Tag Archive: Poems about Life


from google




The Sound of Distant Ankle Bells …



Memories of those delicate tinkling bells,

casually fastened around calloused feet,


take hold of my waking moments,


and fling my thoughts back to a distant time,

where folk-songs were heartily sung,

joyful, yet hopelessly out of rhyme.




I barely saw her, a construction labourer perhaps,

hauling bricks, cement, anything, on a scorching Delhi day,

while in the semi-shade of a Gulmohar tree, her infant silently lay.




A cacophony of thoughts such as these swirl around,

yanking me away from the now, to my cow-dung littered childhood playground.




Now, a lifetime of displacement has hushed the jangling chorus of the past,

to a faint trickle of sounds, as distant as an ocean heard inside tiny sea-shells,


and,


I know, that the orchestral nostalgic crescendo, rises, dips, and swells,

as tantalisingly near, yet a world of time away, as were the tinkling of her ankle-bells.




from google






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am i human ?






am i human ?




you hardly spare me a glance, as you walk past me, a fellow human, whom you pretend not to see.




you send me off to fight your wars, remaining comfortably ensconced in your ivory tower, while in the trenches i shiver and cower.




you dock my pay if one of your fine bone china cups gets chipped, you withhold my wages, while the hunger in my children’s stomachs rages.




your children still call me ‘boy’ or ‘girl’, though it was i who changed their diapers long ago, but it is still i who is the recipient of the epithets that you and they hurl and throw. 




you use my body for your carnal desires, throwing some money on my stained bed, you use me as a lifeless rag, then dispose of me in a rubbish bag.




you claim to be so liberal, so open-minded and progressive, yet you ignore my plight, you discuss poverty in your chandeliered rooms, as i prepare some beans in the dim candlelight.




you send your cheques to greenpeace and amnesty, perhaps to assuage your guilt somehow, as you refuse to pay me my overtime due, your body weighed down by heaving jewellery, in red and white and blue.




you see me building your glittering skyscrapers and your glitzy malls, my hard hat pummelled by stone and dust, as i eke out a living, my dreams turned to rust.




you walk and you talk, leaving me to scrounge in the garbage heaps, for scraps of this and that, while your stocks and portfolios grow ever more fat.




i am invisible to you, to your posh and pompous kind, and i doubt your humanity will be ever anywhere to find.




you see me, a festering sore on your manicured lawns, a piece of dirt living on ‘charitable’ rations, and the first to bear the brunt of your police batons.




i am human, though only barely just, easily interred, once my purpose has been served,


i am human, though only barely just, as i get buried in a heap of dust.




am i human?



President Nelson Mandela’s letter of condolence to my father when my mum passed on – Johannesburg April 2008





President Nelson Mandela’s mother and my mother in the late 1950s or early 1960s protesting the imprisonment of their loved ones – photograph courtesy of the Nelson Mandela Foundation






my mother – a true story …




My mother used tell me this with tears in her eyes.



My mother left South Africa in the 1960’s to join my father who was in political exile at the time in Zambia and Tanzania.


My father was a close comrade and friend of Nelson Mandela and shared the cell next to Mandela during one of their periods of being jailed by the Apartheid security services.


My father later escaped from Marshall Square jail along with his comrades, Abdulhay Jassat, Harold Wolpe, and Arthur Goldreich.


The four escapees were then were spirited out of South Africa as there was a then £2000 reward for them to be captured – dead or alive. 



In 1970 my father was deployed by the African National Congress of South Africa (ANC) to India to be its Chief-Representative there.



I was born in New Delhi a couple of years later in 1972.



My mother and father spent two years in Mumbai (then Bombay).




One afternoon my father fell and broke his leg.


My mother knocked on their neighbour’s door of the apartment complex where they lived. 



The neighbour was an elderly Punjabi lady.



My mother asked the elderly lady for assistance in calling a doctor to see to my injured father. 



A Zoroastrian (Parsi) ‘bone-setter’ was promptly summoned.



My mother and the elderly neighbour got to talking and the lady asked my mother where they were from, as their accents were clearly not local.



My mother told the elderly Punjabi lady that my father worked for the African National Congress of South Africa and had been forced into exile to continue to struggle to raise awareness internationally about the appalling situation in Apartheid South Africa.



