victoriously into their jail.

Then they shot him down,

they shot Dr. King dead,

as they burnt and lynched many, many more.

Yet you stood firm,

you never wavered,

your blood was red after all,

and they could not tarnish the truth’s core.

And so it came to pass,

that Woody went on his way.

To his pastures of plenty up in the sky.

And Huddie too,

said his last goodbye.

And you were then one,

and you may have felt alone and overwhelmed by the battles and with all that was wrong.

But you saw that the people were with you.

As they had been, all along.

So you fiddled that old banjo,

dragging it through Newport and Calcutta and Dar-es-Salaam.

Through countless unknown halls in numberless unknown towns,

across this earth,

putting smiles of amity on faces that were once pock-marked with disillusioned frowns.

Today as I pen these poorly scribbled words for all of you,

for Woody, Huddie, and Pete,

I do so in gratitude,

for after all the travails that you’ve been through,

I know that you know that this world still has its fair share of hate,

and of loss and of injustice and of gloom,

but I also know that you know that though all the old flowers may have gone,

there always will be,

as there always must be,

fresh flowers,

that will be ablaze somewhere,

driving away the apathy and reminding us all,

that this world has for all of us,

plenty of room

Song for Springsteen …

For Bruce …

it was a rain-swept monsoon day

way back then, so many moons away

when i felt the music strumming in my veins

setting me free like a runaway horse without any reins

you sang of simple truths,

your verse spoke to people just like me

in my lonely, wasted, and desolately quiet night

as you screamed out tragic human wrongs, and of everyone’s plight

‘bobby jean’ spoke to me

of that girl down the street

glimpses of whom, we as innocents would furtively meet

and ‘the river’ that flowed through my ever-barren heart

led me down further roads of thunder

when slowly i finally learnt that the hardest part was fighting on

and never to surrender

to the hard-luck dreams that were born to run

while i danced in the dark

with memories vivid and stark

even as i whined like that dog who for forever lost his howling bark

and then a ‘human touch’ came along

and ‘better days’ seemed real, not just words in a song

and still you sang and swayed and spoke straight into my unseeing eyes

as gardens of secrets were opened, and as your fist punched the skies

in an anger that i too felt and in whose cauldron i too burned

as we saw murder get incorporated, while on its wobbly axis, our fragile world apathetically turned

and then suddenly i was told that i was all grown up

working on a highway of scattered ideals

and absolving myself by sprinkling some coins in a waiting cup

well, after all these years of walking along so many a thorny road

with an armour of your verse covering me, even as i hear them taunt me and even as they continue to goad

but now i can feel myself fading away, into the bleakness of this coming night

just like the ghost of that old tom joad…

%d bloggers like this: