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Looking for answers that pop through the boundaries of thought

A few thought-provoking ideas, reflections and entertainments from the deep south of Cape Town...

Some serious, some frivolous, some perhaps just ranting - see what you think!

Poetry

I've performed and published many poems over the years. A whole lot from the last 4 years is waiting to be gathered and recorded again, which will hopefully happen soon. (Crowdfunding welcome :-) )

In the mean time my 2012 CD, "Far Beyond the Currently Possible Horizon", is still available by contacting me direct on simric1@gmail.com. You can hear all the audio tracks (and download) at simricyarrow.bandcamp.com

Here are the words to the poems (and the one song), all copyright moi. Plus some "notes" to help y'all out.

 TAKE OFF 2012

Bing! Bong! Bing!
This is the final boarding call for the spaceship Gaia
Leaving from gateway 2012, destination far beyond the currently possible horizon
Passengers are reminded that they are in fact crew.
Please check in with your whole beings, leaving only your baggage behind;
This craft has been designed to run on a judicious fuel combination of Love and Imagination, and all taking this trip are therefore requested to ensure they have a
Full Heart-Tank prior to departure, and that all extraneous flammable gases are released,
Preferably at high volume and in the presence of children.
Running, skipping, leaping and whooping in the aisles is mandatory, and for this reason seat numbers will be regularly swapped before excessive comfort sets in.
Please observe carefully as our delightful bevy of attendants demonstrates how to loosen your safety belts.
There are no emergency exits worth taking because it’s time to wake up.

Yes – we have been sleeping
This young upstart start-up species of ours
And what monsters have visited our nights!
Shame-worms and guilt-snakes and
Figleafs spawning fashion industries and plastic surgeries
Steel-lipped smiles beneath large cool shades
But the global alarm siren is crooning to us
Haven’t you heard? Body-based bliss is the new bling
Let’s sweep our flame-wings up and
feel the potency of the carbonated sunshine in our spines
Don’t be a kundalini meanie, dare to share your fleshy tingles
Open your eyes and dive your magic-mind-body-beautiful
Into sumptuous seas of skin-shine silk
Dive into the delicious black hole at the core of our galaxy
Dive into the delicious mystery at the core of every soul

Can you cope with this succulent cornucopia?
Let’s be guided by that ancient perfect GPS beating out our power pulse
Breathing in the essence of presence from all directions
Until from every ecstatic pore ooze laughing Buddhas, horny angels, fabulously mythical fellow mammals,
foul-breathed long-hidden wild-scaled and actually gorgeous darling devil-dragons
peace-giving sword-wielding sons of gods and terrifying tornadoes of goddess sensuality

This year let’s trust we have the inner polar charge to polar-shift society
Let’s trust we have the strength to build the
most exotically erotically poetically vulnerably vibrating version of reality imaginable
brick by multi-dimensional sublimely demented DNA-transforming shape-shifting brick
Let’s trust we nuclear doses of divinity can stretch our spirits
so that every last festering wound is offered to the sweet healing breath of this life
Let’s trust we have within each of our hearts the perfect
mothers fathers elders brothers sisters teachers lovers we used to complain that we’d missed out on
and
Let’s know that the universe is waiting to share with us how much it loves us
Let’s know that this exquisite earth is rising to express her full animal-vegetable-mineral glory
for those of us who pause and feel and rise too to the challenge of our own born-free birthright
seeing our own star-studded brilliance streaming out
in beautiful surrender to the desires of the only One there is
hearing the music that She plucks from our throats
dancing the moves of her cosmic paintbrush
ripening into the vast orchards her visions have planted
rejoicing with embodied relish in her unstoppable flood a-flowing
and sensing just how big our tribe is growing

Ladies and Gentlemen, I do declare, we have planetary lift-off…


Song for Sheba 

sheets folded convent-style
perfect as freshly-opened double cream
we crumple them with our soft storms of legs and lips
a deeply earthly cleansing 

and when I meet your hennaed hands
and lose my fine edges in their playful curls
I marry you anew in this blackbird-spoken moment
and we reveal again our looking-glass divinity
while the languid streams of passing carpet-flights
promise silk-routes to the source-sea 

we may be the first to grin with
the secret smiles of flirting daisies
the first to wonder if
archangels inspired holy hymns to
self-denying ashrams and austere monks
and helped them steer souls with their harmonies
through the alleyways of years
so that one day we might dance our
lovers' sambas to their ancient speaker soundtrack 

for this ice-warm 21st-century purr
this potent ocean star-juice-knowing
coconut-cracking clawing-giggling tenderness
resurrects the gods

[The Song of Solomon is of course the "sexiest" book of the Bible, which perhaps isn't saying much. His great love is considered often to be the African Queen of Sheba. So here's a post-patriarchal update...]

