Tag Archive: Inequality


Buchenwald – 1979

walking towards horror,
my seven year old eyes,

were sewn open on that day at Buchenwald.

the reeking stench of death
was by now,
lost to the winds,

and ahead,

stood Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

Never Again!

we have said,
over and over,

and over and over,
but, but,

as Erich Fried* wrote,

it happened,

it is happening now,

and it will go on happening if nothing is done to stop it from ever happening again** …

    ____________________

* Erich Fried 1921 – 1988.

http://allpoetry.com/Erich-Fried

** taken from and inspired by Erich Fried’s poem “What Happens”

http://poetrypill.blogspot.com/2009/04/what-happens.html?m=1

afzaljhb@gmail.com

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1.

when rancid racism strikes,
in cocooned fungal minds, narrow, superficially deep,

an insidious venom begins to seep,

into the consciousness of the chattering ones as they sleep.

2.

beliefs held so true, so deep,
stripped of feeling,

empty, hollow, feigned, designed, branded compassion,

feeds conceit in chests swollen with righteous passion.

3.

the racism once firmly entrenched,

enveloping all, a comforting shawl,

needs little to fester, to mutate,

into doctrines of superiority, bigotry, hate.

4.

are we guilty of succumbing to this virulent plague?

sipping martinis, shovelling more, always more onto heaving plates,

falling, slipping into inebriated moments, without care,

as the stench of hate, prejudice, racism,

floats in the evening air.

                _______

Amandla!

The Struggles Continue … … …

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Comrade Chris Hani

A Poem for Jawaharlal Nehru

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Pandit-Ji*

1.

The moon cast an enveloping shadow over the teeming multitudes,

as they made their tryst with destiny**,

with you as the bearer of the light,

and at the stroke of the midnight hour,

you emerged an icon, from the long and desolate night.

Long years had passed,
since those humid evenings spent,
languishing in jail,

yet your mind remained unshackled,
putting words on paper in the dim candlelight,

as the gaudy glare of empire began to pale.

2.

Today,
you live,

within us,
though not amongst us,

and,

your discovery,
your glimpses,

smoulder within me,

your immortal words,
my compass.

I am now,
the soul of nations,
once suppressed,

that have,
found utterance.

I am now,
me.

I am now,
finally,

free.

       _________________

* – ‘Pandit-Ji’ was the name that Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India, was respectfully called.

** – excerpts from Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech on 15th August 1947

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flickering moonbeams …

flickering moonbeams …

on ancient shores
retracing steps

wet sand beneath bare feet

sipping kisses
hungry

sweet.

in distant streams

soul heart body mind
bathed as one

in sundrenched streams

flowing
ebbing
teasing
tugging

tasting
lapping
meandering

breathing caresses

wildly flickering
like
giddy moonbeams

on the cool wet sands

of
our beach of dreams

that gentler way …

that gentler way …

sometimes in dreams
this world feels a much gentler place

where hunger stalks nights and days no more

where we share this earths gifts

more equally
less greedually

a gentler place

where we’ve bade farewell to war …

sometimes in dreams
i taste the hope

of a gentler world

where songs of joy may be heard each day

a gentler world
where we all

all of us
together

as one

always
always

always
strive to find

that gentler way …

( inspired by Pete Seeger’s “Last Night I had the Strangest Dream” )

http://stopwar.org.uk/music/pete-seeger-last-night-i-had-the-strangest-dream

searching for better days …

seizing breaths
frantic

breaths ever fleeing

grasping
holding on

fingers raw
mind a sprawl

while below

the cackling sniggering chasm

hungers
for
marinade
in
the
grinder

souls numb absolved as dumb
hearts hard admiringly referred to as being hardy

fester
ever on
and on

rotting
making a stink

slipping
deeper into

inviting arms
plush sofas
leather chairs

plastic smiles
promises of far too many miles

all yet to be trodden upon

many yet to be trampled on

but all that too shall be all lost in the haze

while scavenging
ravenous
covetous

looking
searching

trampling onwards
trodding

ever on
and upon

anyone
anything

just chasing the dream, man …

bought. sold …

it feels fungal,

the itch of hate,
stab of resentment,

souls wounded,
walking along avenues inlaid with broken diamonds,

passing edifices of gold,

where anything,
anyone,

everyone,

neutered from human to being,

commodities,

bought. sold.

compassionate capitalism 101.

stemming the loss

dripping red
arterial spray

dripetty-drip

amidst anaesthetised shades
of souls once alive

now
dancing under pale moonlight

pausing only for cauterisation
sterilisation
of too many wounds

the
dripetty-drip ceases

consciences lobotomised

and as it has been
and as it is now
and as it may be

the
numb faces

tango deeper
into the hollowness

the cacophonous void

now
signed and sealed

of deals done

and
souls sold on
profitable leases.

history …

misty tears fall on splintered parchment

history simmers

the shackles of centuries cast off

the chains of oppression shattered

embracing new horizons

dawning
&
trusting once again
in that unfinished dream

of less famished tomorrows

A Slice of the Pie

A Slice of the Pie

“this earth was made a common treasury for all”*

but

as the tickers rise and fall

the suits spew silky soundbites about getting a slice of the pie

while the 99% are consoled

placated
numbed

by promises of glorious hereafters

because

“you’ll get pie in the sky when you die”**

* – thanks to Billy Bragg
** – thanks to Joe Hill’s song ‘The Tramp’

business as usual?

business as usual?

the word itself reeks

“business”

it reeks of sweat

blood
tears
misery

“business”

haggling over souls

bargaining over consciences

selling buying

anything
anyone

“business”

the fangs of empire gnaw

the talons of capital lash

perennially

for that four-letter word

“cash”

June 16th 2015
South Africa

1.

the blood of the valiant flowed,

absorbed by our famished soil,

our battered pained earth,

moistened by beads of collective sweat,

the endless toil,

where the valiant rest.

