Big City America


Big City America

It’s an eternal summer

in Big City America.

Brother Sun shines his upper-class

blessings on the gentrified metro.

Brooklyn, South-End Boston, Bella Vista,

Bed-Stuy, (White) Chocolate City

grin like Cheshire Cats,

smoking the cigars of reborn status.


It’s an eternal winter

in Big City America.

Sister Storm cloud rains and snows

her working-class maladies

on the broken neighbourhoods and projects.

South-East DC, North Philly, South-Side Chicago,

Spanish Harlem, Detroit,

frown like a night-nauseous moon

standing in line, restlessly,

for that stillborn star-spangled dream.



Bi-continental Identity


Bi-continental Identity

Upon return to my land of birth,

what internal storm

will within me take form?


For my feet have kissed the soil

where ancestors lived and died.

Soil imperialism did savagely toil.


For my eyes have re-adjusted

to a new world gaze

that’s cleared away my Western haze.


But when I walk through the maze

of that ‘Free World’ terminal

it’ll be in a new, uncertain life phase.


So I wonder,

what emotions will be

invoked within me?


Will I be astonished at how he

who was raised in a once subjugated race

still sets a nation’s political pace?


Will I mourn like a returned refugee

at sites of youthful memories

now overthrown by weeds and graffiti?


Will I still look upon

those stars and stripes

believing all the superpower hype?


Will it have the mark of liberty and the free

or of war, surveillance and cultural conquest

to me?


Will the anthem I sing

reflect the blood I bleed,

enclosing a two-fold identity?


Oh say can you –

Nkosi sikelel’–

see –


Stirrings in June

A poem for Youth Day — June 16th.


Stirrings in June

There, hung black and white

on that photo wall,

In the frosty air of museum halls,

Young Hector

is carried away from harm.

Like his sister, Antoinette,

I run

not from

Youth Day police rounds

with the hissing stench

of tear gas

reaching close behind,

but to

a horizon of revolt

where conformity

can be as harmful

as oppression education

taught from the blackboard.

I want to scream against establishment

as loud as those children on Soweto streets.

But, if not with my voice,

then with

my pen

sketching riots, barricades and protests

in the form of defiant prose.

Hoping, like that Generation of ‘76,

that a brighter dawn will rise

upon this midnight society of mine.


What is kept behind


What is kept behind

You were always skilled

at keeping secrets,

telling lies.

It was your gift,

your masterpiece,

your magnum opus,

expelling unspeakable things

to the island of your mind.

But rip tides of the past

lurk around you

like bad dreams,

waiting to drag you

under truthful waves

while your fingers

claw and scratch