Tag Archive: cathartic poetry

We The People – A Rant

quote from google

We The People …

as the forces of reaction grow louder, as the fascism of right-wing politics seem to be burgeoning, as the misogyny and racism and attacks on the rights of those who love differently echoes through the corridors of power, as all of this and so much more fills the air we breathe with a noxious stench, may we the people resist! may we the people erect the barricades, may we the people look back to all those brave and courageous souls who stood upright and fought the battles of yesterday – and not give in to despondency, may we the people resist and in resisting may we send a clear and resounding message to the forces that choose to divide, not unite, engender narrow nationalism not fraternal internationalism, may our message to them be clear, concise and loud – no pasaran! you shall not pass, for though you may wield the whip of power, we the people shall not give in to your tunnel vision of the politics of hate and divisiveness, for We The People always have been, and shall remain many, many more. Take heed of history for you stand rickety on the losing side and lose you shall, despite your gains here and there, lose you shall and lose you will, for We The People have been and always shall be many, many more. many more than the 1%, many more than the vultures of capital and greed, many more than you are, and ever shall be. 

We The People are many, many more.



Aluta Continua!

We SHALL Overcome!

quote from google

quote from google

from The Nelson Mandela Foundation

she is my all

art from google

she is my all …

picking me up whenever I fall,

walking beside me, fierce and tall,

unafraid of the tribulations that may yet befall …

she is my all …

my all,

my strident constant,

breathing away aches in an instant.

she is my all …

she is all …

quote from google

whispered memories

art from google

whispered memories,
fade, falling to the ground,

momentary kisses, flee, never to be found,

ah but what becomes of the tattered heart,

mutely shrieking, hushed, without a sound …

art from google

art from google

Women’s Day 2018 – Poem 6

Comrade Nelson Mandela’s mother and my late mother, protesting the arrest and imprisonment of Nelson Mandela, my father, and countless other anti-apartheid activists – mid-1950s or early-1960s

Comrade Nelson Mandela meets my late mother after 27 years, Sweden 1990

The Women …

(for the countless women, names unknown, who bore the brunt of Apartheid, and who fought the racist system at great cost to themselves and their families, and for my mother, Zubeida Moolla)

Pregnant, your husband on the run,

your daughter, a child, a few years old,

they hauled you in, these brutish men,

into the bowels of Apartheid’s racist hell.

They wanted information, you gave them nothing,

these savage men, who skin happened to be lighter,

because White was right in South Africa back then,

but, you did not cower, you stood resolute,

you, my mother, faced them down, their power,

their ‘racial superiority’, their taunts, their threats.

You, my mother, would not, could not break,

You stood firm, you stood tall.

You, like the countless mothers did not break, did not fall.

You told me many things, of the pains, the struggles,

the scraping for scraps,

the desolation of separation

from your beloved children Tasneem and your beloved Azad, 

my elder sister and brother, whom I could not grow

up with, your beloved children separated by time, by place,

by monstrous Apartheid, by brutish men,

whose skin just happened to be lighter.

You told me many things, as I grew older,

of the years in exile, of the winters that grew ever colder.

You were a fighter, for a just cause,

like countless other South African women,

you sacrificed much, you suffered the pangs,

of memories that cut into your bone, your marrow,

you resisted a system, an ideology, brutal and callous and narrow.

Yes, you lived to see freedom arrive, yet you suffered still,

a family torn apart, and struggling to rebuild a life,

all the while, nursing a void, that nothing could ever fill.

I salute you, mother, as I salute the nameless mothers,

the countless sisters, daughters, women of this land,

who fought, sacrificing it all for taking a moral stand.

I salute you, my mother, and though you have passed,

your body interred in your beloved South African soil,

you shall remain, within me, an ever-present reminder,

of the cost of freedom, the struggles, the hunger, the toil.

I salute you!

✊ Viva the undying spirit of the women Viva 

(for the brave women of South Africa, of all colours, who fought against racial discrimination and Apartheid)

Anti-Apartheid Poster

Anti-Apartheid Poster

Anti-Apartheid Poster

with Comrade Winnie Mandela

Viva the undying spirit of the women who fought Apartheid brutality and are still fighting for justice and dignity and true equality and freedom!

