NELSON MANDELA, NUMBER 46664 IS DEAD; EULOGICALLY ELEGIZING DIRGE FOR SON OF AFRICA, HOPE OF HUMANITY AND PERMANENT FLAME OF DEMOCRACY
Alexander K Opicho
(Eldoret, Kenya; email@example.com)
Nelson Mandela, South Africa's anti-apartheid beacon, has died
One of the best-known political prisoners of his generation,
South Africa's first black president, He was 95.
His struggle against apartheid and racial segregation
Lead to the vision of South Africa as a rainbow nation
In which all folks were to be treated equally regardless of color
Speaking in 1990 on his release from Pollsmoor Prison
After 27 years behind bars, Mandela posited;
I have fought against white domination and
I have fought against black domination
I have cherished the idea of a democratic
And a free society in which all persons live together
In harmony and with equal opportunity
It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve
But if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die,
Fortunately, he was never called upon
To make such a sacrifice
And the anti-apartheid campaign did produce results
A ban on mixed marriages between whites and folks of color,
This was designed to enforce total racial segregation
Was lifted in 1985
Mandela was born on July 18, 1918
His father Gadla named him "Rolihlahla,"
Meaning “troublemaker” in the Xhosa language
Perhaps parental premonitions of his ability to foment change.
Madiba, as he is affectionately known
By many South Africans,
Was born to Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa,
a chief, and his third wife Nosekeni Fanny
He grew up with two sisters
In the small rural village of Qunu
In South Africa's Eastern Cape Province.
Unlike other boys his age,
Madiba had the privilege of attending university
Where he studied law
He became a ringleader of student protest
And then moved to Johannesburg to escape an arranged marriage
It was there he became involved in politics.
In 1944 he joined the African National Congress (ANC),
Four years before the National Party,
Which institutionalized racial segregation, came to power
Racial segregation triggered mass protests
And civil disobedience campaigns,
In which Mandela played a central role
After the ANC was banned in 1961
Mandela founded its military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe
The Spear of the Nation
As its commander-in-chief,
He led underground guerrilla attacks
Against state institutions.
He secretly went abroad in 1962
To drum up financial support
And organize military training for ANC cadres
On his return, he was arrested
And sentenced to prison
Mandela served 17 years
On the notorious Roben Island, off Cape Town,
Mandela was elected as South Africa's first black president
On May 10, 1994
Cell number five, where he was incarcerated,
Is now a tourist attraction
From 1988 onwards, Mandela was slowly prepared
For his release from prison
Just three years earlier he had rejected a pardon
This was conditional
On the ANC renouncing violence
On 11 February 1990,
After nearly three decades in prison,
Mandela, the South African freedom beacon was released
He continued his struggle
For the abolition of racial segregation
In April 1994,
South Africa held its first free election.
On May 10,
Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first elected black president,
Mandela jointly won
The Nobel Peace Prize
With Frederik de Clerk in 1993
On taking office
Mandela focused on reconciliation
Between ethnic groups
And together with Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
He set up the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)
To help the country
Come to terms
With the crimes committed under apartheid
After his retirement
From active politics in 1999,
Madiba dedicated himself
To social causes,
Helping children and HIV-AIDS patients,
His second son
Makgatho died of HIV-AIDS
In 2005 at the age of 54,
South Africans have fought
a noble struggle against the apartheid
But today they face a far greater threat
Mandela he posited in a reference to the HIV-AIDS pandemic,
The ANC slogan of 1994; A better life for all
Was fulfilled only
For a small portion of the black elite
Crime and lack of job prospects
Continue to threaten the Rainbow Nation,
On the international stage
Mandela acted as a mediator
In the Burundi civil war
And also joined criticism
Of the Iraq policy
Of the United States and Great Britain
He won the Nobel Prize in 1993
And played a decisive role
Into bringing the first FIFA World Cup to Africa,
His beloved great-granddaughter
Zenani Mandela died tragically
On the eve of the competition
And he withdrew from the public life
With the death of Nelson Mandela
The world loses a great freedom-struggleer
And heroic statesman
His native South Africa loses
At the very least a commanding presence
Even if the grandfather of nine grandchildren
Was scarcely seen in public in recent year
Media and politicians are vying
To outdo one another with their tributes
To Nelson Mandela, who himself disliked
The personality cult
That's one of the things
That made him unique,
Nelson Mandela was no saint,
Even though that is how the media
Are now portraying him
Every headline makes him appear more superhuman
And much of the admiration is close to idolatry
Some of the folks who met him
Say they felt a special Mandela karma
In his presence.
