Tuesday, December 18, 2012


© Farouk Asvat

Here, in the city of towers
In the land of midnight statements
Among the bluegums and minedumps
Here, it is the silence of the jungle.


            I lean against cold marble pillars
            In the foyer of the magistrates' court
            While Vuyi waits for the verdict
            His solitary confinement mind
            Not taking in the jargon.

Here in the peninsula of the Khoi
Again, the seasons are out of touch:
Our lives are yesterday-today-tomorrows
That bloom in the spring that comes before winter.

           NhuNhu, unknown and unmourned,
            Took his life
            Tied it up in a shoestring
            Hung it from the prisonrail.

Our lives are not our own
Here in the land of the mielie farmer
For cattle are easily bound and slaughtered
Laughter and tears go unnoticed.


            I was not born with a switchblade in my hand;
            I had to learn the rhythm of the streets:
            Western is too fast with its guns,
            The whiteman too calculated with his dealings.

Apartheid has done its work.

Soweto, shrouded in smoke,
Raises its Black fists against the sky;
And I, somewhere inbetween,
Raise mine here in the city:
Half-defiant, half-angry.


            We live in interesting times.
            And in the nature of this curse
            We gallivant with death
            We make ancestors of young men
            We make heroes of dead men

Zanempilo, the bringer of health,
Is also the bringer of death.
Malusi's rolling laughter
And Biko's spirit lives here.

© farouk asvat

composed: 1976 [Johannesburg, South Africa under apartheid]

[] Acknowledgements:


Mosaic was previously published in:

                The Time Of Our Lives, (black thoughts publications, p73, 1982);
                The Time Of Our Lives (piquant publications, p79, 2007).

© farouk asvat.  All rights reserved.

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