Tag Archive: south africa


South Africa: Heritage Day 2021.

The Winds of Africa.

A poem by Afzal Moolla.

I am the winds of Africa.

I am the winds whispered to by the ancients of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela,

the winds that have heard the murmurs of the ancestors at Great Zimbabwe.

I am the winds resting at Mapungubwe,
I am the winds of the Upemba,
I am the winds above Giza,

I am the winds of the Djenné-Djenno,
I am the winds of the Songhai,

I am the winds of the Numidia,

I have breathed across these lands,
these lands have breathed into me.

I have witnessed colonialists carving up my continent,

I have heard screams of mothers and children,

I have seen the slave-ships set sail,

I carry the memories of my people manacled, and bound in chains.

I have heard the shrieks of my people,
I have seen my lands plundered,

I have borne witness to genocide,
to notions of racial superiority,
to oppression,
to tyranny,

I have caressed far too many bruised bodies,
I have dried far too many tears.

I am the winds of Africa.

I embrace the hope my people carry,
I feel it thud-thudding in their veins,

I encompass my lands bathed with renewed spirit each dawn,

I encompass my lands infused with hope each morn,

as my Africa,
our Africa,
wraps us in her dazzling multi-hued, comforting shawl.

                    ____________________

– Lalibela is a town in the Amhara region of northern Ethiopia. It’s known for its distinctive rock-cut churches dating from the 12th and 13th centuries, which are pilgrimage sites for Coptic Christians. Carved out of rock, the subterranean monoliths include huge Bete Medhane Alem, and cross-shaped Bete Giyorgis. Many are joined by tunnels and trenches, and some have carved bas-reliefs and colored frescoes inside.

– Great Zimbabwe is an ancient city in the south-eastern hills of Zimbabwe near Lake Mutirikwe and the town of Masvingo. It is thought to have been the capital of a great kingdom, although which kingdom is not certain, during the country’s Late Iron Age. Construction on the city began in the 11th century and continued until it was abandoned in the 15th century. The edifices are believed to have been erected by the ancestral Shona. The stone city spans an area of 7.22 square kilometres (2.79 square miles) which, at its peak, could have housed up to 18,000 people. It is recognised as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

– The Kingdom of Mapungubwe was a medieval state in South Africa located at the confluence of the Shashe and Limpopo rivers, south of Great Zimbabwe. The name is derived from either TjiKalanga and Tshivenda. The name might mean “Hill of Jackals”.

– Lake Upemba is a lake in Bukama, Haut-Lomami District, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

– Giza is an Egyptian city on the west bank of the Nile, near Cairo. The Giza Plateau is home to iconic Egyptian monuments, including 3 tall pyramids built as royal mausoleums around the 26th century B.C. The largest, the Great Pyramid, is King Khufu’s tomb. The Great Sphinx is a vast sculpture of a man’s head on a lion’s body. The Solar Boat Museum displays a restored cedar barge found buried near the Great Pyramid.

– Djenné-Djenno is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Niger River Valley in the country of Mali. Literally translated to “ancient Djenné”, it is the original site of both Djenné and Mali and is considered to be among the oldest urbanized centers and the best-known archaeology site in sub-Saharan Africa

– The Songhai empire, also spelled Songhay, was a great trading state of West Africa (flourished 15th–16th century), centred on the middle reaches of the Niger River in what is now central Mali and eventually extending west to the Atlantic coast and east into Niger and Nigeria.

– Numidia was the ancient kingdom of the Numidians located in northwest Africa, initially originating from Algeria, but later expanding across modern-day Tunisia, Libya, and some parts of Morocco

copyleft 2021 am moolla

l o v e





art from google


L   O   V   E  . . .



Your breath reaches me, banishing the gulf between you and I,


across the oceans, so near we could be together in the blink of an eye.



Your fragrance swirls its way to me, across the distance between you and I,


thousands of miles traversed, sharing our own carpetted sky.



Your gentle caresses stroke my emotions, sweeping away the minutes that separate you and I,


our hearts meeting, beating in rhythm, in tune with the solitary nightingale, who for its mate does solemnly cry.



My entire being reaches out to envelope you, in this wondrous cocoon of love, shared by you and I,


breaking the barriers that stone walls can never contain, however daunting, however high.  



art from google



The Light Shines …


A beacon for revolutionary and real change,

a torch dispelling the narrowness of prejudice.


The light shines.

A permanent flame in the quest for universal human dignity,

an eternal sentinel against the comforts of embraced apathy,

The light shines, brightly,

today.