Climate Co-Creation

The coral fades to grey and the field-beasts fade to white
And the waves carry surfers high above our barren buildings
And the winds blow acid onto the stunted saplings
And the parched land rains frogs again
And the earth’s cries of grief are the only memory left
And cancerous locusts eat the bones of our vanity
And the rotting hulls of auto-wrecks remind the ghosts
Of our monumental ice-mammoth follies

We could choose through delusion this vision of oblivion
But let us rather choose to polar-melt out of me-polarity
Linking hands and feeling with feet
Playing humbly with our mortal solar power
Allowing the bounty of the ground to shower
Untold miles of festive smiles

Rousing the forgotten saxophone voices in the
Politicians’ souls that wannabe as free
As our love-dove songs and
As loopy as tumble-honey bears dancing into spring
A freedom no oily crude barrel-bribes can buy
Returning the clock to that time beyond time
Where CO2 is just a thing for trees to chew
And humans have no time to divide nations and minds and lives
And lands and limbs and lambs

But only time to make acorn-ornaments for bird-bower houses
Floral monuments and curly-turtle sand-shows
Wand-wishing beauty-seeds over the fretful world
Till faint strains of these, our choral conquests
Wash the ocean deeps
And cool the corals back into bloom

Gathering Dust - (a live version from a couple of years ago is here )

A new exhibition is being curated
In the All-Africa Museum of World Culture
Where, subject to strict temperature controls
The complete set of Stonehenge uprights is on display
In another room, a signed Folio of the renowned shaman, Shakespeare
And some Grimes Graves ancient arrowheads
Please mind your fingers as you pass. Refreshments are available
Along with souvenir replicas of the Mona Lisa (a recent purchase
made at smiling gunpoint)
The original cast of The Marriage of Figaro
Stuffed and tastefully mounted
Right next to the section showing
Admirable bits of admirals’ rears
All contained, of course, within the European room. A room with
Medieval pedigree reaching back to the times of
True-Cross-Splinter collections and saints’ worship-worthy knucklebones

Beyond this faintly rotting gathering of gods so dead
That sacrilege is no longer deemed to apply
A woman waits, burning her journals, and weeping like her mother did
For her gene-generations tell stories from other caves
Whispered on days of blessing and mourning
Sung over moving dunes under starlit skies
In forgotten tongues that only scorpions hear
And single-filing children seeing scimitars
Feel the dust-walls fall and dream of feelings
Those Victorians failed to crush in drabness

And having felt the power-pulse they move on
Confident that heaven alone archives what is true
Here, perhaps, new cathedrals of the senses
Collected collective celebrations
Will rise in sandstone dreamblocks and shine for all.

[Grimes Graves - a Stone Age quarry site in Norfolk, UK; every ancient Catholic church seems to have its ghoulish relics from the True Cross to saints' bones]
 
SANGOMA CHILDREN (First published in 'Flying on the Lucid Fringe')

They’re at it again
Sangoma children drawing fiercely
Filled with the seasoning of purity
Quivering with the giggling eruptions
Of tiny giants falling.

Delicate, delicious, then suddenly
All-devouring these boldly going souls
Step delightedly on toes
Squish beans and mash and fish with fingers
Slimed and slippery until the awestruck
Parents servants clear the decks
Pristine seconds till the pendulum 
Swings back and time rolls us on.


From the first crawl to the siren of bikes
Is shorter and further than the fifth element
Still the sangoma children lead us on
Pounding us with feisty funny rhythms
That wear no sleeveless hearts
But strip us bony, peel us to the inner
Naartjie 
Fill us with a need to tumble and tremble and
Tickle us with sweet flowers freshly picked
Call us to build safe temples for
Fragile shongololos 
Forcing us to fart out our demons
Until we too truly learn to be
Dragons riding the wild horse herd
Of raging life.
Blessings to my sangoma children! 
Camagu!

[Sangoma = African shaman; Naartjie = small sweet citrus e.g. tangerine, satsuma; shongololo = African centipede; camagu = Xhosa term of respect/blessing]


OF GOD AND GAIA (AN EVOLUTIONARY LOVE STORY) 

I found you swimming backwards
up a chimney clogged with dolphin’s tears
caught on a wispy whisper
until at last you learnt to grasp the flames 

I etched with you in primeval forests
sketched spirit-seams penetrated wild and weedless
by cycads bristling with
cycles of carbon crystal curls 

I kissed you as willingly as you shone
through the glazing of petrified thoughts
to numbers on a slate
slates on a fractal mountain
red with the sunset in your veins 

I lay with you and felt soft
metallic droplets of time soothe our backs
as creatures from our dreams lumbered juicily
over the furlongs to the starting gun 

Which woke me from dreamtime to a deeper human sleep
I forgot the foreverness of our shared story
forged iron choices built on lonesome shadows
till blood-light flowed on my blade and pierced my heart 

I cried for you and more for us
our lush entwining vines now biltong-dry
your most mysterious pearls crushed underfoot
by burst banknotes and bullets in the belly 

I sing for you a new creation carved
in airy freedom on the wings of rainbow spirals
beyond three-dimensional despair
born from an ancient urgent longing to smell the
colours of your mind and know
that you feel the pure gold of my being
silently pulsing in the moonlight 

[biltong = southern African word for strips of dried meat
 cycads = dinosaur-era gymnosperm plants, still relatively common in southern Africa]
 
