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 .......