My mother also mentioned that they had to leave their two young children (my siblings, whom I met only later in life) behind in South Africa, in the care of grandparents, and that they were now essentially political refugees.



The elderly lady broke down and wept uncontrollably.



She told my mother that she too had to leave their home in Lahore in 1947 and flee to India with only the clothes on their back when the partition of the subcontinent took place and when Pakistan was torn from India and formed, due to narrow religious and sectarian reasons, whose repercussions are felt to this day.



This was also a time when religious violence wreaked havoc, and untold suffering and death for millions of human beings.



The elderly lady then asked my mother what her name was.




‘Zubeida’, but you can call me ‘Zubie’.




The Punjabi woman hugged Zubeida some more, and the two women, seperated by age and geography, by religion and all the things that seek to divide humanity,  wept, for they could understand the pain and trauma of a shared experience.



The elderly Punjabi lady told my mother that she was her ‘sister’ from that day on, and that she too felt the pain of exile after being forced to become refugees, and what being a refugee felt like.



Zubie and her husband Mosie (my father) and the family next door became the closest of friends.



Then came the time for Mosie and Zubie to leave for Delhi where the African National Congress (ANC) office was to be officially opened.



The elderly Punjabi lady and Mosie and Zubie said their goodbyes.



A year or two later, the elderly lady’s daughter Lata married Ravi Sethi and the couple moved to Delhi.



The elderly lady telephoned Zubie and told her that her daughter was coming to Delhi to live there, and that she had told Lata, her daughter that she had a ‘sister’ in Delhi, and that she should not feel alone.



Lata and Ravi Sethi then moved to Delhi in the mid-1970’s.



Lata and Zubie became the closest of friends and that bond stayed true, till the both my mother passed away in 2008. 



My father and I still feel a close bond with Lata and Ravi Sethi, and vice versa. 



A bond that was forged between Hindu and Muslim and between two countries of South Africa and of India, shattering the barriers of creed and of time.



A bond strong and resilient, forged by the pain and trauma of a shared experience.



That is why I shall never stop believing that hope shines still, for with so much religious bigotry almost consuming our world today, there will always be a woman, somewhere, anywhere, who would take the ‘other’ in as a sister, and as a fellow human being.



And that is why, I believe, that there will always be hope.



Hope in the midst of unbearable pain and hope in the midst of loss and of unspeakable suffering.



Hope.


For we can never give up hope for a better world.


Never!






(For aunty Lata’s late-mother, my mother’s ‘sister’ and who took us all into her heart, and for Lata and Ravi Sethi of Defence Colony, New Delhi, India)



President Nelson Mandela and my father – late 1950s or early 1960s

President Nelson Mandela and my father – Johannesburg 2000s

21st Century Slavery

https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/





21st Century Slavery.



the brutal slave-ships of centuries ago, from the cradle of humankind, the continent of Africa, may no longer ply the seas,


the unspeakable horrors meted out to the millions of  human beings are now conveniently forgotten.




today the ships of commerce and of Capital carry the noxious cargo of slavery – neo-slavery – as they ferry designer goods from the aisles of slaves in the free-trade zones of this world.




the slave-owners mentality has changed little,


the promise of the filthy notes of money,


the 20-hour long shifts enforced inhumanely,


the shackles of bonded labour, of small hands sewing high-street apparel,


reeks of ugliness, of the depths of depravity that the 1% are gladly willing to rain down on fellow human beings.




the vile stench of greed, sinks it’s talons into the souls of those in need,


in need of a few grains of rice, of some beans, as tears down the cheek of humanity perennially streams,


while labourers who sweat and toil build obscene skyscrapers that in the ashamed sun gleams.




the migrant workers who built countries with their calloused bare hands,


enslaved by colonialism and forced labour, of being auctioned as if they were soulless machines,


only to be flung when death visited them, into the emptiness of savage ravines.




today we see the same, on 24hr television screens,


the stories of the ravages of hunger, the tears of mothers and fathers, the little faces whose innocence has been stripped,


whose very sense of dignity is continually whipped,


all so we may drink champagne and shuck oysters and dance and fuck,


never for even a second thinking about the 99% ensnared in the rotten muck.




