Tag Archive: diversity


i recently discovered the incredibly gifted Dante who writes incredible micro poetry on his blog, Original-Dante. Thinking my poetry would definitely err on the macro side we decided to do a collaboration and use the same title to inspire two different poems and so here is my offering:

THOUGHTS FROM THE BLENDER

i gaze into the mirror
and the person staring back at me is not you
i cast my eyes across to your face
slowly becoming aware of
the lines of a well-worn path
have i even set foot on that road before?

i stare more deeply into your soul
only to have pictures of my life
flood back at me
i fling them to the ground
as i ready myself to dive right in
but am blocked by the life-sized
lifeless cardboard cutout that stands in my way

me
my life
my words
my thoughts
and my experiences
trying to tell your story through my voice
only rings in my ears
like a much-repeated but long-forgotten fairy-tale i thought i knew
so i close my eyes

and it takes a whole long time
minutes pass like hours
or are those indeed hours
that i am waiting upon
until what is ours
eventually starts to ever so slowly fade

days pass
and i can just about make out the
pathetic sad little robotic figure that is me
waving one last goodbye final wave
as it slides out of the peripheries
and i am gone

still me
still here
eyes closed
waiting
listening to the heaviness of
the air being breathed in and out around me

suddenly
as if you had always been there
watching silently from the shadows
my ears catch sight of you
through the words i’ve taken time to hear
to really listen to
and a picture of you begins to take shape
and you look different than i had ever taken time to imagine

i pull my eyes more tightly shut
knowing that to open them again
would ruin my chances
of ever truly opening them again

and i look once more
as your sound travels towards me
in wave after wave of deep illumination

rich colours are realised
and this new person that is you
more you than you have ever been
and yet completely the you
you have always been and are
the you i never got to see
beyond my stereotypic perceptions
of the you i have always ever painted you to be

oh but when you paint you
what a glorious you
you turn out to be
words become stories
which take shape
in, through and around the pain
that lies scarring your embattled torso
and i see
the you that is you is nothing like
the you that is me.

and it is good.

[To read my new mate Original Dante’s much shorter poem with the same title, click here] 

Also we would love to hear what you think of the experiment of doing a long and a micro version using the same title as inspiration – once you’ve read both, please comment on how you experienced the combo…

This morning i went to hang out and church with the friendly people at Common Ground Wynberg.

i have visited them a bunch of times since coming back from americaland because they have a vibe i really enjoy: very diverse congregation, black pastor [who i really like], some people i know and a whole bunch i don’t, and usually just an exciting lifeness happening with children movement and French translations and people who move as they sing, and there is just a lot of stuff there i really enjoy.

i was sitting waiting for the service to begin and i looked around and was just stunned by the beauty around me. Not the hugest amount of white people, a lot of African folks who are clearly from other more Northern parts of Africa and a bit of a mixed bunch of everyone else: a mesmerisingly messy mosaic made up of people who love Jesus and want to follow Him well together.

And i thought to myself, ‘I want to get to know these people. i want to hear their stories. i want to know how they ended up in South Africa. And i want to know what it has been like for them as the horrification of xenophobia has raised its ugly head in various parts of the country once more.

i imagine, if they had all been white people, that i would not have cared as much. Not because [like some of my favourite commentors on the blog would have us believe] i hate white people, because i really don’t. But because if i was in a church congregation of white people, then i would imagine the stories would be largely similar – in theme, or context, or content or general vibe at least. And while that’s okay, i guess, it’s not very interesting to me.

And so in that moment, for a moment, while i waited for ‘church to start’ i celebrated the church that was already going on. i drank in the diversity and thanked God for the hope of what this country can become. i didn’t understand racism just a little bit more than normal.

What a travesty to continue to live life surrounded by people who all look like us and largely think and live and celebrate and entertain and eat and church like us. i’m excited about some of the creative ways Val and i are embracing to ensure that our circles, in this regard, are getting gradually bigger…

[i didn’t get a chance to properly meet anyone cos they made an announcement that someone had left their car lights on and i strongly suspected it was me, but i was trapped in the middle of my row and hoped the battery would survive one service, so i left immediately afterwards… turns out it wasn’t me, but i will be back, and next time i hope to get to hear one or more of those stories]

divers

i just watched this TED talk by a woman called Mellody Hobson on the introduction of a topic she called ‘Colour Braveness’

While the focus of the clip is very much from a ‘The American Dream’ point of view, and so doesn’t necessarily have the end point i would focus on [become a CEO of a company!] there are some interesting and helpful points she raises and so it is well worth a viewing…

Some lines that stood out for me were the following:

“Surround yourself with people don’t look look like you, who don’t think like you, who don’t act like you and who don’t come from where you come from” – this is such a powerful idea and i have been inspired over the last year in particular to seek out writers and speakers who are quite different from me [race, culture, background] so as to hear a different voice from the majority of voices i might have heard growing up [typically white male] not because there is anything wrong with white male voices, but definitely because there is a richness that comes from being informed by a variety of sources and influences. “They will challenge your assumptions and help you grow as a person.”

Mellody finished off by challenging the audience to be brave, colour brave, “so that every child knows that their future matters and their dreams are possible.”

 

 

[For a growing list of exciting topics and stories relating to different aspects of Race, click here]

%d bloggers like this: