Wednesday, January 25, 2006


this week has been schizophrenic. i seem to fluctuate between complete optimism to downright pessimism and back every few minutes. i must say that it is some of you that have been responsible for the moments of hope through your comments and, for that, i am truly grateful.

the one advantage of these silent, quiet times is that i am spending more time looking at life in terms of what i want to achieve in the long term and what the elements of my life mean to me. it is often said that we must look at what we are grateful for, think positive thoughts and it will all work out in the end. cliched but i am a believer... it is just easier to say than actually practice, so i exist in chaos.

anyway, i found a piece i wrote a while back (in one of the many notebooks that serve as reference points when i am struggling to write), which I would like to share. as part of my whole quest to find the perfect poem, but going 'back to basics' and exploring what has come before me, i have been browsing these notebooks in the hope that there is growth and also identify room for growth. this poem 'stereotypical mumbo-jumbo' was merely a release of emotion and so i do not consider it something that needs to be worked on. if i had not discovered the blogging experience, it would probably never has seen light of day.

writing great poetry, for me, is balancing the emotion, thought and feeling with the craft. i seek perfection in both but some words are meant to be pure emotion... i apologise for the language ... although i can cuss like a veteran sailor, i tend to feel uncomfortable when incorporating it in my poetry but... here it is:

what’s all this shit about failure?
this illusion that beginning and end
must follow some archaic plan
I start, I travel, I climb
the ladder of false success
or I stumble and fall

what’s all this shit about success?
pursuit of material wealth
the money, the fancy car and the girl
seems to travel down some linear road
to a where that has
no real destination

what’s all this shit about right?
implying that your way
is the only true measure
of options available
to exist

what’s all this shit about wrong?
blindly believing that any state of mind
that is beyond
your narrow minded comprehension
cannot be right

what’s all this shit about…. ?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

writer's lock

in the attempt to redefine myself, as a poet, a writer and a human being, i haven't been writing much.... out of choice. let's call it "writer's lock". the occassional scribble does take place and, in the interest of continued sharing, below is a recent, incomplete, one. i committed to sharing to process as opposed to merely the final, polished 'product', and so:

throat clogged
heart choked
eyes glazed
mind hazed
hands tremble
spirit confused
early morning blues
i ... i ... i have so much to say
the words get in the way
i stutter
forget how to form structure
i know this
it's there
i think
i can speak
i need a plan
i think therefore i am ................................................

i am cold
very cold ..................................

starting over

This dependency on an old PC and an extremely slow dial-up line is becoming more and more frustrating. Plus the cost of logging on and surfing the web is more than I can handle right now, hence my extended periods of silence. Having found / established a home within the Blogging realm, it is difficult not being able to speak one’s mind and share in one’s thoughts on a regular basis.

The one positive is that, during this period, I have spent a great deal reflecting on ‘the meaning of it all’, especially since lightening fried my telly. I am a member of two poetic electronic discussion spaces and the last two weeks have been riddled with extensive discussion on various aspects of poetry, particularly around performance and writing.

I do feel that, within the ‘movement’ I operate, I have reached a relative ceiling in terms of my ability and evolution as a writer and spoken word artist, and, as a result, have been looking for what could be termed ‘the next step’. The discussions I have been privy to, have given me a clearer idea of what I need to find that direction.

At the heart of this epiphany is that, for me to comfortably call myself a poet and a writer, I need to delve deeper into my forms of choice and create context from the wealth of work that has come before me. In doing this, I am in a stronger position to be able to define and identify what it is I do and how it fits into the general scheme of things.

There is a sad belief, especially among young aspiring poets in my space, that what we are doing transcends what has been done. The question that has come to the fore is ‘how?’, to which I personally have no answers. To answer, I need to know WHAT HAS BEEN DONE BEFORE.