these words of mine may be obscene, but the ugliness of man lies elsewhere,


somewhere, everywhere,


while immigrants are vilified, ripped apart from them, the  tiniest sense of decency,


while as before they are treated as mere disgusting currency. 




these impotent words i spew make not a scintilla of a difference,


they just pour out and swirl down into the gutters of apathy,


so I lay my pen down now, in disgust and self-loathing,


of being a part of the machine that off human beings slave,


from the moment they are born and till they are thrown into countless a nameless grave,


yes i lay my pen down now, rotting inside, as the bile erodes,


the platitudes i scribble.




yes i lay my pen down now, knowing i am merely spouting inconsequential drivel,


that will disappear into the gutters,


quietly,

silently,


even as my empathy continues to shrivel …





https://poetryphotosandmusingsohmy.wordpress.com/2018/10/24/wednesdays-words-to-ponder-phillis-wheatly/




Dear all,


Please visit this site and this absolutely heartwarming and hopeful and moving and touching piece on Phyllis Wheatley – with my friend Léa’s deeply personal tribute to a giant of a woman – aunty Aggie Msimang – a giant in the struggle for freedom and democracy and justice in South Africa. 


Léa has posted this deeply moving piece on Phyllis Wheatley and I thank you, my friend Léa, for making me read up more on Phyllis Wheatley as well as about the countless other women who fought and struggled and dedicated their lives to the cause of humanity. 


Merci beaucoup my friend and comrade and fellow-traveller.


https://poetryphotosandmusingsohmy.wordpress.com/2018/10/24/wednesdays-words-to-ponder-phillis-wheatly/



Please do read Léa’s other brilliant pieces and do follow her here on WordPress – her blog and her writing are so needed and necessary in this cold and callous and unjust world we find ourselves in.



For hope and for justice and for gender-rights and for equality and for fairness and for peace and for truth. 


I salute you, as I salute them all!






The Conceit of a Man





How dare I stand before you, a man – to recite a poem on women and about the rights of women the world over?



Am I not the perfect caricature of that man – who deems himself capable, and so very able, even entitled?



Yes, aren’t I that man who thinks he understands,



who believes righteously that he knows what it has been like, and what it is like being a woman in this crass, misogynistic world.



The man who presumes to know and to empathise about countless women’s deeply personal and painful truths that they live each day, not just at times,


I am that man who thinks it possible, even admirable of him to scribble out a few rhymes. 



Isn’t this what caricatures like me have always done – speak on behalf of, or drone on about women, their struggles and the need of the now, the forging ahead in the countless battles yet to be fought for the emancipation of women,


yes caricatures indeed, us men who beat down with bloodied fists the very same women, for whom we hurl a few slogans around, utterly meaningless as they fall to the blood stained ground.



But never will I admit to the profanities I have spewed, in-between off hand chats with male friends, those chats about how many chicks I have screwed.



The man before you stands and pontificates about all that women need – the liberal manifesto – equal pay for all, the right of a woman to determine what is best for her body, the calling out of the lewd catcalls and the uncouth slow-eyed once-over leering stares, shamelessly violating the woman, even as she with contempt at them all glares.



The man, oblivious to the hypocrisy, prattles on and on, speaking on behalf of women the world over, so attuned to their struggles, harping and carping, about feminism and women’s lib, all the while with a self-congratulatory tone so condescending and glib.



Ah but the facts speak for themselves, and they stack up time and time again, from time immemorial, to today, to a backdrop of the shrieks of collective pain.



The time has come and long passed, for the facts to be driven into the consciousness of every man, every boy, every girl, every person this wide world around,


if for once, we may actually, onto a sliver of hope hold, it must be to accept our complicity in this sorry parade, while dusting off the grime and slime of this endless charade. 



The facts are brutal, they speak for themselves – the facts are grotesque, screaming to us all,


for as the worn-out adage goes, we stand together, or together we will fall.



The facts are plain to see, they condemn us for our inaction, the facts are unalterable, they will never be what we want them to be, even as we sew our eyes shut not wanting to see. 



I should perhaps apologise for not being more positive, and for being so abrasively cynical,


but I would rather say what I’ve said now,


and say it ever more,


because somehow I feel,


the platitudes will be dished out on Women’s Day and whenever our consciences are pricked,


by news reports of the unspeakable crimes of the savage treatment of women, the truths we live with daily, the said and the unsaid, the unspoken behind-the-picket fence abuse,


where no matter what we may think, it is us men who shroud ourselves behind the veil of complicit silence, seeing only what we choose.