Madiba magic was invoked
Whenever South Africa needed a miracle,
Mandela himself was embarrassed
By the personality cult
Only reluctantly did he agree to have streets
Schools and institutes named after him
To allow bronze statues and Mandela museums
To be built
A trend that will continue to grow.
He repeatedly pointed
To the collective achievements
Of the resistance movement
To figures who preceded him
In the struggle against injustice
And to fellow campaigners
Such as Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Luthuli
Or his friend and companion in arms
Oliver Tambo who today stands in Mandela's shadow,
Tambo helped create the Mandela legend
Which conquered the world
A tale in which every upright man
And woman could see him
Or herself reflected,
When Prisoner Number 46664 was released
After 27 years behind bars
He had become a brand
A worldwide idol
The target of projected hopes
And wishes that no human being
Could fulfill alone,
Who would dare scratch?
The shining surface of such a man
List his youthful misdemeanors
His illegitimate children
Who would mention his weakness for women?
And female journalists
With whom he flirted
In a politically incorrect way
When already a respected elder statesman?
Who would speak out critically?
Against the attacks
He planned when he headed the ANC
Armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe
And who would criticize the way
He would often explode in anger
Or dismiss any opinions other than his own?
His record as head of government
Is also not above reproach
Those years were marked by pragmatism
And political reticence
Overdue decisions were not taken
Day to day matters were left to others
When choosing his political friends
His judgment was not always perfect
A Mandela grandchild is named
After Colonel Muammar Gaddaffi
Seen from today's perspective
Not everything fits
The generally accepted
Picture of visionary and genius,
But Mandela can be excused
Because despite everything
He achieved more than ordinary human beings
His long period of imprisonment
Played a significant role here
It did not break him, it formed him
Had been a university of life for Mandela once posited
He learned discipline there
In dialogue with his guards
He learnt humility, patience and tolerance
His youthful anger dissolved
He mellowed and acquired
The wisdom of age
When he was at last released
Mandela was no longer
Burning with rage,
He was now a humanized revolutionary
Mandela wanted reconciliation
At almost any price
His own transformation
Was his greatest strength
The ability to break free
From ideological utopia
And to be able to see the greater whole
That those who think differently
Are not necessarily enemies
The ability to listen,
To spread the message of reconciliation
To the point of betraying what he believed in,
Only in this way could he
Serve as a role model
To both black and white humanity
, communists and entrepreneurs,
Catholics and Muslims.
He became a visional missionary,
An ecclesiast of brotherly love
Wherever he was, each humanity was equal
He had respect for musicians and presidents
Monarchs and cleaning ladies
He remembered names
And would ask about relatives
He gave each humanity his full attention
With a smile, a joke, a well aimed remark,
He won over every audience
His aura enveloped each humanity,
Even his political enemies,
That did not qualify him
For the status of demi-god
But he was idolized and rightly so
He must be named in the same breath
As Mahatma Gandhi, the Dalai Lama
Or Martin Luther King
Mandela wrote a chapter of world history
Even Barack Obama posited
He would not have become
President of the United States
Without Mandela as a role model,
And so it is not so important
That Mandela is now portrayed
Larger than life
The fact that not everything
He did in politics succeeded is a minor matter
His achievement is to have lived
A life credibly characterized
By humanism, tolerance and non-violence,
When Mandela was released
From prison in 1990,
The old world order of the Cold War era
Mandela stood at the crossroads and set off in the right direction
How easily he could have played with fire, sought revenge,
Or simply failed; He could have withdrawn from public life or,
Like other companions in arms, earned millions,
Two marriages failed because of the political circumstances
His sons died tragically long before him
It was only when he was 80 and met his third wife,
That he again found warmth,
Partnership and private happiness,
Setbacks did not leave him bitter
Because he regarded his own life
As being less important
Than the cause he believed in
He served the community humbly,
With a sense of responsibility
Of duty and willingness to make sacrifices
Qualities that are today only rarely encountered,
How small and pathetic his successors now seem
Their battles for power will probably now be fought
Even more unscrupulously than in the past
How embarrassing are his own relatives
Who argued over his legacy at his hospital bed
Mandela was no saint
But a man with strengths and weaknesses,
Shaped by his environment
It will be hard to find a greater person
Just a little bit more Mandela every day
Would achieve a great deal
Not only in Africa
But in the bestridden geographies
Epochs and diversities of man,
In my post dirge I will ever echo words of Mandella
He shone on the crepuscular darkness of the Swedish
Academy, where cometh the Nobel glory;
Development and peace are indivisible
Without peace and international security
Nations cannot focus
On the upliftment
Of the most underprivileged of their citizens.
