Friday, December 23, 2005

home sweet home

I've been really quiet over the last few weeks, working through getting my life back, following the armed robbery at my house. They say 'when it rains, it pours', I am learning the power of the universe and its ability to push you in the direction you need to go, even if it is kicking and screaming. The last few months have been insane and I have been forced to re-visit life and my role in this madness.

I've been stressed... so stressed I got tired of being stressed and decided to relax and let things follow their natural course. The year started full of excitement and optimism and, in a very twisted way, I am re-discovering my enthusiasm for life. I threatened to quit the whole 'being a poet' experience but have found that, when I am not focused on poetry being the breadwinner, the joy and passion that comes with writing returns.

I have always tried to use this time of the year as a period of introspection, a period to look inward with complete honesty, a time to be true to oneself. I am now home in Maseru, Lesotho (look it up in a map if you don't know where that is), with family and am rediscovering what is important. I sometimes wonder why I punish myself by continuing to try to build a foundation in a country that is not my own at the expense of my own country... the answer is for me to build and develop both at home and beyond.

Never been one for New Year's resolutions but I have promised myself that in 2006, I will do more not only for my adopted country and my home country, but beyond too. We supposedly live in a global village and the only way we can ensure that we do have enough of a world to enjoy in the future, we all need to throw in our two cents. I am going to throw in mine.

I am writing a lot more, so there will be more poetry in this space in the future. Hopefully, there will also be more about poetry globally. I am one man, part of a worldwide poetic family and it is time we started sharing, talking, laughing, working and playing together.

If I do not make it back here before the end of the year, have yourselves a beautiful one. For Christians, Christmas has a particular significance. For the rest of us, it is time to spend with the ones you love and celebrate another year of happiness, success and fulfilment. You are still breathing ... keep it that way.

Easy Runnings

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

poetry pimp...

When it comes to poetry, I have a few categories for everything I write. There is written, performance, personal and pimped poetry, to name a few. Seems relatively straight forward but I am sure you are wondering about the pimped thing. Well, this is basically poetry for money, with no qualms about what it is for. As an idealist poet in search of perfection, this does fly in the face of the legacy I am trying to create, but .... sometimes .... it is just about eating.

Anyway, just found a poem I wrote and performed at an event for Amstel on a hot Saturday afternoon, on the top deck of a boat, with a band jamming in the background. A bit long, but thought I would share .... it does work better when heard but .... yeah .... here goes:

Shh, close your eyes and picture a place
I said, close your eyes and picture a place
A calm & soothing space
An peaceful, tranquil space
A space where everything makes sense
Free from the day-to-day stress

It’s dark outside
But you’re inside
And inside the feeling is just right

Do you see it?

Okay, now listen,

You hear music
Soulful, funky music
Passionate, real life music
The kind of music that crawls up your spine
And puts a smile on your face
The kind of music that has your soul dancing

Brown sugar music
Soulchild music
Let’s get it on music
I know you know the kind of music I’m talking about

In the background you hear voices and laughter
Faint traces of cologne and perfume tickle the air
Around you there is joy, and laughter, and smiles
That reach the eyes and break the shallow surface
Of a distorted reality

This is where you belong

Feel the clothes on your back
The ground beneath your feet
The cushions beneath your ….
Gently caressing your body
As you lean back in total rest

Reach out for your drink
Awaiting your embrace
It lingers
On a coffee table on your right

Pick it up
Let the chill factor engulf you

Take it slow, don’t rush it
Take a sip, just a sip
In your presence, in this space,
Time stands at attention
Slave to your direction
This is a moment of reflection
Introspection, resurrection

The liquid trickles down your throat
Count to twenty-one
And take another sip

Taste it, hold onto that feeling
Savour it
Feel the room around you
The atmosphere, the ambience
Feels good, doesn’t it?
The height of sophistication yet comforting
Classy and smooth
It feels slow brewed
Filled with kindred souls
All in the same space
This is home….

Now open your eyes
You’re on a gently swaying boat
As you glide seamlessly through the water
The sun dancing carelessly on the ripples
The breeze whispering dreams in your ear
The trees murmur and bow in your presence
Your soul is at one with the universe
Okay, now repeat after me

I’m still thirsty!

I had to write this around the brand characteristics of the product and incorporate those elements into the poem. I do think there are some nice elements in it that I would like to carry forward. Any suggestions on how I can remove the Amstel feel and build on this would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

passing through

I am caught in a labyrinth, crawling through the trenches of my twisted soul, seeking something I cannot define. Everything around me is familiar, and strange - all at the same time. Utopia is a worthy cause, but how can we truly appreciate light, if there is no darkness. I am lost only because I know what it is like to be found. I write nearly every day but on most days there is no comfort in the words because I know what comforting words sound like. Often I sit in prolonged silence just so I can find joy in the sound of a butterfly's wings flapping. Plus the sound of my voice sounds so much better when unused. I listen because I love to be heard. I ramble in those moments when I have so much to say, there is nothing that can be said. The letters and words choose themselves and I am merely a channel for madness and chaos that, in most places, would be considered normal. The world we live in is so abnormal it has become normal to be strange, and familiar - all at the same time. This is strange. We are strange. I am strange. I am normal.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

more drama

I am writing this in a truly confused state of mind with 28 minutes left on the meter at an Internet Cafe. You see, I am at the mercy of this spaces for the first time in years, so it is really strange for me. I have always had access to the net. I have always functioned as a mobile office - as a writer, I love hanging out in coffee shops typing or scribbling away, coming up with new poems or new schemes for 'taking over the world. Today I realise how dependent I have become on technology, especially my laptop and cellphone, and now I am without.