Take A Step With Me

take a step with me
and let it be an awkward never-before step if it must
but take a first step giant leap onto a new planet

maybe it feels like one where the air oozes
medieval restraint, courtly gavottes and shy eyes
but dance a dervish arabesque anyway
and if your waltz freefalls into a poker-faced polka
find your inner dotty bikini
let this world’s warm eddies lift your fluttered lashes

there is a Harlem jive in every girl and boy
there is a child in every tight-hipped stone
(stones have their own low-down funky moves you know, but I’m sure ours are more fun)

loosen that tuxedo, do the barefoot tap
swing your heart over your shoulder and if
it needs to wail from some ancient pond
long obscured by water-weeds and ulcer-aches
know this dance-planet is a sanctuary
and the screaming-streaming is the first flow
the first burst-through bubbling of a spring
on its way to whirling mighty seas

turn your tutu
meet the dolphin-souls around you
feel the sonar-sounding salsa pulsing through your being
trampling demons into wine in a circle of connected flair

we’ll dance a dance to praise the dead
we’ll dance a dance to raise the living into bloom
shaking out the royal jelly in our belly
catching eyes and tossing them back again in this

the rattle-rolling tangy tangerine tango country
the deep beat heart-heat bleating rippling with promise land
the extra-terrestrial no-shame game galaxy
the lead me backwards in stilettos and surrender sister solar system
the bird-free on two feet together kingdom
the golden glory catch-me-if-you-can universe

take a step with me
and dance with us 
towards yourself


[first performed at Biodanza teacher Daniel Cohen's 64th birthday party!]

Theatre in the Park

window-panes tortoise-drip see-through streamer-lines
clinging to the darkening frames
wood-shack planks swelling now
remembering their sturdy forest forefathers
snails drown delighted in vrot milk stout

and while the pumpkins roam free across the park
a man sniffs the damp
umbrella-clad
turns another page of trash-pulp
littering his mind with unscooped poop

his brown-eared pup shakes off its drenchcoat
a centrifugal centipede movement-moment
now weaving across the slowly marching master-figure
back and forth in instinctive sine waves
(for only human ley lines run straight)

and then as the geese fly low on their
volcano-free flight-paths
our hero feels a pelvic undershriek
crushed too long in tight thought-bottles
and as the clouds pause for insucked breath-beats
he surges out of slip-shit shoes and performs
a Swan Lake in laddered leotard
mascara-smudged and gorgeous
voice brimming with the melodies
of the half-tended garden beds’ fat vygie fingers

from the grateful waders and daisies
comes an orchestral ovation
at a pitch heard only by dogs
and passing angels

now there will be more performances like this
and the land’s ever-glowing heart 
will love them.

[vrot = Afrikaans for rotten/off; vygies = "little figs", succulent ground cover from which the Cape Flats favourite sour fig jam is made]

A Nuptial Sermon from an Ordained Minister in the Department of Foreign and Marital Affairs

Dearly beloved lovers of love
We are gathered here today to witness
Two declaring that they’re one and free
And to say in wonder “oh my! How they’ve grown!”
For what mere words can capture the perplexed complexity
The exaltation elation morning percolation before the tribulation and palpitating revelations
Of relationship?

Shall I relate the revealed truth about the theory of relatives?
(Sometimes known as the theory of special relativity)
It’s right there in the Apocryphal Gospel of Numbers which is
Channelling through us all right now – Can You Feel It?
You see, 3 cried out “I’m tired of everyone seeing me as just the sum of 1+2,
I want to be an individual!”
And 9 said “But darling, you’ll always be a square root to me”
4 declared she would stick by 3 through thick and thin
While 7 just gave a mystical grin
And 6 yelled out (as usual) “I am not a number, I’m a free man!”
Until 8 patted his hand, rolled onto her side and bamboozled him
With her infinitely chaotic curves
Thus began the great and slippery adventure of relating
The great love-crumble baking
The great incitement to excitement
The first peeling of a passed parcel
The first mixing of a new and juicier kind of glue
Of which we see before us today
One glorious and wholly improper fraction

For the goddess of amour had said to Adam or Abraham or Andries or another of those old patriarchal dudes
“Yes! You can have order and results and balance, and even a perfect marriage and bites of delicious apples, but only if you keep everything moving!
If today 2+2 wants to play at being 6,379½ recurring, let it! It’ll be a much happier 4 tomorrow!”

So I invite all of us beautiful products of this cosmic wrestle
In these quantum times of mindful togetherness and
Fractious fractal waves flirting with a ferociously fruity future
To bless these two in their pea green boat
And let us unleash our piggy-wig passion from within
And if anyone knows of any impertinent impediment or unseasonable unreasonable reason why we may not celebrate this evening
For heaven’s sake, go shout it to the hills,
And when you’ve got it out of your system come and sigh a sweaty dancing Om with us
For ours is the king and queen-dom
The power and the gorgeousness
Forever in all weathers and for all our relations – water, fire, air, rocks, plants, beasts,
Our children, our women, and our men.