Love enters when you least expect
That night surprised them both
Their reunion had been so perfect
That night they swore an oath
Wrapped in his arms, the sunlight peaked
When morning came again
Memories of the night had leaked
To everyone but them
Oh misery, please stay with me
There’s nothing to forget
The skies are prettier at sea
When storms are on the threat
He tripped her up, and she fell hard
But catch her he did not
For him she had let down her guard
But he had wished she fought
Oh misery, please stay with me
I do not wish to part
Please won’t you keep me company
Beside my lonely heart?
Before she knew it, he was gone
To keep the village safe
She never felt she could belong
Her life forever changed
He said he’d love her ‘til the end
She never questioned why
Always his name she would defend
She loved him ‘til she died
He should have warned her when he left
He’d be forever gone
He stole her heart, an act of theft
She’d wait forever long
surrounding us: a billion stars
in a time when a trip to mars is like walking around the block
and captain kirk and mister spock are arguing
about the prime directive.
we’re beaming to a planet’s surface. now listen:
i know about inverse tachyon beams
i know about coded klingon screams
i know about going to warp factor eight
i know about redshirts' survival rate.
i’m beaming down with the main crew
to the surface of minerva II
we've got a malfunctioning interstellar transceiver which is distressing-- dysgraphing? dismantling…
…i don't know.
scotty said it was defective.
so we’re on this planet,
standing on one side of a thick forest packed with monster janeks,
starfleet says we need to fix this thing yesterday, and we’re in a panic—
and damn it, mccoy is a doctor, not a lumberjack,
and kirk says we should just burn through the middle with phasers,
and spock says we must preserve respect for all life forms no matter the situation.
now please remember kirk’s the captain.
that means he runs this show
but kirk always listens to spock,
we spend two days walking through the forest.
surrounding us: a billion trees
in a place where a strange disease is rare as feathers in a flock
and captain kirk and mister spock are arguing
about the prime directive.
halfway through this dark-lit trip
things go wrong (obviously)
and an alien with shellac for skin captures the captain.
said alien grabs a vine, ascends into the canopy of the trees,
and for one glorious moment
i believe kirk’s the dead guy in this episode, not me!
but spock, in his calm and logical vulcan voice,
orders us to exercise any necessary force to recover the captain.
translation: KILL EVERYTHING. JUST GET KIRK BACK.
we reach the janek village.
being a good redshirt, i rush in, phaser blasting, ready to complete the heroic rescue of our captain—
and get killed instantly.
as i was dying, i heard the sound of thousands of janeks dying beside me
saw spock help kirk off the ground
and the last words I heard were theirs:
“captain, are you in need of immediate medical attention?”
“nah, spock, i’m fine—”
“mr. scott. the captain is hurt. beam us aboard immediately.”
one’s arm over the other’s shoulders,
surrounding them: a billion stars
in a time when a trip to mars is like walking around the block
and captain kirk and mister spock are arguing
about the prime directive—
but the prime directive
was never the real objective.
He was princely, had wealth within, without.
Women's eyes followed him wherever he went.
Cathedrals of green, expansive blue element
Summoned him outside one summer's day.