At about 2.15am on Tuesday morning, the missus and I were awoken by a bright light in our bedroom. A man, of unknown origin, was standing at the bottom of our bed. He proceeded to silence us with a few strong words and the waving of a gun, also of unknown origin. After relieving our bedroom of our cellphones, jewellery and the missus' handbag, he told us to keep still and not move while he went back into the living room to finish up his night's work. Once he was out of the room, I jumped up, locked the bedroom door and we fled to 'safety' through our bathroom window.

As a result of this experience, I am now without two laptops and two cellphones, which means my ability to stay in touch with the world has become extremely limited. Ever the optimist, I am working on the theory that this state will only last for a week or two.

Not only can I not access the outside world, I have also lost most of my work from the last 5 months. I feel useless because I have always turned to the keyboard when bored, inspired, etc. That has been my source of income, joy and purpose. Now it is gone.

I suspect there is some great poetry in the experience but I am currently at a loss for words so please do forgive should I fall short in the next week or two. I shall recover.

I am now left with 17 minutes and need to attend to some other things before, so I shall be back soon. Easy

Sunday, November 27, 2005


I have a problem. I suspect all writers have this, but mine is rearing its twisted head again. I have a tendency of writing anywhere, any place and anytime on anything. To avoid carrying scraps of paper around, I have a collection of little black books that I carry with me to ensure that I always have something to write on. Problem is that it ends up being a different book everyday so I have writings everywhere, that I never keep track of.

Actually, the one positive is that, like money in the pocket of a jacket you haven't worn in a while, finding them always brings so much joy. Anyway, a friend of mine, Ayob, who tends to be keeper of my writings - my hard drive once crashed with all my work in it so I send them to Ayob as offsite backups - recently found a few poems I wrote over a year ago. This has inspired me to start reading some of my old work. I even performed a few this weekend at the Blackword Poetry Festival in Johannesburg as well as at a gig last week for the Gordon Institute of Business Science. (Oh, I got Ayob into blogging so check out - Revival of the Mentally Dead)

Thought I'd drag one out for you, which is from my book Voices In My Head, called 'listen to your footsteps' (why do I think I have posted this before? Must check & keep track):

i close doors
and hotbox minds with vocal dexterity
i twist meaning
and shade my ego from emotion
i lay my soul naked before strangers
and hide my heart with thick bush
i dance to god’s toe taps
and drown in the rhythm of doubt
i stand brave before giants
and quiver in the presence of children
i recite words repeatedly
and pray for salvation in affirmation
i listen to my footsteps
and search for the future in sound
i inhale weed smoke
and hope for spiritual clarity
i embrace confusion
and dream of normality
i keep both feet on the ground
and seek altered mind states
i see angels in every corner
and denounce ghosts in haunted houses
i live my truth
and epitomise hypocrisy
i justify lies with simple answers
and i am human
look into my shattered mirror
and listen to your footsteps

Latest news: I think I am starting to enjoy this poetry thing again... the last few months have been filled disillusion and frustration, but I think I am starting to remember why it is I write. As long as I do not depend on the Word as my passage to wealth, I shall be find.

Also, I finally got my books into a bookshop called Xarra Books. If you are in Johannesburg, or are ever in Johannesburg, do visit Xarra in the Newtown Cultural Precinct. While you are there, pick up Voices In My Head and And They Say: Black Men Don't Write Love Poetry.

That's a lot of words for one day.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I have spent the last two months wallowing in a state of hibernation, reflecting on life, love and the purpose of breathing. Not necessarily the best state to exist in but it's been working for me. I believe everyone should have the odd moment of self-pity to put life into perspective and give one a ditch to crawl out of... if you don't fall, how are you going to get up? Twisted logic, I guess, but it helps me breathe.

I am now being dragged, reluctantly, back into society... I am performing at three different gigs over the next week, which should make for an interesting experience since, other than the scribblings I post here, I haven't been doing anything poetry-related and I haven't been on a stage since the beginning of August. Oh, the only performance I've done was on Channel O's O-Boma.

Anyway, this Saturday heralds the Blackword Poetry Festival at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, which, as far as I am concerned, is probably the largest poetry festival attempted, with 20+ poets, emcees and bands, including Lebo Mashile, Afurakan, Flo, Kabomo, Napo Masheane, Ayob, Myesha Jenkins, Sabelo, Moemise Motsepe, Natalia and Kojo. Put together by the Lenaka boys, founders and publishers of B.Ko poetry journal, it should provide to be an awesome experience. It starts at about 10am, costs R30 and runs for the whole day so if you in the area, swing by.

I'm looking forward to it and maybe this is what I need to get back into society.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

the pain of love

she loves to calm the demons
seven headed reflection of her inner beauty
born in the image of medusa's bastard off-spring

as painful as it may seem
schizophrenia lies within us all
blanketed by the layers of the abnormal

and she is us is she

divine creature of day and night
makes you see into the porous eye of dreams
where hope is reality
and all we dream of is flight

possibility multiplied by infinity is we
cradled between the lines of her fingerprint
we see only the burden of the love she has loved
never really seeing the tomorrow of the love she has loved

and she is us is she

her bright-eyed future is ours
where the petals of a dying rose
are the seeds from which tomorrow grows

she may have been loved before
but she will love again as will we

because she is us is she
and she is LOVE!!!

This is something i wrote for the Seven show. I seem to be caught up in a love where everything is love. wrote this over a year ago but the same line seems to crop up even today. wonder if there is a message ... too tired to think about it. just wanted to share the words.

Monday, November 14, 2005

aimless ramblings

I have no idea what this post is to be about so I have decided that it should be about nothing. Totally directionless. Simply fingers tapdancing across the keyboard, making their mark wherever they want to.

i seek deliverance from normality
freedom from the ordinary
hope from within humanity
just a little extraordinary
a slice of special
a piece of fantasy
i seek deliverance from normality
that's all i seek

I dream of greatness, and making my mark on the world, and often wonder whether the great ones are as haunted by feelings of inadequacy as I am. Do great people know that they are great? A line I like from Common is 'do wack MCs know that they are wack'.. or something to that effect.

