Tag Archive: Dreams


I remember her beret,

on that rainy day at the bus-stop, 


she said that she had grown tired of the pretences this world demanded,


we spoke of Marx and she smiled, for I was much younger then, wearing it all on my sleeve,


she smiled, and we spoke till she had to leave.


we met at that bus-stop many times more,


sharing our laughter, our pain, of the knots that cut deep into our core,


she always wore her beret and she was fierce, brave and steadfastly traversing the murky waters of being a wage-slave,


we promised each other we wouldn’t be like the rest, not even in our grave,


ah but that was many moons back, when life was starkly coloured white and black,


I wonder where she could be now, and I hope she is as she was back then,


when everything wasn’t just about love and light and being zen,


I wonder too were we to perchance meet, would she pull me close out of the grime stained street,


or would she walk on by, leaving me to my own devices,


after decades of being whittled down, after making all the right choices … … …

​on your skin, scribbling odes to love,
angry, lost, empty,

raucous, pristine, encompassing love.
on my heart, scribbled odes embossed, etched, engraved,
yearning, pining, aching,
for you … … …


destiny

fate


somewhere

someplace


alfoat on honeydew petals


mere strands


filaments


years trickling through

fingertips


lost whispers

dreamed caresses


awake

alive …



smouldering

ablaze in the cauldron


of


destiny

fate


of convergent wisps

sprinkling kisses


on your

honeydew lips

breathless … …

​breathless, laboured

               tortured


each breath

                     swallowed


greedily gulping gasping


each breath

                    stolen

                               without you

​your fingers

mine


sketching dreams

scribbling hopes


my fingers

yours


holding back

resistant


knowing the path ahead

littered with thorns


oblivious

knowing


the path ahead must be walked


alone at times 

but never lonely 


not with you by my side

evoking a belonging felt true and deep


inside

these interwoven veins

dna

double-helixed


microscopically

binding


me

you


us

all


through

this common

shared

truth:


‘I am because you are’*


all of us

together

as one


me

you …


… uBuntu*




  


* – uBuntu is an isiXhosa/isiZulu concept that espouses the “belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”

imagine … … …

a beach of solace


the lapping waves

tickling our bare toes


softly powdered sand caressing our feet


a carpet of palms

waltzing in the breeze


imagine …


you

i


setting sail on distant seas


far

far

away


bidding adieu to the emptiness of yesterday


sharing each other

knowing that your

smile


stays with me

within me


through

tomorrows we have still to see


sharing

our slice of peace


through

laughter

tears


through

joy

fears


to

bloom in earthy hues


when thunderstorms pass


blossoming into fiery scarlet


kneading away

our hollow suburban blues …


for ’tis in your smile

that my mirth resides


imagine …


your head on my shoulder


ready to face all

oncoming tides



imagine … 

​misty tears fall on splintered parchment


history simmers


the shackles of centuries cast off


the chains of oppression shattered


embracing new horizons


dawning

and

trusting once again

in that unfinished dream


of less famished tomorrows

scribbling verses

on her bare back


my fingers

rhyming

each flourish a caress

etching odes to hope

across the canvas


of her warm skin …



her breath

inflamed


seeking


fingertips

lips

sashaying in the evening breeze

dancing free

abandoning trepidation


what do i know

as 

fingers flutter


over undulating peaks

valleys …


softly

gently


as soul meets soul

she who is

half of my whole

she who remains


my perennial

meditation






 …





straining to hear

the thud-thudding of your heart


amidst this cacophonous crowd.



so

i close my eyes


and

i see you


floating on clouds

unfettered

free to just be


your wings spread proud

unclipped


skipping

hopping

across sunbeams


sketching your open sky


bathed in

colours vivid

alive


fiery

earthy

warm

fierce

gentle


each 

brush stroke


infused with hues


from 

the palette of your dreams …












Parched lullabies seem jarring,

gentle persuasion an assault,
quiet understanding reeking of decay,
fatigued under this skin in which I must stay.

Dreams of moulting,
shedding the hubris of crafty words,
flushing away all famished rhymes,
ripping the fibres of an ink-stained past.

Knowing.

