Tag Archive: poem


they do not see me at all






they do not see me at all.





1.




they do not see me at all,


rambling through desecrated avenues,


amidst soulless frenzy,


feeling them brush past me,


on my knees i crawl,


they do not see me at all.





invisible, slammed against as if a wall,


reaching out, shrieking, oblivious to my drowning call,


they do not see me at all.





broken, spent, exhausted, fatigued, to the cold damp ground i fall,


trampling over me,


they do not see me at all.





standing mute, scribbling verses in an unintelligible scrawl,


they hardly gaze,


they do not see me at all.





never looking back,


i cast no shadow, listening to their monotonous drawl,


they do not see me at all.





2.




when along alleyways, flickering recognition sweeps their deadened faces,


i slither into the sanctity of my nothingness, 


cocooned in my tattered shawl,


where i hope,


i hope,



they do not see me at all.




searching






​Searching,


through the detritus of yesterday,



finding only fragments of indifferent time.






Searching,


through trashed emotions,



finding only moments hastily cast aside.






Searching,


through blurry scribbles,



finding only slivers of defeated thought.






Searching,


through layers of my moulted skin,



finding only the stillness of a once beating heart.






Searching,


through reflections in shattered mirrors,



finding only snippets of long forgotten faces.






Searching,


through blank canvasses,



finding only echoes of faint life.






Searching.

veils






Veils.




​embroidered smiles, smoothly hewn conversations.




banal. hollow.


the callous, practised apathy,


smothering all whispers of the forgotten.




as smiles abound,

over cappuccino and croissants.







​the chords of dissonance.





tempestuous waves lash the shores of my being,


smashing cliffs, thrashing the ramparts.




feeling the erosion,

within,


gradual, incessant.




clad in my armour,

shielding me,


against frigid waters of fate.




until now.




the armour pock-marked,


battle-fatigue clawing at my throat,


what once was a crescendo of promise,


disintegrating into jangled chords of dissonance.




but, still, and yet,


trying to stem the cacophony,


somehow knowing,


that from jagged rocks of memories,


from icy waters of destiny,


from the dissonance of infinite chords,


that, yet, maybe, perhaps,


there awaits,


the promise of a new symphony.





​double-helixed uBuntu

double-helixed uBuntu …





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 and you …


… uBuntu*

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








she walks alone









she walks alone.

barefoot in the paddies of rice,


breaking her back for some precious grains.





she walks alone,


in jo’burg town, with a black eye,


abused by him the previous painful night.





she walks alone,


in the streets of neon hazed manila,



along the decaying hedges of rotten london,



on the crowded pavements of lonesome new delhi,



across the rolling plains of the vast bounteous pampas,



over the winding back-ways of the sloping and grimy favelas,



on the glittering pavements of sickeningly ostentatious jeddah,




through the blindingly false boulevards of that sad los angeles town.





she walks alone,


bearing the burden of mother and daughter,


of cook and sweeper,


of wife and mistress,


and always inhumane mans punching-bag.





she walks alone,


through your streets and mine,


standing up as she is beaten down,


loving a lot as the bruises on her face turn purple,



feeding the little ones with morsels of hastily cooked beans.





she walks alone,


in factories and in mills and in buses,


in schools and in brothels and in horrific places in-between.




she walks alone,


staying alive on the alms of the ‘charitable’,


violated by those who from the pulpit preach.





she walks alone,


my sister and yours,


my mother and yours too,


my lover and your beloved as well.





she walks alone,


caged by society in its invisible prison,


a slave of norms and culture and religion and caste.





she walks alone,


but she is the conscience of me and you,


screaming at us silently in hunger and despair.





she walks alone,


and though fearful of all you callous men she may seem,


be warned that she shall not be this alone,


she too dreams and thinks and believes,


she too needs and wants and loves and weeps,


in the silent night of complacency,

while impotent mankind sleeps,


she too is rising and in rising she will slay,


the beasts that in your men’s hearts prowl and lay.




she too will demand her rightful place,



for every mother, sister, daughter, wife, lover,



has a real, human face.







a child of war and terror




a child of war and terror.



 


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,


blood soaking it the colour of cherries her mother buys.


 



as she lies bleeding,


she sees human shapes all around, thick in the 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,


even in death she bleeds some more,


shrapnel wedged in her torn stomach,


stealing the light from her bright innocent eyes.




as she lies bleeding …



in jallianwala bagh in ‘19,

johannesburg in ’93,

leningrad in ‘42,

freetown in ‘98,

soweto in ‘76,

beirut in ‘85,

hanoi in ‘68,


st. bernadino,

manchester,

baghdad,

brussels,

london,

tripoli,

miami,

jenin,

paris,

kabul,

raqqa,

basra,

mosul,

gaza,



aleppo still.


 


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,


a child of war and terror.