All we have is hope. All that keeps me going every day is confidence in my ability to achieve whatever I put my mind to; then I spend more time worrying about not doing anything. I hate this time of the year ... i usually start shutting down and questioning everything I have done for the year.

Every December I decide that if certain things haven't happened by the end of the next year, I shall retire from poetry and write merely as a hobby, and every year, I find reasons why I should carry on my path, although what was supposed to happen hasn't happened. Drives me mad.

Am I alone in my madness? I feel dazed ... see pic

Thursday, November 10, 2005

moment of clarity

I have recently experienced a 'moment of clarity', a brief moment when life finally made sense. It may not be a big deal for some, and others may have known this for some time now, but it hit me like a stolen kiss two days ago.

The chance of me being able to comfortably live off poetry is close to nothing. It will always provide me pleasure and I will, undoubtedly, become better at it, maybe even achieving a significant level of recognition, but it will never pay my bills. Publishing, performing and recording poetry shall provide me with some of my needs and wants, but they will never bring me true wealth.

I can possibly thrive off the spin-offs that poetry may provide, such as copywriting, corporate theatre, television and theatre scripts, etc, but not purely off poetry. In other words, i can make a decent living off 'creative writing', of which poetry is one, but not solely off poetry.

The thing about this 'epiphany' is that it might just be the answer I need to re-discover my love for poetry. This whole 'building a career as a poet' thing was starting to drain me of my love for the Word. If my job is focused on something else, I am sure the joy shall return.

I am now seeking a cause. A worthy endeavour that shall become my poetic guiding light. I want to have fun again.

In Word We Trust.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

one plus one equals one

Was at friends' wedding this weekend and had a moment of momentary inspiration. The missus tends to abuse the fact that I play with words for a living (well, an attempt at a living) and buys cards for all occassions that do not have writing in them, just so I can scribble something.... the pressure. Anyway, while at the wedding, these words made their presence felt:

i inhale her the way only lovers can
and exhale into her

deep within her

we are siamese twins
connected by love's umbilical cord
recipients of a life force like no other

none have loved
the way we love
and none shall love so deeply again

we consume each other daily
oblivious to all that is trivial

we are love

Thursday, November 03, 2005

new addition.... durex

okay, so i finally put in new header. not perfect, i know, but it is a start. got advice on how to improve it, or on what else you would like to see in this space - Word-related - please drop me a line. got poetry and/or arts related initiatives. share them. my shortest post. cool, a quick titbit from seven (see previous post for explanation) ... called Durex

It calls me constantly
Evidence of failure
in matters of the heart

It mocks me
Daring me to throw it out
As we count down to
the numbers on etched on its back

they say condomise
it says:
sooner or later, you have to get laid

seven ....

Last year, I was involved in an initiative to shake-up the comfort zone I had created as a performance poet. Seven male poets came together to conceptualise, develop and enact a theatrical poetry-based play called 'the streets have lips'. We called ourselves Seven, which consisted of Ayob Vania, Common Man, Flo, Afurakan, Mak Manaka, Kabomo Vilakazi and yours truly and we spent about six months writing, workshopping, rehearsing, etc and eventually put the show on in early September last year.

We had big dreams and great plans for the future of the endeavour but it eventually collapsed due to a number of reasons including ego, priorities, dreams, etc. What I have learned over the last two years is that working well with someone does not imply that you would get along with them purely on a personal basis. In the poetry scene, this is a difficult thing to understand because we are all chasing dreams and, therefore, our total interaction is on the basis of poetry - we start thinking we are friends because we spend so much time together and have so much to talk about.

Anyway, Seven never made it past its opening night and, for a long time, I haven't even looked at the stuff I wrote for it - the deal was that everything written for the production was purely for the production and couldn't be shared outside of that context. Somehow I have continued to adhere to that policy despite the fact that the arrangement does not exist anymore.

So .... to get beyond all of that, I'm going to put something from the show.... the 'title' poem - the streets have lips. oh, every poem was written according to a particular 'theme' or emotion and each poem featured stanzas from between 3 and 7 poets. The streets have lips featured all of us:

they read our destiny
from the cracks
beneath the soles of our feet
and we bleed

they whisper truths
in the swirling dust
and we close our eyes
blinded by unrelentless truth

they cringe at every crooked step
every misguided stumble,
and we weep

when slapped on both cheeks
we trip over our foolishness
hoping that our next step
shall reveal the eternal blind spot
and bring clarity

the streets lie inanimate
victim to our constant blundering
waiting for the day
they shall be heard
and the future shall be determined
without the blood, without the sweat
without the tears
that drench them daily

they are one with our footsteps
these crooked paths, these highways, these byways
and tomorrow they shall still be there
leading us, guiding us, coaxing us
till that one day when
we shall travel free of the hate and pain

until then
the streets shall always whisper:

the streets have lips .....
the streets have lips .....
the streets have lips .....
the streets have lips .....

It was an awesome experience while it lasted and taught me a great deal about collaborative work, some good, some bad. Who knows... maybe someday when we are old and grey, we will dust off the manuscript and do it one more time, just for the hell of it - no better reason to do something.