Always knowing,

that honey-soaked kisses, seem destined,
breathlessly,
never to last

Embers fade,

disappearing into the hushed night …

Petals wither,
falling on the soft grass …

Words pale,
obscured by the anguish within …

Faces blur,
dimmed by the galloping years …

Kisses lose,
the urgency of those bygone depths …

Feelings recede,
lying dormant in shielded vaults …

Love loses,
fatigued after numberless skirmishes …

Pain flees,
seeking new wounds to inflict …

Scars remain,
sentinels against,

the dilution of memory … … …

Why him, they ask her …

​why, they ask her,

why him?

she always says the

day we met

and spoke

and laughed

she felt

all she needed to be was herself



William Dalrymple’s Inscription

William Dalrymple, author of ‘City of Djinns’ inscribed my copy.

Inscription reads “from an adopted Dilliwaala to Afzal, a real one”


😊

👍

Love, Mania, and Verse


The pendulum swings,
while the mania in my head,
strips me bare and yanks me,
into the cauldron of love.

Once again,
never divining the tea leaves,
knowing, always knowing,
the gnawing knots of unease,
that curl into a fist.

My isolation is a shield,
a suit of armour,
tightly clad around my self,
once worn,
then discarded,
taking its place,
on my barren shelf.

Love, mania and verse,
coalesce, beseeching me,
with timeous forewarning,
not to tread into the quicksand,
that slippery bog of promise.

Yet,
in times past,
in moments present,
tis’ that very promise,
that I cling to.

At times I lose,
myself in the crowd,
revelling in the solitude found there,

at times I claw,
my way back to the now,
aching for the pain that stings,

the buried voice that sings,
dirges to forgotten emotions,

scribbled verse that flings,
the toys out of my cot,

while I wait,
for the mania to stop,

knowing,
always knowing,
that it shall be,

merely a matter of time,
before the other shoe,
must, as always, 
drop


my starved eyes, aching for a glimpse of your smile, ready to beguile, their thirst quenched, seeking simple joys, not million dollar toys, finally, coaxed the ocean of your eyes, to reveal the kernel of truth beneath the veneer of lies, so love me now, today, where fractured dreams are made whole by the sea spray, plunging deeper into the ocean shimmering in your eyes, hoping we may breathe, like the terror of time, high on up into blue skies, where love roams unshackled, in that ocean so deep,


in your beautiful eyes … … …

tattoo … … …

An imprint of you remains,

mingled in the blood racing through my veins,

hewn into my flesh you stay,

a chiselled tattoo from our long-lost yesterday,

deeply branded by your entire being,

rooted to a memory incapable of fleeing,

torn, and twisting inside my skin,

the pain screeches like jangling cans of tin,

a desolate nightmare this agony feels,

with a phantom whiff of your sweet breath my soul reels,

now that you are gone, lost within a labyrinth of illusions,

your voice swarms inside my desperate delusions,

scratching, clawing layers of past moments spent with you,

you are a part of me, an unfaded, vivid tattoo,

and as my dreams of you frantically race,

I am unable to erase,

the blazing picture of your exquisite face,

so let me be, and leave me to burn in this furnace of my hell,

I should have known better,

but all that matters little,

because it was for you, that I fell

A Child of War

 
as she lies bleeding,

the girl who skipped, hopped to school,

all of nine and a half years old,

with ribbons in her hair and a laugh that was her father’s pride.
 

as she lies bleeding,

shrapnel lodged in her torn stomach,

she stares at her skipping rope,

as her blood soaks it the colour of cherries her mummy buys.
 

as she lies bleeding,

she sees people all around thick black smoke,

blurred visions of scattering feet, shoes left behind,

hearing nothing but the pinging in her smashed eardrums.
 

as she lies bleeding,

she slips away and then she is dead,

a mangled heap of a nine and a half year old girl,

whose laugh was her father’s pride.
 
 

as she lies bleeding,

for even in death she bleeds some more,

shrapnel wedged in her torn stomach,

stealing the light from her bright little eyes.

as she lies bleeding …
in jallianwala bagh in ‘19,

leningrad in ‘42,

freetown in ‘98,

soweto in ‘76,

jenin in ‘02,

hanoi in ‘68,

beirut in ‘85,
raqqa now,

aleppo still,

gaza too.
 

as she lies bleeding,

a little nine and a half year old girl,

whose laugh was her parent’s pride,

we know she’ll bleed more,
tomorrow and in many tomorrows yet unborn,
with shrapnel in her stomach,

ripped open and torn.
as she lies bleeding … …

‘normal’

​they said she was opinionated, they said that she was loud,

they said she was too feisty, less prone to being a ‘normal’ woman, to listen and to keep her views to herself, they said she was too independent, less ladylike, far too manly.

