Find us on Google+ my wits' ~ licentia vatum: 2010

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

we are going

1971 high school train (meta phor life-and-death) chant, pre-politicization, pre-grown up bullshit.

Magic, Frienchie, Micky, Gafs, rest of the venerable Becker Street, Flat 503 clan and Roodepoort school tribe.

'We are going, heaven knows where we are going, we know we will be hard, we know, and the road muddy and long, but we'll get there, heaven knows how we will get there, we know we will'.

To those departed, those still chanting, woyaya (we are going) ...

Friday, 17 December 2010

see, reactive pro teen

c-reactive protein, my daily shake now.

air viri dei marker, sew to speak.

cretin sheikh... Peggy c-roon' s....

Thursday, 16 December 2010

garden gremlin

Tap dance your garden to lushness, says Andrew the Gardener.

Aunty Samoosa the Caterer does, the Caucasian of the veld-skoen persuasion adds. 


Green fingers, green toes

queen of the night

Raat ki Rani

Bouquet sweet enough to draw jinn, gran alway warned.

Modjadji- the rain queen

denatured. smelling salts de rigueur

need them salts, she says as she precipitates the moon drops. expansive- expensive revival

moody blues. bloody muse. bluesy hues - magic carpet woven in rain #maidinheaven, made in Azania.

rain, percussion heaven, esprit #Modjadji.

building the ark for Reconciliation Day, erstwhile Day of the Vow, now the Revenge of the Rain Queen.

rechts. genug ist genug. Sala gahle

The night inn-keeper beckoning, he bade ghuda hafez, not sure if rest would have him, that if it did, it'd be eternal. #LaPetiteMort

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

pro'fain sp'rite

father, dandy.
ma, soul to God.
conceived was eye
twixt the devil, the deep blue sky.

devil's in the detail

I grew up on Becker St, no pastoral idyll, a rich infusion of concrete, tar and carbon monoxide my daily bread.

Neighbourly fights and flushing toilets -- Flushing Meadows? -- occasionally punctuated the monotony, and only with dope might some drunken swaggard in a surreal tone call game, set and match.

I preferred it when he called deuce.

not allowed

The door-keeper at the Goodwood Racecourse enquires of Mr Wright, the Head-Master, about his charges: establishment rules allow for entrance to children only when accompanied by a parent.

Purveying all six of us, ranging in hue from european, through chinese and asian to african , he smiles and replies, with an element of inexplicable pride, matter-of-factly and with a quizzical expression suggesting the obviousness of the answer: Why, of course, they're all mine.

My stuttering acculturation to the absurdity of the horse-race, and a renewed membership of the human race continued apace.

the book of life

The old regime's surreal misnomer for an ID document. Date-of-birth., driver's licence and race-code.

So much for a Life.

So much for euro-centric hegemonic efficiency, the unbearable whiteness of being.


Friday, 10 December 2010


Thumbing Arnold Schoenburg's Theory of Harmony, on my first day back from a Drug & Alcohol Treatment Centre, a prescription for my Schedule 6 drug-of-choice cached deep within its venerable pages manifests, nictitating at me.

So effectively stashed, I had forgotten its lair.

Such method in madness

Convinced merely to test the script's validity, said I to self, we'd present to the Rockey Street pharmacist in Yeoville, one of three Joburg pharmacy's remaining licensed to dispense Sched. 6 drugs.

Just to see if it was still redeemable

It was.

I wasn't.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

confidence trick

Always asked the shrink about the book he authored. It appealed to his vanity. And to my conscience.

Never failed, no matter how many times I forged the enquiry

It broke the ice and brokered the deal.

It always got the script, the money-shot of head-shrinking. The head-shot of money-shrinking?


Ritalin over-and-above that, made for finer-grained resolution

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

even Trolls love rock & roll

Mielie was a buddha-statuette clone that haunted Fordsburg in the early seventies. A sociopath convicted for an execution-style murder, finally

Death-mask grin, botox-like-induced baby-face, heading the bloated menace, resemblling a mannequin  sprung to life.

Mielie-Poep,  the complete and vulgarly comically misleading moniker, dangerous to boot.

Trans-human, muscle to Junior's plotting machinations.

Junior, a point in rank as mountebank above Mielie in the underworld of the Indian community in Joburg, was equal to the tortuous demands of a self-inflicted simpleton, nonetheless dangerous for it -- Steve McQueen to the movie Bullit, sans the charm, sans savoir-faire

Lank in stature, fair of complexion,  permanently affixed to a Jaguar sprung from the subterranean depths of years of extortion, of drug-dealing and running speakeasies, of a myriad rackets under the warped auspices of Sheriff, the Fordsburg self-made caricature of... Al Capone?

Sheriff, the not-so-pale imitation of a pathan crossed with a '30's Chicago gangster, down to the Stetson Hat and two-tone shoes, lavishing off the notoriety of a gotten-away-with murder committed  years earlier.

My run in with Mielie-Poep was no less harrowing for its minorishness in the greater scheme of things.

"Hippie-pippie", he lowed, at me whilst leering at the girls from my early high-school class as we walked home from school, passing his nest outside Kentucky Milk Bar at the end of the Front-line, Fordsburg.

Mesmerized with fear and paralyzed by his ambidextrous gaze -- 6/5 (cross eyed and squint) -- he reeled me in. Then slowly, dramatically removed my spectacles.

"John Lemon (sic) glasses eh", he mumbled, and proceeded to adorn his visage with them, as if the act might transmute him.

"Oxford bags", he mumbled some more. His lizard like multi-focal vision fell on my faddish, grey-for-school flares.

I suppressed a groan, aware that a group of my school colleagues had paused to gawk at the gathering storm and my mounting fear and embarrassment.

Charles Manson -- Merga(meaning fowl in gujerati), infamous for having stabbed mid-match  in the neck the Dynamos striker, Haroun Patel, for crossing the soccer floor from Tigers FC-- intervened. He'd been standing quietly next to Mielie all the while, intense, a cross between Charlie Manson and George Harrison -- between a barrister, a soldier-of-fortune and a saint.