Monday, October 31, 2005

make it last ...

i generally do my best writing in those seconds before i succumb to the sandman's embrace, so i usually scribble words into my phone. the joy of that is i am always finding stuff i don't remember ever writing. just discovered one and thought i would put it out there.

lightless nights comfort me
pitch black shadows love me
it is the spirits that sing me to sleep
it is the spirits that keep me company when i sleep

the physical is the illusion that haunts me
chokes me, dehumanises me
humanity is a theory i prefer to read about
and watch on TV

i am a product of the hermit revolution
we seek segregation from the human race
space to interact on anti-social terms
beyond politeness and the right thing to do

grant me my wish, oh great serpent king

i do not need much to survive
a roof over my head
food in my belly
and enough distractions to distract me from the absence of voice

i wish to ween myself off people
wallow in mud and drown in breathless quicksand
empty the hour-glass of sand
and fill it to the brim with water

that's how much time we have

let the movement of this lifetime transcend the trivial
let it live immortality in each moment
let it be without societal dramatics

just let it be

sometimes i question my own state of mind. sometimes i pretend that my thoughts are not my own, because the alternative can be frightening. sometimes i find it all silly and funny. sometimes i wish all i had was laughter.

Imperfect Poet Banner

The idea is for this to be the new header at the top of this Blog. At this stage, it isn't because I still haven't figured out how to get it up there. I would be interested in your thoughts, comments, etc. Is it crap or does it have potential? Drop me a line. Easy

The Imperfect Poet Banner Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

passing through

probably a weird thing to say, but i am merely passing through this space. acknowledged it is, to a large extent, my little slice of the world, but while the need to reach out is there, i am passing through. the last few weeks have been interesting. having spent the last year with steady income, i have done what most people do in that situation - acquired expenses beyond my means. and now that steady income has dried up, albeit temporarily. existed as a freelancer for about two years and was able to survive; now i am having to re-learn the hustle. not easy, but i believe the universe shall provide .....

there was a time when difficulty inspired the WORD. now difficulty inspires FOCUS, leaving no space for literary banter. strange! first i learnt how to write without any mind-altering substances. then i learnt how to write when i am happy. now i struggle to put pen to paper when i am down. don't know whether that is good or bad ... guess i will have to live with it for now.

thoughts .......

money is not the root of all evil
man is the evil that gives it that energy
the soul corrupted by the blind desire
the heart pumps tainted blood
the spirit sees no hope but
the pursuit of man-made triviality

the value of life is relative
and relativity governs human perception
and money grinds away at morality
and for money
immortality becomes a distant dream

am i making sense? sometimes the words just come without thought, without meaning. sometimes it helps to just write. strangest thing that ever happened to me was sitting down to write a poem about how miserable life was and how much i wanted to unwrap the tentacles of depression and just run free. instead the poem ended up being about love and how the love for another does not imply the magical ability to fix everything .... it ended up being about how, sometimes, we have to let those we love live their own lives - our job is merely to love them. don't you just love words?

the pen said:

just write
the words shall come
clothed in bravado
knowing that all you dream of
is their arrival
their comfort

just write
randomly select words of no relevance
until they click into place
and start speaking lifetimes

just write
until the right words come
pretend that without them
you are nothing more
than a vessel

just write
and pray
and hope
that one day
sooner, rather than later
the words shall come
and speak your truth

Monday, October 24, 2005

listen to your footsteps

been trying to figure out how to enhance my blog template, hence the extended period of silence. obviously I haven't figured it out yet, but the time shall come. would like to share a poem from my collection Voices In My Head - nice thing about publishing under your own company, no issues with what can be put out.

i close doors
and hotbox minds with vocal dexterity

i twist meaning
and shade my ego from emotion

i lay my soul naked before strangers
and hide my heart with thick bush

i dance to god’s toe taps
and drown in the rhythm of doubt

i stand brave before giants
and quiver in the presence of children

i recite words repeatedly
and pray for salvation in affirmation

i listen to my footsteps
and search for the future in sound

i inhale weed smoke
and hope for spiritual clarity

i embrace confusion
and dream of normality

i keep both feet on the ground
and seek altered mind states

i see angels in every corner
and denounce ghosts in haunted houses

i live my truth
and epitomise hypocrisy

i justify lies with simple answers
and i am human

look into my shattered mirror
and listen to your footsteps

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

seconds before sleep

i continue to wallow in indecision and confusion. the clarity of my purpose has been exchanged for blurred visions of an unknown future. we all face our demons, we all have our crosses to bear, but the universe gives no more than what we can handle. the words of comfort are easy to come by, the logic is simple, but somehow it doesn't make it easier.

i find myself questioning my thoughts, my actions, my dreams ... and the answers do not come as easily as they used to. this should be the perfect period for writing but reality has imposed itself so strongly on my consciousness that i cannot see the stars through the smog. when i close my eyes, i see the reflection of my innate sadness and when i open them, i am engulfed in chaos. this is my version of wallowing in self-pity, in the hope that i shall snap out of it as the words speak back to me from the screen. we shall see. at times it inspires poetry.

i wonder why the caged bird sings
beauty in melodies tinged with hope
a voice loud inspired by possibility

i wonder why the caged bird sings
when the bars obscure its vision
when things fall apart
and crumble beneath the weight
of the universe's truth

the beautiful ones are not yet born
and we are in limbo
awaiting word from the heavens
answers to questions we do not ask

we are silent
and yet
the caged bird still sings

i wonder why the caged bird sings

thanks to maya angelou, chinua achebe and ayi kwei armah ... some of you may see the reference, albeit simple and shallow.

i had wanted to include an image of a 'caged bird' but struggled to find anything that captured the spirit of what is felt. that desire was driven by the belief that people will find this space interesting if there are pictures ... but all i know is words and why shouldn't the words be enough ... they are enough ... easy

Thursday, October 13, 2005

something to calm the madness?

Why does one actually 'create' a Blog? What inbred desire is it that drives one to put thoughts, feelings, their lives out there for millions to see? I still search for that answer in the same way that I question why I get on stages and share parts of soul to total strangers ... why I scribble on blank pages and do everything in my power to ensure that my words are heard.. I am plagued by these thoughts daily, but while I cannot define this desire, the need to express is still there and so I continue to search for answers in movement. These words may have no meaning to some, but the belief is that someone out there will find relevance. It is a strange space, like being on television or on radio, where the 'audience' is detached physically.