        ✊ Viva ✊

South African Womens March against Apartheid – August 9th 1956

Anti-Apartheid Poster from the 1980s

Today we rise.

No more hiding in the shadows,

of culture,



No more silent complicity,

disingenuous arguments,

hypocritical pretences,

shabby excuses for the actions of men,

abusive men.

Today, we rise,

as one.

Today the change starts,

with me,

within me.

With you.

Within you.

Today WE Rise!

Maya Angelou (art from google)

Billie Holiday – art by Banksy (from google)

art from google

For Men Everywhere (One Billion Rising)

Stop! Listen! Think! Act!


Stop the abuse!

Of grand-daughters,









all women.


Listen to the voices!

Of grand-daughters,









all women.


Think of how you treat,










all women.


Act now to change yourself!

Stop! Listen! Think! Act!

The violence,

the abuse,

the rape,

stops when you stop,

the violence,

the abuse,

the rape.

Stop! Listen! Think! Act!

The violence,

the abuse,

the rape,

is perpetrated by,











all men.

Stop! Listen! Think! Act!

The violence,

the abuse,

the rape,

stops when us men stop,

The violence,

the abuse,

the rape,

today, now.

Stop! Listen! Think! Act!

art from google

art from google

art from google

art from google

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 is stands up tall to be counted

as an equal, of this our common human race.

art from google

art from google

repulsed by the actions of men – almost always men – whose testosterone fuelled descent into callous violence and blinding hate twists the stake driven deep into humanity’s heart ever so mercilessly.

the orgy of for-profit wars, the savagery of indiscriminate terror, the brutality of the ‘other’ – gender, race, religion – eats away at the flimsy facade of who we all are, and what we all can become, if we do not consciously repel the barrage of hate-speech of cowards in their many disguises, seeking to sow discord for their pernicious narrow ends. 

the cowardice of man, on naked display, should at the very least shock us into peering inwards, revealing the malevolence we bear with such wretched pride.

the slaughter of innocents by the hands of men, should make us shudder – to recoil in horror – and to look hard at our blood-soaked hands, hands meant for kneading dough for bread, hands meant for strumming guitars, hands meant not to be cleansed of blood, but to be linked by acceptance, and not some wishy-washy tolerance, which in itself promotes othering by implying that fellow humans need to be tolerated and not loved, to be kept at arms length and not to be embraced, to be taught to keep fingers on triggers and detonators and drone joysticks, not be held gently in love, and for the love of peace.

i am revolted by my gender. my being a man. my taking what i want, when i want to, my building ICBM’s and IED’s, of wearing either kevlar or a C4 vest, my gender’s twisted thoughts, of being a part of the act of conception, yet shamelessly moulding the young into assassins – of all stripes and of all shades and of all kinds – for king or for creed or for rapacious insatiable greed.

i am mortified by the endless cycle of war – also always ignited by men – against our very selves, sending the young to kill the young and to die, camouflaged in twisted religion, shrouded by geopolitical ambitions, wrapped up in the mechanical soul-lessness of flags and of scripture, of land and of sand, of oil and of water, of us versus them, of us versus us.

i feel broken, in a world of excess, in societies of obscene inequality, of caviar and of dry bread, of bubbly champagne and of sewage tainted water, of silk and of rags, duvets and of newspaper sheets.

are we so lost in our shared inebriated charade, that we sew our eyes shut, headphones plugged into our ears, eyes glazed and dazed, hearts and souls inured to everything but the self, rendering us all blind, deaf, mute and unfeeling.

the wounds of colonialism have not healed, even as fresh wounds of neo-colonialism are inflicted. the hegemony of hetero-patriachy is on repugnant display as forces of misogyny are elected to the highest offices, as women struggle to be regarded as individual human beings and not the chattel of men – once again always the men of the species.

we gleefully continue to plunder the resources of our shared home, this sphere we call earth. our myopic impairment keeps us slaves to the status quo, while not sparing a thought for the generations yet to be born. 

i ask myself, how can i even dare to hope? in this maelstrom of selfish coveting, in the grinder of self-aggrandising drunken unknowingness.

how can i even dare to hope?

and yet i do.