Each leaf, each blade of grass shimmered beguiled,
As though Wonder bestowed a laurel on the child.
He came upon a field that billowed gold;
Each long strand vibrated like hymn or prayer,
And he decided he would settle there.
He trimmed the field a little, built a home,
A mansion of unearthly radiance,
Where he fed on knowledge, politics, and romance,
The summer wind continuing to hum and comb.
One day he wanted to grow a special tree
That would yield golden and silver apples
Extending his joy indefinitely.
The tree grew and grew with glittering pride,
So that it was hard for him to turn aside.
He had labored, and his labor was justified.
Yet for all his labor, well-earned paradise,
There was within him a sliver of vice.
He did not care for the villagers miles below
Who were uneducated and full of woe.
He was willing to pay for more prison bars,
But not for what might help them find their stars.
He thought his children deserved love and care,
But the villagers' children were their own affair.
On his tree, there long had settled a talking bird
That at last flew to the village and spread the word.
As sunset fingers turned page after page,
There grew in the village craftiness and rage.
The wealthy man tried to insulate, enclose
Himself, which only multiplied his woes:
The ground received red and yellow leaves;
The apples drew chaos and violence;
The apples attracted and multiplied thieves.
THE BLACK FAUX ALLIGATOR LEATHER briefcase was accidently left behind in the taxicab which James Riley was riding in. A junior Professor at a prestigious New York college. Luckily for him he held on to the receipt the cab driver handed him and with a little intuitive work, he was able to retrieve his briefcase in a matter of a few hours. He met the same cab driver who had dropped him off earlier that evening in front of his apartment building and shamefully begged the driver to take the few extra cash, he wanted to thank him with for returning back to the scene of the "crime," if you think of it in that sense. The driver however was not swayed at first but reluctantly drove away with the extra cash in his pockets. He briefly stood standing there in relief. For not only getting his briefcase returned back to him undamaged, but that more importantly all its contains were still intact and equally the students papers were yet to be graded.
"What a careless fool I am," he said. "No more after work happy hour for me!" he declared. James bid the streets a goodnight and headed back inside to the comforts of his apartment. Once there he was feverishly texting away on his cellphone with a pal he had recently met at a local coffee shop near the school where he teaches. I could only assume that he is informing his pal Carlos Saldana about the events that had occurred with his briefcase and while patiently waiting on his takeout dinner to be delivered. He places the cellphone down on the open files laid out on top of the coffee table, walks over to the fridge for a bottled water and on his return back to his seating area, the intercom buzzer comes alive for a brief moment. James's dinner has finally arrived.
I know myself and at times I believe that I am a superhero and can manage a full works schedule, friendships and that of being a semi partying young working professional. I just as well don't find much joy in the latter: romance. It's a complicated order I'd say. But by all accounts he manages to carve out a decent amount of romantic dates by years end. He does really enjoys the life of a bachelor's lifestyle and the no strings attached policy. Let me state that by no means is the clean cut grayish-blue eyed tall handsome James Riley a mere promiscuous gigolo. He readily engages to reunite with the company of others for leisure or an occasional sexual hookup. James in this regard prefers to meet up with an online randevu at a midtown hotel for the sake of his privacy and sanity. One should never be as foolish and carefree with one's own secrets, he once thought.
He is no fool by any means and woke up the following morning to a blurred October autumn crisp sky. He quickly checked his mobile device for any overnight signs of life from the outside world (which there were a missed call and 4 text messages) and to see the time. Before joining his head with his pillow, he had placed his cellphone on silent mode. Therefore, giving him a well-rested nights sleep and blocking out any unrested souls from seeping in into the night. He reached over to the nightstand, fumbled with the cable television remote control and clicked onto a news network channel, where he then realized that Margaret Thatcher was dead, the former British prime minister.
"I see that old B.P.M. has passed on today," James texted.
"Oh yes, I heard" replied Carlos. They always seemed to know what the other was talking about, like an unhidden code between them. "I bide her a farewell." He concluded.
"Brunch in 20 minutes?" asked James.
"Yes. I'll meet you there," Carlos had replied.
"Butter" James texted.
"Yes, I gotcha" Carlos responded back.