Yes, so I would rather say all of this, gagging in this stench of rotten egos laid bare, as the truth we unpeel,


instead of gurgling out more lame, old feel-good, and utterly meaningless spiel,


while us men, the chosen ones, the patriarchy at its most hideous,


still, and for quite a while longer, I’m sorry to say,


expect the woman to always kneel.




anti-Apartheid poster from the 1980s

#MeToo

the air and the flute

art from google

the air and the flute …




air caresses the flute,


unseen,


leaving not a trace

of itself.




a gentle melody,

lilting notes,

echo invisibly,


fused

by passionate breath mingling with air,


unseen …

art from google

art from google



The Prejudice of Creed and of Racism’s Obscene Blight …




The light in her eyes shone so bright,


dispelling the emptiness of the quiet night,


she took my hand in hers, and held on tight,


I held on to the beauty of her soul, of her heart that infused in me the peaceful calm of love’s delight,


we sat together, holding each other close, as the copper sun was drowned in the pastels of that balmy summer’s twilight,


we sat in silence, as we felt our worries fade and take flight,


to a place far away, beyond the yonder, out of mangled sight,


as we shattered the shackles that bound us, ripping them apart with all of our might,


facing the distaste, the prejudice, the racism head on, knowing we were right,


on that side of history, that always prevailed, however long and bruising the fight,




… we still hold each others hands, though wrinkled by age,


we have held each other close in the midst of the tumult, in the muck of ignorant rage,


of intolerance of religious differences,


of hate for the other,


of the blandness that is sought on the vibrant expanse of our live’s stage,




… always knowing that we were brought together by a love so true,


the deep and abiding love you hold dear for me,


and the unshakeable love I have always held on dearly for you 




the wisdom of Nelson Mandela

from google





These days …




These days, so jarring and so harsh,


leave us contorted, face down in the vicious marsh.



These days, so painful and so hard,


slice into our souls, sliver by jagged shard.



These days, so defeating and full of hurt,


fragment the pieces of our being, our heart dragged through the cold wet dirt.



These days when we feel slammed down and kicked around,


these days when not a glimmer of hope is to be found.



These days, when our very own, splinter our days and nights,


these days when the ones we love the most steal our sunshine and shatter all comforting lights.



These days are cruel, every moment seems like an internal duel,


these days that reek, of a deep pain that allows a torrent of tears to stream down each cheek.



These days when all seems lost,


these days when our heart feels mangled and tossed.



These days must pass,

these days must leave,


as all days do,


slipping and fading through life’s sieve.



So that we may smile once more,


as we smiled so many times before.



So that we feel solace envelope us within the cocoon of peace,


when the pain and the hurt, relents,


so that at long last,


these dark times may finally cease …




with aunty Aggie at Luthuli House ANC Headquarters in Johannesburg – 2000s




Hamba Kahle* uMama Agnes “Aunty Aggie” Msimang




Our mother and comrade Agnes Msimang has passed away.


Aunty Aggie dedicated her life to the struggle for liberation,


she spent decades in exile with young children and faced the pain and difficulties of a life in exile – distanced from her country and family. 


Aunty Aggie was a second mother not to just me, but to all ANC exiles in India who took shelter and received unconditional love and motherliness from the amazing, caring, politically principled woman that she was – and all under the harshest of circumstances of exile.


Aunty Aggie returned from exile with our family and continued to work in the African National Congress (ANC) till the last days of her life. 


Her life of selfless struggle, her love for all, her unwavering stance as a revolutionary, her life as a freedom fighter for the noble cause of liberation from Apartheid tyranny and oppression, must serve as an inspiration to the younger generation who breathe the air of freedom because of the sacrifices of people like aunty Aggie and so many others. 


Aunty Aggie will always be a very special part of who I am as a person.


She was indeed a motherly figure who offered comfort and solace when times were hardest during our years in exile, forced to leave her home to fully immerse herself into the revolutionary movement against Apartheid.


Today we pause,

today we reflect,


today we give praise and shed tears of deep grief and sorrow in this most heartbreaking of times.


