Find us on Google+ my wits' ~ licentia vatum: December 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 d├ętente, 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