Butter is an Italian eatery restaurant nestled in the Greenwich village neighborhood that they both enjoyed very much. Salvatore Bellino, the owner is like a papa figure to all his patrons and treated anyone who walked through the doors like family. The average build of James's body frame carried no weight to the amount of food he can consume in one sitting. Carlos looked on in awe and amazement. This guy can really devour all that up he thought. He had hastily scanned the menu and ordered two breakfast platters because the first one would not be as fulfilling as the second one, which consisted of a western omelette, hash browns, maple sausages, crispy bacon strips, pancakes topped with blueberries, strawberries and whipped cream. He then wolfed it down with a large glass of mimosa or two. Carlos simply enjoyed a plate of two egg whites, sautéed asparagus with strawberries and kiwi and a simple glass of orange juice.
"Wow! That was delicious," James happily proclaimed.
"I bet it was," Carlos said with a half smile.
After that marathon of a breakfast which mostly James endured, it was clear that they were both relaxed, fulfilled and slightly eager to move on with their day. It was Saturday and it was clearly evident that they really didn't have any solid plans. They just sat there sipping on ice water with lemon slices, waited for the check which they both split and chatted a bit about their respective work, life, wanting to go on vacations and a little tidbits of politics. Carlos Saldana made his living as a political writer and authored two books on the subject, one becoming a National Best Seller. He then landed himself a lucrative deal with a major political Internet magazine, has written many articles for newspapers and blog sites. He mainly works from his home office which he shares with his four year marriage to his wife Yvonne.
"And your wife how is she?" James asked, genuinely.
"Oh, she is good, I assume," Carlos answered. Yvonne's job kept her away from home a few months out the year. "You see, she's a senior representative for a large biotechnology company and she is barely at home," he quips.
"I- I see." James hesitantly replied. That last tidbit of information instantly lead him to believe that the young marriage is probably brewing with trouble. "Do you guys ever Skype?" he added.
"Yes, but its not the same as in person," Carlos reasoned.
Salvatore Bellino came over to their table to greet them, but he had taken an instant liking to James and would let him use a corner table as a brief work stationary, as long as the restaurant was not busy with eating patrons. James introduces his friend Carlos Saldana to Mr. Salvatore Bellino, who came to live in the United States as a young child with two older siblings and his parents from their motherland of Italy. He already had an uncle who owned a restaurant in The Bronx and he worked his way up from waiter, manager to semi-owner to finally becoming a restaurateur and owner of his own eatery Butter, which has afforded him a dulce lifestyle and in the same token, has bought him numerous food awards from the culinary world and featured articles in newspapers and glossy magazines. The exterior of the restaurant was once featured in a romantic comedy film.
Salvatore Bellino was accepted and attended a prestigious culinary school in France to become a chef. He then visited and studied even further under the watchful eye of his successful chef maternal grandmother in Italy and then later he gradually started stepping away from the kitchen to front of the house in his own restaurant, and often times he did both, while employing chefs equal to his standards. Salvatore's age could not be disrupted even though he lives and looks like a guy in his mid-thirties such as James and Carlos, but whose real age is in his early sixties.
"I am pleased to see you again bambino and to meet your friend," Salvatore said.
"Yes, thank you," James replied.
"The food was delicious and you have such a beautiful place here, Mr. Bellino," Carlos injected.
"Thank you. But call me Salvatore, as you are among friends bambino," Salvatore stated.
"I am honored," Carlos replied.
"He shall bring his young bride the next time he's in the neighborhood," James proclaimed.
"Oh wonderful, I would enjoy meeting her, yes!" Salvatore said.
"Yes. All in due course," Carlos said with a half smile.
Once outside the restaurant they noticed that the clouds had shifted to a somewhat darker vortex and the air a bit brisk as they hailed a cab. Carlos had earlier in the day sent James a text message advising him that if he had any free time, if he would be inclined to visiting the Picasso exhibition at the Guggenheim museum. He had unhesitantly obliged and off they went inside the taxicab they headed towards that direction. Carlos fiddled with his cellphone to send a quick text to his wife Yvonne. 'Just saying hi, hope you're great, brunch with James and now off to the museum.' James's attention lingered out the view of the cars window. He looked over to see that Carlos was tucking away his cellphone in the upper inside right side jacket pocket.