It is never easy to share ones sentiments about a person so close to our hearts who has passed away, but with aunty Aggie I will always be her “sweetiepie” and she will always remain my mother, my beloved aunt, my strength and my inspiration to try and my best to emulate her principled belief in freedom and justice for all, in the values of non-racialism, and to be a true human being. 


I have never managed to come even close to the principles and values imparted to me by my beloved aunty Aggie, but I pledge once again to honour her life by continuing to try to live as aunty Aggie would have wanted to me live – a life of always speaking out and struggling to fight injustice wherever it may be found, and to stand firm and with one’s head held high no matter what this harsh world may throw our way. 


Rest in peace, respected aunty Aggie.


The example you have shared with countless comrades shall never fade.


You will continue to live within us all – your children and your comrades.




Hamba Kahle* uMama Agnes Msimang!


Long live the revolutionary spirit of Comrade Agnes Msimang!


The Struggle Continues!


Viva the spirit of the women Viva!






* – Hamba Kahle – an isiXhosa and isiZulu term meaning “travel well” – often used when bidding a departed one adieu.





with aunty Aggie in exile in India – mid 1970s

We are one Race = Human

from google



We are one Race = Human …




1.




The bigots on all sides try to inflame our petty egos,


to inflate our hollow pride,


bigots on all sides try to abuse our beliefs,


so blinded by our puffed-up arrogance –


“my country right or wrong”,


“my religion and never yours”,


“the colour of my skin and not yours”.




Politicians on all sides try to divide us,


their narrow ambitions riding on our emotions,


trying to pollute all that can, if unquestioningly followed, tear us apart:


nationality,

language,

religion,

gender,

tribe,

race,

sect,


drumming up fear, always fear,


of my fear of you,

of your fear of them,

of our fear of them all.




Their hypocrisy is stark,

as jarring as a rabid dog’s wailing bark,


their intentions far from noble,


their hope is to keep us all, shivering with trepidation,


in the dungeon of racist,

nationalistic,

sectarian,

religious,

casteist,


notions of superiority,


as we throw punches,

as we hurl abuse,


at each other in this purposely infected dark.




The clergy on all sides as well, want us huddled in fear in the deep suffocating well,


of carefully crafted sectarian hate, of artificial religious walls,


of dogma and of semantics, of only picking each other up,


if they are one of “us”,


but never if one of “them” slips,


and falls.




We have danced to these toxic tunes for far too long,


we have served their diseased interests for ages,


dictating who can belong,


allowing the blood in our veins,


to be boiled as it ceases to flow,


and simply rages.




The monsters of Capital and of greed,


have kept us all in line, shackled by the fictitious belief,


that trickle down wealth will bring us all some relief,


while amassing fortunes and sending the young to war,


for their invasions of plunder, of opening up new markets,


even as the gravely wounded soldier knocks on death’s door.




2.




No more!


The future is ours and it will be built with our bare hands, though not as before,


because we stand today as one race,


the human race,


we stand together today,


and their batons and bullets we are prepared to face!




No more!


The times ahead are ours, and the furnace of meaningful change burns bright in our collective core,


for we stand today as one race,


the human race,


we stand together today,


to banish the old and build a new world in its place!




No more!


The years ahead shall be filled with trials and tribulations, but we will let the light shine as we open every locked door,


for we stand today as one race,


the human race,


we stand together today,


and we shall reclaim our commons, our wide open shared space!




No more!


Tomorrow the healing will begin, of countless a festering sore,


for we stand today as one race,


the human race.




We stand together today,


we stand firm and we stand tall,


firm in our convictions that we will always lend our hands to all,


to never again, to never let, another human being break down and fall …



from google

Paul Robeson – from Wikipedia

from google




“Ol’ Man River”* with Sister Doris …



Walking down an unknown street,

I heard sister Doris calling out to me,

with a Bible in one hand,

and another to shake and meet and greet.





We spoke as strangers, of me being from the land of Mandela,

of her standing all day at that corner,

preaching the word, as she broke into song,

a song which bound us together instantly,

a song that made us both in the midst of the throng,

for an instant,

belong.





She sang from her soul, deep and resonant,

I joined in too,

it was an old song of injustice and of struggle,

of brutality, of the nameless slave,

too many of whom were robbed of even a grave.