The light shall shine,

in your heart and mine.


The light shall shine,

tomorrow, and for all time …









with President Nelson Mandela, Johannesburg 2008 – from right: my father, President Nelson Mandela, myself

my father with Nelson Mandela – Johannesburg 1950s



https://afzalmoolla.wordpress.com/2018/02/11/my-family-a-journey-through-the-years/



Apartheid South Africa

Apartheid South Africa




Nelson Mandela Centenary

(1918 – 2018)



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


A man of action forged in the crucible of resistance.


Resistance against racial discrimination.


Resistance against injustice.


Resistance against oppression.




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


A man burnished in the furnace of struggle.


Struggle to defeat the crime against humanity that was Apartheid.


Struggle against the obscene notions of racial superiority.


Struggle against the scourge of hate.




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


A human being who personified kindness.


A human being who embodied humility.


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




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


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


A man of forgiveness, and a man who battled the Apartheid regime for the need of taking responsibility for the heinous crimes of the past.


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




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


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


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


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




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


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


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




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


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


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


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




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




Our beloved Madiba does not walk amongst us anymore.


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


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


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


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


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


Madiba lives!


Madiba will always live!







The African Rains …




Soaking,

the rains settle,

meandering over jagged faultlines of our memory.




Drenching,

the rains settle,

streaming through veins,


the thud-thudding of the heartbeat of Africa.




Absorbing,

the rains that settle,

within each of us,


herald rebirth.




And,

if you listen,


if you strain to hear,


while shedding the raucous noise of your inner turmoil.


If you listen,


the whispers of the ancestors,


speak to us all,

lending us warmth,


urging us to stand,

even though we may stumble,


even though we may fall.






my poem below has been published in an anthology of poems by Myesha Jenkins. 

The launch of the book takes place in Johannesburg on Sunday May 28 at The Orbit.

the following poem of mine appears in the book …

Old Sof’town*




1.




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.





2.




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’

            ______________


http://www.sahistory.org.za/place/sophiatown
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophiatown

​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 Tanzania. 



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 ’72.



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)

won’t you … ?

​won’t you … ?


allow me to take your hand in mine, fingers kneading, knotted, wrinkled, from teasing out too many a paltry rhyme, somewhat scarred from the scraping of passing time.


we may walk a while, distilling the essence of love, far away from this time, hand in hand, epochs away from the polythene grandstand.


we have seen so much, seen it all it sometimes feels, holding on to sanity, just barely grasping onto a filament of hope, when all seemed bleak, when life splintered and felt far too much to cope.


won’t you let me take your hand in mine, far beyond mere words, long past mouthed vows, sharing the silence of weary travellers, who may have seen so much before, and yet persist, hoping, always hoping for a kernel of substance at the core.


won’t you take my hand in yours, it’s yours to take and to hold, away from this bazaar where feelings are traded as commodities, bargained over, casually bought, and callously sold.


we shall share pristine moments, shutting out the passing parade, fleeing from the boulevards of excess, as far away from the fickle charade.


won’t you take my hand in yours, allowing me to take yours in mine, knowing the pathway may be littered with nettles, and knowing this too, that we will always have each other, when the storms pass, when the dust settles.


won’t you … ?

Today we celebrate our shared heritage, 



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


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.

Mandela in Kerala

Madiba in Kerala.

A comrade from the southern Indian state of Kerala shared the following anecdote with my father sometime in the mid-1980’s in New Delhi …

… On a trip to his home state of Kerala, the comrade said,

“…I was on a small fishing boat with some other comrades, we were going to an anti-Apartheid meeting that had been organised in a small town.

During the course of the boat ride, I kept hearing the boat-man’s voice, as he was singing, and quite loudly too, a song in Malayalam,

And I kept hearing what sounded like the name ‘Mandela’, over and over again,

So I asked the boat-man who or what this ‘Mandela’ was?

“You come from the city, and YOU don’t know who MANDELA is?

