Tag Archive: future


art by banksy

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an immigrants lament

gazing at the sky
i often wonder why,

birds soaring,
high in the open sky,

are free to fly ?

is it that they have wings,

for i too have wings, friend,

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

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

that i too have wings, friend,

i too have wings!

it is just that
my little wings,

are my tired
little feet …

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For Nelson “Madiba” Mandela (born 18th July).

Nelson Rolihlahla ‘Madiba’ Mandela walked amongst us not long ago.

A man of action, forged in the crucible of resistance.

Resistance against racial discrimination.

Resistance against injustice.

Resistance against oppression.

Nelson Rolihlahla ‘Madiba’ Mandela walked amongst us not long ago.

A man burnished in the furnace of struggle.

Struggle to defeat the crime against humanity that was Apartheid.

Struggle against the obscene notions of racial superiority.

Struggle against the scourge of hate.

Nelson Rolihlahla ‘Madiba’ Mandela walked amongst us not long ago.

A human being who personified kindness.

A human being who embodied humility.

A human being who exemplified the unity of our human race.

Nelson Rolihlahla ‘Madiba’ Mandela walked amongst us not long ago.

A man of peace, and a man who fought the just fight.

A man of forgiveness, yes, but a man who believed in the truth to be brought to light of the complicity of the many who supported the Apartheid regime.

A man of truth, and a man of humane love.

Nelson Rolihlahla ‘Madiba’ Mandela walked amongst us not long ago.

He was of flesh and of blood, and he shed his blood as he endured the lashes of the whip on his flesh.

He was of flesh and of blood, and he fought ferociously against the suppression of his fellow human beings.

He was of flesh and of blood, and he emerged with dignity from the hell of twenty-seven years of imprisonment on an island of tyranny.

Nelson Rolihlahla ‘Madiba’ Mandela walked amongst us not long ago.

He was a man of a steely will in the long cause to rid all oppressed people from the yoke of colonialism, he picked up arms and fought the honourable fight.

He was a man of fiery resolve against the scourge of divisiveness, he was at the forefront in the battles against human subjugation and indignity.

Nelson Rolihlahla ‘Madiba’ Mandela walked amongst us not long ago.

Madiba was a revolutionary, in the trenches against the obscenity of poverty and deprivation.

Madiba was a soldier, on the ground in the service of the most vulnerable, the children of this world.

Madiba was unshakeable, and he lived the example of the committed revolutionary and the dignified statesman.

Nelson Rolihlahla ‘Madiba’ Mandela walked amongst us not long ago.

Our beloved Madiba does not walk amongst us anymore.

And yet, Nelson Rolihlahla ‘Madiba’ Mandela lives within us.

Madiba lives in the streams that flow into the rivers that flow into the oceans.

Madiba lives in the winds that blow across the vast lands of Africa and beyond.

Madiba lives in the thud-thudding of heartbeats around our world.

Madiba lives in the veins where the blood flows through our common human form.

Madiba lives!

Madiba will always live!

a few more days …

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a few more days … … …

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as the branch of the oak sashays,
as a solitary palm undulates, and sways,

i count the days,
till i feel your loving gaze,
your soul, your heart ablaze,

i count the days,
till our separate ways,
dispel the haze,

i count the days,
when seeing you will make my eyes with desire glaze,

i count the days,
mattering not what cards fate plays,

i count the days,
till destiny’s highways,
merge, embracing the sun’s scorching rays,

for as awake this man lays,
the need, the hunger, the desire aching and ravenous, stays,

as i think of you,
counting the days,

until our seduced souls through the night skies blaze,

i count on you,
counting the days,

when the need for each other whisperingly says,

for you, i have crested the waves,

knowing my hunger for you may be a craze,

a craze that shall abide, firmly rooted, in nights and in days,

as i remain still,
counting these remaining moments, for you my being entire craves,

i lie awake,
counting the days,

lying awake, counting these minutes, these days … …

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A L I V E

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alive …

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Lashed against jagged truths,

plumbing the depths of lost emotions,

straining to hear your voice calling me back.

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Aching to taste
your breath scalding my lips,

pining to feel
forgotten whispers murmured,

swirling around
the rapids,

gasping for air,

nursing a simple dream,
nothing grandiose …

to feel
once more –

alive.

alive …

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The Girl in the Scarlet Scarf

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The Girl in the Scarlet Scarf …

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Her scarf was scarlet,
wrapped around her neck to keep the cold at bay,

she had her Rosa Luxemburg book tightly held to her chest,

I smiled at her,
she smiled back.

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We shared laughter and tears,
in that winter long ago,

we held each other close,
baring our scars,

weaving a life ahead for two souls out of time,

and then she was gone,

leaving me with just this paltry rhyme.

