ink for thought: 2010

Thursday, 2 December 2010

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

so it's snowing. schools are closing and kids are going home early or not going in at all. and...parents are complaining.

"teachers take any excuse to have some time off" and "we don't get to go home when it snows so why should they?" is being muttered around water coolers and over desks around the country. talk radio hosts are whiping up a frenzy and everyone from the middle aged to the long ago retired are recycling tales of "in my day this would never happen."

but I have a couple questions. who is this really serving?

consider this, teachers pay is decided by the performance of the students and parents, in case you haven't realised, many of you aren't providing us with great material to work with in the first place. this means, keeping our homes, feeding ourselves and our children, wearing clothes that kind of fit, keeping the lights and heating running, often depends on your little bundle of joy succeeding. we don't take closures lightly.

so why do we do it?

short answer. safety. that and litigation. you see, parents have, time and time again shown that they will go to great lengths to divorce their children from not only, responsibility for their actions but any kind of consequences. how many times does the urchin need to steal something before it'ss parents accept that their little ray of sunshine is a sociopathic kleptomaniac. so, in the interest of the childs safety and not ending up in court, we send them home. think about it, if you have to choose between these three phone calls which would you rather have,

1) your child is being sent home due to unsafe conditions outside of our control. please make provisions for him/her.
2) your child has been taken to the hospital due to the foolish and irresponsible actions of either himself or a fellow pupil during this time of unsafe conditions. please make your way to X hospital.
3) your child is to be interviewed by the authorities in connection to another child being hospitalised. please make yourself available to accompany them.

it really is that simple. and can you imagine a child falling down some stairs at speed, the fractures and broken bones, the contusions and concussions, the bandages and stitches etc, and the parent walking up and saying..."next time be more careful"?? it's not going to happen.

so parents, when you're tempted to complain about teachers, take a moment to think about what you're really saying. 'cause t sounds like you're saying you'd like us to keep your child in a dangerous environment because it's convenient for you. and at the end of the day....

that's all there is to it, isn't it?

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

behold what complacence has wrought

I've been away for a while. A whole month in fact. and not without good reason. I've been busy with the everyday stuff. hands full with the stuff that keeps the sun in it's place and the earth spinning on it's axis. the stuff that living is made of.

but something has all the while been brewing under the flimsy cover of my busy ness. my hand has been itching and I've had to bite my tongue. but now that october is over I finally feel like I can come out with it boldly and say,

      "Black History Month, what a complete waste of time"

I'm not even going to try to apologise for that sentiment so don't ask as blatant, overt and blunt refusal is likely to cause further offense.

to the original designers and implementers of this 'celebration', with their lofty goals and hopeful ambitions, I say thank you and to those who, through their yearly observance help keep it alive, I offer my profound gratitude. you have both groups, brokered, on behalf of black people throughout the western world, a compromise that will forever segregate us from the mainstream of education, the mainstream of history and the mainstream of the future.

tell me this, mr. onemonthayear black man, from whence did you come? and where are you going? and who are you for the other three hundred and thirty three days of the year? and you ms. blackforthirtyonedays, what is your language? where is your country and who are your people?

no. black history month is more than a farce, it is a travesty. it is a slick used car salesman specialising in sleight of hand, dazzling us with its trivialisation of the very history it claims to promote while it simultaneously sells our future on the cheap.

when we have literature lessons all year long that never mention achebe, du bois or even dumas, how dare we claim to acknowledge black history? as long as we have mathematics sessions innumerable and no one hears of benjamin banneker, science semesters that pay no tribute to george washington carver and budding politicians who are unaware of the efforts of booker t. washington how dare we speak of celebrating black history? how dare we?

black history month is a fools gold. it is the festering, putrid, vile scab of complacency that has grown over the nasty, hideous truth. this uncomfortable truth simply put is that black people are not yet seen as equal. in anyone's eyes.

we are not a spectacle to be gawped at or a foreign species to be investigated for presentations and I'd like to think we're not immature ignoramuses to be bought with a wink, a nod and a month of half hearted recognition....or are we?

you see, my history is the story of people and civilisations. it is the story of love and war, greatness and great foolishness. it has shaped the world of today and will shape that of tomorrow because my history is the story of all that there is and no matter the colour of your skin your history is no different.

so when this story is sterilised, segregated and forced on to a reservation we all lose out. and that is my whole point. there is no such thing as 'black history'. there is history and we are all in it. let's represent it like that or not at all.