​mushy & schmaltzy






it is your presence, your being, that makes me swoon each time our eyes meet,


it is your body, your skin, that fuels this raging cauldron of desirous heat,


it is you, and only you, with whom i share each waking breath, every thud-thudding heartbeat,


it is from your lips, i sip the nectar of love, ever so sweet,


it is your fingers intertwined with mine, your body sensuously inviting me,


it is through your eyes, that i have finally begun to see,


that it is with you, and only with you,


i forever choose to be.








​i stand mute, a vision of you bathing me in softly murmuring light,


i am transfixed, your lips reaching ever closer to mine,


you smile, your breath warm, your touch sensual,


you kiss me gently, our tongues ablaze,


our dream at last within our grasp, to have found our abode of peace,


away from the glaring city lights, far from the metallic choking haze 






For Ernesto ‘Ché’ Guevara de la Serna 

(14 June 1928 – 9 October 1967)




The Wind Carries His Name …



They shot him do

wn,

to silence a man of flesh and bone.


Even as the bullets tore through him,

the wind carried his name.


Far across the weary fields,

high above the stubborn peaks,

over the blood soaked streams,

the wind carried his name.


They shot him down,

to silence a man of flesh and bone.


Yet the wind carries his name,

to you and to me,

to them and to us.


They shot him down,

but his name resounds,

as it floats on the breeze.


And,


still they try to shoot him down,

to silence us all, 

to stifle an ideal.


But the wind cannot be stilled,

and the wind carries his name.




“Che”.




a simple wish



my simple wish, of seeking a gentle being, a warm heart, to share the crests and the troughs, when gazing into her eyes, all melancholy may depart.


a companion to walk on moonlit beaches, a refuge to dwell in when harsh times take their toll, a simple wish to lean onto each other, to always be there for one another.


in her smile, a tinge of pain, having braced this world so often cruel, my assuring her of unwavering truth, to be her rock, to be less the exception, and more so the rule.


knowing that I am not young anymore, the years fled past, leaving me alone, desolate, lonely to the core.


my simple wish to find in her my abode of peace, her love wrapping me in a warm shawl, in her laughter a lifetime of pain finding release.


our love not just quaint and comfortable, but with passionate desire burning, scalding our bodies with aching longing churning.


a simple love, of holding each other tight, cocooned within the folds of our warmth, cherishing each day, welcoming each night.


ah! but to find her, to meet one so true and infused with love, i ramble along these highways of stone, famished for being so long, so alone.


so tell her I await her on the greenest plains, across the mountains and in valleys deep, where once found, together in love,


we may till daybreak sleep …



​thick as a brick …






bends in the pathway, obscuring the view, akin to the twists of this life, at each turn expectant of starting anew,


rolling and rambling on streets of splintered glass, hoping against hope that this too shall pass,


beyond quaint idioms and hollow platitudes flung around, taking a pained step further on the broken ground,


we walk along, carrying the flickering flame of hope, held dearly in the recesses of the heart, braving the gales that swirl, threatening to tear it all apart,


we fake smiles, and pretend that all is well, breaking a little more each passing day, nursing that foreboding feeling, of staring down a deep well,


what has become of us, needing so little yet ever grasping for so much, splitting love into twos and threes, eroding casually the sensual feeling, of that ever sought after human touch,


how have we trashed, the genuineness of gentle love, for a couple of trinkets of gold, scurrying around this auction floor, where sentiments are traded, bought, and sold,


in a world of treading on people, in lusty blindness, always wanting to accrue more, selling our souls to the highest bidder, bargaining away the virtue of being humane, yanked out of our very core,


yes, it is true that we must seek more to luxuriate, in bubbly jacuzzis cleansing the outsides, while toxic greed feeds, rapacious, insatiable, clawing out the essence of our hollowed insides,


in this diseased society, where one is branded by the label of a shoe, where flimsy haute couture becomes impenetrable, poisoning all that we say, and much of what we do,


does this rant make you yawn, not for just its tepid verse, but because it feels so wishy-washily preachy, against all that we are taught to slobber over and fawn,


if so, dismiss it all as the ravings of a temporarily unhinged mind, that has sought out pristine places, as they become ever more difficult to find,


and render it all rubbish, in style and in so-called verse, far too eager to make it all rhyme, sanctimonious and long winded, humid and fetid, relegating it all, to await garbage collection time,


well, these may be the disjointed thoughts threaded together, a patchwork of ivory tower rhetoric, lost in the incomprehension of words, just words that do not stick,


well, that’s fine, for we have all heard it before, the mindless chattering of a brain,


thick as a brick.





skin to skin 



skin to skin, soaking in the fragrance of incense, our bodies fused, lips and fingers heightening every sense,


we drown in the depths of each others eyes, swirling under undulating passionate embraces, knowing too well how time flies,


we are one, you and i, our sweat glistening under the starry sky,


holding on to each other, never wanting to let go,


and though we are barely embarking on our fiery voyage,


as lips brush against lips, we know,


this passion can only ever continue to grow.





