Tag Archive: cathartic poetry


Greed is Good*

from The Nelson Mandela Foundation









Greed is Good*


brands and little tender hands,

sewing and sweating,

in dinghy factories and in smoke-clogged stands.



Haute-couture and ostentatious labels,

black and blue whiskey on heaving sushi tables.



Greed is good,

it ‘enhances’ free-market competition,

as we blindly scamper from mall to mall,

devoid of a scintilla of compassionate vision.



Greed is good,

oh and it feeds,

on complicity,

apathy,

as we reap the rewards,

of the sowing of hypocritical seeds.



Greed is good,

yes it is,


as long as we can buy and buy and buy and buy,

and

as long as there’s gourmet coffee to be had,

and,

as long as there are oysters we can lasciviously shuck,

oh yes,


greed is good,

so we sew our mouths shut,


as we frolic,

as we party,


and,

as we fuck**.




Greed is Good*

* – title borrowed from Oliver Stone’s film ‘Wall Street’


** – dialogue from Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” – Marlon Brando as ‘Colonel Kurtz” 

” … We train young men to drop fire on people, but their commanders won’t allow them to write “fuck” on their airplanes because it’s obscene! “








from The Nelson Mandela Foundation



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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.




Amandla!


Venceremos!


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,

creed,

tradition.




No more silent complicity,

disingenuous arguments,

hypocritical pretences,

shabby excuses for the actions of men,


brutal,
vulgar,
coarse,
obscene,
murderous,
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!


Stop the abuse!


Of grand-daughters,

colleagues,

daughters,

girlfriends,

partners,

mothers,

sisters,

nieces,

wives,


all women.




Listen!


Listen to the voices!


Of grand-daughters,

colleagues,

daughters,

girlfriends,

partners,

mothers,

sisters,

nieces,

wives,


all women.





Think!


Think of how you treat,


grand-daughters,

colleagues,

daughters,

girlfriends,

partners,

mothers,

sisters,

nieces,

wives,


all women.





Act!


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,


grand-fathers,

colleagues,

boyfriends,

husbands,

nephews,

brothers,

partners,

fathers,

uncles,


men,


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.




1.



A summer breeze,

drifts down lonesome boulevards,


touching worlds,

torn apart.


The breeze engulfs,

a pristine sky of blue,


while,

scattering murmuring clouds,


that blanket the African heavens,


in swirls and immaculate shrouds.



2.



A passing shower,

of gentle misty rain,


settles,


on freshly scented-earth.


It soothes,


it caresses,


the exhausted thoughts,


of,


a weary traveller,


who sits,

alone,


under a Baobab tree.



3.



The traveller walks alone,


at peace with the fragrant soil,


collecting memories of smiles along the way.



4.



Finally, the wandering soul,


seeks rest,


finding peace at last,


yet knowing its price,


is to let go,


of,

each memory,

and every smile,


that once burned true,


but now,

awaits release,


from the ache of the lingering past …





art from google

   
     _____________

http://www.krugerpark.co.za/africa_baobab.html

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,


persists,

resists,


as it has,


and


as it shall …




Picasso dove of peace (from google)






Hugging Hope …

art from google





hugging hope …




years days moments minutes hours months weeks decades,


pockmarked,

weary,


skidding,

clinging onto,

raging roads,


hobbled,

shovelled,

dragged deep,


wrestling demons without,

within,


yet always,

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

http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/mongane-wally-serote


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




https://www2.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-breathe-into-another-voice-myesha-jenkins/1127848792?ean=9781928341314



_____________________




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*






1.




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.


 


2.




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





https://www.google.co.za/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.sahistory.org.za/place/sophiatown&ved=2ahUKEwiapOGnnM7cAhXqDcAKHfVDBfkQFjAMegQIBhAB&usg=AOvVaw1ZEOqT67cCWY3EdIUz9ay6

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,

still,
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,
byways,
              alleyways,
staggering,
beneath the glare of lights,
bright, cruel,

dismissed, despatched,
zealously grinning, winning, sinning,

relegated to the corner of the fool.

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