2.

or do they?

do the valiant rest
beneath our African skies?

do the valiant rest?

no.

they do not rest.

they recoil.

this is not what they fought for.

we’ve betrayed them.

we’ve betrayed the core …

kleptocratic ungovernance …

the 1%.

snouts deep,
buried alive,

all conscience excised,

seeking more,
always seeking more.

the 99%.

shrivelled shadows,
tucked away under underpasses,

seeking enough,
always seeking just enough.

Gandhi-Ji …

1.

It was your beloved Jawaharlal* who uttered these words when you were gunned down by the agents of hate,

‘The light has gone out’, mourned Pandit – Ji*,

and indeed your life was snuffed out on that 30th day of a cold New Delhi January in 1948,

yet you live,

you live on,

a perennial thorn in the side of tyranny,

and the voice of the voiceless multitudes,

still scraping in garbage bins for a bite to eat.

2.

‘The world is big enough for everyone’s need, but it isn’t big enough for everyone’s greed’, you once said,

and Bapu*, your prophetic words ring true today,

in Soweto,

Diepsloot,

Chatsworth,

Gugulethu,

Alexandra,

and everywhere,

all the time.

3.

‘India gave us Mohandas, and we returned him to you as the Mahatma*’, said President Nelson Mandela,

Madiba was your son,
Martin Luther King Jr. as well,

and today your sons and daughters across this world,

look to you again,

in a world torn apart by sectarian strife,
bigotry, racism, religious intolerance, greed,

and Capitalism gone insane,

for as long as there are mouths that hunger to be fed,

for as long as there are naked bodies that need to be clothed,

for as long as your sons and daughters struggle for the very basics,

the 99%,

trodden-upon,
dignity stripped,
dreams tossed out into the sewers …

… we need your sanity,
we need your eternal flame to light our paths ahead,

we need you,

as the parched desert needs a shower of rain,

we need you!

and we need to,

remember that we are all human,

if we are to build a new world,

less cruel,

and more humane …

       _______________

* – Mahatma or ‘Great Soul’

* – October 2nd is the birth anniversary of MK Gandhi

* – The first Prime Minister of independent India was Jawaharlal Nehru,  also called Pandit-Ji,  and endearingly Chacha Nehru

* – Bapu means father and Gandhi-Ji was often referred to as Bapu or Bapu-Ji

afzaljhb@gmail.com

Buchenwald – 1979

Buchenwald – 1979

walking towards horror,

my seven year old eyes,

were sewn open on that day at Buchenwald.

the reeking stench of death
was by now,
lost to the winds,

and ahead,

stood Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

Never Again!

we have said,

over and over,

and over and over,

but, but,

as Erich Fried* wrote,

it happened,

it is happening now,

and it will go on happening if nothing is done to stop it from ever happening again**

* Erich Fried 1921 – 1988.

http://allpoetry.com/Erich-Fried

** taken from and inspired by Erich Fried’s poem “What Happens”

http://poetrypill.blogspot.com/2009/04/what-happens.html?m=1

afzaljhb@gmail.com

For Pastor Martin Niemoller (1892 – 1984)

when,

the hushed rage of prejudice rejoices in triumphant pomp and hateful ceremony,

and,

the silent dagger of complicit racism plunges deep into the soul of a world bereft of hope,

and,

the long knife of embraced apathy twists and turns,

then,

perhaps we’ll open our opaque eyes,

and perhaps then we’ll open our sewed-up mouths,

and perhaps only then will we whimper in mock shock and startled surprise,

for,

the festering hate that spirals around us,

in the fertile minds of quasi-religious bigotry,

is unafraid,

and speaks in the loudest baritone.

2.

Yet,

we accept,

we acquiesce,

we wish it all away,

but,

there will come that time when the lines are drawn,

when the purest hearts of silently smiling bigotry will hold the world in their sway,

with their cherubic, agreeable arguments sprinkled with pieces of fact that will kill, rape, pillage, and slay…

what then,

I ask,

will we do that day?

          _____________

” … First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me … ” – Pastor Martin Niemoller

For Tony Benn
( 1925 – 2014 )

You have not passed silently into the coming night,

your conscience towers above the brittle edifice of capital and of greed,

for as long as there remain hungry mouths to feed,

your soul is enmeshed within our collective whole.

You have not passed silently into the coming night.

Your battle is done,

the war!

the war is far from won!

So we pick up your scarlet standard,

and we continue to rattle the foundations at No. 10,

though today,

today,

we pause,

today we say,

‘Hamba Kahle’*,

to you,

our comrade,

our leader,

our towering ‘Big Benn’.

for Anthony Neil Wedgwood “Tony” Benn.

(3 April 1925 – 14 March 2014)

* – ‘Hamba Kahle’ means ‘go well’ in isiXhosa/isiZulu

Greed is Good

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,

ohhhh yessss,

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’)

Hamba Kahle, Comandante Chavez!

The light may have gone out from your eyes, Comandante,
but the torch you lit,
remains ablaze.

You may have passed away from this mortal life, Comandante,
but you have passed on,
your immortal ideals.

Today our hearts are heavy with sorrow, Comandante,
yet you left our hearts so much heavier,
with hopes of a more just tomorrow.

The light may have gone out from your eyes, Comandante,

but you live!

You live!


Hasta la Victoria Siempre,

Comandante!

Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias (1955 – 2013)

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