[google Number 6 and his quote if you like, especially if you're not English and of a certain age; this was originally commissioned for Peter van der Post and Jacqui Simpson's Commitment Ceremony in 2011]

Psychedelicious

it was a time of instant graffitication
when billboards flashed out pounds of flesh
when ranters rampaged
across the trillions of ill-digested words
and wanderers wondered at a world full of
deurmekaartic governments

it was a time of fighting for the right to shop
for pre-cooked veg from sleazy strip-malls
built to block the dangerous dreams of
permaculture gurus and their untamed soils

it was a time for FIFAllic displays
mighty strutting peacocks distracting the
people from fair-play trade-aid
corporate-tackling truth-tellers

it is a time of alien conquests
in hapticklish cyberzones
while extra-terrestrial terrorist tourists roam outside
punk-passing trance-pills to the sleeping masses
but also teacher-plant trips to the wakeful few
chewing air thick with newer views

 it will be a time for schizophrenic society
to thrash and moult its padded skin-thin cells
to drain gulps of rampant log-moss juice
and feel a tongue-burning cleansing passion-poison

a time to find
previously unknown new pubescent protrusion
promising potent world-pleasure to those realised in the real
a time to banshee-climb to newly-spoken body-forms where
jigsaw jigs and even rumpus reels are daylight-danced

a time for all times and none
for stepping through the plume-waves of ash that
strip open our long-plastered wounded holes
into the whole

where the fields of planet-plants grow fruity delights
for our sixth and seventh senses
and hold us in our collective masterpieces

where each soul is a vintage universe
and all universes are you
vibrating at the frequencies which
solder our spider-spiral-healing soldier-souls
to the funkiest beast-beats in the yonder blue
and you are now
and we planet-dwellers weave fine-lined journeys
through whichever dimension we might choose

[deurmekaar = all over the place, messed up (Afrikaans slang) - add this to democracy and you get deurmekaartic... haptics are the science of virtual touch, hence hapticklish...]


Fermata

the burbling humming honking of the day
comes to rest beneath the sun’s last pink wings
and birds make gentle calls
at heights to crest the hills

between my toes the solid crunch of
branches worn to twigs
rocks worn to pebbles
warm-blooded beasts worn to pungent soil
is felt throughout my vibrant skin
and inner notes rise up within

singing with a clarity to shape the clouds
and tempt the moon
and owls to share a wisecrack hoot or two

there is peace in the world
and it begins in my softening heart
I know my fingers touch the winds and there smell the world
and in a smile of sky
I fly home too.

Peace Day


Let us declare the arrival of World Peace
the always-peace that lies
in every watery cell of our beloved much-abused bodies
in every watery cell of our beloved much-abused planet
Let us wail cataracts of wild calm,
spout-sprouting coral-tunes with our deepest belly-swirl basslines
Let our vapour-breath mingle into magical mushroom clouds
spreading torrential outpourings of pure peaceful presence
May monks’ musical mantras blossom
into flying white carpet-blessings from their snowy lands
May our tear-words clear to liquid crystal displays of joy
in mirror-pool meetings with other moist souls
May the holy rivers of blood within us glow
with seaweed-wishes and hearty community stews
May we take up arms and fingers and tongues
to sound out spell out sing out pebble-ripples of softness and connection and
Let us swim the eddies of the chaos with salmon-trust that our voices of love are heard
turning warships to worships to will-be ships of global friendship
sailing over the ever-listening ever-caressing waters of our world
riding onto soothing shores in a passionate wave of peace-prayer
that floods over the rocky barricades with surging beautiful foamy truth
daring to surrender into the bubble-bursting giggle-streams
of a peace-performance
which we weirdly wonderful world-loving peaceniks can no longer hold back from
for it has already begun  


[first performed at the International Peace Day celebration at Cape Town Civic Centre in 2011]

Meat or Greet

I've got tummy ache.
It started under fallen yellow arches
back when a large Coke was the real thing to do
and a sticky flesh slab in a bun was kinda fun
garnished with forced smiles and the gourmet tastes
of tik and ketchup brew
an inside sewage kind of stew

I've got tummy ache
E numbers flash before my eyes in
ecstatic effluent excess
effusively leading me to farty Smarties parties
these days even baboons on raids
prefer their yoghurt fat-free
But oh! The shame of Aspartame!
Just google it and see

I've got tummy ache
and as I soften 'neath the gentle hymns of Kenny G
apathetic victim of supermarketed allergies
I wend my way through the miles
of sacred shopping aisles
a weekly wedding cavalcade
that covers more than it unveils
(meat crimes hide with elegance
behind the words we've loaned from French
but that's another tale)

I've got tummy ache -
it's bubbling over with stout-soaked stoats
and well-swilled wines
marinaded fish eggs in a vodka-coated slime
served on a bed of dollar bills
in a globulous gobbing tribute
to the overfishing trawlers of today
and the brave sailors of the past
who would not rest until the last
Mauritian dodo had been eradicated
and they could laugh off their scurvy stench
displaying all the scary teeth of the Great White Human
folk memories repeat in the throat
while I bite another leg of stoat

I've got tummy ache
growing groaning self-raising in my gut
too much affection for confectionery
insulating my skin with insulin
just another junk-food junkie
cos the sugar on the label
is no natural bee-buzz
but a snorting crystal rush
and the caffeine and tobacco
waging war against the calories
lifts me high above the cane fields
till my buzz-balloon bursts

I've got tummy ache
and it's not the tinned chakalaka or the Boerie en sous
or the joy of soy or the polony with pesto
or the Allah cart halaal or the kosher whore d'oeuvres
or the screams of the lobsters
or the muffled shrieks of oysters
or the pizzas with enough garlic to subdue
the five thousand being fed
or the sobbing of the widows of the suicidal farmers
seed-bank slaves of the millionaire marketing men