in the deep 



in the deep …




flailing, thrashing for gulps of air, when well-meaning words ricochet, and emotions in the deep lay,


when one is yanked into the chasm of the deep, blankly staring at the ceiling, chasing fleeing sleep,


alone, with misfiring neurons coaxing, inviting, paving alleys for gloom to slowly seep, when pangs of emptiness deeper still, begin to creep,


sleep vanishes, ushering waking nightmares in, a jangling discord of the day, the night, and of yesterdays din,


one reaches for slivers of hope, the double edged scimitar of life, the jagged rawness of seemingly unending strife,


ah but seeing a solitary shard, the lifeline of coarse hope, the being entire reaches out, digging in fingers to get a foothold, on that slippery slope,


and as dawn approaches, gently ushering in day from night, one feels renewed, rejuvenated, in the soft glow of morning light,


for it is the fragile strands of the new morn, keeping darkness at bay, nestling petals with the dew of hope, against the odds, 


welcoming new life,


banishing the pangs of emptiness away …





alone





alone in the midst of the throng, where might is right,


i wish to stand firm, wishing always,

never to just belong …






just you, just me.





i cannot walk this path alone, footsteps dragging on desolate cobblestone.


far away from you, my dear, enmeshed in a straightjacket of fear.


so let me dream of us on some idyllic shore, together at last, and alone no more.


our feet tickled by the ebbing tide, at peace with each other, side by side.


let us meet on that distant beach, where joy is within our reach.


to a place where we truly live, not just cope, where the crimson horizon infuses us with hope.


let us to that place of peace flee, together at last, just you, and just me.



Daring to Hope

​daring to hope.






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*.



               __________




* – paraphrasing Gandhi – the world is big enough for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed.




Mother Earth

Mother Earth weeps, her cries silenced, by the clinking of champagne flutes, as yet again, men myopic with greed carve out plans to plunder her more.

how much more shall you take, she moans, while men with noxious lust whoop with joy, their greed tainted with blinkers, knowingly stripping her further, in a blinded frenzy of self-serving savagery.

Mother Earth is ill, diseased by the ceaseless pillaging, by us, her children, siphoning more and more, till heaven knows when, she shall be hollow to the core.

are we so blinded, are we so callous, are we so lost in our glazed orgy, to hack away her dignity, her bounteous nurturing spirit, her selfless giving of herself, to let her children, us all, to eat, to be healthy, to live, to breathe in the freshest air and to bathe in the most pristine rivulets, flowing through her very veins and arteries, those very arteries and veins which we slice and dice each day.

our Mother calls to us, beseeching us, asking only how much more can she be expected to give, how much more are we going to take.

her wheezing spasms are felt by us all, her pleading for help resounds, as we chip away at her lungs, poison her waters, belch bile into her air, continually desecrating our shared commons.

our Mother is as mortal as you and i, for she too bleeds, for she too chokes, for she too lies weakened, ill after being brutalised by her very own.

as we avert our unseeing eyes, our deafened ears to her simple needs, we turn our backs to her, refusing to acknowledge her consistent gifts to us all, epoch upon epoch, millenia upon millennia.

as we avert our complicit gaze, we stand indicted, we stand forewarned, that her bounty is finite, for if we plunder evermore, she too shall be forced onto her knees, exhausted by her persistent and consistent motherliness, for she too can give only so much, for she too is aging and in need of tending, for she too is mortal.

and when that time comes, as it does to all that is mortal, that she fades and slips away, it shall be us, her very children, consciously and with savage intent, who rained down suffering on her, our Mother, till she said in a hushed whisper:

I am famished.

I have nothing left to give.

farewell, my children …

i stand alone 

i stand alone. 

1.

i stand alone, though never lonely,
she rests within me, and ’tis with  her i long to be.

i stand alone,

though hardly disconsolate,
she sprinkles colour deep within me, a dazzling rainbow for me to see.

i stand alone,

at rest and with hope,
her soul caressing my edginess, her memory a soothing balm helping me to cope.

i stand alone,

her heart a part of mine,
our emotions are one, bound by tight twine.

2.

i do not stand alone, for we stand side by side,
our love in tune, with the coming in of the tide.

​Africa Day 2017




I am the blood, coursing through its veins, thumping boldly, the heartbeat of Africa. 




I am the sands, sweeping across its deserts, mingling in the soil of Africa.




I am the waters, raging through its rivers, quenching the thirst of Africa.




I am the air, soaring above its lands, breathing life across Africa.




I am the sighs, of generations past, brutalised into slavery from the plundered homes in Africa.




I am the words, imbibed in its being, deeply etching a shared yearning, in the daughters and sons of Africa.




I am the mountains, majestic sentinels watching over the children of Africa.




I am the spirit, of ancestors long gone, enveloping the vastness of Africa.




I am because you are*.




I am Africa.


     

          ________




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

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