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.