I remember her beret,

on that rainy day at the bus-stop, 


she said that she had grown tired of the pretences this world demanded,


we spoke of Marx and she smiled, for I was much younger then, wearing it all on my sleeve,


she smiled, and we spoke till she had to leave.


we met at that bus-stop many times more,


sharing our laughter, our pain, of the knots that cut deep into our core,


she always wore her beret and she was fierce, brave and steadfastly traversing the murky waters of being a wage-slave,


we promised each other we wouldn’t be like the rest, not even in our grave,


ah but that was many moons back, when life was starkly coloured white and black,


I wonder where she could be now, and I hope she is as she was back then,


when everything wasn’t just about love and light and being zen,


I wonder too were we to perchance meet, would she pull me close out of the grime stained street,


or would she walk on by, leaving me to my own devices,


after decades of being whittled down, after making all the right choices … … …

​on your skin, scribbling odes to love,
angry, lost, empty,

raucous, pristine, encompassing love.
on my heart, scribbled odes embossed, etched, engraved,
yearning, pining, aching,
for you … … …


destiny

fate


somewhere

someplace


alfoat on honeydew petals


mere strands


filaments


years trickling through

fingertips


lost whispers

dreamed caresses


awake

alive …



smouldering

ablaze in the cauldron


of


destiny

fate


of convergent wisps

sprinkling kisses


on your

honeydew lips

breathless … …

​breathless, laboured

               tortured


each breath

                     swallowed


greedily gulping gasping


each breath

                    stolen

                               without you

​your fingers

mine


sketching dreams

scribbling hopes


my fingers

yours


holding back

resistant


knowing the path ahead

littered with thorns


oblivious

knowing


the path ahead must be walked


alone at times 

but never lonely 


not with you by my side

evoking a belonging felt true and deep


inside

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

you …


… uBuntu*




  


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

imagine … … …

a beach of solace


the lapping waves

tickling our bare toes


softly powdered sand caressing our feet


a carpet of palms

waltzing in the breeze


imagine …


you

i


setting sail on distant seas


far

far

away


bidding adieu to the emptiness of yesterday


sharing each other

knowing that your

smile


stays with me

within me


through

tomorrows we have still to see


sharing

our slice of peace


through

laughter

tears


through

joy

fears


to

bloom in earthy hues


when thunderstorms pass


blossoming into fiery scarlet


kneading away

our hollow suburban blues …


for ’tis in your smile

that my mirth resides


imagine …


your head on my shoulder


ready to face all

oncoming tides



imagine … 

​misty tears fall on splintered parchment


history simmers


the shackles of centuries cast off


the chains of oppression shattered


embracing new horizons


dawning

and

trusting once again

in that unfinished dream


of less famished tomorrows

scribbling verses

on her bare back


my fingers

rhyming

each flourish a caress

etching odes to hope

across the canvas


of her warm skin …



her breath

inflamed


seeking


fingertips

lips

sashaying in the evening breeze

dancing free

abandoning trepidation


what do i know

as 

fingers flutter


over undulating peaks

valleys …


softly

gently


as soul meets soul

she who is

half of my whole

she who remains


my perennial

meditation






 …





straining to hear

the thud-thudding of your heart


amidst this cacophonous crowd.



so

i close my eyes


and

i see you


floating on clouds

unfettered

free to just be


your wings spread proud

unclipped


skipping

hopping

across sunbeams


sketching your open sky


bathed in

colours vivid

alive


fiery

earthy

warm

fierce

gentle


each 

brush stroke


infused with hues


from 

the palette of your dreams …












Parched lullabies seem jarring,

gentle persuasion an assault,
quiet understanding reeking of decay,
fatigued under this skin in which I must stay.

Dreams of moulting,
shedding the hubris of crafty words,
flushing away all famished rhymes,
ripping the fibres of an ink-stained past.

Knowing.

Always knowing,

that honey-soaked kisses, seem destined,
breathlessly,
never to last

Embers fade,

disappearing into the hushed night …

Petals wither,
falling on the soft grass …

Words pale,
obscured by the anguish within …

Faces blur,
dimmed by the galloping years …

Kisses lose,
the urgency of those bygone depths …

Feelings recede,
lying dormant in shielded vaults …

Love loses,
fatigued after numberless skirmishes …

Pain flees,
seeking new wounds to inflict …

Scars remain,
sentinels against,

the dilution of memory … … …

Why him, they ask her …

​why, they ask her,

why him?

she always says the

day we met

and spoke

and laughed

she felt

all she needed to be was herself



William Dalrymple’s Inscription

William Dalrymple, author of ‘City of Djinns’ inscribed my copy.

Inscription reads “from an adopted Dilliwaala to Afzal, a real one”


😊

👍

Love, Mania, and Verse


The pendulum swings,
while the mania in my head,
strips me bare and yanks me,
into the cauldron of love.

Once again,
never divining the tea leaves,
knowing, always knowing,
the gnawing knots of unease,
that curl into a fist.

My isolation is a shield,
a suit of armour,
tightly clad around my self,
once worn,
then discarded,
taking its place,
on my barren shelf.

