Tag Archive: #Literature

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 greedily, 

a gentler place,

where we have bid 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,

strive to find

that gentler way …

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


South Africa: Human Rights Day 21 March 2018 …

Today we celebrate our shared humanity,

through smiles and tears, the ache of the past and the hopes of today, and of tomorrows yet to dawn.

Today we share our Africanness, our blood enmeshed within each other – bright red thumping through countless veins, 

reminding us of the spirit of uBuntu – I am because we are,

we are because of each other, fellow travellers through the travails of life, 

seeking not riches nor title, seeking the bright sunshine of peace, banishing the darkness of strife.

We are one people, myriad hues of the rainbow enveloping us all,

lending a hand to each other,

every time we stumble,

each time we fall …

schmaltzy scribble





alfoat on honeydew petals.

mere strands,


years trickling through


lost whispers,

dreamed caresses,


alive …


ablaze in the cauldron,

of destiny,


of convergent wisps,

sprinkling kisses,

on your

honeydew lips …

Bigotry is Binary

Bigotry is Binary …

Instilling fear,
sowing terror,
masked bigots seeking to silence us all.

Injecting prejudice,
fomenting discord,
crass politicians tearing at us until we fall.

Celebrating bigotry,
entrenching hate,

schizophrenic fascism gestates,

sinking fanatical talons into diseased thoughts,

feeding the beasts of divisiveness,
sowing racism,

as the doctrine of superiority mutates.

Bigotry is binary,

there are no shades of grey, no colours of the rainbow humans may behold today.

Bigotry is binary,

you’re either white or not right,

my religion is superior, yours is a blight,

my country right or wrong,

your culture inferior, mine bright, a shining beacon of pristine light.

All these many heads of the hydra,

from dinner tables to corridors of power afar,

spawning monsters reared to prey,

while bigots of all shades,

spew hate,

as they, their very own humanity slay.

my poem “Old Sof’town” published in “To Breathe Into Another Voice: A South African Anthology of Jazz Poetry” – Edited by Myesha Jenkins

Published by Real African Publishers.

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 & 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.

More about Sophiatown:


Apartheid destruction of Sophiatown:


truth reborn

truth reborn …

in bruised, raw patches of harsh, agonising pain,

blindly twisting against tightening restraints of grief,

reaching deep inside,

the empty heart’s vault,

there emerges the shimmering of a hope ever so brief.

An abiding hope that blazes with radiant intensity,

a hope that unshackles chains that releases,

a scorched mind and soul,

the restless torment inside,

bursting forth,

surfacing, reaching for bliss to finally grasp.

A hope that aches in the deepest caverns of the heart,

that desolation may soon be dispelled,

with soothing feelings of a dawn.

A hope that the bleak emptiness,

swirling around the vacuum,

may be filled with hope anew,

clinging to

fresh feelings of truth reborn.

unashamed mush

drowning in your eyes,


you said i was a lush,

intoxicated by you was i,

but instead i lied,

calling you my pineapple crush,

when all along i was afflicted, addicted,

with nowhere left to hide, adrift in the swirling sea of your love, and though,

time flies,

i still feel that rush,

gazing into the ocean of your eyes,

reducing me still,


into an unabashed lush,

so forgive me this scribble,

this ode to you,

and all this unashamed mush.

The Art of Word-Jacking …




Three words,

lost to us.

Plundered by the few,

stripped naked and ravaged,

pummeled into submission.

Three words,

taken from us.

Usurped so casually,

stolen and cleaved,

left meaningless.

Three words,

strangled and violated.

No more.

Not today.

Today, we reclaim the ideals,

the billion voices,

all straining to be heard.

Today, we take back our truth,

our collective aspiration,

still yearning for the harvest.

Today, we sing the hymns of freedom,

as we gather at the gates of justice,

while mourning the paralysis of democracy.




Three words,

that we shall wrest back.

Three words,

that have nurtured our dreams.




Three words,

for which we all have bled.

Three words,

word-jacked and abused,

that are ours once more.




Three words,

that shall remain tightly wrapped,

around our collective core.


wordlessness …

shards of everyday life slice through,

cleaving flesh,

splintering bone,

battering the ramparts,

chiselling away incessantly,


shaving off pieces,

bit by bit,

tearing muscle,

frying synapses,

charring hope,


only the 

inevitability of endlessness,

the tide of desolation,

washed in,

soaking dreams of diesel,

fueling storms that rage within,

deep inside yourself,

where there is only you,

where all the pain, and all the loss,



and the terrifying thing is:

that it is all very true …

 … missing

      the taste,





scribbling odes,





on bare skin:

my muse,




         my muse,


         a constant,




        the fabric

       of my soul,


       entwined as one …




no more wasted moments …

No more wasted moments,

strewn like salt across the wound.