Performance poetry has blossomed, I believe, because of the intimate relationship that is created in bars, clubs, conference halls, outdoor spaces, etc. The space to get energy directly from those listening and feeling.
Finding a way to get that same connection from letters on a page or on a computer screen is harder. But it must be done. Finding commonality between us as human beings is the battle half won. I am optimistic. I am an idealist seeking utopia... it may seem distant, but a worthy cause, in my book. Today, mind in overdrive, words spill, no sense, nonsense, random ramblings leave traces of perfection, sometimes, thinking can be tiresome, i often seek the comfort of the arbitrary....

anger is easy
smouldering souls breathe fire
tongues licking at the flames
throats parched, thirsty
hearts burning
chasing a cause
any cause

This space, for me, is one where I can - and will - share the words that come to me, in their original form. The perfectionist says the words should be edited ... that is done elsewhere ... here, my honesty resides, with all its flaws.

third eye blurred, in need of spectacles
alien sights ignite soul fires
burn lost souls living white collar realities
and sweat leaves salt residues on forked tongues

we lie to mirrored reflections
and hope that the equivocation of three witches
is justification enough for blindness

our grandfathers never died of stress
they built hills when mountains were impossible
and found peace
they fought not with your education and knowledge
but with the beating of their hearts
and the memories of their fathers and mothers

our grandmothers never blindly opened their legs
to build castles in the sand
they molded family with love
and a strength that came from a bloodline fertilised with hope

your spirit was not carved out of concrete
but from the sands that your ancestors inhaled
the dream is an illusion
wake up and it shall become real
the dream is not a dream
so quit dreaming of dreams about fulfilling dreams
and live

a man once told me that life is what you make it
but failed to define the essence of making it
so we run in circles
and call the end the beginning
when we return to where we begun

city of lost souls is the place we call home
when home is where the heart paints reality in the sand
and identity is who you were as a child

i write words to be heard by my spirit
because i hear clearest when the page reflects my sadness
and turns it into happiness

i am we
an ordinary man
dreaming reality

All I have are words. All I can share with you is these words. Find your meaning. Digest and decide whether these words have relevance.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

let love rule ....

Been getting lazy with my posts, primarily because I am been going through a bit of a writer's drought ... not blocked, just running dry. Finding the balance between being an artist and 'hustling' to make a living leaves me drained. There is a balance. There is a way of existing in the creative and corporate worlds. There is, and I continue to search for it. Decided to try my luck in the National Novel Writing Month initiative as a way of getting out of my comfort zone. How often do we procrastinate on what is achieveable?

The problem with my plans is not the plans but the fact that I never get off my butt to implement them. A lifetime of 'what ifs' is a life unlived ... is that where I want to be? I think not.

Anyway, when in doubt, I have always found solace in poetry. When I struggle to write, I read what others have written and/or read what I have previously written. My muse is the woman i share my life with, and I found this poem the other day that she inspired.... would like to share.

she inhales my passion with every breath
and dampens the fires momentarily
she licks the pain from my eyelids
and blows passion back into my soul
as she travels the contours of my spirit
igniting pleasure with each twist of her tongue

the power of pleasure is etched
into the palms of her hands
nestled within a heavenly paradise
that only she possesses

in her presence, we rise, are drained, and rise once more
reaching heights unnatural in their fury

to be or not to be is not the question
to feel is the answer to our existence


i could drown in her fingertips daily
i could drown in her belly-button daily
i could drown in her expanding pupils daily
i could drown in the space between her heartbeat daily
i could drown in the corners of her mouth daily
i could drown in the vibrations of her voice daily
i could drown in her every breathing pore daily
i could
i would
and i do
for we have found a space
that could only be defined as ours
and she is the waters
that quench my thirst endlessly

This was performed as part of a poetic theatrical show called 'Seven - The Street have Lips', featuring seven Johannesburg poets: Kabomo Vilakazi, Ayob Vania, Common Man, Mak Manaka, Afurakan, Flo and myself. We pulled a lady from the audience and performed a 10 minute love poem, incorporating stanzas from all, that had her blushing. Was awesome. Met her a few weeks ago and she still remembered the poem, down to specific lines from various poets. Reminder of why I so love the word.
Old pic, but I love it. Performance at Sacred Heart
College with Flo beatboxing.

We look so artistic and 'in the moment', don't we?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

a state of desire

i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
that speaks to the heart
disconnected sense that sings
about love & laughter
pain & tears
as it runs from rational, sequential words
that claim to speak truth
on stained blank pages

i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
remniscent of that one moment
when you felt in your heart
that you had found the one
the one voice that silences everything else
and speaks only to you

i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
that speaks infinite truth
poetry that lights the path of humanity
to the fulfilment of destiny

and bridges the gulf between heaven and hell

i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
that is rhythm, blues and gentle bass
all rolled into one symphony of song
and keeps you dancing
when the words have been long forgotten

i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
that tears at your insides
pounds on your chest
and sinks to the pit of your stomach
leaving you gasping for air
begging for one more line

i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
that is as pure as the laughter of a child
as sweet as a first kiss
as beautiful as a glimpse of heaven
as mystical as a first love
as tender as a mother’s touch
as strong as a father’s heart

i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
that is a journey into fourth dimensions
of rage and happiness
slipping between the lines
that divide sense and nonsense

i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
that is spring showers
and the first crisp winter’s morning
when it feels like the cold
has come and wiped the slate clean

i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
i want to write poetry
that is like mind-blowing sex
the kind that makes you sweat rivers
violently twisting your limbs this way and that
‘coz something this good
could never be this simple

that’s the kind of poetry i want to write

until then
i will keep hoping that one day
the unseen will possess my writing hand
decipher the feeling behind the sound
and write poetry that is more than poetry

profound headings are difficult to come by

For once, I decided to actually plan this, which doesn’t necessarily mean it will, in any way, be profound or better than my previous posts, but rather I am probably going to take longer to write it. The last two weeks have been interesting. I have realised how comfortable my life had become, and how far I have gone from the days when I was freelancing, trying to live solely off my poetry and writing. It is when things get difficult that we should count our blessings, and I have been blessed over the last three years. Scary to think that 4 years ago, I was jobless, in debt and living out of a bag (sleeping at friends’ places). While the trials that I deal with daily may seem hard, I now have a job, a beautiful wife, my own home and all the comforts I could possibly need. Everything else is a bonus.