I loved her because she was opinionated, loud,

I loved her for being feisty, less prone to being a ‘normal’ woman, to speak her mind and to shout her views to the world, I loved her for her independence, for who she was.

she was fierce, not macho, strong not manly,

I loved her for all of that and more … … …

mired in the bog … … …

​mired in the bog, unseeing eyes staring into the fog,

what becomes of a soul so filled with strife, that all of life, seems with tension rife,

what becomes of the soul that yearns to be whole, clawing at the freshly dug hole, a tomb of dreams torn apart, the cemetery of joys meant only to depart,

what becomes of the heart, swirling in the maelstrom of regret, cursed by the burdens of not being able to forget,

what becomes of the man, desolate and empty, devoid of yearning, as day turns to night, and night to day,

what becomes of it all, when hope scurries away … … …

you and i

​waiting for you, with quickening pulse,

desirous, anticipating the brush of your lips against mine,

kiss me deeply, i shall do the same,

today, and in our tomorrows yet to be teased out of time … … 

​weathering storms of fate, walking boulevards smooth as slate,

the hurt remains, the pain jabs, the emptiness sheaths,

while in the corner the beast of apathy growls, pants, and breathes … … …

​walking on shattered splinters, crushed glass piercing my soul,

your tender touch offers respite from the pain, freeing my soul,

to be once again,

whole … … …

Veils

Embroidered smiles, chiselled conversations,

banal, hollow,

the cacophony of practised apathy,
smothering,
whispers of the forgotten,

as smiles abound,

with coffee and croissants 

Searching,

in the debris of the past,
scraps of casually discarded emotion.

Searching,

in hastily trashed yesterdays,
an inkling of moments flung away.

Searching,

in heaps of rubbished words,
that tiresome sigh of defeated thought.

Searching,

in the layers of moulted skin
the wilting self that once was true.

Searching,

in the reflections between the ripples,
for the whispered pangs of roaring desire.

Searching,

in the blank eyes streaming endlessly,
an echo of the faintest sigh of new life.

Searching … … …

love | found

​hold me tight, she said, let us leave the cruel fates behind,

we embraced, clinging onto a love once too rare to find … … …

life turns … … …

​life turns, a coiled  tightening spring,

shattering souls, tormenting hearts,

life turns,

and all vows do hollow ring … … …

😼

l o v e  | y o u

​she told me that she cried a lot, she said there is a hole in her heart, she said this vacuum she could not plug, is the force that is tearing me apart.


and when i asked her what it was that plagued her so,


she said not casting out love, not losing that sliver of hope,


of never letting go of the imprint of love, of always holding on to you … … …

evening falls

evening falls,

thoughts of her swirl,

caressing each waking breath,

in the shade of her hair, gently rolling in the breeze,

beginning softly to unfurl. 

evening falls,

thoughts of her murmur within my being,

as she remains quiet,

as she remains unseen … …

​feathery kisses, caressing air, spring scents on the breeze, the taste of salt on skin,


disjointed memories,


ravaging the soul, mangling the heart,


ripping my very being, tearing it all, bit by bit, estranged … apart

Above: Sweden Summer of 1990

Below: Johannesburg Autumn of 2008

Greater Kailash S – Block, New Delhi early 1970s

​she is my all,

picking me up whenever I fall,

walking beside me, fierce and tall,

unafraid of what is yet to befall,

my all, my strident constant,

my friend, whispering away lows in flashes of an instant,

she is my all,

she is,

she is all … … …

​walking on broken glass, exhausted by all that is crass, seeking the green grass, that may still, yet, eventually come to pass … … …

​bracing howling winds of fate, of love, 

enveloped by darkening clouded skies above,

what becomes of the heart that feels too much,

but desolate emptiness,

merely traversing the daily grind,

fragile are the bonds, the ties that bind,

still hopeful, still searching,

for the solace that seems so hard to find … … …

Johannesburg Blues

​Johannesburg Blues.

walking in this city of diamonds,

gold deep beneath my feet,

sleeping under her rainy skies,

embracing my newspaper sheet.

i had a life long ago, a woman too,

now I’m just a huddle of rags

while the women walk past

never reaching into their Gucci bags.

she left me, or i left myself,

on these bleak Jo’burg roads,

searching for that fix

at these desolate crossroads.

now i stand alone,

these empty streets my bed,

my blood soaking the earth

with drops of beaten red.

so i wish you well, friends,

i wish you gold dust amidst the fray,

all of you who walk on and away,

leaving me to beg or borrow,

to get through another Jo’burg day.