Sister Doris and I sang loud, our eyes streaming tears,

two people from opposite ends of the world,

who knew the history of blood and of whips,

of unspeakable pain,

of unimaginable fears.





“Ol’ Man River” echoed for a brief moment of time,

Sister Doris holding her powerful truths,

and I woefully out of tune,

in so many ways, that all I could do was stand in shame,

for thinking, even for a moment, that I could understand the pain.





We parted ways, sister Doris and I,

and today when I look up at the sky,

the blue expanse of freedom way up high,

I feel my eyes water as I break down and as I cry,


still holding onto the conceit,

that I knew, that I could feel, that I could even dare to think,

of the numberless, of the nameless, of the trodden upon ones,

who still slave on,

the souls still in shackles,

who continue to invisibly die …





from google




* – “Ol’ Man River” sung by the late, great Paul Robeson.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Robeson




My poem dedicated to the memory of Ahmed Timol’s, who was severely tortured and murdered by Apartheid’s Security Branch, recited by Luthuli Dlamini in the documentary “Someone to Blame” by Enver Samuels and aired on SABC 3 on Sunday 14th October 2018





Ahmed Timol – A martyr to the cause of Freedom …



(dedicated to the undying spirit of Ahmed Timol, brutally tortured and murdered by the Apartheid regime, and to the countless others who made the ultimate sacrifice in the struggle for liberation)





They tortured you, as you waged your struggle in the just battle, 


they murdered you, as you made the grotesque walls of Apartheid rattle.




Your indomitable will, your unshakeable principles, your unbreakable spirit,


soars high today in our collective African skies,


your ultimate sacrifice for freedom, inspires generations, as you  silenced their cowardly lies.




Today justice has prevailed, after decades of insufferable pain, years of deeply gnawing hurt,


today their lies have been consigned to the dirt.




They tried to murder an ideal,


the revolutionary spirit that burned bright in your heart,


they tried to silence you, not knowing your memory shall never depart.




They tried to kill you,


but they will never silence you,


for you live,


through the expanse of our land,


mingling in the rivers,


standing high upon our shared revolutionary hill,


they tried to silence you,


yet the hunger for justice will never be still,


they tried to silence you,


but the memory of your martyrdom never will.








https://www.tvsa.co.za/actors/viewactor.aspx?actorid=3725

http://www.youtube.com/sabc3


http://www.ahmedtimol.co.za


https://khulumani.net/truth-memory/item/1350-someone-to-blame-the-ahmed-timol-inquest-an-enver-michael-samuel-film.html



the girl with the book

from google





The girl with the Book …





We stood beside each other, in the icy sleet and the piercing rain, 


she held a book in her hand, Nelson Mandela’s “Long walk to Freedom“.




She asked me if I had read it, and I betrayed my ignorance,


“I don’t like politics, its too dirty” I said,


“Everything is political”, she replied as I felt myself being read,


by her eyes chiseling into mine, until I shook my head.




“What comes of politics, when it is all a corrosive pond of muck?”, I asked,


she nodded, “we would not be standing at this bus-stop, were if not for people like him”, and she looked away,


“but his was a struggle for freedom from the tyranny of Apartheid, nothing close to the politics of greed we witness each day”, I said with a self-assurance so plain,


“his comrades and him struggled against Apartheid, yes”,


“but his political creed was the bedrock upon which all his ideals lay”,


“and that was the politics of revolution, and of pursuing a political end”, she smiled at me,


“and was it not his selling out that lead directly to this, our country’s mess?”, I pushed back,


“and you say you’re not interested in politics yet have such stinging political views”, she looked me straight in the eye,


“he sold out so that you and I may share this bus stop together, he sold out so that you and I may walk these streets as citizens, he sold out so that you may vote, he sold out so that your door is not knocked down at 3AM because you hold these views”,


“he sold out so that you and I and all the different races in this country can ride this bus that we are waiting for”.




As we got onto our different school buses she waved goodbye.


in the sleet and pouring rain,


I smiled and waved back, never to see her again.




The girl with the book.