-peace-

Monday, 27 September 2010

how pathetic...

I am pathetic,
but, you see, I embrace pathetic.

I am pathetic because I don't mind admitting that I am not self sustaining.
I don't mind admitting that another person can mean so much to me as to cause my days to be brighter, colours more vibrant and living like poetry to whispered gently into sleeping ears.

I don't mind pathetic because I refuse to buy into the macho myth.
I refuse to throw myself headlong into a perpetual state of callous indifference.
I refuse to divorce myself from my heart.

for it is only in being truly pathetic that I have come to see what it is like to be wholly vulnerable, wholly alive, wholly...human...

and to lose that...would have to be the hardest thing of all

Saturday, 25 September 2010

what's your poison?

I'm sure we've all heard it said and many of us have said it ourselves, 'I can't think yet, haven't had my morning coffee' but what does that mean?

as a non coffee drinker I must confess that I am perplexed and just a little concerned about the freeness with which we, as a society, accept this drug dependency. because at the end of the day, isn't that what caffeine is? are we not medicating ourselves to make reality more palatable? and what does that say about us and our ability to live in the real world if we are only able to competently interface with it under the influence of a stimulant?

that got me thinking...why fuss about caffeine when there are harder substances out there? why fuss about tea and coffee, deeply engrained in the history and culture of many ancient nations, when society and humanity itself is under the attack of much more virulent forms of drug addiction? but that's just my point.

addiction is addiction. the inability to live and function without the aide of some sort of crutch, be it caffeine, glucose, adrenaline, nicotine, opiates, amphetamines or even the staggering array of behavioural addictions, to only gently scratch the surface of our neurosis, is what really causes me some despair for us as humanity. are we so poorly prepared for living and it's stresses that we are forced to create these buffers between our lives and our living? have we always been thus ineptly equipped? and is there a cure?

it bares pointing out given the definition of addiction religion is not exempt. some would argue, using sweeping generalisations, that the beneficent nature of most religions, the morality and ethos they preach and oft times inspire should discount them from such a label. as if the addictive nature of a thing, by association, makes it a bad thing. but, if we take a step back and dare to be completely honest, what is religion if not a crutch for the soul and an addiction of the heart?

so that brings me back to the original question. it's not about whether or not you have an addiction, for it seems clear that we humans cease to behave rationally without one (oh the irony), but what is your addiction? what does it do for you? does it simply get you through the day or does it compel you to something better?

Monday, 20 September 2010

ignore me for a minute...

ignore me for a minute while I laugh over the pain
ignore me hiding my tear stained sleeve in my pockets
my red rimmed eyes behind shades
my wounded heart with too many toothy grins

ignore me for a minute I said, the warmth of your care burns me so
ignore me being evasive, flinching from your concern
searing my feigned indifference like acid
making a liar of my trying too hard not to tremble lips

ignore me for a minute, just one or two, while I drown my sorrows in song
ignore me in my fa├žade and join in my masquerade
my parade of grand illusions to cover
my dreams now bruised, battered and raw

ignore me for a minute while I gather myself
ignore me grasping for the fragmented remains
the shattered 'could-have-been's
the scattered 'use-to-be's

the things that made
nevermind
just ignore me...

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

be afraid, be very afraid

I'm about to say something that may prove unpopular. to be fair I'm about to contradict centuries of conventional thinking and the teachings espoused by most positive thinking gurus.