and i hope against hope, that you hope too …

for if we surrender it all, we shall be truly lost in the thicket of greed, not need …

art from google

art from google

for women everywhere 

they said she was opinionated.

they castigated her for not following the norm.

they dismissed her for being “loud-mouthed”.

they spoke disparagingly of her for flouting cultural, religious, sectarian narrow-minded claptrap.

they damned her for unclipping her wings, as she soared free into the open skies.

she is you. 

and may you always be you …

photograph from google

hope in dystopia …

art from google

hope in dystopia …

fingers raw, bruised and sore,

masks stripped, truth tearing at the core,

feelings forgotten, discarded and rotten,

emptiness scratching at the bottom,

moments fungal, trapped in this desolate jungle,

scalding pride to ashes cold and humble,

dreams trashed, memories adrift, lashed,

wheels of lives callously slashed …

still, yet, always,

hope persists,

through life’s turns and twists,

hope never dies,

hope resists …

art from google

art from google

hope 2.0

what are we if not tinder, unable to rekindle the embers,

of hope,

what becomes of us if we stall, if we choose to lay down each time we fall …

art from google

In love with hope …

art from google

in love with hope …

she comes to me,

offering solace, gentle words whispered in my ear,

she placates me,

her words a tender caress, dispelling fear,

she seduces me, as sure as she breathes fire into my soul,

she teases me, offering glimpses of the promise of being whole,

she heals me, when i’m down, battered blue black,

she picks me up, shuffling my self as bones achingly crack.

in love with her, i know now, without her, i would not cope,

in love with her, i know now, she is abiding hope,

hope lives,

hope breathes,

always … …

art from google

art from google

H O P I N G (always)

art from google

Hoping …

There are times when I find myself in the abyss of lonesome despair,

when all seems empty, when I feel like a husk of a man, when I no longer care.

When the walls close in, around me and around my heart,

when I feel desolate, always separate, and of nothing ever a sliver of a part.

These moments do pass, as all moments must, and yet the void takes far too much time to fill,

an oil tanker spewing poison, a empty cup of tea impossible to refill.

When emotions are dulled, and the purpose of life is mulled, in a haze of self-pity,

when I am sliced and diced by this festering city.

When nothing seems to matter anymore,

when I fall into the cravasess, shredding me to my very core.

These intensely personal feelings are not easy to share,

yet the solace I find in my scribbles, makes the vacuum a bit easier to bear.

So I scribble away, never seeking sympathy, pity, nor friendly hugs or words of solace, however well-meaning they are all,

for I know I shall have to be the one to pick myself up when on this road I fall.

And as I strain my eyes and in the distance a dim light beckons me,

I crawl towards it, my sight blurry, but knowing it is the flame of hope that I see.

My path ahead is littered with thorns, jagged stones and the seemingly impossible obstacles I have to pass,

yet I continue on, towards the light, on my knees bruised, bleeding, cut raw by stinging sharp glass.

I finally stand up, my legs numb, while I drag my wounded form towards the now bright flame of hope,

reaching out to me as I reach out to it, the arduous journey having been a slippery slow slope.

Finally I reach the soft grasses of all-enveloping peace,

breaking free from the shackles, exhausted, though joyous as from the straightjacket I finally find release.

I stand up, no longer scrambling on my knees, seeking respite in the soothing coolness of nature’s breeze,

to feel whole again, under the canopy of the generous, green trees …

art from google

art from google

The Traveller and the Baobab Tree.


A summer breeze,

drifts down lonesome boulevards,

touching worlds,

torn apart.

The breeze engulfs,

a pristine sky of blue,


scattering murmuring clouds,

that blanket the African heavens,

in swirls and immaculate shrouds.


A passing shower,

of gentle misty rain,


on freshly scented-earth.

It soothes,

it caresses,

the exhausted thoughts,


a weary traveller,

who sits,


under a Baobab tree.


The traveller walks alone,

at peace with the fragrant soil,

collecting memories of smiles along the way.