Love, mania and verse,
coalesce, beseeching me,
with timeous forewarning,
not to tread into the quicksand,
that slippery bog of promise.

Yet,
in times past,
in moments present,
tis’ that very promise,
that I cling to.

At times I lose,
myself in the crowd,
revelling in the solitude found there,

at times I claw,
my way back to the now,
aching for the pain that stings,

the buried voice that sings,
dirges to forgotten emotions,

scribbled verse that flings,
the toys out of my cot,

while I wait,
for the mania to stop,

knowing,
always knowing,
that it shall be,

merely a matter of time,
before the other shoe,
must, as always, 
drop


my starved eyes, aching for a glimpse of your smile, ready to beguile, their thirst quenched, seeking simple joys, not million dollar toys, finally, coaxed the ocean of your eyes, to reveal the kernel of truth beneath the veneer of lies, so love me now, today, where fractured dreams are made whole by the sea spray, plunging deeper into the ocean shimmering in your eyes, hoping we may breathe, like the terror of time, high on up into blue skies, where love roams unshackled, in that ocean so deep,


in your beautiful eyes … … …

tattoo … … …

An imprint of you remains,

mingled in the blood racing through my veins,

hewn into my flesh you stay,

a chiselled tattoo from our long-lost yesterday,

deeply branded by your entire being,

rooted to a memory incapable of fleeing,

torn, and twisting inside my skin,

the pain screeches like jangling cans of tin,

a desolate nightmare this agony feels,

with a phantom whiff of your sweet breath my soul reels,

now that you are gone, lost within a labyrinth of illusions,

your voice swarms inside my desperate delusions,

scratching, clawing layers of past moments spent with you,

you are a part of me, an unfaded, vivid tattoo,

and as my dreams of you frantically race,

I am unable to erase,

the blazing picture of your exquisite face,

so let me be, and leave me to burn in this furnace of my hell,

I should have known better,

but all that matters little,

because it was for you, that I fell

A Child of War

 
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,

as her blood soaks it the colour of cherries her mummy buys.
 

as she lies bleeding,

she sees people all around thick 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,

for even in death she bleeds some more,

shrapnel wedged in her torn stomach,

stealing the light from her bright little eyes.

as she lies bleeding …
in jallianwala bagh in ‘19,

leningrad in ‘42,

freetown in ‘98,

soweto in ‘76,

jenin in ‘02,

hanoi in ‘68,

beirut in ‘85,
raqqa now,

aleppo still,

gaza too.
 

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 … …

‘normal’

​they said she was opinionated, they said that she was loud,

they said she was too feisty, less prone to being a ‘normal’ woman, to listen and to keep her views to herself, they said she was too independent, less ladylike, far too manly.

I loved her because she was opinionated, loud,

I loved her for being feisty, less prone to being a ‘normal’ woman, to speak her mind and to shout her views to the world, I loved her for her independence, for who she was.

she was fierce, not macho, strong not manly,

I loved her for all of that and more … … …

mired in the bog … … …

​mired in the bog, unseeing eyes staring into the fog,

what becomes of a soul so filled with strife, that all of life, seems with tension rife,

what becomes of the soul that yearns to be whole, clawing at the freshly dug hole, a tomb of dreams torn apart, the cemetery of joys meant only to depart,

what becomes of the heart, swirling in the maelstrom of regret, cursed by the burdens of not being able to forget,

what becomes of the man, desolate and empty, devoid of yearning, as day turns to night, and night to day,

what becomes of it all, when hope scurries away … … …

you and i

​waiting for you, with quickening pulse,

desirous, anticipating the brush of your lips against mine,

kiss me deeply, i shall do the same,

today, and in our tomorrows yet to be teased out of time … … 

​weathering storms of fate, walking boulevards smooth as slate,

the hurt remains, the pain jabs, the emptiness sheaths,

while in the corner the beast of apathy growls, pants, and breathes … … …

​walking on shattered splinters, crushed glass piercing my soul,

your tender touch offers respite from the pain, freeing my soul,

to be once again,

whole … … …

Veils

Embroidered smiles, chiselled conversations,

banal, hollow,

the cacophony of practised apathy,
smothering,
whispers of the forgotten,

as smiles abound,

with coffee and croissants 

Searching,

in the debris of the past,
scraps of casually discarded emotion.

Searching,

in hastily trashed yesterdays,
an inkling of moments flung away.

Searching,

in heaps of rubbished words,
that tiresome sigh of defeated thought.

Searching,

in the layers of moulted skin
the wilting self that once was true.