It's the fear of a dumb animal watching his species
drink-drive the boxed-in bloodied path to the abbatoir
and I don't want to admit it stresses me out
in case they line me up like a Kommetjie beached whale
whose last meal was plastic bag in fishing line batter
and put me out of my misery with a caring gunshot
without asking me why
because they always know best

I've got tummy ache -
time to stop the caramelizing and start animalizing my mind
through my animal eyes
letting in pure-earth-blood-love in the
vibrant roots and shoots and leaves that fill my family feasts
so it pumps through my continents of praying-river-body-being
and though my head might throb with wallet-ache at the
conscious A to Zees, alpha to omega-3s,
my belly-ocean croons at the news
that I'm quitting all this food abuse
one day at a time.
My gut says:
a single beefburger
or drinking water for the rest of your life?
You choose.
My spleen says:
beyond the wallpaper ads that clutter our minds
it really is that simple.
You choose.
My heart says:
beyond the 'O' blood-type excuses for still pursuing
the warty slaughter rituals of a bygone aeon -
you choose.

And I don't mean Coke or Pepsi.
I'm not talking Virgin Cola or Virgin Active.
Not banana shake or bubblegum.

I mean listen to what the whales are saying and choose.

Remember what your uncle monkey
hollered in your holy sinews and choose.

Softly press your leopard-pad paws into night-soaked soil
forget your paunches lift your haunches
to the lean heart-beat game of game views and choose.

Stoke the blazing mantra echoes through the wilderness of caves
recreate your mammal molecules and chew
the cud of full-cream free range choices
knowing that the cows will bless your mellow songs
and the blossoms and superfood seeds
will fruitily toot their melodies
you'll no longer be saucily screwed
by the millionaire marketing men but
making steamed fresh love with taste-budded fingertips

My tummy ache is a part of me.
It's led me on a voyage to the magical styles
of the infra-red range of aisles
to intuitive desserts richer than chocolate-death sauce
to slow curry-concertos of local food and
global garden barley and oat cuisine
to Gorgonzola gratitude with every meal I'm given
spicily stirring love and Popeye spinach into every meal I share
and so creating with my cooking a rarified kind of air
coated by unseen painters and players.

Molweni! Sawubona! Bonsoir! Goeienaand! Greetings!
Tonight I welcome you to my table.
Let us drink to the health of the millionaire marketing men as we
welcome their companies' imminent transformation
(or demise)
and then let us eat.

[hmm where to begin... tik = appallingly destructive drug ravaging the Cape Flats; tinned chakalaka = popular sauce for meat especially in township communities, while Boerie is short for Boerewors, the classic Afrikaans farm sausage... with sous, sauce of course; Kommetjie is a village on the south-west side of the Cape Peninsula, where a pod of pilot whales beached themselves in 2009 and were controversially shot; Virgin Active is Branson's chain of gyms in SA; the rest you can figure out]






 
THE BLACKSMITH’S DANCE

Stepping beyond our well-carved niches
The ever-shrouded clockwork spiral urges us
To meet

Brow-beaten beneath the sun’s brooding
There brews a catlike unfurling
Towards each other

And an effervescent ferment
Overlays the bones of two who once were lame at heart
And we call it love
But in truth it is a blacksmith’s dance

For this crown (inlaid with mother-of-us-all) must daily melt
And as we pound our lovers’ soot
We’ll strike wisdom

Cracking open each mined petal with squirrel-soft touch
Leaves us breathless, laughing, and sometimes spinning
A jewelled journey awaits the brave

Moments may come when we turn away
To face our well-carved hibernation zones
But we’ll find we have outgrown them
Together

So let us blink beneath the sun’s blessing
Feeling again - within our smiling skins, mutually moulded -
The joy upon us of the world’s kiss.

[originally commissioned for my brother Kielan's wedding to Kate Mandeville in 2009, previously published in the Living Consciously diary for 2010]
 
HOME AFFAIRS (MIGRATING IDENTITIES)

If these passes give us more legroom mouthroom heartroom than
Those that were withheld
From passed-on serfs and freedom fighters
They remain pure petty symptoms
Of prattling-Gatling power-powder
State property in our pockets, branding us with barcodes
While in the more sophisticated nations
Smiling is no longer permissible 

Yet today global apartheid's fence-hopping strait-swimming victims
Fight back against lazy long-dead maplines
Toyi-toying for a personal future
Often built on bribes and false pasts
Because such finger-swivelling is the only correct response
To the gold-standard arrogance of those
Who issue and declare with puff-penguin passion
Who insist that this system is for every citizen's safety
Who assert their dutiful rights to pass or fail 

While newspaper knives spread pasteurised panic-butter
And too many bloodshot anaesthetised eyes
Look away in loathing
Seeking only their vaccine fixes 

The time will come when the razor-lights grow mild with dew
And lino-shiny tiles become coated in moist bubbles
Which are all that remain of the government-issue green pillars
And the gatherings of chino shades
and dreadlocked iPods
and fried egg faces
Finally reach the front of the snake's tail
And the posters are handwritten in bright pastels
The blue-rinser on your left no longer wastes her Mixit minutes
Texting some fellow-dateline-pensioner
Waiting to reach the finish line before the pearly gates close
And punctuating passport stamps create a cacophony that
Rises in tidal swoons above the caged clerk chorus
Visa fees flee before the tight-lipped legal Sméagols
Can pin them down and apply the screws
And men with caps and badges will discover that
Love in triplicate knows no secure borders
Or idle tribal private pride 