No more wasted moments,

discarded as empty specks of trust.

No more wasted moments,

in dire need of thorough shredding.

No more wasted moments,

far too many of them to count.

No more wasted moments,

spent on wretched emotions left to dry.

No more wasted moments,

reeking of the stench of rotten feelings.

No more wasted moments,

coarse and vulgar and mutely violent,

no more wasted moments,

spent on the vile disregard of the silent.

No more wasted moments,

grasping each moment with a trust anew,

no more wasted moments,

embracing each moment for it to be true.

“why are you here, you filthy immigrant” …

why are we broken by spoken barbs,

spewing out of sewers cloaked beneath acceptable garbs,

while the blades of splintered humanity are sharpened into lethal shards,

of ‘my country right or wrong’,

under the comfortable charade,

the vulgar parade,

of clinging onto feigned piety,

dragged pitilessly along,

weaving new lies, obfuscating what is right and what is wrong,

waving flags tainted with blood, on and on, as the pain never ceases to abate,

wielding blood-soaked swords to behead, to oppress, to subjugate,

the many who have forever been on the wrong side of the fence,

the other side of the tracks,

nakedly vulnerable outside the gate,

shut out of the dream,

pummelled by untruths of working hard, doing more, and shutting up,

carrying within, the ghastly pain, a mute scream,

stuck beneath merciless clouds,

because we need the money,

the greenback,

the notes,

the coins,

the oil,

the designer innerwear that barely shrouds,

the racist cacophony of the hate-filled crowds,

the stench of putrid opulence, of festering greed,

of capital and influence and power ripping out each humane seed,

by the by, shutting out the opportunities for a better life for all,

because when love,





the yearning for something better,

is a lament, a plea, a beseeching call,

for respect,


for the numberless,

always shoved down, yet standing tall,

the banished, cast away into the currents of the seas,

as every war makes human beings as you and I, like insects scatter,

viewed live on tv screens, but that does no longer matter,

to be swept along islands of stillness,

young children lying dead on pristine shores,

while the picture goes viral, and the shares, the views and the likes soars,

a child not lucky to ride the waves of random happenstance,

when just “making it to safety” is a mere throw of the dice of chance …

so yes“,


that is how I got to be here”,

the immigrant says.

Stephen Hawking

(1942 – 2018)

imprisoned in his wheelchair, the body shackled by motor-neurone disease, his intellect perched on wings, always flying free.

A failing body never allowed to be a hurdle, as the mind posited theories of astrophysics no one else was able to see.

The vastness of his spirit forging ahead, a mind bound not by gravity,

Professor Stephen Hawking roamed the vast inter-galactic sea.

Black holes and the curvature of space-time, grand hypotheses calculated, before a cup of afternoon tea,

his words not of conceit, but of standing on the shoulders of giants, a testament to a generous humility,

the world has lost a scientist, a curious mind ever flowing, always remaining true to the need of rigorous proof, a physicist who has rendered all words of praise and superlatives empty,

such was the power of his intellectual heights, of a giant,

as we mourn his passing,

as we acknowledge the falling of a titanic, towering tree.

(inspired by the words of Dr. Carl Sagan, and many other scientists and biographers)

they do not see me at all

they do not see me at all …


They do not see me at all,

as I walk through these desecrated avenues,

of soul-deadening frenzy.

I see them rushing past me,

and no matter how hard I holler and call,

they do not see me at all.

It seems at times, that invisible am I,

for when I reach out, and shriek,

when on my knees I crawl,

they rush past me,

for they do not see me at all.

I have tried to raise their ire,

I have taunted and goaded them,

till exhausted and fatigued,

to the cold damp ground I fall,

still they rush past me,

for they do not see me at all.

I stand mutely,

waving my hands all around while scribbling verses in my unintelligible scrawl,

still they rush past me,

for they do not see me at all.

They rush past me, knocking me over without ever looking back,

trampling over my fallen form,

they look past my limp crumpled shadow,

as they whine on in their monotonous drawl,

and they still do not see me at all.


When they look my way,

flickers of recognition crossing their faces,

I crawl back into my nothingness,

cocooned as the day begins to pall,

hoping, tired and broken,

to be back in the space,

where they cannot see me at all …

For a Mother …

She left me,

with only the thoughts of her embrace to warm me,

in frigid mornings of tomorrows yet to come.

