Archive for March, 2010

the rules are simple

I’ve started a little game. After work, I like to go to a coffee shop, grab a hot beverage, sit down and thumb-type a poem on my IPod Touch for an hour or so. Because my day-job is noisy, demanding and exhausting, my poems tend toward the absurd – because that’s where the rational mind goes when it doesn’t want to think anymore. I like to focus on a familiar object and then riff off of it. Sometimes these poems make sense, sometimes they don’t. But they are always interesting – to me at least. Here’s one about a tasty cup of Indian Chai:

Indian Chai

On top of you
sprinkled cinnamon
and foam
and in my ears two rose-buds

they don’t bleed these ears
nor do they listen
they are too busy floating
on my tongue so sweet
it needs no sugar

my footsteps echo up
your fingers
like a hug or crushed
ice – you pick
I no longer imagine the sun setting
I see only the moon and its reflection

But let us continue together
you and I
our paths dusted and waiting
they reach for our hands
and bless us with wild precision

they lose themselves
and us along with them
they are dense and convulsing
and sick with meaning


March 31, 2010 at 2:55 am Leave a comment

the art of apology

Giving apologies
makes me feel small, insignificant, inferior
who likes that?
I hate doing something worth apologizing for
because it pisses me off,
and being pissed off
is messy, trust me.

This past week I lost my temper
and spat it out into this weary world
it hit someone
he wiped himself clean and walked
out of the room, leaving me.
I don’t like to be left
even though I’m left-handed
I want to be right.
Why can’t I be right?

I hate
having to apologize
because there’s no guarantee you’ll be accepted
there’s no guarantee that the other person
will claim responsibility for their part
and of course they have a part in it
they almost always do
or so you comfort yourself
you can’t control their conscience
only your own
and mine is aching
so OK here goes:
I’m sorry.
It’s the mature thing to do.

Sometimes it changes things
sometimes it doesn’t
you can’t know if you don’t try
This is where I try.

March 29, 2010 at 6:43 am Leave a comment

Why Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is flawed entertainment

I liked this movie. I’ll start with this because I am about to critique it and want to make my position clear from the start. I am a fan of Burton’s visual style – what’s not to like – but as far as story goes, this adaptation had some flaws. Here are some contentious points:

1) Why is the Red Queen not the right queen? Because she’s deformed? We learn that the red queen is the eldest and that she had to take the crown by force from her sweetly perfect white queen sister. What I want to know is, why did she not inherit the crown legitimately? The film seems to imply that her monstrous head made her unfit to rule the kingdom? And it’s hard to ignore how perfectly proportioned her sister is.

2) If the movie is all about free will and not blindly following other people’s expectations, then why does Alice end up doing exactly what the oracle predicts she will (kinda lacks the surprise element)? I don’t know about other people, but at no point did I doubt that Alice would step up to the plate and embrace the vorpal blade.

3) Stain doesn’t really strike me as a very scary opponent. He barely does anything at all, except look scary with that eye-patch. I understand he’s just a caddy for the evil red queen but the red queen is so stupid that his wily manipulative ways seem wasted.

4) Is it just me or did others find the two royal sisters and their quarrel annoying? I mean, it just seemed so petty and stupid. I realize this is a kid’s film, but frankly I felt like neither of them should be in charge.

5) The film lacked suspense. Even though the world was wonderfully fantastical, it did drag a bit. I think this is due to the plot being fairly predictable.

On the positive side, I really liked the Cheshire Cat and his timely use of his evaporation skills. Now *that* is a cool superpower. And falling down the rabbit hole was quite cool in 3D too, I confess, even though the rest of the film would have stood up just as well in 2D.

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum were endearing, as was Stephen Fry’s blue caterpillar. And I wish the blue dodo bird was featured more prominently – it had a nice waddle.

It was refreshing to see a strong female lead in this film – one who slays monsters and stands up for herself. And one who does not choose to get married at the end. In fact, there’s no prince in sight! Instead, a business career – a welcome alternative to more conventional fairy tales.

In sum, the film was forgettable fun.

March 28, 2010 at 10:20 pm Leave a comment

Career advice

I’ll admit I have moments
when the rage just breaks my skin, oozes
out of me, misdirected. This
is not one of them.

I sit in Starbucks sipping
my decaf latte, two laptops by my side
and that angry bull inside, kicking
at the dirt, rearing to pulverize

An epiphany–
I’m no man, just an imposter
feeling himself pushed off the rim
of this flat, flat earth
useless like trash, unfit even
for recycling

But feelings can change:
I am the master of my attitude
the captain of my solo
and I swallow down the smooth lactic treat
that my lactose-intolerant self will later regret, I’m sure
but in this moment, now
it is an oasis in the unruly hurricane of my day

It is acceptance.

March 27, 2010 at 9:43 pm Leave a comment

Sharpeville Massacre – the beginning of the end

Fifty years ago, 69 people lost their lives in a small township 50 km south of Johannesburg, South Africa. The shooters: police officers. The victims: rioters protesting apartheid laws that required black men and women to carry identity documents (pass-books) wherever they went. After the shootings, the apartheid government banned black “terrorist” organizations, rounded up their leaders and sentenced them to prison, forcing the struggle underground. It was the beginning of the end of apartheid. But 50 years later and 16 years after the fall of apartheid, South Africa remains gripped by deeply unequal living conditions, despite a black government. Old wounds run deep.

This is the legacy I carry with me, as the descendant of apartheid supporters. I live a continent away, in a land of privilege, but Sharpeville stands as a reminder of my roots, its collective memory etched into my psyche. You don’t have to be South African to appreciate what Sharpeville represents: It is every marginalized community robbed of freedom, dignity and of dreams. It is a reminder of intolerance run rampant, of ideology turned cult. Let those deaths not be in vain. Let us commit ourselves to empowering others, regardless of skin colour, ethnicity, or any other categorization we humans can dream up to separate ourselves from each other. We are one village – fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, lovers, all. Let us not forget that.

March 21, 2010 at 5:10 am Leave a comment

nobody likes to be murdered

Nobody likes to be murdered, least of all me. But here I am. Dead. It’s enough to make a guy puke. This time it really wasn’t my fault. I’d been standing there, minding my own business, flicking open and shut my lighter, thinking to myself how bored I was. That’s when it hit me. A blow to the back of my head and the pipe clanging against the concrete floor. The worst part? He wasn’t even after me. No kidding. I didn’t die immediately. If he’d gotten help I could have lived. But he didn’t. He left me there and I bled to death. Some stories don’t have a happy ending. This is one of them.

March 15, 2010 at 3:35 am Leave a comment

war cry

I drag myself through a field
of broken bodies cloaked
in soldiers’ uniforms, made up
with mud. I try not to look
down, but I can’t help it. I
recognize my brother by the ring
around his middle finger, reach
for his hand; his fingers curl
rigor mortis style around
my wrist; it won’t let
go. He won’t
let go!

I carry my brother with me–
handcuffed to his blue-white
arm. The doctor says the only
way is to saw away his grip.
But his fingers have eyes:
they watch me, at day, at night, they
won’t forget, he
won’t let me forget.

March 15, 2010 at 3:21 am Leave a comment

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