Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Poetically Inclined

Another week crawls slowly to an end and I am a bit more enthusiastic about existence. Last Saturday I performed at Xarra Books and it was wonderful. The audience was gentle and open, and the Q & A brought up some interesting discussion. For once it went beyond 'what inspires you?' which is, sadly, the stereotypical question media always asks.

On the same night, I performed at the Sowetan / Snowflake Bridal Couple of the Year 2005/06 which was also fun. In line with the spirit, I did only love poetry and got a mention in the Sowetan (newspaper) during the week. Oh, got a mention in the Sunday World (weekly paper that has tabloid section) but they, at least, didn't give my name.

The Y FM June 16 celebration I posted about previously got the full brunt of the Shwashwi, which is the tabloid section of the paper. They felt that the event opened up with dreary, depressing poets and since there were only two poets, I guess I now qualify as dreary & depressing. It's funny to be rated by journalists who focus on the lives on what are called 'celebrities'. Obviously doesn't hold the same weight as the thoughts of Don Mattera or Nadine Gordimer, so will try not be too depressed. Actually, considering my mind state over the last year, it was probably relatively accurate. Ah, the joys of being recognised.

This weekend, I head home to Lesotho so the results of my daily writing sessions (posted on Imperfect Poetry) will probably be very irregular until Sunday. Won't have phone signal, so can't use my Blackberry & it's a mission to organise to get to email.

In a way, it will be nice to be unreachable for a few days. Keep on procrastinating on getting my cellular service unbarred for international roaming and I suspect that it is because home is the one place where I am run away from big city madness.

That's it. Easy

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Kojo @ Xarra Books & other ramblings

I seem to be struggling with words so:

Xarra Books present the poetry of Kojo on Saturday, 24 June at 15:00.

I will be sharing my writing from my collections 'Voices In My Head' and 'And They Say Black Men Don't Write Love Poetry'. May even do some edited stuff from my Imperfect Poetry Blog - have started re-working pieces from that space.

There will be a Q & A and I will try sound intelligent and coherent.

The whole getting up on stage in front of people has taken on a new life. My self-enforced hibernation has created a new fascination with that act - feels kind of new. We'll see whether that is a good or bad thing.

Anyone out there willing to fund a few poets from this side of the world to perform at events out there in the big bad world? If yes, holla. SA, and Africa, have been hiding creativity for too long. Busy sending out packs to international festival and poetry event organisers. They say the world is a global village and I am getting tired of seeing wonderful poets, writers, people languishing in the depression of inertia.

Okay, that's it from me for today. Not even sure I made any sense. Easy

Sunday, June 18, 2006

More irrelevant conversation

Another mildly eventful weekend. Friday was a public holiday in South Africa, Youth Day, which is to honour a significant moment in this country's history, namely the anniversary of the bloodiest days and the symbolic start of the June student uprisings. Sadly, like so many public holidays, it has become more about a day off and an extra day to party.

I spent Thursday nite at a Y Fm function to acknowledge the strides the youth have made in bringing about the widely covered and dramatically positive turn-around in SA. For those of you who do not know, Y FM is the main regional radio station in SA, covering the Gauteng province with Johannesburg as its heart. Y Fm is also at the heart of a lot of entertainment and youth-inspired events, concerts, etc in the region and its DJs have been at the forefront of music development and celebration in the country. Anyway, I was invited to perform to open the event, setting the stage for speeches by the Station Manager and performances by Tuks and Bricks, and DJs, including Monde. Not my usual audience and it was strange standing before a group of people who were more interested in getting their party on. I did have to compete with the bar a bit but it went down quite well, I think. I am always open to stepping out into new spaces and this definitely felt like a new space so the journey continues. Who knows, maybe I get to feature on the Y Fm website.

It's a funny world. The theory is that increased profile means increase in gigs, but the profile continues to grow with the gigs only trickling in. 2006 has been one of my quietest years and I am hoping it ends with an explosion. I could do with the good news. The future looks bright but it is today I am trying to deal with. The beat goes on.

There is a small show happening at Horror Cafe tomorrow evening at around 6 but I think it is a private event being organised by Myesha Jenkins. Building up towards next week Saturday at Xarra Books though I still do not know what I am going to be doing. You want to find out more about the store, see

It's 1am and tomorrow is a long day. Moto GP and the World Cup continues (yeah, I'm a professional sport junkie) and still have to fit in actually interracting with people. Once again, I blabber unnecessarily. Easy

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Words too can take up space

Another day, another post. Don't know if anyone has noticed, but this becoming a regular occurence. My lengthy moments of silence are getting shortened.

With the birth of my poetry blog,, this space has become one of confusion, namely what is the purpose of my regular blog. Like so many things in my life these days, there is no answer and so I flow with it, stumbling through irrelevant thoughts in the hope that there is someone out there who finds some form of relevance in these ramblings. I have learned to write without saying anything in particular, thereby filling available space.

I am a writer and I am a poet. I am really starting to believe that again and so I shall write until I have something to say. Sometimes the power of language is being able to use it for its joy, rather for the desire to actually say anything.

I ramble as usual. There is an error in one of my last posts, namely my performance at Xarra Books will take place on June 24th as opposed to this coming weekend, as previously stated. If you are in the Joburg area, please do come out and support. I am told there will be one or two poets to set the stage for my attempt at being deep so, even if it is for that, come out.