The girl with Nelson Mandela’s “Long walk to Freedom” in her hand,


and I knew then that there is, and that there will always be hope,


even as today looked and felt impossibly bleak,


there will always be hope,


for a better tomorrow, less cruel and more just,


as long as we carry in our eyes and hold in our hearts,


that passionate,

unbowed,

principled, 


steely streak …







during Apartheid South Africa

P  A  S  S  I O N






a baobab tree – art from google




Passion …





undulating, lengthy, scorching kisses,

peppered with sensuous caresses,

with you, i am one,

a bouquet of feelings, infusing every pore,

our bodies in unison, fused at our passionate core.





scribbling verses on on your fiery skin,

dedicating odes to you, my love,

melting into a poem of desire,

burnished against our writhing bodies,

inflamed, on fire.



.

these nights of hungering need,

these days aching to upon each other ravishingly feed,

swept up by our orchestral crescendo,

the symphonies coursing through our veins with greed.




no scribbled verses may even begin, to convey the heat of our shared cauldron,

we become one, we are one, when the stars in the sultry nights disappear,

our sweat trickling off our flesh,

the sparkle in your eyes so crystalline, so clear.




though the years have vanished and slipped into cupboards to sleep,

though the wrinkles have imperceptibly on our brows begun to creep,


we have yet many moons to savour,

bathed in moonlight of our hearts beating as one,

within each other so immeasurably deep …


art from google


“Irises” by Vincent van Gogh



an unashamedly mushy lovey-dovey scribble …




I want you in my arms tonight, I crave your touch ever gentle, ever so feathery light,


I want you to kiss me hungrily beneath our African night, I want to sip the nectar glistening on your lips so bright,


I want all of you and more, I want to pick up seashells with you on our talcum shore,


I want you to clasp my hand, your fingers intertwined with mine, I want to be dazzled by the love we share, a flame that continues to brightly shine,


I want to escape this daily grind with you by my side, deep into the recesses of our souls, where there no longer is the need to scurry and to hide,


I want us to make love, our bodies and minds and hearts becoming one, I want to feel the heat between us like the blazing sun,


I want to promise you love forever more, a vow, an oath, kept safe deep within our core,


I want to grow old with you, my love, my light,


I want to savour every moment shared together,


forever and ever, with the knots of love binding us tight …



“Wheatfield with Crows” by Vincent van Gogh

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from google



Drowning in her Eyes …



Drowning in her eyes,

eyes chastising me for looking away,

till my gaze got caught, in her eyes’ captivating sway.



“I fear I would drown in your eyes”, I said in a whisper,


“drown”, she murmured.





from google

from google




The Shame of All Man …






There is a shame that must be felt, by all Man the whole world around,


a collective, gnawing, nauseating shame,


for Man’s actions over the millennia,


Man must face the unsavoury truths and share the repellent blame.




There is a complicity of silence, a screaming silence, the mute hushed cowardice,


of billions of tongues sewn shut,


a shrieking deafness, of Man refusing to hear,


the disgust of the predatory stares, the abhorrent cat-calls, the sick eyes that linger and leer.




There is a common affliction, an accepted conceit, the obscene display of Male Power,


the barbed words lashing out, the sewage slipping and dripping,


the fists, the palms, the kicks, the slaps, the “you are nothing without me” drivel,


all the while expecting the women to stay silent, to patch their bruised faces, and in corners to curl up and shrivel.




We are in the 21st century, with human beings walking the moon, of hybrid cars, of vulgar jewellery of diamonds and gold,


of bazaars where women are bought and sold,


of places in technologically advanced cities that glitter at night,


where young girls are shredded, their innocence torn out, all within plain sight.




There is the new Man, who barters and buys women on e-commerce stores on the world wide web,


the new slavery with airplanes the new slave ships,


the places women cannot vote and young girls cannot attend school, under the convenient guise of religion, of tradition, of culture,


while Man holds sway, infecting each generation, circling each struggle for equality and emancipation like a diseased vulture.




These are just some of the abominable truths we stand by and watch, as part of the passing parade,


while mouthing platitudes to “women’s rights” as on goes the self-deluded charade.




I am Man,


the one among multitudes who must share the collective shame,


the one among billions whose back must be crushed by the collective blame,


the guilty unprincipled, vile, apathetic, uncaring, unthinking disease,


the one who must tear open my eyes in order to acknowledge that Man sees.