Know then that the secret spies of spirit
Squeak beyond the barricades
And break the triple deadlocks of the desperate despots 

For the seat of power is not deep inside the frosty corridors
Or somewhere in the spider-scurry scrums that are forever England
Or shooting lenses at the metal scars of battle
Or above the tabloid state affairs surveying the changing Guard 

But off the satellite map
Where rituals turn the earth
Where life is undefined
Where you speak, I hear, we touch
Where dusty lovers hold pearl-pebbles and feel
The laughter

That crescendoes from the forest floor
That crumples the word-weapons and roasts the ageing fury
Of the self-appointed guardians
That scissor-knits the planet into blooming passport pastures
That teaches us the patient lessons of right action in queues
That makes us know that the guttersnipe xenophobes
Have been us all along
That makes us know that it is we who are the magical monarchs
Holding light-orbs swelling from our fingertips
Constantly creating journeys through our own First Nations

[inspired of course by long periods waiting in the SA Department of Home Affairs for identity documents... and longer and ruder periods waiting for the British equivalents. Mixit is a chatroom facility highly popular with South African youth]

Remembering Bra Winston 

The bright lights shone so cool and yet
your presence warmed them all
those fruit-full tones rippled out
juicily piercing the night air
refusing exile's brasher badge
though perhaps a homecoming would have seen
Cape Town finally fill those seats 

The bright lights shone so strong and yet
you flew above those tunes we played for five-star guests
a packaged New Year aperitif for those
too drunk to hear your soul
and yet you couldn't help but give 

Perhaps some who shared your stage
felt they were the stellar ones
for you, crafting the hotseat
moment by moment
remained screen-hidden by nature
the rarest Cape vintage 

The bright lights sparkled to the rhythms
while dancers jazzed in Galaxy sweat
or swayed in Gugulethu fields
and something bigger than the world we knew was born
each time your lips touched reed
each plagal cadence ushering communion
each backstage look of brother-love 

Can I shout your name from Devil's Peak?
Rouse a media-molested people to meet
your passing wake with honour?
Cause cheating industry execs
to pause and hear recorded lines
of your wordless elegies
your eloquent breath-sermons
and the ripe melodies of your inner heart? 

If not, and this fickle town forgets
and new generations never know your songs
and the bright lights shine ceaselessly
then bless the angels with your voice
surprise them with the knowledge
that beauty still haunts this land.

[Winston Mankunku, Cape Town's greatest unsung jazz hero, who died in 2010. It was an honour to play with him; please listen to his music!]
 
“Mirror mirror on the wall… does my aura look fat in this?”

Humans are beings of light. This we know.
radioactive light rising monstrous from the swamp
an unleashed from the depths avenging squid pro quo light
a radiopassive hypnotising cold glare light
a prison prevent-terror search and spotlight
an indecent Immorality Act flash-exposé light
a subliminal flicker advert-pervert-the-sublime light
an eerie do-nothing change-nothing be-nothing neon glow-in-the-dark multimedia mall M-pT 3D-player light

You cannot be serious, man!
Is this the way we choose to lighten up?
I prefer milkier ways
loosely curled in crater-caverns
soft-centred fluffy crystal feather-lights
Donald Duck soothe your inner-night-child lights
richly-stained saintly halo at the window lights
moon-cool slow-drop dead gorgeous in your soul-lights
wave-rush foam-green galloping to shore lights

Tonight, let’s be that forgotten luminosity
swept from the hearth and under a Persian fatwa rug
like lanternfish stumbling into a long-sunk cathedral
a you-were-just-a-twinkle-in-your-daddy’s-eyes light
a painted rainbows in pyjamas loony-on-the-lawn light
a wind-up-your-parents noisy after sunset torchlight
a jewelled glimmer jelly beams and sparklers light

Yes, I have a scheme for solidarity through solar power!
Let’s be smouldering swanky impolite lights
blazing rip-roaring lion-fire in your eyes lights
squawking Force-filled sabre-toothed lazer lights
lusty Lucy-feral lick-lips lights
shake your beauty booty baby lights
stretch your rays out music-in-your-fingers lights

golden glowing magma flowing delightful dawn shine-symphonies
strike-twice lightnings enchanting the air
communal candelabra-cadabras my bras
flaming wands, star-spangled burning bushes
wonder-spell Words made fleshy truth
living shimmer-gifts, shape-shifting comets of joy
coaxing coy shadows out of the theatre's angel-wings
loving the world wildly till her molten core sings