Trying to keep this in mind as I deal with today. Last Monday, a truck decided to change the look & feel of my car, which wasn’t insured, and I am trying to get the trucking company’s insurance to pay, as it was the truck driver’s fault. Been told this could take months, which means every day is a new struggle to ensure that I am mobile and the missus is mobile, sharing one car… but, at least I have a car to share.

Been trying to remind myself that things aren’t that bad and I am more fortunate than a lot of people in the world …. doesn’t make it feel better, but have been trying. Aw kcuf it ….. in all honesty, I just feel like whining and feeling sorry for myself. Let’s leave it alone.

The poetry scene in Joburg has been quiet, but if you looking to check something out this weekend, come through to the Couch & Coffee, Newtown Cultural Precinct next to the Market Theatre. Show starts at 15h00, costs R30 (I think) and always features Joburg’s top poets. Awesome show with a tranquil, family environment made for lovers of the Word. Swing by, you won’t regret it.

Watch this space, another poem coming later on today! If that is of any interest to you.
ps. sketch by Peter Oellermann, featured in Voices In My Head, a collection of poetry by yours truly

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

yesterday .....

it is night. i am hurtling silently toward possibility. it licks my eyelids every time i blink. i am travelling, open hearted, towards the unknown - the comfort of an old pair of jeans fading, blurring in my rearview mirror.

i am in the present, haunted by yesterday and tomorrow, the murmur of possibility droning incessantly, creeping between the fear, the disappointment i carry with me.

i have left it behind. it burns with apathy, with disregard for what could be, with the fires of chaos, confusion, misguided anger ..... with my blood.

home has been invaded by the kind of madness only stupidity can bring. i can only go forward. my backward glances are only to see how far i have travelled. i look forward and dream. i can only dream, because without dreams, what else is there to believe in? to follow? to pursue?

i had followed the chosen path, and failed. 'pick yourself up', my father always says. i have picked myself up and fled. i don't think that is what he meant but it is done. once you jump, there is no stopping.

it is night and i am driving in silence, being carried forward. forward ever, backward never, damned are those who hold us back, tie us down.

it is night and i am hurtling silently toward possibility.............


made it back from Lesotho in one piece. the trip was quite successfull, with the biggest moment for me being when my old school was shut down for two hours so all the students could come watch us perform ... surreal experience, and now that it has been years since I left, the teachers (who had been there while i was there) had wonderful things to say about me. anyway, the whole journey kind of confused me - i have spent the last five/six years trying to contribute to the development of poetry and literature in south africa, and neglected my own home country... where it is needed even more.
I grew up in a city where there were, and are, no avenues for any exploration of the arts, in any form.... no music schools, no theatre groups, community centres, not even a national arts council. the issue that plagues me is how do i throw my soul into a country that is not my own, without even contributing to progress in my own. no answers, yet! but there will be.... watch this space!
it bleeds from pores
drips in a slow rhythm
drops splatter and dance
and rest in puddles of thought
it seeps out follicles
colouring the dullness of life's grey
with bright red and deep crimson
it carries essence
in streams that flow
through spirit
it wipes chaos clean
brings hope
....... is life ...... blood poetry .......

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

life beyond .....

Taking off to actually interact with the world .... although the 'fly on the wall' existence is a lot more fun.... the search for the 'perfect poem' continues... back on Sunday (for anyone who is actually interested) - this is like being a radio DJ, we speak and hope that someone actually listens.

the stars speak to me / in the dialect of the gods / and tell me of the birth of the universe / we sit in silence / speak reflections / live orbits / and often rest on mars / for cocktails of red dust and imagined truth / and when the stars retire / under the harsh glare of the sun / i speak to myself
the voices in my head are imaginary / - fictional manifestations of the god in me - / but they too speak incessantly / carving history from memories
i am an empty vessel / and when i sleep / too tired to think / i channel celestial orchestras / as soundtrack to my dreams
my umbilical cord was cut at birth / and re-attached to the universe / so i think in stanzas and verse / blinded by a truth / i don't really want to know
the bliss of ignorance is a comfort to those / who do not hear the galaxy cry at night / as it frays at the edges
frequently / the moon sings the planets to sleep / to dream of new-found galaxies and the breaking of stars / the battle between the moon and the sun is half lost and half won / a cold war that will crack when the universe / cracks under the weight of infinity
i hold my breath and pray for a moment of sanity / tho i've been sane most of my life / and insanity is probably what i need most...................................
words, hope they make sense to someone, 'coz they don't to me. sometimes the 'voices in my head' run riot, take over the pen and whisper strange thoughts. easy runnings

