Return to Ideology

When I was young I argued with my father when he spoke of the Partition of India and Bengal in 1947. He had never told me exactly what he saw as a 6-year old, only spoke repeatedly of the
need to teach discipline again to those who had been taught to disobey. And he implied his aversion to Islamic rigor. I said I had friends among ‘them,’ that I could not feel like him until I myself had been hurt. We agreed to disagree.Now cold violence strikes my body-State again and again; as my countrymen shame themselves, and as the acid-blind ‘West’ern complex wags its fingers, I remember my father and the Partition lives again.

The country is convulsing to erect a common set of enemies. It shall be father against son, brother against brother, one against one’s own. Dwarka shall sink again. This is how walls are built, broken and people buried beneath, shaken by the distant thunder of giant hooves.

Mumbai

The crooked fingers point in panoptic prayer
Do not forget
Do not go silent…
Like a mother to her child’s funeral pyre, the heart runs back.
But rage is no answer when you’re crouching on the ground
And the empire strides oblivious overhead.Divide and rule, said the reign of terror, burn what you cannot have.
Those lost jewels gleam balefully in memory, in the Crown I have never seen.
Every bit of ‘reclaimed’ wood sold overseas burns.
Old ship prisms, they are.
Money and leisure might have kept more peace. But would they not come again?
All, all came to this fabled land of rivers and sunshine and jewels and peacocks. After the invention of national boundaries put an end to direct conquest, they still came, and we still went.

My country, your remittances are riverine.

A thousand years of empire made us adept at forgetting
Now the dead come and go, forgotten in a billion forsaken souls.

I do not know which singular agent is responsible in a place of too much plurality. I do know that the theory I read and hear touches no ground where these people live. Regardless of how illusory life is, and how lofty and immortal the pinnacles of intellect, the flames from the funeral pyres burn higher and more palpably. This burning state is this body, while this mind and these hands work overseas, the heart stretches like a string backward, ever backward.

No, if I can count a colored person among my friends, my supremacist irresponsibility is forgiven:

In the New York Times: 

“Many Latinos, particularly those who are here illegally, say they would never report such incidents because they do not trust the police and fear deportation.

“We’re here to work, we’re not here to do any damage,” pleaded César Angamarca, 45, who rents a room in a small house where Mr. Lucero lived. “We’re working honorably.”

Friends of Mr. Conroy and the other suspects insisted that the defendants were not racist and said they were shocked that a frivolous escapade by bored, drunken teenagers had quickly turned tragic. They pointed out that one of the defendants, José Pacheco, 17, is the son of an African-American mother and a Puerto Rican father, and that Mr. Conroy counted Latino and black classmates among his closest buddies.”

_________

1.    Is it responsible to print the name of someone in a way that
suggests he is an illegal immigrant? The NYTimes named “César
Angamarca, 45, who rents a room in a small house where Mr. Lucero
lived” after mentioning “Many Latinos, particularly those who are here
illegally” and without clarifying if the name was changed or if the
person was in the US illegally or not and at which construction
company’s behest. It is unconscionable that a newspaper should do this.
Will the NYTimes take responsibility for this Judas kiss and will it
give the 30 pieces of silver to the lawyer who may defend Angamarca?

2.    Racism is not a continually manifested trait, like skin color.
Like anger, and love, racism can surface only some of the time. For
these kids to say they are not racist because they had colored folks
among their friends does not obscure what they were doing when they
said they were going to “ju mp on a Mexican.”  Why a “Mexican”? Now
that Obama has made attacking African-Americans taboo, it’s the others?
Do all those guns and knives flying off the shelves need new,
imaginable targets now?

3.    If a child is old enough to kill, he/she is old enough to go to
jail for it. These are not children. These boys became criminals before
they learnt how to become men. The real man was the one they killed.
Shame on Jeffrey Conroy, and all his six buddies. They didn’t learn to pick on
someone as big as them, but on one they perceived as weaker.

 

 

 

 

 

Death in Winter

Thanksgiving journeys. 