His legend as a knife-man adumbrated all

"Leave the lightie alone. He's a hippie, he's from Becker St", the Knife-Man said, quietly, authoritatively. It was enough

I was set free, had my oval-shaped glasses returned to me, and Oxford Bagged my way off, to the relief and nervous chuckles of my school-mates, my street credibility elevated a few notches.

This was not the fortune of the Qawali tabla player who Mielie and Junior had taken a shine to a few years earlier.

They abducted him at gun-point  on a Saturday evening, and made him play privately for them all night long, drinking and carousing at the Tabla exponent's misery and expense

He was set free at day-break, his hands swollen to bursting point

Swami-rock, to paraphrase Tony Joe White

Mielies' Gang, courtesy Sports Legends Online, section Gangs-'60s:

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

razryadka- relaxing in pidgin russian

Ronnie brings home the stragler he's acquainted during a night jaunt, playing snooker for dope at the local pub in West Kensington.

The bulge of contraband he has stashed on him the measure of his winning streak.

The Arab he's befriended is chuffed too, meeting a fellow third-worlder and muslim -- 'Ahmed' for Ronnie now  merely an honorific  lost in passage from the mother country over a decade earlier. But muslim still, and not querulous about imbibing the nectar of Iblis, nor the purchase of The Evil One's weed.

My younger brother and I, both sojourning on Christmas vacation away from boarding-school in Sussex, are idling at Gori-Bibi and Uncle Ayub's  West Kensington apartment , on lease from a prominent Communist Party polit-buro member of the future South African Government-In-Waiting in exile London.

The early 70's, and Gori-Bibi and her family were remarkably kind in hosting my siblings and I for holidays, providing a home-away-from-home, for a family they didn't know, but who on discovery, opened hearts, home and hearth to

A close-knit traditional family whose immense generosity was always clad warm in Islamic decorum.

In addition to us kinders, there boarded too Amjit, a single-minded, hard-working chef from Bengla Desh with barely a word of English to his name, and Ronnie, a wizened but still young Stalinist South African exiled in London, whose claim among a few  to erudition and enlightenment was being able to complete The Times crossword.

There was no love lost between the apolitical, driven, sober-minded chef seeking a better life through sacrificial  toil, and Ronnie who had all the nuanced malaise of an exile, recently fallen from grace into a debilitating alcoholic rut which saw him subsisting at the stiff courtesy of Her Royal Majesty's Welfare state, and the good-old fashioned charm and hospitality of Gori-Bibi and her family

I would usually elect to spend time with Ferhana, their three year old baby-daughter, whose charm and innocence allowed me to drop my teen-on-thirty revolutionary weariness and angst, and leave the boys to their often tortuous intellectual exercises

I did no different this evening, even though Ronnie, the Arab and my younger bother gathered in Ronnie's bedroom for a round-table discussion of high-end kitchen sociology stimulated by top-shelf dope-smoking.

The hospitality proffered to Ronnie's latest recruit was animated, more so for the ersatz peace pipe being shared.

The joint was smoking, so to speak.

They worked their way through a bag of marijuana, blocks of hashish, and then some.

But the Arab Guy wanted more, and there was none left, save the lingering smoke in the sealed room.

His eyes fell angrily on the bag  of green lineament on a low cupboard in the room, and in that rich brogue preferred by Hollywood to signify a rough Arab, he would've exclaimed something like "...but there, is! You are cheating me. Why you don't let me smoke it"

Bru and Ronnie, stoned to tearing laughter , gave up on negating Ahab's wanton desire and protest, their voices reduced to drug-induced jabbering. In the interests of détente, they didn't wrest the bag, now already in hand, contents being worked feverishly  into a joint by Arab Guy.

He smoked it, and duly pronounced upon it as the best weed he'd ever smoked .

Satisfied at the deed and the warm embrace of the possibility that there was none finally  left, and having taken leave of his senses, acceptance speech made,  took leave to go home.

The sumptuous somph, fennel-seed delicacy to be surehad found its premature end, in ashes..

the ghost of e'id parsed

I've not always sustained the standards I value and have purported to live by.

Starting out as a humanist idea, and as part of a nationally collective political strategy of negation (Hassan Howa's 'no normal sport in an abnormal society'), I  refused to attend office Christmas parties from the very beginning of my working career about 30 years ago

In that span of time, I've violated the precept twice, my last transgression over a decade ago, even though apartheid has been legally ended.

Initially, my refusal to participate was a response to the institutional racism that would be suspended temporarily as a sop by employers, to an afternoon of unmitigated festivities in the name of an event that had its basis in a religion whose practices were foreign to me.

I didn't celebrate the events of the faith I'd been born into, why would I celebrate those of any other faith, especially one which served as the religious hand-maiden of racial capitalism?

My refusal to countenance these events are even more clear to me today. I don't do institutionalized celebration, especially when it's so highly commercialized, and done at such huge exclusion given the terrible poverty and misery that exist on my doorstep.

Further, apart from the personal and religious hypocrisies involved, Christmas office parties, and office parties in general, are an excuse for artificial bonding fueled by excesses of food, alcohol and frivolity.

Anyone who claims a social conscience and awareness, and especially if they belong to a faith like Islam, no matter how nominal their subscription, and especially when they moralize -- and they do, they have to perforce, especially in raising kids  --has no excuse for participation, one which for me borders on a form of collaboration.

If they do, let them at least account for their moral lassitude, honestly, and tread carefully when laying down behavioral laws for others, especially their own children.

For, if we agree that children do as you do, not as they're told, then be ready to account for their potential rage against the double-bind you lend to, in the already formidably corrupt and spiritually bankrupt institutions that rule and set collective norms

Tuesday, 30 November 2010


Cloud drapes the garden -- fall out with the sky.


Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Fools Crow

Those who are healed do not talk about it among themselves and spread the news. That is not the Sioux way. If a thing is holy and sacred, if it is a miracle, it is not talked about. It is too special for that. Visions we receive are in the same category. They are something personal betweenWakan Tanka (the Great Spirit) and the seeker that affects the whole of his life. Even the person’s family will not discuss it or tell their friends.

- Fools Crow

Monday, 22 November 2010

birds of fire

with an infinite and unyielding proclivity to music, by dint of birth offered (to) a fait/h whose architects lay a curse on it

my wings music, Islam my sun, my fate mundanely less that of Icarus

 #riteofpassage  #trialbyfire

Sunday, 14 November 2010

rocking the Jalsah

Tameez offered his first formal guitar recital and vocal performance yesterday, at his madresa's annual jalsah: not the easiest date to countenance, given that its thrust is to highlight, in a concert programme,  the Religious Instruction milestones learners have achieved for the year

Music --  instrumental secular music -- is definitely not on the Islamic R.I. curriculum, which is generally hostile to music making.

The lyric, courtesy of good friend and musician Gino, in the form of a protest song, Tameez made his; along with the melody and chordal progression, demonstrating composure in the face of  huge performance anxiety compounded by a potentially hostile audience, who were at the very least ambivalent and confused about a musical item of this nature, usually and glibly dismissed as haraam (just about as taboo and kosher as alcohol and pork)

With beautiful irony, his prelude, at the insistence of his teacher apa Farieda, to the eventually sensitively performed piece was, guitar in hand, the Islamic prayer which accompanies the beginning of any endeavor in the Muslim cosmos: a-u-zuh-bil-lahi-minas-shaytani-regime, bismillahi-r-rahmani-r-rahim(I seek refuge from [the] accursed satan, in the name of god)


And could be my twelve year old's calling card...

PS Then got bitten by a bolshy dog which ambushed me whilst walking back home. Divine retribution. Sins of the father kinda thing?

Saturday, 13 November 2010

music, profane and sacred

If you're listening to the latest Lady X offering, droning and dripping pre-adolescent yearning, I would say what's buzzing your attention is not music, but a form of cheap entertainment with a mass marketing machine behind it.

Which in itself, per se, is not necessarily a bad thing - to each his own.

The problem crystallizes when the discussion is forced to defining something akin to the aesthetics of bubble-gum music

Lady X type caterwauling  is categorized as music only because it is sung (apparently) and accompanied by a rhythmic beat (jingoistically tribal, but that's another argument, another time)

Simply, as a category of music, and from an aesthetic perspective, I would register Lady X's latest soft-porn offering as rubbish, on a continuum ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime.

It would fail a test measuring it as decent soft-porn, mainly due to its suffering an identity crisis. How might a marketing boffin put it? Its core consumption ambition is lost, or something like that (I'm not a marketer as is probably obvious)

For a more specific application of the criteria of music quality from an Islamic point of view (being both a musician and muslim, albeit on both scores perhaps rather nominally) , the range might be from ha'raam, to mak'rooh to sahi ( forbidden, doubtful or permissible )

JS Bach, whose music you may not get -- after all, anything worthwhile requires some effort and work -- was a devout and god-fearing man. His genius, and works, were propelled by his spiritual ardour.

His works are good, and sahi I would suggest, regardless of your religious --  or any other for that matter -- persuasion

Point is, if you're muslim and have allowed yourself to be engulfed by a flood of bad music, and couldn't be bothered to discern, and have readily therefore embraced the notion that all music is haram, then you deserve the punitive denial that involves.

Just spare the rest of us the withered and uneducated opinion which commonly accompanies such self-inflicted ignorance

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

25 or 6 to 4, the Son of Sam

First time I heard this piece, circa 1971, was courtesy of an older, large and very menacing fellow who answered to Sam, laying flat on his back in the local record-store, The Platter Bar, cnr Becker/Commissioner St. in the JHB CBD where I grew up.

In grand repose, with head planted firmly between two speakers, he shouted menacingly at me, "THIS ---  is music boy! "

That beautiful, first impression of this large, menacing song has never been entirely exorcised

Grandma's hands

I was devastated when I lost my maternal granny in '77.

My thoughts with Gino's family, his wife Fatima, whose mother passed away this evening.

Time to ponder and reflect. This one's for the kids


A simpler time, I'd heard this piece many times as a child on the radio.

In '73, Gordon brought the record home, which was then a student share in Lewisham, London.

Gordon, a human sciences student and guitar player at the time, and au fait with musicians and other bohemian types native to the mother colonial land, impacted seriously on my 16 year old will to music.

Through his influence, the records he was listening to (John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, early Fleetwood Mac, John Maclaughlin et al), I developed a deep and vital appreciation for the blues amongst other forms. And uncle Sigmund's psycho-dynamic theory

I worked out the chord progression, and other bits 'n pieces of Albatross accidentally, much like everything else, through excess doodling. In the background lay Anna Freud's The Ego and the mechanisms of Defense. Excellent pastimes really

This is a beautiful and serene work of audio art, its mystique no less for the legend of its composer, Peter Green.

For me, the music speaks, as I hope it will for you, to stillness and solitude, and things resonant

dancing gnome

MetroGnome™, for the time you're short . 

Garden variety and Custom built models available. 

Green-friendly relief for the rhythmically-challenged, and for plain old tiredly-tapping-in-time toes. 

morning has broken

I was a choir boy, in another life, and  made to sing, among other hymns(!?), 'Onward Christian Soldiers'.

While I was fasting for ramadaan too


Education, and in my case The Best of British, was put above all else by my folks. They were well-meaning and quaint. Destructive, but cool

Morning has broken.

Has it?


Used to be a Trogg. Now, I'm a Mellotron™. It's easy; actually, a piece of cake -- mean tape. 