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it was as sudden,
as jarring as this scribble,

yet the memory of her scarlet scarf remains etched deep,

yet the dreams of our shared winter visit me often,

in my cold and desolate sleep …

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The Cost of Revolution …

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(in memory of the June 16th 1976 student uprising in South Africa)

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You hurled rocks, stones,
Molotov Cocktails,
Sling-shots against the brutality of racial oppression.

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You fell on the streets of Soweto,
Thokoza,
Kagiso,
Sharpeville,
Tembisa,

and countless more across this nation.

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Tasting the acrid stench of tear-gas,

Feeling the flesh ripped off your bones by their dogs,

Drenched by water-cannons,
Stung by rubber-bullets,
Whipped by sjamboks,
Shot in the head by lead,
Paid for by your country’s gold.

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You stood trial for Treason,
Facing the hangman’s noose,

You stood firm, you did not break,
Even though,
You had wives, sons, daughters, lovers, brothers, sisters, and friends to lose.

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The revolutionary dream burned bright,
In all your hearts,

Even as the jackboot of Apartheid,

Fractured your bones and tore your families into broken and splintered parts.

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You left your brothers,
Sisters,
Sons,
Daughters,
Lovers,
Wives,
Comrades and friends,

Seeking out foreign lands,
With only the ammunition that you held in your hearts, your minds and in your never-wavering hands.

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The enemy did not waver either,

Tyranny didn’t cease.

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2 AM knocks on doors around this land,
Meant to stifle, to intimidate,

Yet,
You took a stand.

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Hungry,
lost far away from home, pining for freedom and your loved ones,

Still,
You stood firm,
You fought on,

“Release Mandela and all Political Prisoners” was your cry,
In capitals in far-off lands,

You feared not the bayonet in the enemy’s hands,

The revolution was burning bright,

Even as the dawn of Freedom was in sight.

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Finally on a February day,
They released him and the joy was palpable, nothing stood now in the revolution’s way.

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All the while,
The enemy consolidated its power,

Paying off traitors,

Seeding violence,

Orchestrating mayhem to taint the noble cause,

And still you took the tyrant’s rifles and clenched their muzzles in-between your brave jaws.

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Never standing down,
Backing away,
Retreating to safe space,
The fire of revolution burned,
Spreading through the plateaus and valleys and townships and cities and villages in this pained land,

And still,

Still,
You held that Kalashnikov in your hand.

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And when that day of freedom came,

You felt the stirrings of joy and pain and yes,
Of shame.

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You felt the shame of leaving those you left behind,

You tasted again the pain,
Of economic hardships,
Of capitalism and its illusory promise,
Of a revolution left incomplete,

Till,
Every man, woman and child has enough to eat.

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A revolution still incomplete,
Where hunger stalks the night,
Where mercy,
And comradely solidarity,
Left last night on a first-class flight.

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You stand tall still,
Working as you always have,

Polishing the metal chariots of those you once bled for,

Still feeling the injustice,
Of not having the two cents more,

That deprives you of your daily bread,

And you try hard to remember,

Whether this is the revolution,

For which so many died,

The countless whose names remain unsaid,

The brothers and sister,
mothers and fathers,
Lovers and friends,

the martyred dead.

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(dedicated to all South Africans who sacrificed their lives, their families, in pursuit of the revolutionary dream. A dream that remains a dream to many, and a dream that will continue to be dreamed)

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She, and I*

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She, and I* …

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I met her in another time,

the bus-stop sheltering us from the slicing hail,

I smiled, she did too,

as the wind screeched a shrilly wail.

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Our bus splashed us with mud and we laughed,

we were never ones for fashion,

the books we carried were our escape,

the books were our world, our warmly hugged passion.

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I asked her if we could sit together and she said yes,

we were two awkward souls,

both uncomfortable in our very own dark holes.

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Our friendship blossomed in that unforgettable spring,

that humid year of lashing rain,

we talked and we laughed, we cried and we screamed,

we hollered at the world, wildly bellowing out our shared pain.

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We were never a couple, we did not hold hands, we did not kiss,

we talked of escape from this place of emptiness so bleak,

and at times we just shared the silence,

no words needed to speak.

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She was my anchor, and she said I was her balm, we shared a love of a different hue, as we danced in the monsoon rain,

our tears mingling with our gnawing pain.

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We laughed as we shared the stories of our lives,

we sat quietly when we knew we had to leave,

we knew the knife of our present sliced souls, and like butter, into hearts did cleave.

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We stood in the open expanse,

we cried, wishing each other good luck,

that one day so many moons ago,

and still,
now,

at this moment,

my tears flow …

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* – inspired by the Keane song “Sovereign Light Café”

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D-Day: France, June 6th, 1944.

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1.

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They were thrashed by the merciless sea.

They were drenched by the savage waters, their uniforms clinging to their shivering bodies.

They were mowed down as they approached the beaches of death.

The beaches of unspeakable horrors.

Gold.

Omaha.

Juno.

Sword.

Utah.

They were brothers and fathers and sons and friends and cousins and nephews and grandchildren and boys and men.

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2.