SACRED LIFE (first published in "Flying on the Lucid Fringe" 2009)

we climb above the moist decaying triumphs
of the tree line into gypsy territory
carried by lichen dust and the presence of reindeer
a world where horns have horses and
icicle kaleidoscopes hang over
cotton wool valleys
shattering the blue

somewhere here lies the truth
(obscured by quartz crystal balls and scissor-wielding so-called
scientists desperate to uninvent the water-wheels of the soul)
in the cold grand breath and the alkaline cadences
of pulsing palms hoisting our flagging torso temples
we witness our own glory
flaring down – flying back – no need for visas
from a future hoed by calloused hands

the music of butterflies expands
over space that’s rippling thick as honey
tempting us, teasing us, pizzicato pricking us
in gypsy colours of the mind we sink
drowning in the scent of geraniums
back below the line of fire

where luminous fungi rage and munch in gooseflesh steps
along the pathways of the monochrome brain
but we ride bareback and whinny and sculpt
unsolvable riddles in the wind
joining lightning fingertips until the
water-wheels of our soul become yet again
the engine of the ocean of the Universe
joining breasts and hips in quiet massive causing
sometimes the beasts unleashed are merely parasites in swarm
sweeping acid storms into spirals of inter-tribal torrents
crusading beyond the asteroids of feelings in a
quest for one-size-fits-all pain
then we’ll remember where the gypsies live
skip once more to the surface of the crater
embracing and thanking and becoming the air ’neath our feet
thick with thoughts
full of futures
resonating with spirits
glowing in the shattered blue

Ballad of an Englishman (Eat Your Heart Out Billy Bragg)

I’m going to tell you a story
It is the ballad of an Englishman
He grew to be bitter and angry
At the fate of his ancient land

He grew up in the east of the country
Looking neither to the north or the south
He was ten before he visited London town
And the crowns and the sceptres left him wide in the mouth

You see England was built by invaders
It seems that conquering was in our genes
And the Celtic fringe in all our family lines
Were battered and raped or just lay down and died

Whatever happened to the voice of the druids
Whatever happened to the songs of the bards
The Romans rode straight across those rolling hills
Now most of them are covered in tar

They say that irony stops at the Channel
Perhaps beyond it lay the land of belief
Where a man could look another man in the eye
And show him his heart, not feel a fist in the teeth

Now Britain had its moment of glory
Standing united ’gainst the fascist threat
Back in my grandaddy’s day he dropped bombs in the war
But I didn’t get why we had to fight wars any more

Yes I was this Englishman growing up scared
At the things my ancestors had done
We chopped down the biggest trees upon the earth
For masts for our ships to carry soldiers and guns

Men left the darkness of Victorian England
To spread “morality” to “heathens on heat”
But what nobody talked about in London town
Was the masses of women who were walking the streets

By the time that I reached teenhood
Besides the Falklands all the glory was gone
Britannia’s fury was turned on the miners and women
Who tried to turn us away from the bomb

Most of us were glued to the telly
My team was always the Scots or the French
But when it came to standing tall in the face of it all
My shame and me, we sat on the fence

There was money and wealth in abundance
So we smiled through the pain inside
Till I got on a plane, never looked back again
At a land in which I felt no pride
 
Here in the true Motherland of humanity
I found division and racial fear
And all over the world where such hatred remains
You will usually find that the British were there

Whatever happened to the vision of Shakespeare
Embracing everybody under the sun
Now the only thing it seems the English care about
Is which minor celebrity’s at number one

I’m in awe of those who have chosen to stay grounded
In the shadow of those dark Satanic mills
Unceasing from your Mental Fight to build Jerusalem
On that island of social and spiritual ills

But now I’ve gratitude for what I received there
For the poets and the rebels and the seers
I have finally found pride in the land of my birth
In those who came before me with their hands in the earth

Because I know my forefathers could dance
And I know my foremothers could sing
I know that they loved as they worked and they prayed
And gave thanks to the land that brought them everything

So I’ll pour out my heart in this song that I sing
With all the power of an Englishman
I’ll paint my face blue and I’ll stand for what’s true
And I’ll march out for peace once again

A peace not enforced by policemen
But born within the depths of our souls
That spreads love and warmth to the whole human race
No matter what creed or what colour of face
With intuitive wisdom a million years old

The warrior spirit of England can rise
To the sound of the fiddle and drum
And help like St George heal the weak by giving them
Strength to shine their light in the sun

I dream of a world without nations
Where all human beings are one
Dancing together like dolphins do
Loving ourselves and letting more love through

So wherever you trace your roots too
Give thanks for the wounds and the gifts and the rage
But choose to be free like I choose to be me
And pray for the dawning of a bright new age

I said I’d tell you a story
It was the ballad of this Englishman
And if you want to see how much my heart has grown
You’ll find me somewhere on this planet that I call my home

[Billy Bragg, the UK's most Politically Correct pop icon in my teenage years. Though I was more into Sting myself...]

-------------------
Here's a few more poems that were published in my 2009 book, Flying on the Lucid Fringe. a few copies are also still available from me. Afterwards is a little rationale I wrote at the time of the launch for why people should even consider buying a poetry book...

ABOVE KALK BAY

Forever she moans
Together he croaks
Chewing fynbos in a fantasy
Of lost love and tender proteas
Whose protection they fight for
With the eagerness of swollen souls
Their eyes swell in the mists of
Lurid fresh forests, high and carefree and
Lost. Years. Cycle. Past.