Wild make my heart sing


"...Zulu humour is grounded in the notion that the world has nothing to offer you - you must go out and tell your own story, but you must say voetsek (go away) to that doubt, that nothingness, that lurks behind and threatens to drag you down..." - Johnny Clegg (Juluka, Suvuka), Saturday Star interview


servant girl, servant to the gods
scrubber, white on the floor
to hand, and on knee
inverted colonialism
master: there, be slave
in all manner, servitude
to the Serpent
and his hand-maid

letter to the Weekly Mail

Honorary members of the white Left assembled, along with a couple of black consciousness typesfriends of my brothers', in a circle, cross-legged on the floor of my faded lounge.

Veritably left wing StratCom, as it were, circa '82

The very white and very shirtless fellow with the rippling torso, and air of Zen mastery over all in his purview grabs my reddened eye, landing in it like an errant, shedded lash

I say to my bru, and The Eye Lash With Biceps, eye-contacting both and the other neophytes with my stoned, sweeping and panoramic vision: "who's the macho feminine guy with penis-envy? "

His acolytes cackle, willfully negligent in their showy schadenfreude, Lord-of-the-Flies conspiratorially at their repressed-for-the-sake-of-politically-correct-leadership comrade.

Comrade flexes his rippling torso, twitching quietly, sensing my chemically toxic death instinct, and dons his shirt grudgingly. Sop to the native, that sort of thing(or thong, depending on your bent)

Bru says to me later, Rippling Torso is one of the directors of the newly founded, with-it and progressive tabloid, the Weekly Mail newspaper. I'm impressed and aggrieved all at once at the boldness of Whiteness

Years later, struggling to find employment  -- my friend Ridwan, Graphics Designer and Layout guy extraordinaire, working at the Weekly Mail, trying to help me out-- I find myself in an interview ( sober-and clean, trying to do Remorse ) at the now established and venerable Weekly Mail.

Rippling Torso, grown in stature and newly wrapped in Grey Suit, is part of  the interview panel ... Nay, he is the interview, and looms as much in my vista

I get my comeuppance finally, by the Zen master himself.

Never got a chance as a sub-editor, or anything else, at the Mail, or anywhere else that fell in the sweep of his panoramic purview.

Ever !

silicone chip inside my head

Brand your self.

As with a cattle-brand, sizzling hot.

Fascist chic, gas-chamber marketing, bar-code existence. Make your SKU count

Survival of the brandest. Survival of the grandest.

No flies on this ego, no fudging of my Id -- IT -- and its odd, cold, glinting number

bury my heart

smoke'd tobacco
the devil's leaf
smoke'd me

burnt offerings

smoke'd agarbati, tea-leaves
dessicated banana skin
need the prayer

ate mandrax
Mandrake, the Magician

faizel the Quaalude

chalky pills
demand, induce

dull hunger
quell Id
quell the curse of the nafs
cause death

jihad complete

desperation sought,
desperation ate
better to resemble the pearl
portent incarnate

birth'd control 

always ate pills
swallow swops
poison, liquid too
liquid gold and green

to slumber
for get, to dream

to die a mortal death
to free a soul
tattered, tired
tainted and liar'd

chemical straits
jacket or
for a prosthetic age

my heart
wrestled back
from the brink

Valium, Nembutal, Mogadon
yellow jacket for a red devil

to seizures
lesions on my'nd
convulsed spirit

Vesparax, junior twin Serapax
vespers pax faizel

Durban poison
majat, junk food hallucination

black lebanese
lebanese green
opium for dreams
thai sticks

then again Dalmadorm
Rohypnol and Stelazine
Stella got her groove back
i could never

Thorazine and Largactil
tricyclic anti depressant
anti matter
anti apartheid

the primal scream

frontal lobotomy
would'a made the headache worse

Ritalin better
always better
with coke

defective detective
self made apothecaryincorrect bar code

SKU don't exist

bury my heart at wounded knee
pulsating stii
grave robbers taken all

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

gray morning

solitude and distillation
coffee percolating
cigarette burning

Monday, 8 November 2010

dissolute moon

dissolute moon

wanton glare, night long

(the) burn, of the Interrogator's lamp

graceless night

inverted bowl, leaking, speckled and cloud

a nigh a late: dangled promise, never met

liquid manners, who we were, to them, the hordes

the chosen, bold:  we serve; mud people, we stare

the glare o' the moon, the night, the gloom

a child owns its father's self disgust

death of the night watch

The oysa; six bullets, buy Reckoning. By myth, buy legend, by Macduff -- book-keeping, by-line, by day buy-time, Avenging Angel bye knight, Whisk Qui  for wings, bide-time.

The End.

Both. One dead, the other, Fallen -- wheels scream off, skid' row: the venerable Leeson Motors

Filling-station, par axe-see-lance; the well-shod in Wheels, hot-rods and hot-wire, the less-shod hot-foot to score: princely sum of five Rand, vintage '73 for,  foot-long roll of twenty pencils.

Vintage '73 Durban Poison, majaat for the unwary

Murdered, Zulu sentinel, perforce warrior ancient, unruffled by the mute understanding, indifferent beyond will to indulge the caprice, immune so imperious, to the book-keeping foreman's claim , swelled to rage, in authority uncomprehended, authority by fate, by dint of race, language, creed and skill;  urban Brahmin.

Urban Untouchable with Knob-Keirrie, Magnificent Savage.

Menacing now, restoration was in order.

Bookkeeper cum foreman Farook, his own father a muslim-elder, playing out tragedy, signifier incongruously Macbethean, Macduff  attached so far back, Farook no longer existed

Colonial culture, subvert, school-children subvert, Shakespeare theirs: Hauw now brown cow?!'

Where the bowla once leapt, the night to warm, crackling stars to flame, the ma'p'oysa kept, warm...

...franchise Nescafé brands, X the s'pot.

Vigil , drenched finely, in blood...De'caf...

...D'urban Poison, ersatz -- majaat -- k'now

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

to a friend, on the anniversary of his sobriety

E. l'even y'ears tomorrow.

Hu would've thought?

