Vignettes of a South African Township called Mdantsane

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Hon. Noxolo Kiviet, Premier of Eastern Cape visits Accident and Emergency Department of Cecilia Makiwane Hospital



With the Hon. Noxolo Kiviet, Premier of Eastern Cape today at our Accident and Emergency Department of Cecilia Makiwane Hospital, Mdantsane. A wonderful gesture from the Premier on the morning of Christmas day. Accident and Emergency Department is a specialty department with all my doctors and nurses been trauma trained, it caters to the community of Mdantsane and its surrounding areas.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012

Poems from Stranger than a Sun


And then finally when night stood still, an evening, its reign of suntrance years, of wealth, wilderness and glory of many campaigns left in a river of subterfuge, its long sinewy columns rolled down the glitter in a night borderless on stealth and stubbornness. I have been living years of such understanding, that one day in a cover of duress and despair, time might conclude a hasty retreat, its tiny droplets may not even join and sections of unrepaired horizons would differ as nights and evenings revise a no dissolving pact. The Volga at Tatarstan had refused time and again of curtailing the living with the living, different voices share a confluence of similar strengths, Tartar warriors stood on banks stretching to sea and the sea to many skies holding aloft such spoken memories such relived lives. I had even forgiven you, you who once called upon words to reopen old forgotten closures. In an ageless complete, you are the reversal, you remain the scroll, and you are the substrate of my many lives.

Hillbrow at Johannesburg faces darkness with such ferocity; lights clamor over each others shoulder, holding a falling sun, for here there can never be any nights. Forever evenings scream in shrill rejoinder, a clay complexioned Ethiopian girl with long neck revises proximity from a cabaret number. Men from Abuja listen with shaking heads, some even recite silently. Colors of evening find asylum on foreign surfaces. The scarred white girl rolls her eyes and gives voice to expanding vessels. Living is defiance. Illumination is not just a street here and curtains part revealing revelry of age old explanation. It cannot be the same as in NoorGunj at Gwalior and Shafiq Manzil,Old Delhi. Each living stays far behind in closed alleys and assembling them leaves foot steps that can never return.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Nolutshungu Avenue, Poems of Simphiwe Nolutshungu

Nolutshungu Avenue

Simphiwe Nolutshungu's poetry book NOLUTSHUNGU AVENUE
Publisher - Aerial Publishing, Grahamstown, South Africa
Cover art by Amitabh Mitra

Book Launch at

NELM Eastern Star Hall

Anglo African Street, Grahamstown

5.30pm Monday 10 December 2012

On this Avenue                      
The moon and sun are single
Each day harbours its night
The night makes love to the day      
And we are the offspring of the day       
And the children of the night.

This Avenue strews poetry and hymns
No funerals tread on our paths          
Divorces are scared of breathing
But weddings fill our stomachs
Young graduates adorn our streets
Welcome to Nolutshungu Avenue

Simphiwe Nolutshungu is the author of three novels in isiXhosa – Amathunzi ezolo, Induli yexhala, and Iingceba zegazi (shortlisted for the 2012 Sanlam Prize).  His poems have been published in local and national journals. He has worked as a clerk and a freelance journalist, and has worked as a schoolteacher in many parts of South Africa.  His home is in Queenstown.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Accepting Submissions for South African Anthology of Migrant Poetry

Somali Spaza
Watercolor of a Somali Spaza Shop in Mdantsane by Amitabh Mitra

Accepting submissions for a South African Anthology on Migrant Poetry. The publication by Poets Printery is scheduled for February 2013. South Africa has been host to people from countries of Africa and beyond. This anthology will provide the best of migrant poetry and a rare insight into the problems of migrant population and the host country.
Who are eligible – Migrant Poets from other countries living in South Africa
Language – English, Can write in the language of the country but a translation in English has to be provided
• Internal Migration
• Political Asylum
• Refugee status and border jumping
• Humanitarian Crisis and Complex Humanitarian Emergency
• Xenophobia
• Host country acceptance
• Economic denting to the host country
• Role of UNHCR – The United Nations Refugee Agency
• War and genocide
• Disease, physical and mental trauma and access to primary health care

We cannot guarantee every submission to be published
Please send three poems with a 50 word bio to
Amitabh Mitra at

Friday, October 26, 2012



and when it rains
in tantrumsgold in such cities living
i think of you often
when traffic lights
clothe a road
of swarming blues
and your eyes
in a flicker
ferns of old memories

Amitabh Mitra

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Slow Train to Gwalior, A Poem by Badal Saroj