In terms of further 'performances', the calls are starting to increase so something should stick and I will probably become a lot more visible. In my own weird way, I have been in hibernation, seeking inspiration and enthusiasm. For those of you who read my words regularly, you will know of the mental blocks I have been battling to break through.

Anyway, I will try to keep all updated on whatever I hear about in terms of shows and the like, as well as where I shall be.

Enough irrelevant rambling. In the middle of the Germany versus Poland game and getting frustrated as ........ See my poetry blog for results of watching this game. I am obviously supporting Germany and Ghana in the World Cup, though I am realistic in my expectations. Okay, that's it. Till whenever. Easy

Monday, June 12, 2006

Move aside dorothy, this rabbit-hole is mine

Every day I get more and more excited about the Word, yet I seem to step further and further away from being able to actually write anything. I have deadlines for all the things I seek to do, but these seem to pass without much fanfare.

I started the year off with a plan. A plan that was about evolving as a writer and performer. A plan that involved the exploration of all possible avenues available to ensure the growth of Word, in particular, my Word. This plan has been implemented purely in my head and now I seek the inspiration to somehow manifest it in the physical world. I am tired of living in my head but struggle to find the way out of the cranial rabbit-hole.

I see the path to the light, but constantly close the curtains to avoid being reminded of how much I have thought and how little I have done. I seek the spark, epiphany, the proverbial moment of clarity. I feel like a weed head, forever stuck in theory. If only I could clone myself and assign implementation to my twin, thereby allowing myself to comfortably wallow in ideas. It's all very absurd, this I know, but we are allowed dreams. These are our sole possessions in life. Our bodies can be bought and sold, our minds can molded and directed, but our dreams are rivers of smoke that continue to exist even when the naked eye cannot see them.

There's the answer. I shall continue to dream. I shall continue to dream of climbing poetry's everest and I shall continue to dream of fulfilling dreams. That way I succeed, regardless of the outcome :-)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Blah, blah, blah ..... I ramble

This is such a weird space.

Every day I convince myself that poetry holds no future for me, beyond merely an expression of passion, and nearly every day something happens that creates doubt as to whether I should flee the Word without looking back once or keep on keeping on.

Often, I feel constrained by the borders of my small world, truly believing that there is more to this and that I have more to offer to a wider space. It is the inability to break beyond the bars of this self-infliced cage that frustrates me, has me questioning, has me disillusioned. Am I silly to believe that one can build a career as a poet? Am I wishful to think that I can establish myself as a poet? Is there a future in being a poet? Do I have what it takes? Is my work worth it? Do I have potential to grow, evolve and establish a legacy?

Ah, the questions.

I wonder whether I blog to expand my reach as a brand or to express and share with my fellow beings. All I ever seem to do in this space is question.

Ah, the questions.

Anyway, my poetic journey continues. Next week Saturday at Xarra Books in Newtown, Joburg, I shall be performing a selection of my poetry. Every weekend (almost), they feature a poet, provide an opportunity for the audience to ask questions, and have the poet shares their thoughts on whatever.

As to what I will talk about, share or even offer to whatever humble audience may arrive is as unknown to me as it is to you. I have reached a point where I find comfort in entering a 'poetic' space without a plan. Without intention other than sharing. At some stage I became a 'performance poet', meaning I spend weeks on end memorising poems, agonising about the writing, worrying that the audience won't feel me, etc, etc.

Now I work with what I have. I work off the page when I don't remember the words. I am finding a new respect for Words on a page and I am humbled when it is my Words I speak. Sometimes I speak other people's Words because, at that moment, they are more appropriate than mine. When I am in a space of sharing, I do just that. I do not 'perform', I am not a 'spoken word artist' or a 'performance poet'. I am just another human being defined as poet.

There are moments when I 'perform' and I am a 'spoken word artist'. That is when someone is paying me to be one. That is when someone seeks a novelty and I provide. That is when I am playing a part and I am no longer, for that moment, Kojo, but rather 'Kojo the Poet'. I am learning to be comfortable with that. I am learning that, as a human being, I deserve to be as comfortable and as happy as the next person. To dream of perfection as an artist does not imply a comfort with poverty or suffering.

Damn, that is a long post. Typing on my Blackberry, while convenient and easily done, does make it harder to truly speak. This is a moment of unhindered verbal vomit. See my other blog: Today I seem to be caught up in moments.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Who am I?

We spend a lifetime dreaming of what we want to be and do and how we want to live. A doctor or lawyer goes through educational processes that enable them to achieve career dreams. They study hard, become 'professionals' and, through their work, are able to achieve their personal ambitions and desires, whether it is to start a family, become a partner, have their own practice, or whatever. While the career consumes them, who they are as a human being is defined not merely by what they do for a living but also other aspects, ie. their hobbies, their character, etc.

As an artist, it doesn't always seem like it is a liberty we have. Our art defines us as human beings. As a poet, I write about the essence of me and, therefore, am defined by what I write. Don't know if it makes sense but just my thoughts. Sometimes I actually believe I am more than just a poet and writer, but those thoughts are fleeting. Always seems like, without poetry, I am nothing or no-one. Often I wish for the liberty of just being a human being who can come home from work and, when possible, can leave career behind. But poetry stays with me, when eating, sleeping, making love, sitting on the toilet, etc. It is in my pores, in the strands of my hair, on the tip of my tongue, everywhere.

I cannot run from it even though I wish I could. I cannot give up coz even when I am not pursuing a future in poetry, I still write, sometimes with glee, sometimes with reluctance and sometimes painfully.

Just reaching out. Just speaking out.