"You are very dutiful," James inquisitively said.
"Say what?" Carlos asked.
"Dutiful. I mean with your wife!" James cleared.
"No, I heard you. But I am just puzzled about why would you come to that conclusion?" Carlos asked.
"It's nothing bad. I just noticed your role as a dutiful husband to stay connected to one's wife," James carefully explained.
"I see. I am bound by the vows I took years ago," Carlos said in a more relaxed tone.
"I better understand now," James said.
The cab driver pulled up to the front of the world famous Guggenheim museum to the surprise of its back seat passengers. They both wore a daunted look on their faces and the driver was beginning to lose his patience, as they both just sat there in silence and the driver repeatedly saying that they had arrived at their destination and to pay up. Carlos Saldana a Puerto Rican born and bred New York native, with the looks that resembles a young leading Hollywood star from the golden age; dark hair, brown eyes and caramel skin. Who was the first to attend college in his household and go on to journalism school as he won himself a fellowship to attend.
"James, we're here, my friend!" Carlos wearily voiced, as he awoke from the unnatural spell.
"Yes, you're right!" James said, as he himself shook off the cloudiness of the spell.
As they both regained their composure while exiting the taxicab and paying their fare, one thing struck him to be a little odd. Carlos wondered at the scope of James's inquiry into his marriage? I can't believe to fantom the notion into why people would marry rather than to stay unmarried, James fought to understand, but please do forgive my ignorance. The car drove off behind them as they both stood there eyeing the massive work of art with its swirl dome structure. James had once before visited the museum to attend a black tie event which the museum had played host. But never in a personal capacity such as now. However, it had been a bridge in which Carlos had ventured too once to many times, but loved every minute of it every single time he visited, for both work or leisure. He often times boasted that it was his favorite museum to visit in the city.
Once inside the gallery of the white walled museum they lingered about taking in the views and then headed to the Picasso exhibition. The museum was quite light with visitors, a mere unusual for this time of year, on a Saturday afternoon or perhaps the threat of rain is what may have kept them away. However, it was an utmost exciting opportune time for Carlos to enjoy it without the burdensome interruption, which he disdained with a crowded house. It always felt to him as if having a bunch of roaming wolves everywhere and no time to soak it all in with the wolves taking away from the stillness and enjoyment of the experience.
Meanwhile, James was besieged and quite smitten with a painting depicting an old man in despair, along with a young boy by his side, which tugs at the human heart both visually and reflectively as well. You never know what you'll encounter until its right there in your face, like a spotlight shining from above. The painting gave off as he was feeling a haunting sorrowful cry for help and empathy.
Giorgio, the coal gray Persian cat, sat upright perfectly still on a white upholstered armless chair, purring away unobstructed and freely. He was recently acquired by James to be of comfort and company. The bright bubble blue-eyed cat squarely looked at its masters direction as he himself sat on a white sofa, eagerly reading an article which Carlos had written...
the ominous sound
permeated the night air
the villagers knew
what the continual howling meant
there would be a death
then two after that
were never wrong
deaths in the village
always came in threes
howling through the night
a portent of demise
The chippy irritation from my bedside table
forces an unconscious groan.
Starting from my curled toes
in tidal wave tremors
to my twitching torso.
Manifesting in indiscriminate slapping of
If I were honest in my disdain
I wouldn't turn on the lights
nor spend a minute
looking for acceptable clothes
to appease civilization
…But I do.
People expect to see Me today, wrapped
in preconceived ideologies.
Some societal, some induced.
Portions I have enabled - even propagated
with detailed grooming rituals,
ongoing hair color treatments,
and anti-aging skin
Which is a lie
Because I still see it… everyone does.
Minimizing at best.
I aquiese to the
death defying carcus
is the only thing
Most of them will ever know...
and my persona,
coated in Teflon,
sculpted to situations,
who will never let one title
stick to the
hot rock climate
I call life.
It has been said
you are who you are
when no one is
But my village watches.
