Welcome to my celebration of Ekphrastic Poetry where I collaborate with artists, cartoonists and animators and give words to their art or cartoons…

Collaboration with internationally acclaimed South African cartoonist and artist Nanda Soobben

Check the link below…

With Nanda Soobben in GloMag



Photo Credit © Nanda Soobben

Have you heard of Cato Manor?

We live here – Our roots anchored again on the periphery of Cato Manor

they said our kind dwelled here – The Nqondo clan in 1650 followed by

the Ntuli but we rented from Mr Moody – Worked some land and lived in

a corrugated iron palace grand but old George Cato sold this land to Indian

market gardeners, our new landlord fathers – Who could foresee foretold horrors?

At night the embers predict our future but we do not want to leave here.

Garden Boulevard – Narrow planted strips of fresh fruit also vegetables carefully

tended and groves of sweetly smelling avacado, mango and pawpaw resulted in Durban

city market awe but we never heard the crow’s warning caw – Our wealth was locked

in places of worship, founded schools as well as cultural and sporting institutions but we

came alive in a daily spicy jive creating authentic Durban curry, which would make you

run in a hurry – We foolishly agreed to become shack lords but political fat-cats created organic

cultural wars, exposing their human flaws closing neighbourly doors – We never saw the plants


Living on the Edge – Brown our mood scraping daily for soul food – Ukudla our daily

nourishment fearing permanent banishment – Tempers flaring dissidents gathering

emotions sweltering – White our prayers for peaceful negotiating – The sun still melts

our empty rusty chairs but no-one really cares we sometimes hear ubaba’s raucous laughter

as he consumed his secret recipe umqombothi then shout his incomprehensible banter

only a hot potjie of isobho would calm him down as he told eerie stories at sundown.

Grey Street massacre – Why oh why did Boi steal from that market stall? Yellow our

fears as we heard his punishment – Intoxicated frustrated misguided they reacted

violently – Our tears fell silently our pleas for sweet peace muted by festering anger

exploding, deleting, injuring – The scene too obscene to share in this imploding

cultural couldron scarring their humanity but what about the children?

Ghost Town – It came at dawn not a chance to warn – Regime machines marched over

us that grey morn – Oh how we mourned, our roots once again scorched by the Apartheid

dragon warlords trying to bury old scores – But our eyes remember our tongues still form the

words our feet still dance to the rhythm – Only now they burn in fiery surrender whilst

the elders whisper – We lived here…

© Don Beukes

Don Beukes - salamander logo 2Collaboration with Jonel Scholtz published in  Glomag


Photo Credit © Jonel Scholtz


I Wear Trousers – Deal with it

Look at me – And I will make you

see what my identity means to me,
Black my darkened mood like charcoal molten lava imploding
as I try my best to deal with this social mess wait what, you want to confess?
Don’t make me laugh – Did you think I would just sit back and take this accusatory flack
hoping my expected womanly veneer would suddenly flake or disintegrate to seal your foretold fate?
Brown my murky anger at your obvious stereotypical misinformed social brainwashing –
Your burning desire to see me weak and melting at your trampling feet but guess what?

I choose who I want to be who I used to be who I strive to be who I was meant to be – Your damning glare will not penetrate me nor will your vile tongue discredit me or amputate me – Do you really think your fiery voice gives a choice of who to love, who to care for, who to look up to, who to devote to?
What, do you seriously expect me to bow down to your rules, your man-made commandments, your splintering fragments?

Come closer and I will make it clear to you –

I am a mother, I am a scholar, I am a giver, I am a receiver, I am a sinner, I wear trousers – Deal with it!

© Don Beukes



Glomag April 2017

Collaboration with internationally acclaimed South African artist, Jonel Scholtz




Photo Credit © Jonel Scholtz



Chasing Rainbows at Holi


Holika Dihan – It’s time for internal cleansing

again, a time for reflection of your fragile human

condition. Beware the flaming spitting of Holika, her wrath

her acid demonic breath, let her be as we dance and pray

in our bonfire healing reverie and allow yourself to truly see.


I see you – Dancing so gleefully, looking up at

the full moon this diamond sparkling neon night of

Purnima, hoping to catch a glimpse of me once again

as you do every year without fear because you know

I will shower you with the colours of the rainbow the

next day on Holi, hoping to be with me, free like me…


Emergence – I cannot help but smile from aromatic intoxication

and remember your morning essence of jasmine, drowning

me in liquid love; awake! Then partake once again in a

cascade of cleansing colours and know that each one

signifies your many blessings our multicoloured kissing

now breathe each colour and joyfully throw it on each

other as does our nature Mother, to whom I have returned.


Holi – Hurry and spread the good news to all you encounter

it’s time for renewal no chance for reckless refusal, forgive

and forget, even those who made you sad, like I said

I see you I know you I remember you I miss you I still

adore you I admire you I still love you but if you suddenly

find it hard just sip a bit of bhang to sing a new song even

amidst the jolly happy throng – Then rest a while

and when you see our loved ones tonight tell them

I miss and love them, that I’m sorry I left them as

I’m chasing rainbows at Holi…


Blue my emotions as they stir and swirl every Holi

Yellow my essence as your smile evaporates my melancholy.

© Don Beukes


Indiana Voice Journal June 2017

Collaboration with South African artist/comedian/satirist/online radio host CASPER DE VRIES as part of his 2015 Aapstrak Vat 5 exhibition and my SA Ekphrastic poetry debut exhibition 

Photo Credit © Casper De Vries

Click this link to go to the June issue

In One’s Hand

In one’s hand
deeds could be controversial,
My existence is ambivalently universal
all intentions are inherently pure
yet beyond yesterday
have regrettably caused
apocalyptic dismay,
Millennia have passed yet
a biblical blast from the past
left scathing scars,
The power to make a stand
still lies in one’s hand,
I ably struck a brother dear in fear
overcome by jealousy
it remains my scandalous
pitiful legacy,
My self immature
erratically erupts my nature.

In one’s hand,
Hibernates a power grand,
With one swift calculating gesture
I may cause centuries of hate to fester
only I have the power to influence
my actions lead to humanitarian negligence,
With my finger on an atomic button
I alone can end you all of a sudden
in solar explosive light
blinding cataclysm,
I am however
guided by your wisdom,
I do admit
I have a tender touch,
My outstretched virginal hand
loving you too much
so here I am
holding your pre-marital hand,
Sweet heavenly promises
my weak nemesis,
With this ring
my love for thee confess,
A ceremony
meant to seal our
holy matrimony
yet there you are
quivering shivering,
Dreading the loss of liberty lost.

In one’s hand
might be locked a shameful past,
My appearance reveals secret scars
of marauding battles
burning shackles ,
I expose sun-kissed blisters
violet sores throbbing
from perilous persistence,
Stained with indigo ruby veins
of unspeakable pains
nothing gained,


© Don Beukes 2017

(Collaboration with South African artist Casper De Vries previously published in Asian Signature)