Finally, the wandering soul,

seeks rest,

finding peace at last,

yet knowing its price,

is to let go,


each memory,

and every smile,

that once burned true,

but now,

awaits release,

from the ache of the lingering past …

art from google



art from google

art from google

art from google

hope resists …

pain surrounds, closes in,

encircles raw wounds,

picks at scabs,

freshly coagulated,

while stubborn, impertinent, brash, young, ancient hope,



as it has,


as it shall …

Picasso dove of peace (from google)

Hugging Hope …

art from google

hugging hope …

years days moments minutes hours months weeks decades,




clinging onto,

raging roads,



dragged deep,

wrestling demons without,


yet always,


hugging hope,

as night yawns,

and a new day dawns …

quote from google

with Comrade Mongane ‘Wally’ Serote, legendary South African poet born in Sophiatown


This poem appeared in respected sister Myesha Jenkins’ anthology on South African Jazz poetry.



Sophiatown jazz Dance Hall

Apartheid Police forcibly removing Sophiatown residents to be “relocated” as Sophiatown was declared a “Whites Only Area”. Sophiatown residents were forcibly removed to Meadowlands in Soweto

Sophiatown residents rallying cry against Apartheid forced removals to Meadowlands, Soweto

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 and 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.’

Sophiatown resistance against Apartheid forced removals


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 …

manic me

manic me … …

momentary desolation, fleeting, instantaneous manoeuvring, shifting gears,

creasing years,
hollowed out, spent,
pummeled bluebrown,
barrage of blunt tears,

blinded by fears,

but not today, not now:

today, now,
dreams soar,

of hopeful, peaceful,
less harsh, more gentle years …


hope resists!

hope resists …

pain surrounds, closes in,
encircles raw wounds,

picks at scabs,
freshly coagulated,

while stubborn, impertinent, brash, young, ancient hope,


as it has,


as it shall!

human – merely human

human. merely human …

Mere beings flailing through the quagmire of this life,

Embroiled in this world of emptiness so stark,

Hoping against hope that we find some solace, some peace,

As we stumble along in the fearfulness of the dark,

What are we if not just human…

Grappling with the incessant torturous grind,

The stab of reality that wounds us each day,

While we endure and persevere and with hollow platitudes,

Try to placate ourselves with the veneer of strength which we always portray,

What are we if not just human…

Embracing the world with all the trappings of its convenience,

Deluding ourselves that the trappings will dull the pain,

While innuring ourselves to the outer truths that do surround us,

As we lose ourselves within our very selves,

While we gleefully celebrate the meaningless ornaments that we gain,

What are we if not just human…

Just human,

simply human,

nothing much more and no less,

Praying and hoping for a salvation beyond this realm,

As we attempt to buy redemption with our false gods and our loftily mouthed intent,

While we crawl through the moments of apathy and moral inebriation,

Never truly grasping the very essence of what is to be simply content,

What are we if not just human…

Trying and trying and still trying some more,

To make sense of the senselessness that we feel inside,

While in truth the masks that we wear,

Shroud us more from our very selves, for it so often seems that it is from ourselves, that we choose to hide,

What are we if not just human…

Though we cling on to the scraps of hope that we find here and sometimes there,

What are we if not just human…

If we cannot stop, and think,

and begin to once again to,
simply care,

What are we if not just human…

And in knowing that we are just human,

rekindling the humanity that must reside in us all,

That refuses to smile and stand aloof, while others around us slip and fall,

What are we if not just human…

Finding our feet, as we trudge along the pathways of this life that seems so harsh and at times unbearable too,

What are we if not just human…

If we cannot see in ourselves,

the images of him and of her and of us all,

the images of me and of you…

remember history

remember history


remember the slave-ships,
the manacles,
the trade in human flesh,
sweat and bone,


senegal liberia sierra leone …


remember the genocide,
the smallpox blankets,
the decimation of many entire peoples,


sioux, cheyenne, cherokee …


( and everything in between )


remember the lies,
the invasion,
illegal under international law,
of a country that somehow happens to be rich in oil,
and ruled by an old friend-turned-foe,
you know how these things go,