सुस्त चाल नहीं इसे अलमस्त चाल कहते हैं हमारे ग्वालियर में/
बढ़ते हैं खरामा खरामा/
न जाने की हड़बड़ी होती है-न पहुँचने की जल्दी/
इसीलिए पेड़ पीछे नहीं छूटते - साथ रह जाती है उनकी छाँव/
खेत ठहरे से रहते हैं और पार होने को ही नहीं आती चम्बल/ चम
्बल-जो नदी भर नहीं है -
वह क्रिया-सर्वनाम-संस्कृति-परिवेश-भाषा यहाँ तक कि व्याकरण भी है / उस चम्बल के ऊपर से आज तक नहीं गुजरा कोई/
चम्बल ही गुजरी है सबके ऊपर से सर्वदा/
अबकी बार ग्वालियर की किसी स्लो ट्रेन से गुजरें तो मिलिएगा-
कंक्रीट के जंगलों में बची दूब की मानिंद
किसी अविस्मृत याद की तरह इन्तेजार में खड़ा पायेंगे ग्वालियर को /

Badal Saroj

Friday, October 12, 2012

at the 169, long street

and the next evening
just the realization
of being on long street
and 169
music draped shuffling steps outside
mist of voices settled
in a yellow domain
a forest of streets
suddenly entered
the obese man lifted his hat
a colored girl in ultra shorts smiled
she is tapping the world
on her mobile
entering exiting
each other
169 in hushed vivaldi
and sparkling turquoise
in a moist sense
in surrender
in slender proportions
a sudden gusto
trumpets beholding reason
eyes and bodies took to each other
in violence suggested
and living
the black dwarf from the murals called out
don’t just look
sniff me, my lord
my existence
my enslaved sky
sniff me, your exalted highness
sniff my cape dutch chains
sniff my walls
and i did
169 exploded
in tiny stars
of shadows
on colored lips and colored eyes
of spinal movements
of cerebrum
borrowing synapses
breaking again
unlike each other
long street crawled
the obese man
just smiled

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

169 on Long Street, Cape Town






Moosa, the taxi driver is worried
Do you really want to go to Long Street, Doc, at this time of the night
I have some better places to take you where gentlemen can relax and have a drink
I couldn’t believe my ears, me, a gentleman !
No, Moosa, unfortunately, it has to be Long Street
The drive from my hotel on High Level Road, Sea Point to Long Street takes about fifteen minutes
But Moosa has a worried look
He speaks in an Afrikaans accent, But bass there are bad people there, all very young people...
We are in Long Street
There is this vibration
Laughter and irrelevant noise
Finally a place, away from reason
I love it, Moosa, I love it
He shakes his head
Moosa has been with me since last one week
He drives me to Tygerberg Hospital, up and down
But this is really out
He doesn’t understand, why I have suddenly developed this longing for Long Street
There is music and music
And high heels
Moosa says, Doc I wait for you, if you don’t come back after forty five minutes, I go in search for you
Ok, Moosa, Ok.....
But why am I writing all this....
I promised myself, I would write on 169
So here we go
I promised the same to the Nigerian Waiter who told me,
Excuse me Sir, You are not allowed inside
I mean to say, you are definitely allowed inside, Welcome, Sir, to the 169
His perfect white, glistening teeth and twinkling eyes beckons me
And the beautiful Amanda with her beautiful smile would just look and shake her head as always
169 on the Long Street in Cape Town is a pub and a club. It has history because it was situated down the road and is a part of the Long Street Culture from an era long back. It moved to its present place not long ago. I have a strong suspicion that the club changed hands.
I was attracted to its interior. The murals with an African theme have an innovating feel. They look different from an average African township art. The clothes worn by the black musicians and dancers have either a Portuguese or Cape Malay suggestion. There are huge leaves in yellow painted in the background, sometimes making me feel as if they are winged creatures. Some of them may even be dwarfs.
These murals are worth viewing and add to the ambiance of the pub.
There is another framed art, in the upstairs dance floor
This one again takes us back in time. Its beautiful, tastefully framed giving the appropriate vintage feel
There is this elderly man dancing, it reminded me of the dervishes at Nizamuddin, Delhi
I have my drink, thank my hosts and promise to come back the next evening.
The obese man sitting in the corner, smiles
Moosa is standing outside his taxi with a worried look
He wants to take me out of Long Street by shortest possible route
Well there is always tomorrow
And obviously, the 169

Monday, August 13, 2012

loving u


where did we go the last time
the train stopped

what happened then
a brigand of runaway clouds
talked to us

did we ever reach home
home is the unknown
we always stayed

and the sounds outside....
a train of simmering thoughts just
screamed past

who broke a violet sky
who upturned your garhi
who dropped
elderly secrets
on your palm
who asked you another question

where are we going now...
who would answer the kisses
who would wrap the wind in your eyes
who would love you even more

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Stranger than a Sun - Poems and Drawings of Amitabh Mitra

old delhi

When I touched you I felt that you still had your baby fat
And a little taste of baby's breath
Makes me forget about death