Damn min'or miracles daily, and we thought they didn't exist. 

In the end, it's(still) Blind Faith, and Blood, Sweat and Tears. 

Black Sabbath, and  Faizel and The Five Pencils...

Now, The Maver!x ( kinda new agey, ethnic, early retirement home for rockers that survived? Most apt)

Shot (bed pun intended bedly) to you, bru, and wan for the dead, and the dead we knew. And in the immortal words of that man in  Casablanca (k'not the road-house in Hillbrow that serviced our nightly postmortems), '
here's looking at you kid!'

Now, for that infernally lost ScrewDriver. Oh, and two rakaat nafeel plus -- more libations.

Aluta Continua (to all thing re'membered -- your band; the concept too... the struggle so?). 

All Jihad, Awl S'ain'ts now?

eye on the prize

he got the team...

...i got the girl

Monday, 1 November 2010

tired smile

an incubator
of words once;
stifled cry all's
left,  muffled;
in a hollow
-a yawn'in cavity.

mr Ismail, capt' ain barnacles

Never mind Mandela's inauguration nodded to by that garish flyover of tame kragdagtigheid courtesy of the military Combine...

...the first time I had the right to vote. the choice for which I had fought and sacrificed along with so many others.

And which right earned I could freely squander on the Soccer and Kiss parties respectively.

My belligerence, its minder nihilism, tacitly qualified solidarity with the ANC perforce underground, legit now, no longer trusted. 

Never mind all that ground-breaking stuff and history being made.

It was only when I saw Fowly, driving -- driving a f***ing car! -- after having trampled JHB under foot for 45 odd years, fanning out from the splendid ivory towers where he had taught by the effervescent moon-light of his conscience.

Now, he had wheels! -- car finance, in hock to the Bank... the industrial Combine.

....that's when I knew, a new epoch had arrived.

[and Kubler-Ross, Five Stages of Grief, properly adorned]

Sunday, 31 October 2010


all night, it winks, on, then off, and on-and-off again; and again.

never-ending frig'id love song --  ad nauseam the neon sign,  the robot is a promiscuous thing

[and frigid mobile phones low their tumescent love songs rubato to the said, sorry dram'a]

kosher incense sticks

kosher income sticks more like...

halaal's the new black, sales pitch to an expanding niche market, door-to-door, back -door sales for your convenience.

agarbati licensed by heavens' proxies on earth

in the parallel universe, cabinet re-shuffle, and Prof Adam Habib enunciating in his jaw-breakingly unique, rich and gravelly brogue( he's Memon? Then, the Universal Memon he is. I salute).

his Johnson Baby Powder saturated coiffure the new black too .... :)


'me and you and a dog named boo...', turns out me and the dog are the same thing. Thanks Lobo #Boo

my mother's presence in the home, her oneness with prayer, and constancy of prayer, still stills the water. it's taught me the value of home life, and to be still, and to be at one with learning -- and my family

also thinking, discussing with Fats the evils of wealth and poverty, opposite sides of the same coin. think that apartheid, in extolling whiteness, created a cocoon for its beneficiaries, sealing them so effectively in their supposed superiority, they became stagnant, and perfunctory. just a thought

storm's brewing

cracklin' rosie, cracklin' rain -- no chef* at boarding school like Rosie from New Hampshire, no thunderstorms like these on the Reef.

*save for the inebriated cook from Ireland who threatened to hurl himself off the school's roof on Christmas eve '75, keeping his would be rescuers at bay with the kitchen fire-extinguisher's nozzle aimed squarely at the whites-of-their-eyes, a la General Custer-d

boy interrupted

trying to wax lyrical on the flute, summonsing ancestral spirits, that sort of thing.

waning, not even conjuring snakes in the garden at this stage. worms maybe...

to tell by the song-birds out here :)

cracked dreams

there are  hidden crevices in your dreams

crystal vision, crystal math; meth. spirits will singe and eviscerate, crystal meth will evaporate, and vaporize you  #gutted #guttered

i am ? the quorum to constitute my own life

thought condensate

words gate-crash 
care free and worth abandon
a band on caprice
doing the caprivi strip

dance, mock and seduce
reduce, refuse, then evaporate

evanescent, translucent, luminous
evince and eviscerate
redact,  numinous

humor i prey, 
prayer thicker
heavier for fear to desire
they don't leave 
forever this time again


easy to lose myself in a benzodiazepine haze, phenobarbital gaze: truthful fiction, useful it is

Saturday, 30 October 2010


i met a priest once
chose to minister on the wrong side of the tracks
where there were no trees
no wooded shade
dolomite for precarious rest

he broke bread with his flock
then burst a mandrax pipe
with the boys he'd helped grow
now a band

he bade farewell
to return where there were trees

unhurried wasteland

mid summer night iftar
'72, 15 year old chasing whirlwinds
james hadley chase, untipped crumpled Camel
smoke wisping
bare foot through Abbey Rd
tip toe hafez, sings come together, qirayet
pye and okapi in shirt pocket
pancakes and ice-cream
and dreams

night owl

moon's melted into the gum trees, dripping ecstatically,on the bark, in the full, unfurled night

a delight, so the crickies crick.

Thursday, 28 October 2010


the really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.... The only thing that's capital-T True is that you get to decide how you're going to try to see it. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn't.... The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness -- David Foster Wallace

Monday, 25 October 2010

veni, vidi, vici

Mohamed is retiring; model citizen, universal muslim,  content answering to Vini by his secular friends.

Company man, faithful husband and dutiful father, pragmatic to a fault --  the point of being faulty -- his, a guarded abut an enlightened weltanschauung.

When his nubile daughter starts actuating, Vini's nobly rehearsed contingency plans kick into play: defer to the wife's tutored authority to implement the relevant protocols he has painstakingly developed whilst removing himself from proceedings.