Through the yellowwood grove comes
The saw and the helmet and the
Heavy thick moustache of the Tree-hunter
And his deadly team who with masterful
Determination help to end the elves place
Alienating and exterminating
The sole San souls who sought a bridge
Through the rainbows to the light of
Dark love and the plunging yearning
Virility of the mountain’s true trees

Guardians off guard, wasted by a
Culture whose crassness caused
A desolate Web, while hope spins
Eternal in her forever moans
Eternal in his together gropes

Ropes pull the rainbows back
Helmets lift the veils of cryptic aeons
To flights of seeking speaking
Creaking on the boardwalks of Time
Crafted with hardened hands
Learning once more to touch.

BOYHOOD’S HEART (Memories of 1981)

With Baggy Madness Trousers on the stereo
we prepared the middle school stage
felt the thrill of orchestral satisfaction
Little Drummer Boy on a music stand page

crowning of a year begun with loving, raucous fun
from Mr Spinks who labelled my trombone case a coffin
who hung Ricky from the rafters and stood Daniel on a chair
to perform his Donald Duck voice while the class laughed and stared

Daniel who blew gum bubbles and hung fishing nets in rivers
and told me my first dirty joke one night, but
I found a forest of books about boats
on the Broads and boys and witches’ cats

we all left the city for a Boys’ Brigade camp
a sleeping bag and a lilo and a martial blue hat
and James’s strip show for the girls to the vicar’s surprise
and the boredom of cancelled outings while Charles married Di
and disbelief at Noah’s age and porridge with a fork
and whoopee cushions and sneezing powder
and – just once – going to church to earn points
and the ninth birthday present of learning meditation
and the freedom and the stillness of the patterns in my mind

rowed to an island in a Yugoslav lake
ate soft veal and bought a real souvenir
spent a day in Italy astonished at the lire’s value
drove too fast in an Austrian’s Mercedes Benz
past tall fields of corn to a village museum of
ancient simple peasant houses
saw indulgent riverside chateaux and
huge chess pieces in a Klagenfurt park
climbed the whole day up a white stone path
to a ledge over the scree
and even into Yugoslavia again
somewhere, below the fog

perhaps I pondered questions of nations and history
but Botham’s cricket victories impressed me more
along with Peggy’s rounders hits and my balancing on a bike
or a quarter pound of sherbet lemons after school
or the red Mini Metro that shaped my cake
or the pebbles that were Sheringham’s beach
or Pete’s Dragon in three reels on the school projector
or mum, frying flat door-delivered Friday fish.

AFRICAN MOUNTAIN HYMN

seeping in resin-sticky moments
rubber cracks in the sky force memories through
wailing incantations incarnate from the time-trunk of fear
carnivorous carnival
across a continent with the scars to show
matchlock burnt-black monarchs
selling bodies to the caravels
and their sweet sugar slavery

as the train hoots through the vlei I recall
the blood in the rivers of humanity’s homeland
the rancid fame of knighted cream cannibals
crimson-reeking caramel
in every nut-brown melting mouthful
wrapped conveniently in history-hiding plastic

before we pale wanderers returned from our
hundred-thousand year journeys
copper was the African metal of choice
now decaying mines poison our water
in the City of Gold and buchu alone will
not heal all the scars in the night sky

Ha! Welcome the ancestral voices (light the mpepu)
Pass around their naïve vices and sluk a little mampoer
Uncurl from the deep-set whiplashed shape of old
Or from the daily bent-back trowel-tasks of the office chair
Find the daily wail that lies within and calls for the
Lifting of out-of-Africa-amnesia and a
Global shake-down with the spirits streaming in our veins
Unveiling our cracking seams and streams

Today, this is my song –
I declare solidarity with my soul-siblings from
The lives where I chose deeper tannins to colour my flesh
And I declare freedom from the gnawing guilt of six violent centuries
And I declare freedom to spiral out from the epicentre of a new storm
In epic centredness

From the heart of our granite-bound ground
With palms caught in heavenly crossfire
Throbbing with the juice of forgiving mountains
Where the herbs grow taller than the frogs jump
And trains are but the distant toys of children

I declare that integrated incantations will enthuse us
Leaping like salmons to the source of a
Fluid rock-power which seeps soft and healing
In resin-sticky moments of fresh milkwood joy.

"Flying on the Lucid Fringe retails at R90, with 10% of profits going to eco-charities, and is printed on recycled paper.

BUT: Why on earth should you buy a poetry book?

Well, picture if you will an imaginary (but perhaps typical) bookshelf

There are rows of Danielle Steele and Wilbur Smith and Spud 1/2/3

There are a few dusty classics, Olive Schreiners, Dickens and the like, a small Afrikaans section...

And just maybe a volume of poetry (Blake?) that is largely undisturbed

because people think poetry books are like novels and manuals and biographies and travelogues and have to be picked up and read from the beginning to the end.
This would give most people indigestion at least and probably have smoke pouring out of their ears.

In fact, the best place for poetry books (if they must live in something as mundane as a typical bookshelf) is in the reference section. Right there, next to the Cape Town map and the Jamie Oliver recipe book and the dictionary and the what to do in an emergency type book. Where you can pull it out and intuitively (with a little help from the angels) turn to the right page to:

    *      inspire your dreams with a poem before bed or your day with a poem after bed
    *      hit a deeper note with your dinner guests
    *      share some words for your spouse's birthday or for your granny to dance to
    *      take you beyond the daily playback routine while waiting for that train
    *      find the real news that you won't find on CNN or even Facebook"