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They surged on, facing the metallic death of Nazism and Fascism,

they surged on and were cut into pieces of bloodied flesh and shattered bone,

yet they surged on.

They surged on so that we may live.

They surged on so that we may breathe the air of peace.

They surged on and on,

and on.

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3.

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Today their bones lie buried, along rows of crosses.

Today they lie beneath this earth.

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4.

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Today they live.

Tomorrow they shall live.

They who sacrificed their lives for humanity.

They shall live on eternally,

within us all!

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the tears of olives

the tears of olives  …

trickling down shrapnelled flesh

tears fall

like
blood
on
bloodied
cheek

while in the sun

lifeless bodies
lie cold as stone

still
the tears of olives
flow

salty sentinels
of memory:

pain
suffering
occupation
hunger

the tears of olives
perennially streak

etching pathways of dust

between alleyways of desolation

hopelessly bleak

yet still
the slaughter continues

as more dead bodies

rot
reek

Rains over Jozi

Rains over Jozi

The parched African earth soaks up the liquid offering from the heavens,

birds sing,

ululating,

a chorus of relieved catharsis flows through my barren heart,

the steady rain continues,

elevating just another day,

transforming a dry insipid moment,

into a cacophony of jubilant life,

life!

life flowing,

streaming down the desolate avenues,

dripping like perennial teardrops,

down the cheeks of this crazy,

maddening city of gold,

moments of undistilled supreme mirth,

heralds the arrival of a new season,

a triumphant rebirth,

jubilant,
relieved,
ecstatic,

as the Gods of Africa,

and the spirits of the Ancestors,

smile down,

on us,

we of flesh,

and of blood,

and of muscle,

and of bone,

soaking hardened hearts,
dead as cold stone,

infusing new life,

amidst the fragrant scent of rain on dry soil,

while the bronze sun retreats,

seeking respite behind the dark, hopeful clouds of charcoal grey,

while the rains shower their blessings,

banishing the winter chills,

and graciously beckoning spring to stay.

The rains over Jo’Burg caress the leaves on the trees,

cleansing the accumulated baggage that only yesterday so listlessly hung,

over the dryness in my soul,

scorched by a merciless  winters’ sun,

Ah! But today,

today,

there are songs to be sung!

today,

I feel complete,

I am with the heavens,

no longer splintered,
into a thousand and three fragmented pieces,

at last I am whole,

at last,

I am one…

The Paths we Weave

The Paths we Weave …

Walking alone,

on these meandering paths this life weaves,

weathering the nudges and the tugs of destiny and of fate,

I have walked alone for many a mile,

but not today,

for today,

I weave through alleyways of solitude,

rinsing my cobwebbed memories,

seeking to steer my path,

gently,

so that this pathway of life may lead me to you,

where my only hope is that I am not too late,

as I place my soul at your hearts’ gate …

In your Eyes

In you Eyes (scribble #2)

1.

As yet another day recedes,

enveloping all under the shawl of night,

so allow me to drown,

in your eyes.

Moments are fleeting,

the fickle hands of time unseeing,

so allow me to seek solace,

in your eyes.

The paths we have trodden are littered with each shard,

of regrets and of the pain that our hearts wish only to discard,

so allow me to seek refuge,

in your eyes.

I’ve walked through the twisting alleyways of this life,

seeking simple joy, away from the desolation and the strife,

so allow me to find peace,

in your eyes.

2.

In your eyes,

I find,

the gentleness that I had left behind,

away from the emptiness of superficial smiles,

far far away from the solitude of the daily grind.

In your eyes,

I feel,

at home at long last,

your love caresses away the restlessness of my past,

stepping out of the shadows to embrace pure contentment,

even though I may be a mere bit player,

in life’s theatrical cast.

In your eyes,

I touch,

the flame of promise that shines through your loving light,

and that is why,

I no longer dread,

the vacuum of this approaching night …

A Chipped Heart

A Chipped Heart

 

Dreaming, my heart brittle as glass,

my solitary facade a pitiful farce,

 

shards tearing out of my skin,

seeking release, from cages within,

 

I am lost, in the dream,

bellowing out a silent scream,

 

torn from reality, drowning in the now,

yet I refuse,

I refuse to succumb,

 

I refuse to bow.

 

My chipped heart, may be wounded,

wreathed in pain,

 

still,

 

I believe, love, truth, belonging,

 

will take my hand,

 

again…

Tendrils of Hope

Refusing to succumb,

to the alluring haze of self-pity,

I refuse to wallow,
in an ocean of regret,

I choose to banish thoughts of despair,

dispelling pain, while tempting joy to emerge from its shielded lair.

I shall sow the seeds of promise,

nourishing well,

the tendrils of hope,

breathing new life into my nights, my days.

I must stand, I will rise, I have to believe,

in a better tomorrow,

not perfect, nor rosy,

yet filled with tidbits of bliss,

as well as with shards of sorrow.

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