Ziza's suitor complicates the weltanschauung by announcing (all of) himself -- uninvited, one evening, on fetching Ziza as he's been prone to surreptitiously for some time now.

At  young Bhaiza's penultimate step to the threshold of Vini's domain  --  the abode --  Vini, thrown off-guard, gesticulates wildly to the wife. A desperate grin that grins the grin of a death-mask grin, silently mouthing No! No! No!, his arms orchestrate a giddy plea to stall for time in order for Vini to vanish.

To no avail.

Bhaiza had crossed the rubicon, the obligatory exchange of courtesies was underway. Death-mask grin still, the gesticulation segues into directing the young suitor to his seat.

Leaving the boys to acquaint themselves the better for it, Ziza escapes to apply her final cosmetic flourishes. The virgin banter between father and suitor steadying, she enraptured by the quickening intimacy.

Ziza and Bhaiza take leave finally, to repair to an evening sighing with the nocturnal youthful delights that is the preserve and mystery of the youthful alone.

The next morning, Ziza, tone sweeter for a fruitful evening, de jure if not de facto, lilts boldly at her father.

'So, Dad, what did you and Bhaiza discuss last night?'

'Who's Bhaiza?'

He doesn't break to surface.

little red riding hood

"Keith Richards looks like grandma dressed up in the wolf's bonnet",  to paraphrase from Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

NB "Keith richards looks like a wolf dressed up in grandma's bonnet"

fool's gold

I kissed once, and transmuted into a frog.

-- not all stoned states are born equal, nor all echoes in the void.

as I cradle in the crook of god's finger, at the crack of the rock of dawn

I'm a ventriloquist really; be my dummy juju doll.

100% uncut, plugged in blow this morning --  blues scales the flute

Friday, 22 October 2010

wind in my shoes

What  to me to had to be the absurdness, insurmountable difficulty, in acting nor feeling normal,  during a period -- my base, South Africa in the 1980's -- when political violence and civil strife seemed normative.

Dealing with (personal) loss and anger against this and embracing spirituality, trying, as a necessary blanket of modesty(serenity, taqdeer) and gratitude -- ' I've got space in my pocket and wind in my shoes'

The video clip was recorded spontaneously at an event after a once-off rehearsal (twenty odd years later)

Composer: Faizel Boorany
Lyrics: Faizel Boorany
Lead guitar: Faizel Boorany
Rhythm guitar: Jeremy Karodia
Vocals: Jeremy Karodia and Ayub Mayet
Performed at Mavr!x fundraiser on 31 July 2010.
Location: Emmarentia Protea Club
Filmed by Fatima Rahiman


losing my religion

From lessons at The Great Slime Pond, on playing truant,  #79:

I don't like forcing myself on or compelling others, in any manner and in every sense. Even where they might be obliging, out of compunction, a sense of duty to me; or just a sense of duty in the abstract. More so perhaps then, even, it generates loathing.

Being compelled to embrace perfunctoriness has got to rank as a suffocation in degree and discomfort more than, if not equal to, the humiliation or deprivation of an outright rejection, or even negation.

It's not my style, nor substance, to take, lift -- pilfer if you like -- and the petty theft diminishes me whilst reducing the volitional victim's shrugged-off equity, and dignity to boot.

I struggle violently to fend off the oppressive suspicion, the ignominy, that their ostensible giving, charity --  relenting more like --  leaves them irked and tired at the very least, and with the acquired need to compensate themselves with an undue and inordinate moral smugness, that which accompanies what can only be a begrudging sacrifice. Burnt offerings. Discarded left-overs.

Doggie-bag blues

Specious superiority, to be sure, accompanying minor altruism , but they're not going to question the false nature of, the false minor gods behind the collected authority of their ways.

They, the benefactors, have to decide what it is they want, and might willingly give.

But they don't(decide), because second guessing themselves is too hard, and consequently changing's a bridge too far..

And it might imply that they're no better nor less in their alleged altruism than the world they purport service to.

Never have been, never will be.

Ignorance is it's own seed and impulse, and when accompanied by a veneer of putative knowledge, becomes heady in its boldness to throw things asunder. Arrogance really

I've suffered, over the years, an immense need to explain myself to others, to make them feel better, because I've been made to feel that my inner state, and sometimes outer appearance, and demeanor affects them.. Perhaps because of my own past sins

It's rubbish really,and humiliating, when they're really not paying attention anyway, anyhow.

Some of those who would have abused, when I could be debased no more, have died.

I've had to negate a vindictive triumphalism, and pray on the removal of any sense of vindication on my part for I know, as much as id would have me believe otherwise, the universe is in me, but doesn't revolve around me.

I am not the center of my universe, nor do I expect you to (pretend to) treat me as such

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


Practise, write, practise. Write some more, ad infinitum.

Ad nauseam

Practise(sic) , to the grave.

Practice for the grave? It's [my] worship anyway (Maulana Rumi seems to think so).

Coffee break. Micro parole. Alfresco.

In the spring sun, thaw the icicles that form on the bones, for endeavors  which demand  physical stillness by stretches too long, in shadowed containers too dark.

Zainab, the neighbor, prepares the best condiments. And atchar. The word pickle just doesn't do the essence of this manna justice. She generously produces and transmutes, transmits the stuff,  for my father ostensibly (I hope:)

Two slices of bread, margarine, a shard or three of brittle cheese, and some of Zainab the neighbor's green mango atchar strewn randomly, with a dash of its aromatic holding oil for good measure.

A (veritable) lucky dip. Dunked fully in the strong, new-morning-fresh drink of choice of  sufis -- arabica.

And everything's OK with the world again.

PS Miles Davis, So What, playing. Delectable serendipity I mumble too, with the birds

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

'no name d'gin

The country staggered, uneasy; unsteadily, a drunk powder-keg conjured nightmarishly to life by Tyranny.