Saw a pickup truck go by with a dead deer in the open back. Assumed the driver was a man. A full-grown thing, with antlers and a good coat of fur. I imagined I ran my right hand over its side, not cold yet, not warm except inside—fur, thick, maybe a double coat, slightly stiff and rough, smooth and regular if you stoked back and down. Muscle and belly below. Cold hooves. Eyes closed. It had tried hard to forget. Why not wait for it to die?

___________________

Two angled hawks in bare
Branches looking down
Into a culvert

___________________

Remnants of nests
Garbage bags caught in trees
Chopped off little evergreens. Someone’s Xmas tree elsewhere.
Dog chained in the yard.
I thought the ice in the creeks was chemical foam.
Rampant human[i]s[m].

 

 

 

Two endings

Bali: Sacrifice: 

Trying to understand.
Katherine Anne Porter’s “The Grave”…unborn rabbits in their mother;s body, coffin and womb made one. No cradle in between. Was that a better life?
The way Blue Feather had to die with an arrow in his feet.

Mother and Child:

Birth is a push to articulation, an “i” carried to term.
This child in my belly is me, is not me. It is another if from the moment of conception, a part of my body, my cell, my egg is considered ‘not-me’; The father’s sperm leaves his body, the mother’s cell never does. Until it is pushed out, miscarried or born. A woman is taught that this is not her—how many times? And yet the child, is not the child until it is large enough to be seen, a growth on the body [body growths are not wanted now, warts and bulges and saddlebags, they are excesses of self, intrusions from self-space to outer reality, offenses to concepts of limited selves, individual spaces, little cultivated units in a census].

 

 

 

The Virgin and the Warrior

Pujo korish?
Na. Haan.
Ki korish?
Pakhi praani khaoai.
Worship whatever gives you joy. 

Those women were talking about dikhkha. I realized I could not begin to talk about the sacred in such open terms.
The sacred is, used to be, properly secret. [Is the secret sacred at first glance?]

Hidden. Inviolate. Immaculate. An immaculate conception. Why virginity is important.
As in Kumari Puja. Durga, the unreachable, the inviolate, can somehow be worshipped as inviolate virgin. Innocence is tantalizing to aware adults.

There is victory and invincibility in the ritual touching of one whom belief says cannot be touched. We touch, therefore, and are burned. Consider the belief in certain parts of the world that sex with a virgin will cure AIDS. The extreme can be extinguished by another. Except that fear and reverence have fallen out of the emotional network joining the two extremes in act and effect.

We touch idols and sacraments, too, receiving in belief that which is hallowed and which used to be. Prasad, the taste of sanctity, fruit of efforts that are made ‘prayer’ by what we give up to get more.

The thing, in the past, is conferred inviolability by the fact of being in the past. That which used to be is forever the best, the thing the future must be geared towards. Tradition, religion, lost wealth.

Therefore the supreme importance of history. Of how stories are told. The steady fruits of time, witnessed by all, are a triumph over Time’s ravages themselves.

Wrap the Thing in narrative cloth, drape it, layer it, embellish it, tell a story of imagination and play, and you have a Rubik’s cube to beguile eternity.
And what’s the harm? It is enough if art can please the “indolence of … youth/ Or an old man upon a winter’s night.”

 

 

 

 

Jannat

This heaven must always be lost to us.
_______ 

If you wish to leave me, my friend, remember I never asked you to live with me. You came with the neighbourhood, its lost addresses, its ‘aabhaa’ of heaven. I came from next door.
Because you had not traveled, you became jealous with my desire. You wanted this thing I had come looking for, never seeing that we stood on the other side of that illusion together.

_______

Gurcharan Das’s opinion article on Kashmir:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Opinion/Columnists/God_of_a_lesser_world/articleshow/3453764.cms

Bravo, for reminding us of the social contract, of the price of liberty and of the locus of the exercise of conscience in a time of sore need.
I was teaching G.B. Shaw’s “Freedom” and H.D. Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” today to my first-year college students here in Illinois, and I was struck by the sanity and reason of this article’s exposition of right choice, and the right to choose.
I am beginning to think that there is no such thing as a fundamental right, only so many exercises of will and discipline, and therein a primal duty to smart survival.