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

sleepless days

Running on empty today... only thing keeping me going is spirit. Reality seems very surreal right now, following three days of little sleep and too much writing (business-related). Add to it all, a truck driver decided to re-design my car last night. That said, still went through to the Gordon Institute of Business Studies this morning (at some ungodly hour - the world should start at 10am and end at 2 am) for a Seminar on 'The Role of the Arts in Empowering the Nation'. Intense. I was one of the speakers, talking about my perspective from a poetry angle and I think I did reasonably well. My epiphany from the experience: I have spent so much time trying to make a living from my writing that I have lost sight of the power of word, and its place in society. Still trying to make sense of it all. The seminar is part of what GIBS calls the NEXUS programme which involves middle to top management from major corporates coming together over a year - this aspect was part of the efforts to expose corporates to a world outside of their own and educate them on the possibilities that are out there.
Okay, feeling incoherent so not going to get into this. Sorry. Activities for this week? Doing the UNISA Festival of Languages on Thursday with Kabomo and Myesha Jenkins, then head of to Lesotho for the Morija Arts and Cultural Festival. Travelling with poets: Napo Masheane, Lebo Mashile, Ayob Vania, Kabomo Vilakazi and Myesha Jenkins. It feels like a bit of a homecoming for me in that I started truly exploring the Word in Joburg and now I am going home. Hoping to also setup more activities and events around poetry there - talent is everywhere, it is about where the possibility lies. I grew up in a household where the sky was too much of a limit and in a country where opportunity to explore alternative lifestyles is, or rather was, extremely difficult. No music school, no studios, etc, etc. I need to make a difference in establishing a true presence for the Word.... this is hopefully the first step in that process.
'i am the voice of nameless men/too scared to speak/ their words caught between their lips/ bubbling in the space between skin and flesh'
'your pupils are the mirror that reflect dreams/ and so / only you see them/ from the inside'
'nowhere is after somewhere/ and i think i am there'
'i miss your rhythm/ when pleasure whispers mystic melodies/ beneath sordid emptiness'
'she peels the petals of my song/ the rhythm of my heartbeat laid bare for all to see/ i am putty pushed through cracks'
omnipresence: seek & you shall find/ bleed & you shall cry/ smoke & you will get high/ stand tall & the devil shall fall/ dance-black-dance/ speak-shout/ chant it down/
but remember your place
Yeah, that's my story. I'm tired.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

the business of artistry

Greetings. Summer in the southern hemisphere is really starting to kick in with the short skirts, shirts, and the like being pulled out from the back of wardrobes. It's a beautiful thing, but sadly, haven't been part of the process up till now. Living in two extremes trying to find balance between living life (with all its luxuries) and being an artist. This weekend has been spent working on a presentation - I'm off to Cape Town for the day tomorrow to pitch for a project. I have often been asked how I find balance between management consulting and creative writing - I still search for the answer. I took a job in attempt to create a solid foundation, which I wasn't getting when I was freelancing as a writer, and have found that, while it provides me with the funds to promote and develop my art, it also takes time away from that. Guess we all have to live with the consequences of the choices we make.
Anyway, in a twist, on Tuesday morning I am giving a talk at a business school in Joburg to a group of suits on 'The Role of Art in Empowering the Nation'. Great opportunity to hustle some funding from those with the funds but I am having difficulty laying out my thoughts. One of the things I have always believed is that, as artists, we are great at being artists and totally hopeless at the 'business of being an artist'. The quest for purity and 'realness' in the Arts has resulted in a never-ending cycle of artists constantly getting screwed. For decades, we have heard stories of artists dying in poverty while their managers, etc, reap the financial benefit. Well, the way I see it, this generation of artists has been exposed to these stories so much, the only reason you get screwed is out of your neglect.
Isn't it time that we learned the business to ensure that we are never hoodwinked by those in the 'know'? It is about time we learned from history and took the necessary steps to ensure that it does not repeat itself. If we don't, we will continue to exist as society's martyrs, tapping into the suffering of humanity, while lining the pockets of those with the foresight and skills required to turn those insights into money.
So what am I going to talk about on Tuesday? How artists must learn the language of corporates and how corporates must learn the language of artists to ensure that we can find a middle ground that will benefit all. It touches us all in different ways and it is important that we all honour those who create.
more words, scribbled ..... i share my notes because, while they may not be well-written (pre-edit), they do carry my truth before logic comes in to mold it grammatically, sequentially, logically ..... before they are prepped for page or stage ....
i am, you are, we are
i am, you are, we are
distant souls trapped in a mindless cage
our humanity cloaked by the surreal bars
we are plural, yet live a singular distortion
i am, you are, we are
i am, you are, we are
i, you, we breathe lies
and bury our truth in fiction
how strange!
comfort is an umcomfortable reminder of what we see
in moments of silence
i am, you are, we are
i am, you are, we are
drifting, floating, dreaming, hoping, drowning
but never living
empty inanimate vessels
dressed in the emperor's clothes
crying wolf when it is ourselves
we should fear most
i am, you are, we are
i am, you are, we are
robotic, automated, mechanical
zombies manacled by a past
wiped clean by history
hobbled by legs that don't bend at the knees
shackled by the lumps in our throats
our voices rendered mute
by broken and forgotten dreams
i am, you are, we are
i am, you are, we are
tired, lifeless, lethargic, inert
and still believe the future is in our hands
our aged, crooked hands
destiny supposedly lies in these hands
we are too blind to see
that the path to that destiny
is overcoming this reality
i am, you are, we are
i am, you are, we are
Copyright © Kojo Baffoe 2005
Let me get back to the grind. easy runnings

Thursday, September 22, 2005

just words - love & hate

these are just words, but words that come closest to speaking my truth.... that come closest to expressing what haunts every waking moment and, sometimes, when i sleep. i am told i speak words when in the sandman's embrace ... this is what i try to say:
she is truth
delicate, fragile yet strong
she lives in the space between heartbeats
and I have tasted her flesh
the tip of my tongue probing her intimate spaces
she moans and thrashes
beneath the weight of my confusion
guides me to the core
amidst the grunts and groans
i have loved and been loved
her love bittersweet
her touch tainted
her thoughts distant
yet a love i crave incessantly
mistress to many
i am one vessel
traversing the ocean that is her
oblivious to the wrecks
that glimmer beneath purple nights
the pieces of the lives
of those who came before
float silently on her surface
i am just like them
believe myself different
swim on, the voices say,
find salvation in her arms
i am indecisive
i give love and take it back instantly
i have tried to leave countless times
i have tried to turn a cold shoulder to her affections
i have tried
i try
i tried and failed
she is beautiful
she is beauty
she is my first love
she drowns me in words
and leaves me tongue-tied
we are a paradox
for which i seek the answers
she is my first love
she is Word
and when all else fails
In Word We Trust
Copyright © Kojo Baffoe 2005
would love to hear your comments ... your thoughts ... even your criticism. easy