Goran Bregovic

even as we spoke
on gravel corridors
dreams befell in
fragmented sun rays
voices in mirrors
stored in
illogical effort
streets and galis too
rose in savage anger
in loves lonely
having dared
loving is the unforgotten
loving is unmeeting
loving is the crisscross
even as the morning dew
hastens to close the windshield
mirages just happen
and in days
such days
each word you spoke
each word I thought
each word building
those ramshackle years
plays the constancy
of a very dry season
gwalior cavorted in
such darkness
In shameless rivers
of betrothal
thinking of
is a single gunshot
in colorless skies
off herniated brain
in a cracked moon
and in lives
on suburban trains
each time i
wonder where you might be
the qawallis we basked
mamasnpapapas vinyl blowing
carl marx overturned tea cups
mamta kalia bilateral

terrains survive
another distant hour.

Poem and Drawing on a Hand Made Paper by Amitabh Mitra

Monday, July 16, 2012

Remembering Transkei - Art for Sale

Remembering Transkei are a series of images done by me with Acrylic on Canvas, each 5 feet X 4 feet. If you wish to buy them as originals or as prints, please contact me. Each one of them will be signed and dated by me. The prints are also done on canvas and then reworked with acrylic as a multimedia image.






Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Slow Train to Gwalior, Loving, Living, Loving


i think of you many a times
of you and a summer
like many other summers
hustle of a retreating shadow
just before the dark
like an ancient rite
your touch remains
in an innate stone
carved on
such sky dotted days
a river once stormed in
a chimera blue evening
at gwalior
when you
told me of roses
named after your mother
and stars in gorges
of the fort
of forests in
laburnum laughter
of many others
still afloat
since then
i had named you
my words
and every stop street
that relinquished itself
every sun birth that lived
has been only you
and nights that stayed back
still remains you
every stoneburnt campaign years of the fort
is you
every eye in hesitation
of a reprieve
will be you
and you shall ever remain
the swirling
dawn curled
in dreamscapes of
such long summers.

my lips have tracked in
unison on your neck
you and
age old rivalries on such a savage

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Makiwane Road


on the road to makiwane
grows thoughts
many upheavals of
in larceny
quick and sharp incisions
each bereaving the other
a country rode to democracy
nights swept over this road
in disharmony of conjugal skies
wild grass in abandon
seeks a river
a white morning
seems at time
standing at its edge

Acrylic on Canvas by Amitabh Mitra

Friday, April 20, 2012

Gwalior Again


a river
cajoled clouds and
sinewy banks
creep in cohort
the old mussalman graveyard
in dormant belief
catches impervious thoughts
measuring the road to it
next to the durgah
would be hearing the tar
melt in summer
of a wheezy chest
an old man sprinkled water
from a leather hide bag
not so far away
under a sky hemmed in
zari and black threads
resplendent in regal
didn’t stretch long
birds swept
in a chardonnay
of forgotten

Acrylic on Canvas by Amitabh Mitra

Thursday, April 19, 2012



we live in sheer darkness
in satin skin callings since you all left
on a sudden day
i was left in the long hollow
not knowing
in a resilience
screaming as ever in sleep
sitting on a sky
searching for you all
tangible threads of a rusted iron
keeps on clanging
on a tympanum
it lost sorting long
they are here
they are here
the ganga curls
in my dreams

Watercolor by Amitabh Mitra

Saturday, April 14, 2012



nightscapes in
luminous rivers
peacock skies
a horizon burnt

Acrylic on Paper by Amitabh Mitra

Friday, March 16, 2012

Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Poetry Workshop



I was amazed by the impromptu poetry creation and recitation by scholars from Selborne and Clarendon School who have received the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Award. Ricardo Johnson, Development Officer of the Foundation, facilitated the programme.
The Workshop was held at Selborne School, East London on the 16th March 2012.

Poets Printery International Best Poetry Web Site Award for Creativity and New Age Poetry

This prestigious award will be given to websites which publish exclusively poetry and shows innovation in creativity.
Poetry and Blog sites publishing PoetryArt and showcasing Poetry Films would be preferentially considered.

If you feel that your blog / website deserves this award, please feel free to contact us with your website details.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Friday, January 6, 2012

Janpath Days


janpath market
checking shawls,
life effervescing then in a close knit pashmina
i thought of words written on bargain threads
not knowing breaths had sealed then
an oddly different sky
at a connaught place middle street we kissed
life flowed in each other quashed in the shawl
within lips
i asked of a river
it had always escaped
afternoon of repertoires
of smalltalk
in a faint punjabi accent
touching your tongue
i saw a sun went hiding
in our ancestral sharing
eyes closed in pursuit
we hurled in colours and stars
of another momentary season.

Poem / Pastel / Watercolor by Amitabh Mitra