I am Man,


and no matter what I think,

no matter what I believe,


it is from deep within my putrid soul,


that this cancerous sickness I must begin to cleave.









an anti-Apartheid poster and slogan during the struggle against Apartheid

from google






talkin’ 21st century walkin’ blues …



( inspired by Woody Guthrie, Hugh Ramapolo Masekela, The Amandla ‘ANC Freedom’ Choir, Huddie ‘Leadbelly’ Ledbetter, Pete Seeger, uMama Miriam Makeba, Vusi Mahlasela, Youssou N’Dour, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Christy Moore, and far too many more to mention )






walkin’ down these jo’burg streets, where glimmering chariots and hunger meets,


talkin’ about these jo’burg boulevards, where few sip whisky while the many are pierced by jagged shards,


yes, just walkin’ down these suburban roads, where high fences shield the 1%,


while the generous ones roll down their windows to fling out a 20 or so cent,


they said that ‘capitalism with a conscience’ would lead to more equality,


now we know that those words were empty and meaninglessly shitty,


there is no ‘capitalism with a conscience’ to be found,


the system itself is designed to keep the have-nots manacled and bound.




doesn’t all this sound like familiar talk, wherever in the world you live and walk,


doesn’t this happen in your city too, no matter what the stock exchange wants us to believe is true,


as you go walkin’ in your countries and cities the world around, doesn’t all this talk of the economy seem like hollow mishmash sound,


doesn’t the shimmering of gold and diamonds, of fillet mignon and blue label neat, sicken you as you emerge from your cocoons onto the raw festering street,


yes, it’s the same the whole wide world over, the grip of need that binds like a twisted  choker, while millions are wagered in casinos around the whole world on games of poker,


so yes we’re talkin’ 21st century blues, where crocodile skin footwear meet torn shoes.




johannesburg,

detroit,

lagos,

gaza,

delhi,

london,

freetown,

beijing,


soweto,

harlem,

the favelas,

the “squatter camps”,

the “inner cities”,


all these festering sores on all of our consciences, are just blabbered on about in countless conferences,


where the rich and powerful and the greedy, give not a hoot about the starving needy,


where men in suits sip wine and on fresh salmon dine, as the conveniently invisible ones magically appear for a quick shoeshine.




i’m talkin’ these blues not because i’m wise, or humane, or have something so different to say, no i talk these words because i know there is a better way,


a better path where hope lights the lamp of equality, where protest and songs and the fight continues for true liberty.




i’m walkin’ and talkin’ these 21st century blues, knowing injustice is unsustainable, where the 1% will and must pay their pitliless dues,


it is our common internationalism to fight and pull out the dagger of inequality, so all may share the bounties of this earth, with no need for flinging money at the odd charity,


it is a hope we must all carry deep inside us all, and yes they will call us impotent and naive, but these are the common principles and values in which we have no choice but to believe,


as we go walkin’ and talkin’ these 21st century blues, fighting the good and the right and the just fight, even as they call us naive, against the stilettos of greed that into humanity do cleave,


so that the dignity, the respect, the gender-rights, the stab of hunger, the being homeless in the sleet and the rain, is not taken for granted as the normality of this life, where bombs and hunger are no longer taken for granted as “theirs” and not “our” strife,


but where uBuntu* is practised from the cradle to the grave,


for that is the only way we can our beautiful planet, our sisters and brothers, our mothers and daughters and the women so very brave,


fight on, resisting the grotesque truths of our world and our realities from callous greed shake off these suffocating chains, the hideous materialism that we crave,




that are designed to perpetuate the tyranny of the master and of the slave …







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









from google

image

from google

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For Ernesto ‘Ché’ Guevara de la Serna

(14 June 1928 – 9 October 1967)

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The Wind Carries His Name …

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They shot him down,

to silence a man of flesh and bone.

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Even as the bullets tore through him,

the wind carried his name.

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Far across the weary fields,

high above the stubborn peaks,

over the blood soaked streams,

the wind carried his name.

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They shot him down,

to silence a man of flesh and bone.

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Yet the wind carries his name,

to you and to me,

to them and to us.

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They shot him down,

but his name resounds,

as it floats on the breeze.

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They still try to shoot him down,

to silence us all,

to stifle an ideal.

..

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But the wind cannot be stilled,

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and the wind carries his name.

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Che” …
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image

from google

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