Searching,

in the reflections between the ripples,
for the whispered pangs of roaring desire.

Searching,

in the blank eyes streaming endlessly,
an echo of the faintest sigh of new life.

Searching … … …

love | found

​hold me tight, she said, let us leave the cruel fates behind,

we embraced, clinging onto a love once too rare to find … … …

life turns … … …

​life turns, a coiled  tightening spring,

shattering souls, tormenting hearts,

life turns,

and all vows do hollow ring … … …

😼

l o v e  | y o u

​she told me that she cried a lot, she said there is a hole in her heart, she said this vacuum she could not plug, is the force that is tearing me apart.


and when i asked her what it was that plagued her so,


she said not casting out love, not losing that sliver of hope,


of never letting go of the imprint of love, of always holding on to you … … …

evening falls

evening falls,

thoughts of her swirl,

caressing each waking breath,

in the shade of her hair, gently rolling in the breeze,

beginning softly to unfurl. 

evening falls,

thoughts of her murmur within my being,

as she remains quiet,

as she remains unseen … …

​feathery kisses, caressing air, spring scents on the breeze, the taste of salt on skin,


disjointed memories,


ravaging the soul, mangling the heart,


ripping my very being, tearing it all, bit by bit, estranged … apart

Above: Sweden Summer of 1990

Below: Johannesburg Autumn of 2008

Greater Kailash S – Block, New Delhi early 1970s

​she is my all,

picking me up whenever I fall,

walking beside me, fierce and tall,

unafraid of what is yet to befall,

my all, my strident constant,

my friend, whispering away lows in flashes of an instant,

she is my all,

she is,

she is all … … …

​walking on broken glass, exhausted by all that is crass, seeking the green grass, that may still, yet, eventually come to pass … … …

​bracing howling winds of fate, of love, 

enveloped by darkening clouded skies above,

what becomes of the heart that feels too much,

but desolate emptiness,

merely traversing the daily grind,

fragile are the bonds, the ties that bind,

still hopeful, still searching,

for the solace that seems so hard to find … … …

Johannesburg Blues

​Johannesburg Blues.

walking in this city of diamonds,

gold deep beneath my feet,

sleeping under her rainy skies,

embracing my newspaper sheet.

i had a life long ago, a woman too,

now I’m just a huddle of rags

while the women walk past

never reaching into their Gucci bags.

she left me, or i left myself,

on these bleak Jo’burg roads,

searching for that fix

at these desolate crossroads.

now i stand alone,

these empty streets my bed,

my blood soaking the earth

with drops of beaten red.

so i wish you well, friends,

i wish you gold dust amidst the fray,

all of you who walk on and away,

leaving me to beg or borrow,

to get through another Jo’burg day.

_________________
published in http://spadinaliteraryreview.com/

awake, alone … … …

​awake, alone,

dispelling night cold as stone,

yearning, aching,

for a kinder, gentler day,

when rivulets of tears drain silently away … … …

​sashaying to strains, melodies strumming my veins,

in low plateaus, through deepest vales,

soothing life’s pains,

banishing icy rains,

hushing sobs, shushing wails, grasping day by its reins,

steering a course on the seas of fate,

where fear and trepidation pales,

free winds coaxing me ever onwards, into fresh pathways, along unchartered trails,

with hope,

always hope, within sight of the lighthouse,

keeping me ever afloat, bolstering my sails … … …

a hushed heart

​whispered memories,

fade, falling to the ground,

momentary kisses, flee, never to be found,

ah but what becomes of the tattered heart,

mutely shrieking, hushed, without sound … … …

love is kind,

how often have you been told,
but you flog me with your words,

you thrash me with your eyes,

you mangle me with your barbs,

yes, love is kind,

thank you for loving me so … … …

Gone are the white masks and sheets,

today the KKK struts in plain sight,

on nameless blood-soaked streets.

The past still lives,

breathes,

spewing hate,

stereotyping and profiling and generalising,

‘the Nigger deserved it’,

they still say,

as they continue to hate,

and to slay.

Justice is blind,

we are so often told,

but it’s deaf,

and mute,

and can be,

and is,

bought and sold,

just as they once,

traded,

bought,

sold,

flogged,

whipped,

lynched,

and raped human-beings,

and just as each of those human-beings of colour was called a slave,

today, in the 21st century,

a person of colour,

still better ‘know’ his or her ‘place’,

or face the racist murderers’ hate,

and be shot down,

and be clubbed

and be beaten,to an early, shallow grave

#blacklivesmatter

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