Interspersed with loose cannons bristling phallically, rearing to scorch everything in sight just to prove it could; to shut everyone up and raze everything down in its explosively sanitizing, greedily consuming crimson flames, as the untidy and tremulous scramble for political power and social justice, dispensed with herd-mentality and mob-justice continued breathlessly, madly apace, cacophonously sucking up the scarce oxygen which remained after years of struggle.

Between the interminable talking-heads and macabre images of smoking corpses, victims of necklacing; and train violence, political intrigue and assassinations, and hackings, life still had to run its mill.

As if all were normal.

One had to earn a living, maintain relationships (and separations) and attend school; cook, deal with the neighbors, score drugs (I had relapsed after a seven year abstinence), tend to the garbage, and in this incomplete litany of life's inanities, studiously ignore the standard daily reportage of everyday mundanities in South Africa like child-rape.

And see to the rental of course.

It was a schizoid mish-mesh, melting-pot, mad kaleidoscope; hellish everyday gig really.

I was studying Paco de Lucia's technique and mesmerized by his duende. And Sor, Villa-Lobos, Leo Brouwer along with the rest of the entire classical guitar repertoire, the enthusiasm for which I found oppressively necessary, incumbent, and only the polite thing to do, to reciprocate John Silver's entrusting his Guitar Studio to me, and towards preserving -- as he was prone to gently remind me every now-and-then  -- his legacy of Classical Guitar performance and tuition.

Privately, I had been re-visiting the Beatles' catalogue, nursing my addiction, and engaged in my on-going middle-nature battle with John McLaughlin's musical odyssey. That and my battle with my erstwhile domestic partner from whom I had recently and falteringly been liberated

It was now 1994, and in the quest for a next act in my recovery -- being broke, separated and close to being unemployable with a spiraling drug-habit again, I decided I was done communicating with, teaching and counselling human beings.

It had been self-defeating, quite honestly, anyway, working with addicts and their families prior to the Studio and my simultaneously conscious decision to use drugs again to Cope. It had just become too tiresome, along with convincing straight people that I could be one of them too.

The recovery rate of addicts was so poor (3%) and the collateral damage - transference, to employ the technical jargon -  that, coupled with my own difficulties -- and my invariable ennui  -- it was inevitable.

My own relapse that is(collapse, to be reasonable, would be the more precise rendition).

Started a year-and-a-half earlier (at about the time Bob Mabena was hosting funky pop songs from other parts of Africa on his Toyota Top 20 slot on SABC to which I would practise riffs on the flute), the relapse had seen its logical conclusion  -- the grande finale, with no resort to an encore -- in my rented-cottage, along with my car, going up in flames and burning to a cinder, down to the very same charred ground so gruesomely common in conflict stricken parts of the Townships.

The coup de grâce. Every addict knows in (her own) inimitable and unique self-inflicting style.

I managed to achieve personally, in a microcosm, an implosion the rest of this mad country could only maniacally posture.

Stoned negligence on my part, this time entailing a lit candle and a few Vesparax, a killer downer,  jostling for neuro-pharmacological space, binding with and finally overwhelming Ritalin, an upper, in my  not-so-central anymore, very-jiggy (un) nervous system

The sad, sorry saga reduced, along with my life-belongings and work, to a  squalidly literal damp-squib. Expedited graciously by local fire-men, one of whom, fanning his cigarette gremlin-like, beckons me for a light.  So much fire there had been, but none left to light one cigarette. After action, satisfaction, in the immortal words of the tobacco advertising industry. Incendiary irony, to hazard the pun.

Now, still sifting through the ashes, picking up the pieces a year-and-a-half  later, and among which ruins included my lost child,  access to whom had been thwarted by her, by now comprehensively resentful mother,  I set out to learn a computer programming language -- not knowing how to throw the power switch on a computer, and having walked out on the Studio; and John; and Music, which had become the curse my mother had cast on it

And thus did battle not only with the tormenting ghosts of yore and spooks of present, but set out furthering my elusive gains by attempting to get paid for seek-and-destroy missions, hunting ghosts in machines. For  what would turn out to be (the next) fourteen years.

Financially and behavioristically more rewarding  -- garbage in, garbage out, programmers laconically describe the process, possibly better than even Skinner might in Pavlovian short-hand. The battle of engaging ghosts in machines made for a decent living and temporary refuge.

It did so, however, at the expense of my already sufficiently weathered soul, mechanizing and stilling it too completely. The mercenary process of battling machines eventually off-sided and ossified my emotions, withered my impulses, threatening to turn me too into a cyber spook.

Enough -- more than enough  --  for my body to rebel, and retch. Enough for me to become more-or-less permanently inflamed.

The spook, the djinn  -- so to speak -- got out the bottle. This djinn had the bottle to.

For those with an itchy nous for such things, the djinn, according to the Qu'ran, was created by God out of smokeless fire.

In the taxonomic universe of modern priests and apothecaries, the particular condition of perennial inflammation I found myself now afflicted with is shelved under the quaint but socio-cognitively  awkward rubric of inflammatory, or auto-immune disorders.

The moniker, most specifically mine, no more common than rheumatoid arthritis.

My marker, the laboratory measure for this thing's febrile intensity, was about 120 greater than what is regarded as being normal. This made me feel special in a perverse sort of way though.

Specially feverish, and close to being crippled, before they finally identified and nailed the thing.

(They're good, when they're willing, the secular priesthood, to nail things.

And for this -- surgical precision -- I am grateful)

--to be cont.

nuclear fuse muse

My readings (on spirituality) confirm my instincts. one, to purchase a nuclear warhead.

People, all, possess, or possessed are by the geni'us for something, buried usually under the muck and trivia of their lives, too pleased rolling in to allow much to surface

There was a time in my life when i was in control. It lasted all of three hours. and that was usually with Obex, or Ritalin, coke et al. It happened multiple times though. And it helped when frenetic turgidity's the order of the day

Another day, another dollar. 