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

book readings

The Fort West Heritage Foundation has been holding a series of Book Readings in Pretoria. The next one, titled 'Three Generations Three Authors' is on October 2nd featuring Noni Jabavu, Khosi Xaba and Lindiwe. It is a Literary Lunch and Book Readings from 'Drawn in Color', 'The Ochre People', 'These Hands' and '180 Degrees' - new fiction and poetry by South African Women Writers.
Venue: Old School House, Fort West Village, Pretoria Townlands
Time: 2pm till late
Fax +27 12 378 1454
Cell - +27 (0)82 366 0342 (Khomo) or +27 (0) 83 360 2333 (Linda)
No drama today, nothing vaguely intelligent to share beyond this. If you have poetry events going on, drop them as a comment or send me an email and I will include.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

poet's prayer - a work in progress

Verbal vomit, let me know what you think:
forgive me father
for i have sinned
it has been 23 days, 5 hours and 36 minutes
since my last poem

i have stared at the page so long
my eyes reflect their whiteness
and the world has lost its colour
the words bubble beneath my skin
scratch the insides of my pupils
but remain hidden from my pen

i have resigned myself to living through the words of others
but i am a poet
i seek the voices
they have gone silent
they have forsaken me
for that i accept blame

forgive me
forgive me
forgive me, father
for i have sinned
it has been 23 days 5 hours and 37 minutes
since my last poem
i no longer share my dreams with the page
i have forsaken her for a microphone and the stage
my poetry is spoken
and lately
i am breathless
which makes it hard to speak
and harder to write

the ink in my pen has clogged
my word has found comfort in the arms of others, and.....

for my discretion
for my misguided deception
for my feeble attempt to journey into realms
beyond purpose
please, forgive me, father
Okay, really liked it when i started .... not too sure now... have no idea where i am going with this.
The latest in poetic happenings in this part of the world:
Festival of Languages CELEBRATING DIVERSITY - School of Language and Literary Studies, UNISA, Pretoria - 28, 29, 30 September and 1 October 2005
The Festival is a three-day feast of drama, talks, interviews, poetry readings, sign language, DVDs, videos and performances. Highlights to include: the play, Tsafendas, Don Quixote - a ballet; Chinese Calligraphy; and performances, talks and the like from Jonty Driver, Mathews Phosa, Tony Links, Leon de Kock, Henning Pieterse, Finuala Dowling and others.
I will be performing on the 29th with Myesha Jenkins and Kabomo Vilakazi at 11am, so for those of you in the area, come by and support.
Will probably mumble something about this again, as we get closer to the time, but if you need more information or would like to book for any of the days (or all), then
Phone: 012 429 7604 or Email:
Cost: R10 per day: R25 for the entire festival
Cheques paybable to Unisa: Language Festival
Should be an interesting experience, but we will see - will let you know how it went down after.

Monday, September 19, 2005

african publishing and writing

Interested in publishing? There is a one-day conference on African Publishing and Writing at the British Library Conference Centre in London. "Writers, publishers, academics and librarians, and anyone with an interest in African publishing and writing, are warmly invited to attend."
Why the apostrophes? Repeating their words, which I wouldn't want confused with mine. Don't you find it ironic that a conference on African Publishing and Writing is being held in London and not on the African continent?
"This conference will be an opportunity to discuss the state of African publishing today and developments over the last decade. It will consider how and where new writing is being published, and connections between Africa and Britain and Europe....
Questions to be discussed include:
  1. What are the barriers to publishing in Africa and where are the opportunities - in Africa and abroad?
  2. How and where is African-language publishing viable?
  3. What role can UK libraries play in acquiring and promoting African literature?
  4. Have things got better or worse for women publishers and writers?
  5. What is the relationship between publishing and development in Africa?
  6. How is the internet changing things?

For more information, and to register, contact the conference organiser:

Dr. Marion Wallace, African curator, British Library at"

I was personally glad to hear that the conference is free and follows AFRICAN VISIONS 2005 'Think Africa', A festival of African Literature, Culture and Politics on October 15 - 16th. Now all I have to do is rob a bank to get funds to actually get to the UK, find accommodation and possibly have a meal or two while I am there to discuss publishing challenges on my home continent, which I just left.

Want to know the challenges facing writers and publishers in Africa? Simple! Come to Africa and talk to the countless writers and they will tell you. Talk to a poet on the streets on Johannesburg, Accra, Lusaka, Nairobi, Cairo, or a novellist in Windhoek, Maseru, Luanda... you will probably get your answers there.

I am in the process of setting up a publishing house to be operational by mid-2006. Publishing is easy ... write something, get a quote from a printing company, get it printed, pay them and you have a book - oh, get an ISBN (which is free), create a decent cover and someone to help you edit. So now you have a book .... how do you get it out? I have found that distribution is the hardest part of the process (well, that and determing whether your writing has something to actually offer) and the incestuous relationship between major bookstores and traditional publishers means it is literally impossible to get your work beyond your backpack. How did I find this out? Bumped my head so many times with traditional publishers who are looking for the next book by Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Don Mattera or Ayi Kwei Armah and not interested in the next generation of writers that all I had was my own desire - and the help of Daddy - to publish and be heard. I am but one individual.

In Africa lies the answers to the problems that affect Africa .... not in the UK or Europe. Let me leave it at that.

Easy runnings