She left me,

with her words of tender truths to shroud me,

in the coming evenings of stabbing sleet and hail.

She left me,

yet she stays forever within me,

in my waking dreams

and in my restful thoughts,

she stays forever within me,

she remains an abiding part,

of the love,

the pain,

the tears,

thus we shall never, ever be truly apart.

the thorns and the rose

the thorns and the rose …


The petals unfurl, a rose awakens into sublime light, perched on a tender stem, studded with the sharpest thorns.

The flaming, scarlet rose, knows not that the thorns, jagged razors, are silent sentinels, offering a sheath of oblivious solace.

The thorns shield the rose, uncaring of their visage, they are the ramparts, willing protectors, of the delicate burden they carry.


If only the thorns of my life, assured me with a semblance of safety, guarding me from the howling storms, the merciless sea of this, my life.

if only I were enveloped by such thorns, weather-beaten, yet buffered from this wretched cauldron, this yawning void in which I writhe.

talkin’ jo’burg city blues …

alone in this teeming city, surrounded by souls gone cold, we weathered the storms that lashed, we absorbed the barbed words that slashed, harsh times when dinner plates were empty, huddling close, feeling as desolate as the solitary rose, still we made it through, we held on to each other, knowing our love was true, we found work and we slogged till dawn, our only wish was for a kinder fate to be born, we have waited a while for those dreams to come to pass, shredding our hopes like shards of glass, was this the hope that drove us here, to share this single room, in a city of ugly gaudy tinsel meant to smother the gloom, this was not our dream, not mine nor yours, when we embarked on our seemingly never ending course, to build a life hewn from the promise of a better tomorrow, well we have waited through morrow after morrow, we are waiting still, for the fates to be kinder, to keep away the frigid winter chill

a ball and some feet …

I remember those days like yesterday, of bare feet kicking an ancient ball around, learning to dribble, swerve and to like the greats’ sway.

Then came some tattered sports shoes, as we nursed our aching ankles, our excruciating shins, ignoring our mothers’ calls for us to get back right then and there, as we trudged on, proudly showing off the bruises, returning home, always ready with a million and one excuses.

Then, in what seemed like an instant, we were old enough to follow the worlds’ game …

Paolo Rossi scoring three goals, and breaking my 10 year old heart as Italy sent Brazil home in Espana 1982 …

Diego Armando Maradona slicing through England after his “hamd of God” insanity, to score his second goal of the match, the most exquisite goal in history in Mexico 1986 …

Roger Milla taking Cameroon and Africa and all of us into the heavens in Italia 1990, the old man a “super-sub” …

Roberto Baggio missing a penalty for Italy in the final at USA 1994, collapsing on his knees as Brazil took the trophy home …

Zinedine Zidane heading two goals to lift all of France in 1998, to the echoing chorus of “zizou-zizou” …

Ghana so heartbreakingly close in 2010 South Africa, being thwarted by some of the worst unsporting behaviour by Uruguay on the field of play …

Andres Iniesta scoring in the Final of 2010 for Spain against the Netherlands in my own Johannesburg’s Soccer City, lifting the World Cup high in our African night.

Today, much older we are as decades have past, our ankles and our shins in pain, thanks to encroaching age, still the memories flood back, through all the intervening years, the ache of having shed our fair share of tears.

Yes, it will always be our beautiful game,

the peoples game,

in the African sunshine,

under the Brazilian skies,

beyond all borders, in icy winter sleet,

in the pouring buckets of rain.

It is the beautiful game,

and may it always, and forever so remain …

lost and found …


i was lost,

scrambling for scraps of love, of life,

desolate, empty, my heart seemed destined to ceaseless strife,

lost in between murmured promises and yearning for free abandoned flight,

only to be cast aside in the deep dark of night.


you found me,

strewn across festering boulevards,

you picked me up as i lay broken,

your love breathed life into my deadened soul, 

after all the trite words were casually spoken,

your essence,

your being, lifted me,

my heart once more in free joyous flight,

you found me,

you saved me from myself,

you ushered in spring days,

after so many a corrosive night.

you found me …

the subtle constant of mathematics …

Rigorous proof.




Not this implausible charade, this illogical masquerade.

All our perambulations,

wasted wordy navigations,

our tottering,

our swaying,

our constant greed,

to believe,

clinging onto inexplicable human need:

The belief in fantasy,

fantasy as staple nutrition,

upon which our common illusions feed.

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