Saturday, 19 May 2012

Strange nations

There is a country
without guarded borders,
a land that does not issue visas,
eminently accessible, one would say.
This nation
unmarked on maps
beyond the imagination
of cartographer and politician
is bathed in tropical sunlight,
watered by beauty,
chiselled with extra care,
a work of art, one would say.
It is un-peopled though
or less-peopled, shall we say?
For its entry points, so evident,
are seen only by the blind,
detected only by the mindless;
it is a place of insanity
an impossible territory
reserved, I like to think,
for those whose love
spill over the reservoir called possible.
Reserved, I like to think,
among others,
for you and I.

[From the collection 'Some texts are made of leaves,' shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award 2011]

Friday, 18 May 2012

Mumia Abu Jamal*

Yo Mumia,
give us news:
type it all out
on your dread-lock type-writer heart
pin it on the memory of a radio show
fold it in a jailor’s guilt
sail it on the waves of complicity
tell me how long 30 years is like
my brother Political Prisoner,
unravel the meaning
of justice, decency and civilization
those easy alibis for invasion and massacre
the age old guns-in-booty-out of empire;
whistle your story if your fingers are tired of twiddling
in unison with the waiting-for-you
of friend and detractor;
write to us again
the love story of your democracy
your citizenship
and your freedom
that is envied so much
by so many.

 *Mumia Abu Jamal, wrongfully convicted of murder, completed 30 years in prison on December 9, 2011.  His sentence was commuted to ‘life’ from execution by lethal injection on December 8, 2011.

[From the collection 'Some texts are made of leaves,' shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award 2011]


Thursday, 17 May 2012

My waking moments

I smother all questions
doubts and other things
made for torment,
rinse my sorrows
in memory water,
i arise like the young sun,
pure and innocent.
It's a moment, 
splendid and child-like,
but it comes just once
every 24 hours.

[From the collection 'Some texts are made of leaves', shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award 2011]

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


it is a simple thing,
and it is all about
a man with a croaking voice
memorizing lyrics
of a song
he must either sing to her
or die.

[From the collection 'Some texts are made of leaves,' shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award 2011]

Monday, 14 May 2012

And the music won’t stop

Not by legislative edict
or court judgment
not by baton-charge or bullet
jackboot or barricade,
for music wafts over
and over again
voice bursts through gag
tenderness lifts finger,
clenches fist,
and the drum rolls of change
are resolutely pregnant,
births and rebirths,
so it was
and so it will be
thus says life-book
and love.