‘operation iraqi freedom’

iraq …


remember the lawmakers,
of the greatest nation on earth,
who voted to deny human-beings asylum,


syrian, iraqi …


migrant feet

bleeding feet


calloused feet,

that bleed,

scraping souls,

seeking paths that lead,


anywhere from here,
from the horror of the now,

wiping bloody sweaty tears,
of grandmothers’ brow,

seeking refuge, sanctuary,

from bullets,

from epithets that wound,
that slay,

from men, always men,

puffed-up, inflated,
stuffed with raw venomous hate,

to be flotsam and jetsam,
adrift on the seas,

crammed into boxes,
clutching onto every choked breath,

seeking another fate,

not an asphyxiated blueish death,

tossed, seasick,
wracked and pained,

cattle-cars, slave-ships,

modernised mechanised terror,

the horror of self-righteous zeal,

nations, cultures,
tribes, traditions,

stoking the flames,
sectarian, communal,

the fuel on which bigotry must feed …

tiny feet, old and cracked,
all kinds of blistered twisted feet,

a death march along the treelined street,

seeking only alleyways of peace,

perhaps, a bite to eat,

as gleaming chariots roll on by,

and if you’re thinking you’re safe,

if you’re thinking it isn’t us, its them,

him, her, they, those people,

for now,

think again,
and think how,

“… first they came for the communists … ” *


* Pastor Martin Niemoller



               faultlines …

jagged faultlines,
sears memories,


ashes swirling in the  breeze,

dust unto dust,
infusing our parched common soil,

with blood,
with tears,

falling, swirling down pockmarked cheeks,

as ceaselessly,

                     as the rolling of the years.



tears bleeding from bonedry eyes,
souls crucified across bloodred skies,

walking and a-talking,
seeing this, that,

wearing soles out,
following the bout,

of wracked nerves,
skewered on stakes,

regurgitated, restrung,
ready to be,
                     once more,


left out to bleed,

as long as the crowd applauds,

the insatiable beast,
needing new feed.

this migrant skin.

tin-cans, discarded cartons,
garbage bins,

littered with fragmented shards of myself,

shed, left behind,
amidst by-lanes,

pieces of who i was,
slivers of me,

ever trying to belong,
to be,

so we moult,
social chameleons,

slimy, deceitful,
charming, soulless,

casual, empty emotions,
flung aside here,

bits of that life,
of this,

leaving laughter, pouring tears, down drains hugging boulevards,

strewn with crushed petals.

this migrant skin,
this malleable face,

numberless incomprehensible masks staring back,

a mishmash mosaic,

shadows of yesteryears faces,
worn and torn,

ever straining to flee,

the restlessness growing,

teetering on tightrope,

as year turns to close,
I’ll see if I can find me.

( inspired  by Erich Fried’s “In Hiding” )


breaths interwoven,
tongues tied, waltzing in unison, skipping across tendrils of sparkling sensations, tingles racing through, this being entire, lost in the deluge of your gaze, rendering me mute, inflamed, aflame, ablaze …


walking through this neverending thicket,

thorns jabbing at my side,
cold, shimmering blade,
slicing emotions apart,

as she prepares once more,
to depart,

and settle in some corner of my manic mind,
shedding yesteryears moulting skin,

beating through the thicket,
feelings flailing, to mania akin,

while she leaves and buries herself deep,
in the convoluted recesses of my remaining senses,

having stormed the ramparts,
overrunning all defences,

so tell her I miss her,
and our moments shared,

and tell her that I am sorry,
I was cold.
I should have cared.

what of this shell,
this shroud,
this cocoon, fragile,

now untethered,
hearts kicked to the ground,
soaring into gay, abandoned flight,

surfing a silverlined cloud,
unshackled, wings spread wide,

these endless skies ahead,
afloat, away, beckoning,
surfacing from the cesspool of tears shed, bled,

taken, tugged gently,
away from the freshly moulted:

to surf the cottonwool tide,

to flee, another hide.

searing into blinded eyes, they say tempus fugit – time flies, so lets fly, drift, float,
on dreams, in an old junk,
swaying to the waves,
in a creaking boat, yet sailing against the incoming jibes, breaking free of the tentacled tides, free at last to seek the new day, bidding farewell to the bland, eyes seeking out coconut land, where gurgling brooks, waters pure, may wash away these sins, discarded bluntly over the years, in neatly lined dustbins, weighing me down, as the beach of promise nears, a visual balm, soaking in the marvel, even as the mirage clears.