Into the breech, onto battle untoward with that hoary old thing some persist in dubbing life.The ebb and flow of the day, the waxing and waning of the moon a million times (in) one. Getting nailed, to my own cross is my forte. It's the Sisyphean task of the daily carrying it that rasps. Accompanied by the sound track of my life - a dirge. A paean to my short lived immortality and seriously circumscribed fame.The short leash chaffes, and. I champ on the bit to no avail. Sisyphus again; and the head of the Hydra. 

Let's just have a smoke. No grand opus this bru. Picture book, comic-boo(k), monochrome, but chromatic

Recovery  feels at times like I have to be a crypto-fascist:)

Let this morning begin...

Thin Lizzy, Still In Love With You
The Beatles, Don't let me down

Tired, chilled.

Renew living benignly, in word and deed, with #respect to everything, and all people. Hard. Try's all.  #NotTooOldToRockAndRoll #Ahimsa

Recall how as a young man I put a knife to Mordant's throat because he was being stupid and wiped phlegm on my back. He made amends by giving me cocaine. He was a sycophant dealer in training at seventeen, the scion of a wealthy, upper-crust anglo-jewish family,  pretending to be a renegade WASP. He was bright. Had to be, to nearly pull off convincing everyone he was  a London East-end cockney kid on a special grant at public school wielding a Strat.


The dichotomous pull between (playing) music and words. Playing music has become increasingly personal over the years, and really healing, but mostly in a vacuum.

Words allow(?) a greater connection with the external world.

Anyway, here's to the start of another day.

Alice Coper, I'm Eighteen

Jethro Tull, Too Old To Rock 'n Roll (???)
Stealers Wheel, Stuck in the Middle With You
Rolling Stones,Jumpin Jack Flash
Bob Dylan, Like a Rolling stone
The Beatles, I've Got A Feeling
John Fogerty, Almost Saturday
The Eagles, Desperado                 !!!!!!
Led Zeppelin, The Rain Song
Rolling Stones, Wild Horses

There's a #word for everything under heaven and on earth.What's yours?

Monday, 18 October 2010

jonathan franzen, freedom

Reading, so far, like Desperate Housewife's on steroids.

Some sweet prose, and gripping though. We'll see.

Your thoughts ?


Twenty five years of sobriety, fifty three years on the planet

Recovery, life, relationships: terra incognita.

Still; the fare's damn fine.

genesis, i know what i like

Tired, and bemused. Led Zeppelin say, Dazed and Confused.

Need, listening hard, to classic rock. LOUD.

Blowing, fusing and breathing, scaling, arpeggiating the length and breadth of this piece of glint, this smarmy tubing, pompously: traverse flute.

Displace the clatter of make-up, morning masque preparation

Music's my sounding-board, my salve. It cups and lets me

No longer a bottle-kop, dope, gangja, one end, chandie, sucker, blou-joe at the other. Used to be Born to be Wild. Now, Borne-on- the-Mild

This is all chandie, the silver side flute. In the chandies, always.

Minor pentatonic morning;  chromatic blues, chromatic hues.

Get back, say the Beatles. And Billy Preston.

That's the way god planned it, that's the way god wants it to be

Thought for the day:
It will be given to us to behold the Bodhisatta's infinite Buddha-lilha and to hear his word.
Jataka, 1: 54

Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.
           -- Ovid

PS listening...
The Doors, LA Woman.
Hawkwind, Silver Machine-my mother's old Bernina. M'ghrib blues 
Queen, Don't stop me now
The James Gang:,Funk #49
America, Horse with no name
Bachman Turner Overdrive, You ain't seen nothing yet
Led Zeppelin, Nobody's fault
Joe Cocker, Feelin' Alright
Bad Company, Feel like making love
Supertramp, The Logical Song
Jimi Hendrix, Hey Joe
Stevie Ray Vaughan, Little Wing  (that's my son now:)
Roxy Music, Love is the Drug
John Martyn, Solid Air
Bob Marley, I shot the Sheriff
Status Quo, Caroline
Boston, More than a feeling
Deep Purple, Black Night
Deep Purple, Hush

When my heart became constricted and my paths became narrow 
I took my hope in Your pardon and forgiveness as an opening and an escape 
My sins seemed very great to me but when I compared them to Your forgiveness 
I found Your forgiveness to be greater 
- Imam Shafi'

listening still...
The Rolling Stones, Honky tonk Women (she blew my nose, then she blew my mind...)
Santana, Black Magic Woman (blood letting extraordinaire !)
Thin lizzy, Whiskey in the Jar
Focus, Sylvia

It's funny that(being taken to task for the thing the accuser is an adept)

I'm like a confessor, a lightning rod-for others' sins. What I definitely ain't, is a spook. What you see, is what you get. That's meant to be a strength, but it's turned into a failing by others' neurosis. I too readily, coz I'm fundamentally a decent human being, allow myself to be the trash-can for their sins, the screen onto which they deflect their own short-comings and self-deceptions, so they feel morally invincible again. But you and I know that's ephemeral, and so the vicious cycle continues. I'm like a walking ink-blot for them. And the blotter. Makes me want to get blotto

The thought police are out to get me again, but I ain't letting them too close this time. 

The chinese sage says, feed ( their ) arrogance , even when it's presented -- and presides -- as something else, enough to even convince themselves they're the victim. The persecutor is mos the other side of the coin.

The most difficult part is just playing stupid. If I played otherwise, it'll piss everyone off, and don't have the energy any longer to fight, to whistle against the wind, piss against the breeze.

I've prayed for idiocy, lord knows I have. Perhaps I'm being granted it finally.

In the presence of the blind, dance, they that would not.

listening again...
Pink Floyd, Shine on, You crazy diamond
Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody
Eric Clapton, Let it Grow
Peter Frampton, Baby, I love your ways
The Rolling Stones, Brown Sugar   (!!!!!!!!!!!????:)

Right, can't fake it any longer... got to close me eyes, even if only briefly. Will I wake from this wake?