These discussions are too lengthy to detail here by if you do a search for UCT Poetry Web, as well as visit E-Poets Network (link available on my Blog), then you might be able to access some of the discussion. How I am able to take the words ‘spoken’ and translate them into better writing and ‘performing’ will be the gauge from which my body of work, in years to come, is perceived. A scary, but exciting space, to be in, but that is how important it is. I feel like I am only beginning this poetic journey. Easy

Monday, January 09, 2006

fake celebrity

Lately, I have become fascinated with the whole concept of celebrity - probably from watching too much of that blasted 'Entertainment' channel. Celebrity, which my trusty Oxford dictionary defines as 1. well-known person 2. fame, seems to have become extremely tacky. How difficult is it to become a 'well-known person'? As a result of my forays into the poetic scene in Johannesburg (and the fact that I have friends in strategic spaces), I have had my fair share of 5 seconds of fame on the telly and radio.

Even today, I shot an interview for a TV show called 20something (don't tell them I am way beyond that), where I was given the opportunity to rant on about my theories on inspiration, poetry and life. I have done enough of these to feel comfortable with a camera in my face and people in my home town now believe I am rolling in the cash and living it up in the big city because of these brief appearances.... you all know how that is going (see previous posts). Oh, if you do want to see the interview (for those in SA), it is on Sunday at 1pm.

Anyway, the point I am trying to get to is in the form of a question: because I have been on telly a little bit, does that mean I am a celebrity, or is my level of decadence not up there enough. How is celebrity truly defined? Should it not be based on one's accomplishment? Today I was asked what do I feel my accomplishments are as a poet.... my answer - I still have a long way to go so I can't really answer that (okay, that and a nice spiel about contributions to the artform and the publishing of two books).

It just seems like celebrity has become the new religion, with American culture being the dominant feature. Very little is said about the people who are actually making things happen. I love film and music as much as the next person- if not more - but shouldn't we be celebrating the people who are in the trenches changing lives positively. How does 50 Cent's house party compare to an HIV/AIDS hospice run by volunteers in the middle of rural Uganda? Yeah, I admit that I am as guilty when it comes to where I place my attention, but I am trying to change that.

My new theory is that we all need a cause ... something to drive us beyond the triviality of this material physicality. Something concrete. I am searching for mine. One of my favourite poems is by Miguel Pinero 'Seeking a cause'. Easy runnings

Sunday, January 08, 2006

another beginning

Greetings. We have finally made it through the usual festive madness and, tomorrow, everyone starts crawling back into the office.. well, everyone except for me. I am officially self-employed, following a few months of unemployment. The end and beginning of every year serve as periods of introspection, re-evaluation and resolutions for many of us. Never been big on the resolution thing, but I do try to take the opportunity to re-examine my life and determine where I am going. My biggest decision was that, the minute we hit 01/01/2006, I would re-define myself as self-employed. It is said 'we manifest our thoughts' ... this is my way.

Truth be told, that is as far as I have been able to go in developing a plan for 2006. In fact, I am probably more confused about my future than I have been in a long time. Is poetry in my future? Should I just get a normal corporate job? Am I on the right track? What am I doing wrong? It's the questions that define us. And I still struggle to find the right questions that will give me answers that inspire peace of mind.

Anyway, have been doing a little scribbling over the last month. Nothing complete, some things slightly coherent, but lots of ideas. Thought I would start off the year with this. May your dreams be fulfilled.

the answers are not in the lamentation
the tragic memories of yesterday
they do not come to us in blood
that runs through ancient rivers
or in the tears and pain that paint the sky red
coating the clouds with a twisted crimson

the solutions are not born out of repetition
recycled words of a past & present reality

history is not washed clean by a never-ending chant
babylon will not be defeated with hollow words or idle dreams

the revolution HAS been televised
and we missed it
fingering remotes
flipping through channels

the revolution had more than a cat's nine lives
and still it died
because tomorrow was never built on a lack of hope

hope implies looking into tomorrow and not yesterday
a future implies working towards something
not drowning in a past riddled with hate
living implies clarity & vision & dreams
beyond the haze is infinite discourse

the future is in the hands
of those who live the revolution in action
each brick carefully laid
each word carefully spoken
each battle ground carefully chosen
each action transcending reaction

when this happens
the revolution shall be reborn
and live again