Fear is a good thing.

that's right, fear. it's fear that makes me look both ways before crossing the road. it's fear that prevents me from putting my finger in electrical sockets.  it's fear that keeps me from lighting fires in petrol stations, extinguishing said flames with my bare hands, trying to 'fly' off the roofs of tall buildings (with or without cape), and a host of other life span shortening activities.

good old fashion fear. but, and let us be clear about this...I'm not talking about the paralysing fear that causes courage to wither, halts all progress and stunts development. I'm not talking about the yellow streak of cowardice that lurks beneath the most macho displays of bravado. and I'm hoping you're not confusing this with the fear that retaliates without concern, lashes out without control, preys on the vulnerable and feeds on the weak.

what I'm talking about, the fear I hope we can all cultivate, is probably better translated as reverence. it's a word that's fallen out of favour and a concept regarded as dated in our times. websters dictionary defines reverence as "honour or respect felt or shown" and I guess my point is if we carried a little of it around for the people we meet, the work we do and the lives we live, things might be just a little different. if we were all to consider our spheres of influence, immediate and long term, the repercussions of our actions, trivial and considered, and the futures we are presently in the process of creating...maybe, just maybe we'd do things differently. 

so politicians, take a little fear with you to work, it might keep you honest. soldiers, take a little fear with you into the field, it might keep you alive. police officers, fire fighters, doctors and nurses, take a little fear with you in to the office, you might save a life. and you, teachers, writers, musicians and artists, take a little fear with you to work because you shape the days we live in. but above all, parents, take a little fear with you wherever you go, and you might just change the world.


"Fear has it's uses, cowardice has none"
~ Mahatma Ghandi

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

....so soon?

home invasion,
too much sunlight much too early,
eyes nearly open,
vision still clouded, doubled and blurry.

pain shooting through legs
ears ringing and head sore
then it hits you, like a pro ball player swinging a 2x4
damn...

it's the morning after the night before.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

you are

the dream I cling to in the waking moments, the limbo moments, the moments in between moments when reality is at it's faintest, it's thinnest, as yet undefined, as yet unadulterated by the stuff of being

...as yet perfect.

the air I breathe, the gasping breath, the rasping breath, the life giving breath tasted much more than felt, like honey to the tongue, golden sweet to the eye, like silk to the touch, rich and sultry to the skin

...like beauty unspoiled.

the earth beneath my feet, the birthing place and final rest, the foundation and fount of sustenance, more than the heady heights and the darkest depths, more than the cacophony of colour and the simplicity of still nothingness, more than words, layered and complex, more than sound, soothing the savage soul

...more than the sum of all alls.


you are

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

hope

There is something to be said of hope.
That inspirer of creativity,
lifter of heads and
fuel for fire in the engine of change.

There is something to be said of hope.
That uncanny shaper of fates,
transformer of hearts and
source of grace notes with which the grey and solemn march of life is beautified.

There is something to be said of hope.
That sweetener of the sourest fortune,
lens through which every silver lining is found and
ceaseless caretaker in the orchard where dreams are nurtured.

There is something to be said of hope.
In a people desperately seeking it,
in hearts whose stores have run dry
to vision grown dim by disappointment.

There is indeed something to be said.
But the better things are often known yet,
rarely spoken enough.    

...have hope

Thursday, 6 May 2010

she


There are only so many reasons to do anything. Correction, there is only ever one reason to do anything. Desire. Everything after that is nothing more than purest moonshine. The plethora of excuses, explanations, rationales and whatnot that mankind has, throughout civilization, employed to mask this, our base motivation, is a testament to nothing more than our equal loves of fantasy and social acceptance. Since Adam, juice stains on his lips and sin in his belly, attempted to deceive the Almighty, Man has schemed to hide his desire. Often the delicacy of the cover up rivals even the intensity of the initial compulsion, but rest assured, at the foundation of any conscious action are the co joined twin offspring of Desire. I Want and I Need. Insatiable, omnivorous and never resting they devour, demand and dictate.

I say all that because I need to you to know that I am no angel. My writing for you today is by no means some act of altruistic benevolence. Not in the purist sense at least which, if the above is to be believed, never truly happens anyway.