2 in 1 Scribbles

do you sometimes feel it too,

chords strummed,
drums clanging,


thud-thudding of your heart,

beating, banging,
clanging like the tolling bell,

seeking release,
from the mortal shroud,

as the curtains fall,
over rapturous hurrahing,

down at city hall,

attaining atonement perhaps,

attaining the value of patience,

perched on top,

cloud …

come take a stroll with me,
to your piece of heaven,

be it the bylanes of your childhood,
or the alleyways of your youth,

come take a stroll with me,
to your abode of peace,

a gurgling brook trickling down distant mountains,

the roar of the oceans lappin, caressing your feet,

come take a stroll with me,
down blinding highways of lost smiles,

across empty deserts, sapping already famished wills.

come with me,
and i will stand by you,

come along with me,

where we may be,
at last,

free to be …

the happy face

coming up …

washed ashore,

wracked in bronchospasm,

swallowing every breath,
hungrily, manically,

feeling my eyes clear,
sounds and smells filtering back,


between lungfulls of air,

and an emptiness left behind,

torn between spaces,
illegally alien,

to oneself,

the most desolate place,

lies beneath the veneer,

of the ever smiling, happy face

tick-tock …

when the walk hobbles,
and the talk slows,

when so many years take their toll,
when wrinkled, grey,

the passage of time,
creases smiles,

just knowing you,
my lifeline,

enriches my life,

mile upon gathering mile.

all that jazz

jingoism, fanaticism, empire, & jazz …

… ol’ Satchmo’s gravel-voice reverberates,

‘its a wonderful world’

brother Louis, its been a while since you sang your last song,

and now this world needs some jazz,

past all the cellophane glitz,

and the deadened razzmatazz,

yes we need to jazz it up a bit,

melding notes with voices,

piano keys with a sax,

or that lonesome trumpet,

mixed-up and cantankerous at times,

always alive,
slaves no longer singing the tunes of anachronistic rhymes,

so c’mon,
play the blues,

transcending borders,
smashing narrow jingoism,
shredding religious sermons to tatters,

cos’ when the bombs have fallen,
when countless more are killed,

left orphaned,

when tanks squash children,
and people are collateral,

when everything around us shatters,

don’t turn away,
never avert ones gaze,

for through the foggy bottomed haze …

all that jazz matters.


Artwork by Debra Hurd


on nationalism

When it all comes to pass,

hewn into the detritus of splintered glass,

sharpened shards cutting deep,
pilfering dreams from wakeful sleep,

looking around,

treading on hopes,
yanked to the barren ground,

smiles and laughter,
famished and broken,

suffocated by slithering words,

scampering away,

leaving limp tongues,
fluttering flags,
jingoistic pride,

ever on,

fostering noxious words,



pompously spoken.

do you dream of me …

do you dream of me
as i do of you

on sunkissed sands
under skies of free blue

where pain is forever banished
lost inside a seashell

and tomorrow no longer
threatens the fires of hell

do you dream of me
as i do of you

where this daily charade
means something

less showy


more true

tempus fugit …

walk with me
along free boulevards of spring flowers

walk with me
through green fields sketched ablaze with summer showers

walk with me
through alleyways strewn with thorns that sting

walk with me
upon the oceans of tears that tomorrow may bring

walk with me
i will walk with you

among petals dripping with dawn dew

we may not have much
but what we have is true

walk with me
before this night falls

walk with me
leaving behind sterile plastic caged walls

walk with me
away from the shrieks and howls of fate

walk with me
before its far far too late

walk with me
under our shared blanket of vagabond skies

walk with me
before oblivious time flies …

incoherent (like life)

incoherent (like life) …

slipping through empty breaths sliding down on bent knees scraping raw flesh against cold skin hollow kisses falling to the desolate floor swept up discarded trashed recycled churned out strewn littered alongside barricaded hearts yearning to feel again to touch to taste to ache to be human once more to know to believe that one can feel that one can hear and see and dig beneath the veneer of sophisticated tinny smiles flinging around casually barbed words meant to jab gnawing at the core of all that makes us human the sting of tears the taste of salt the dripping red bleeding off roses in quaint gardens pruned to perfection yet dead inside numbed into comfortable complacency as the world turns threatening the linearity of time that prays for returns while this heart this soul this being within the cauldron of palpable loss simply burns

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