Through most of this life,
in and out of my glass house,
in my universe
a spectator sport
with expectant fans.
Where the others hope
the receiver makes the catch,
the singer hits the high note,
the magician disappears…
And I enter.
With my highlighted spiky hair
(I let go for a very short season.
The silence about it
spoke of the
I was grieving.
I got better and gave in
Hi honey, I'm home...with old Me.)
The "real" crowd touts
as a measuring stick of
While border-free openness
and lack of secrets
may only make one a bad confidante…
not a great person.
The diversity of Me is
untainted by opinion.
Purity needs no approval, nor apology.
I am intentionally
loud and quiet,
public and private
seen and unseen
understood… and not.
I am all that you see.
Which, by the way,
is the better part of
They drive by daily.
on the angular structures
in the city.
Even though there were plans,
Yet a man... a man
with these four p's
is branded of
Ignorance is bliss
but you are WAY too happy
in your lack of personal
that you prefer
burn their maps…
I have seen my map.
I have planned the route.
I have chosen the vehicle.
The person I want you
to see is who
Because that is all you will
And I like him
or I wouldn't be him.
Don't ask for my transparency.
You couldn't deal with
the guts of
That's okay too - you shouldn't have to.
We all are who we are
in the moment our lives
Some murderers are loving fathers.
Both are true.
So be sure of this
I do my hair for
I'm glad that you like it.
zip coded into our memory
areas become tribes
formed closer to each other
to enact real change
small village disputes once solved
are now deliberated and agreed upon
this interconnectivity, was an original idea from the masses
we have created the perfect defense mechanism
we have become a whole.
although the advancement lies in the hands of our enemies
our instinct guides us
where they have capability
we have unpredictability.
stay connected my friends
...we built this, not them
Lizbeth closes her bedroom door. Click closed. She leans against it. Back to wood. Her room is a mess: clothes, cup, glass, milk stained, books left open, on floor, on shelf, small tea plate under the bed, soiled linen by the side of the bed cabinet. Her mother has moaned about the state of her room, nag nag, Lizbeth utters. She gazes at the room. The record player by the window. Scattered LPs. Elvis Presley, Fats Domino. Others less well known. None her parents like. Good, she thinks walking from the door, stepping over clothes, books, and sitting on the bed. Your brother never left his room in a mess, her mother had said, he always kept his room neat and tidy. She moves the cup with a foot. She'd just cycled back from the small village and seen Benedict and went to the small church. She had wanted to, but he didn't, least not there, he had said. It was rather a small place, out of the way, small pews,wooden. She was keen, he wasn't. We're only thirteen, he had said. She knew how old she was. The church was warm. Sunlight came through windows of the church, warmed them. Brass crucifix, white altar cloth. Might have been o.k, she muses, looking at the Fats Domino LP on the floor. I wonder if there is a Blueberry Hill? She says to herself. What a place to have a thrill. Tidy the room up, her mother had said, poking her finger at the door of her bedroom. Her mother's thin features, hawk like eyes, thin mouth that looks as if it was sliced across skin. Her mother's red hair, turning grey, brushed back, tied by ribbon. Nervous wreck. Likes things tidy, neat, in order, in check. She moans at her father, too. Either he's too late home or always around the place making a mess. He just smiles, gives her a glass of something, her tablets, rest your eyes, he says, on the bed. Lizbeth stands up from the bed and slowly picks up the books and LPs and clothes and puts the cup, glass and plate on the top of her bedside cabinet. The soiled linen she throws in the basket by the door. Five minutes at most. Done. Peace and quiet. She stares at herself in the long mirror of the tallboy. She grimaces, pokes out her tongue. Her red hair is shoulder length, brushed, loose. She looks at her freckles. Hates them. Her snub nose, thin mouth, white even teeth. She does a twirl, the dress rises, legs show. Not her favourite dress, but the shortest, shows more, angers her mother. She gazes at her narrow frame, small bust, narrow hips. She places her hands on her hips and does a wiggly walk to the mirror and back. The farm hands the other day, at the farm, where he was doing work after school, gawked at her as she went by. She could feel their eyes. Could smell the leer from them. But he had not been interested, even when she was in the hay barn with him