Every good story deserves a beginning and most good story tellers will admit that that is rarely where any good story actually starts. With that in mind I will attempt to be as forthright with you as possible and cut straight to the wick.

I love her.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

days


there are good days and there are bad,
there are easy days and there are hard.

there are moments of pure emotion,
my eyes well up and the heart swells,
my pulse races and thoughts disappear into mist even before being fully formed.
those times when I would run to the moon hoping to shed myself,
when I would gather the clouds around to hide from the intensity of my own inward gaze.

there are times when sorrow masks itself with laughter,
a smile hanging loosely like a neon sign outside a derelict shopping district
a playful chuckle standing as sombre sentry
keeping watch over the true feelings buried deep within

there are fragments filled with such an immensity of activity
that finding the time to do anything is in itself a feat,
these days when the hands work so that mind will not,
the body is engaged in hopes that the heart be distracted

but there are always
choruses and verses,
places, both real and dreamt,
words and sounds,
sunrises and sunsets

all of these things and a dozen beside
that remind me just how much

imissu

Saturday, 1 May 2010

the fight

fight, because there are things in life worth it.
there are dreams that will not rest unfulfilled,
passions that cannot desist.

fight, because there are battles that must be fought,
even if lost. there is victory in the losing,
there is honour in believing.

fight, because time indeed will tell
and now is the only story we can write
and the tomorrow will always remember

fight, because there will not always be the chance
fight, because when it's time to let go,

it simply is.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

sleep writing

I write my best poetry when I'm asleep.
pioneering paths through the uncharted unconscious
I plot wordy insurrection
overthrowing tyrannical grammatical conventions
deeply rooted inventions, created through subconscious retention

Or so I'm told....

I write my best poetry when I'm asleep.
the shoemaker's elves working like dwarves in a mine
but from it's the mine of my unaware mind
that they chisel out the gems I don't speak.

I write my best poetry when I'm asleep.
those few precious hours rest are
where I display my art
for an audience of none or
as many as my dream may hold captive

I write my best poetry when I'm asleep.
words woven like silken silver,
dancing in moonshine, ethereal like.
and only the faintest glimmers remain,
once the consciousness takes hold.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

...in time

if in our time I could teach you one thing,
if I could speak this into the heart of your being and
sew this truth into the fabric of your self

I would this one thing impart.

in all your getting, get patience
learn to wait with forbearance
and bide time with grace.

in all your taking, take endurance
for the race is not given to the swift or
the strong but one who with tolerance for hardship
completes it all

in all your growing, grow fortitude.
see the beauty deeply rooted in anticipation,
the glories to be found in silent meditation.

more is grown under duress than in plenty
and more is to gain from contemplative stillness
than ever a flurry of activity could achieve

we are built for eternity you and I.
and thus a time for everything
and everything
in time.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

famous...

...last words of a dying dream.

I lean in to catch the slightest whisper,
breathing laboured, face drained of life,
body ravaged by anxiety and disappointments looming

I see your lips move, sound visibly struggling to escape
only the finest gossamer thread of hope holding body and spirit together

panic clutches my heart as I recognise the familiar
glossing over of the eyes, focussing on the middle distance

you gather the last of your strength and beckon me close
and say,


"I'm sorry, I've found someone new"

Monday, 4 January 2010

pondering yesterdays

alas,
here we find ourselves,
toes dipped in the streams of time,
forever flowing from eternity past
into the eternal to come.

here we sit,
astride the lumbering behemoth,
named Present,
stalking the elusive Future
forging History with every ponderous step.

my friend,
a word to the wise is sufficient,
and a seed planted in season will bear fruit.
like cool water on cracked lips
and warmth of heart and hearth
is guidance to those attuned to
discernments whisper.

let tomorrow not be clumsily crafted
by ignorance
hearts turned by disillusionment
our roads paved with fear
and our streets lined with anger and it's offspring
despair

pondering yesterdays,
let us learn from where we have been
so that we may grow into the better thing


"We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid"
~ Benjamin Franklin