_________________
published in http://spadinaliteraryreview.com/

awake, alone … … …

​awake, alone,

dispelling night cold as stone,

yearning, aching,

for a kinder, gentler day,

when rivulets of tears drain silently away … … …

​sashaying to strains, melodies strumming my veins,

in low plateaus, through deepest vales,

soothing life’s pains,

banishing icy rains,

hushing sobs, shushing wails, grasping day by its reins,

steering a course on the seas of fate,

where fear and trepidation pales,

free winds coaxing me ever onwards, into fresh pathways, along unchartered trails,

with hope,

always hope, within sight of the lighthouse,

keeping me ever afloat, bolstering my sails … … …

a hushed heart

​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 sound … … …

love is kind,

how often have you been told,
but you flog me with your words,

you thrash me with your eyes,

you mangle me with your barbs,

yes, love is kind,

thank you for loving me so … … …

Gone are the white masks and sheets,

today the KKK struts in plain sight,

on nameless blood-soaked streets.

The past still lives,

breathes,

spewing hate,

stereotyping and profiling and generalising,

‘the Nigger deserved it’,

they still say,

as they continue to hate,

and to slay.

Justice is blind,

we are so often told,

but it’s deaf,

and mute,

and can be,

and is,

bought and sold,

just as they once,

traded,

bought,

sold,

flogged,

whipped,

lynched,

and raped human-beings,

and just as each of those human-beings of colour was called a slave,

today, in the 21st century,

a person of colour,

still better ‘know’ his or her ‘place’,

or face the racist murderers’ hate,

and be shot down,

and be clubbed

and be beaten,to an early, shallow grave

#blacklivesmatter

the sieve of fate

​i saw her, a revelation in glorious technicolour, standing by the bus stop,

she smiled at me, wrenching my heart off my sleeve.

i see her still,

now in faded black and white,

wondering where she may be, after all these years, months, days, moments,

with time trickling through our lives,

knotting destiny into a silken weave,

time, ah time!

slipping away,

down fate’s random sieve … … …

​fleeting dew disappears, in gardens of blazing petals,

another day recedes, ushering in night,

yearning to be caressed by the moisture of morn,

(to strains of lilting birdsong)

when another day is born … … …







talkin’ democracy blues … … …
the platitudes come fast and thick,

when gone is the carrot what remains is the stick,


when a government shuts its ears to what the people need,

puffed up on hubris and profiting from greed,


democracy dies a little each day,

what more can i say,


cos’ I’m talking democracy blues,

step out of your comfort zone,

and take a stroll in the other half’s shoes,


maybe you’ll understand a bit better then,

that it ain’t all just about being zen,


it’s about bread and water and jobs for all,

heed the people’s call or be prepared to take a nasty fall,


cos’ I’m talking democracy blues,

so get your feet out of your thousand buck shoes … … …


your hand to hold

​and though the day be harsh, the night cold,


my world is warm, with your hand to hold

​awake, through the long bleary night,

aching to shed the detritus of passing day, to soak in hopes’ light,


awake, alone,

floundering within my visionless sight,

waiting for this new dawn to break the desolation of cold dreary night,


hoping, hoping,

with all my being,with what’s left in me,

bracing for yet another merciless fight … … …

a phantom day … … …

jagged faultlines of memory, sunken crevasses of hopes, of dreams tucked away,

for another time, a better place, another year, a less harsh space,

for a phantom day … …

whispers of yesteryear,
ravaged promises, savaged oaths,

squirming away,
down gutters of fate,

so don’t tell me of destiny, no patronising me with vows of love,

i stand alone now,
under winter skies,

desolate, in the slicing sting of the rains that fall from above … … …

another day dawns,
night yawns,
scurrying away into days’ waiting arms,

memories of you,
meander through my broken being,

your smile, your very whole,

offering solace,
to my vagabond soul … … …

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