and suggested things. No, he had said, not here. And that time when he showed her his collection of bird eggs and bones in his bedroom and there was his double bed vacant, but no, he just talked about birds and the bones he had found in the woods. His mother had shown her in and was pleasant and knew they went upstairs, but nothing clicked, with him or his mother. At school she gapes at him when she sees him. Once she even considered pulling him into the gym, but he said no, he had to be elsewhere, and she stood there, fired up, burning inside, watching him go, giving him her stare. She's still a virgin. It boils in her like soup. Sometimes she senses she can smell the scent of it. A few months ago, when her brother came with his wife(scrawny bitch), they had his room back, and she would creep along to their room and put her ear to the door and listen in the dark. Noises, giggles, kisses. Bedspring. Her eyes grew large in the dark. Some girls at school still talk about girly things, pets, birds, dolls. One or two mention boys, having had a kiss or such, not much. Most of the boys in her class are sexless. Not a clue what to say or do. Pretend, guffaw, imagine. She puts on the Elvis LP. Does a kind of dance. Twirls, watches herself in the mirror, her dress rising higher, legs, thighs. The only girl in the whole school(who she knows) who she can talk of such things is Mandy and she's laugh. Things she comes out with. Things she says she does. She says she had a big picture of Elvis on her bedroom wall until her father ripped it down and tore it in to small pieces. Should have seen his face, Mandy had said. Mandy was fourteen, big busted, black hair, blue eyed. Still a virgin, she had said in the dining hall, after their meal, bad luck. Lizbeth goes to the window and stares out. The garden is neat and the lawn well groomed. Her father is hoeing a bed. Her mother is downstairs having her umpteenth nervous breakdown over the Saturday dinner, she suspects. Elvis sings. Guitars and drums. She imagines bring him back here, the boy she loves or fancies or likes or whatever, and do it here. Right there on her single bed. Get rid of her virginity once a for all like chicken pox or whatever you have only once. But getting him by her mother would be nigh impossible. She'd have to blindfold her or drug her or whatever, to get him into the house, let alone her room and bed. But she can pretend, imagine it, set in place in her head, set it out in the room. She looks at her bed, the two pillows, pillowcases, sheets, candlewick cover. She walks to her bed and lies down. Head on the pillows, arms folded, legs out straight, toes touching. She sighs. Elvis sings. Guitars twang, drums thump. She can't pretend or imagine, no sex for her, she's moody now, got the hump.
A sudden evening rain over the rice fields,
memories wake up from deep sleep
of long years, take a walk once again
along the narrow ridge parting green fields
on a rain soaked evening of yore.
She, a jaunty young woman had changed
the quiet world of a village boy
with big curious eyes, just in few minutes.
his innocence, vanished a yearning
for something unknown until then,
started its torment
love, dabbed its fragrance
on his being with its slight of hand,
a spell cast over him made his head spin
like he drank heady wine, how strange!
Under her spread umbrella he came
by chance, only once in his life
walked with her till the door
on his way to the temple of Krishna
for the evening worship,
walking along the zig zag, slippery path
had he slipped a bath in slush was assured.
When the rains came unannounced,
rushing ,with her anklets clanging
frogs spiritedly croaking,
all this mingling with
the orchestra of myriad insects,
she came as if from nowhere,
from a wild growth of banana plants
on one side, down to his path.
She smiled at him as if she knew him well
a lush young woman, who took him by his hand,
brought him closer to the protective
wrap of her sari, that smelled lemons and oranges,
that fragrance remains sweet in memory,
was it jasmine scent from her long black tresses,
that made him feel that the world has suddenly
become, a place, full of luminance,
has he quickly grown up to her age?
She didn't ask him questions,
called his pet name surprising him
about that knowledge of her;
that made him think that
she was someone so close once,
but forgot as he grew up.
Reaching in front of the temple,
she gave just a wistful look,
and vanished from his life for ever.
Not even aware that she just gave,
the best fragrant moments
for a boy on the first step to adulthood,
he stood looking her go on her way.
When he look back and remember,
this delusion, he realizes, stays with him:
"I am under your umbrella ever since"