Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Idolatry

By now i know
My own tendency
To first idolize
And then be disillusioned
Slowly as i begin to discover
Their feet of clay
And then completely
As i begin to tire of them
To judge them

How will i save myself
From rose tints
When i see my next idol?
And how will i stop myself
From becoming bitter?

For
Once all the idols are over
The world
Will reveal itself
To be a facade

And i will have
Nothing to live for

Daughter

If you learn of where
I have been spending my nights
From an accusive frenemy
Will you defend me?

If i come home to you
Pregnant
Will you still take me in?
Talk to me?
Not ask me to leave?
Not tell me how i
Dishonored you?

Let me know when you
Think you can do that
And make me feel like
I have a safety net
Like i have a place to go
No matter what

For now i do not feel so safe
And i weigh every step
Before i take it
Measuring, deciding
How to shield you
From all the hurt
The world can hurl at you
That you are not
Ready to accept
On my behalf

Let me know when you think
I will be more important to you
Than the world's opinion of me

Until then,
Do not speak to me
Of love

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Soul songs

How will i meet you, sister?
She sings
For the father's house is foreign now
With stepmother in it

Let's meet at the riverside, they say

It has been twelve years sister,
She sings
How many children have you had?

My child like the sunlight
Is dead, is gone
Says she in reply

The story is not a new one
It is written in the books
Of how her seven sons were killed
A story known to every child
Who walks these streets

And yet you will not find in the books
The mother's lament
And then her enterprise
To save her son
With help from another woman

When women get together to sing
They sing not of kings and the
Raging fights for kingdoms
But of mothers who mourned
Sisters who cried, sisters who bled
Of wives who knew,
And lovers who warned
Of women who held each other up
And survived and lived

I will raise your child, sister
So he will not die,
Sings she
And i will give you my daughter.

When women got together to sing
They created wise,
Omniscient foremothers
That you wont find
In any printed pages.
Only in the singers' hearts.

What do you do when you are sad
And have no one to pour
Your sadness into?
You could implode,
And
There are ways and ways
To explode

But our wise mothers sang
Of their heart's despair instead

Wait Ram,
She sings,
I will yet meet my father
My mother and my brother
Wait Ram,
For it does not feel like
The time to go
Away from their love

What do you do when
You are wise, you are eager
To make your mark on the world
But
You are hemmed in from all sides?
Restricted, limited, barred?

You sing then,
Songs where you are wise
Compassionate, kind

Of seeta who dreams of a jungle
And knows all is not well
Before she is told so
Of sulochana who knows before
Everyone else
The terrible fate that befalls
Her brave husband
Of yashoda who sacrificed
Her daughter
For the sake of her sister
Who had lost seven sons already

I will raise your child, sister
So he will not die,
Sings she
And i will give you my daughter.
Though the books will tell you
That she lay asleep
Innocent, ignorant,
As her daughter was exchanged
For another's son

(She is in prison,
The books will tell you
There is no question
Of her meeting
Her sister at a riverside
And conspiring to save her child
It does not make sense,
And anyway it was god's will
That the eighth child be saved,
The books will tell you.
And yet the women will sing
Of women who saved children.
And if you ask them
How the sisters met
In a dream, maybe?
They will say
So that even in a story
Their agency must exist
Only in dreams and visions.
Only in margins.
But it is in these margins
That you must look
If you want to find
A complete reflection of our world
That art can provide)

Maybe these stories always existed
And were not chosen
By those who were chosen
To write them
Or maybe these stories
Were born out of the frustration
Of our foremothers who had
No other place for agency

But now,
There you have them
Songs of intimacy,
Empathy, strength

How do you protest
Everything the world foists on you?
How do you keep your dignity alive
When you are told you are worthless?
How do you draw the strength to
Assert your confidence?

You create art,
the one thing they cannot control
You go the gods, for you will
Not be blamed for singing of them
And make them in your own image
You create a place a place of power
Even in a world that gives you none
You create agency
In a structure that gives you none
You sing and sing and sing
Until you believe it, and live it
And then you are strong enough
To face anything

Now THAT is my angle
How do you propose
I go about reporting it?

Never seen

When will i get over
The shock of unexpected things
In my own country?

#just a man holding up
Two dead mice by their tails
On the highway in kailali

(Probably for sale
To those who eat its meat?)

Hudkyauli

He speaks in a soft, soft voice
Apparently afraid to raise it
He stumbles as he wonders
What would be the correct thing to say

But when his palms hit the little drum
He becomes a different being
A god of music
Of song, of lyrics
Who can make you laugh or cry
At his will
A god who wields
The power of rhythm
Harnessed through
Centuries of honing
Until it is perfect
And not a beat is out of sync
A skill an average singer
Or even the occasional great singer
Can only dream of mastering
In a lifetime
A skill that he
Starts hearing and learning
Even before he is born
And that now runs in his blood
A skill that is dying
A slow, agonizing death
And is blazing
In it's last glory
Before it disappears
Suddenly
And completely

Let's blame it on capitalism
Let's blame it on modern media
Let's blame it on easy means of transport
That forced it out of isolation
And face the irony that
It is these blamed things
That enabled me to meet them
In the first place

Let's blame it on other
Means of livelihood
That are not as disrespected
As entertaining
That would make such gods
Give up their power

For sure let's support it
But would anyone be interested
In honing a skill
That was rewarded
The more it invoked the emotions
If they are rewarded
The same every time?

Not to say it shouldn't be supported
It should, as much as possible
And more, to compensate for
Generations of lack

Just to say that
The conditions that created
Such a powerhouse:
The listeners' need
For an all consuming esacpe
Into the world of emotions
And the musician's desperation
For a living
That combined to hone the talent
To such heights
Is diluted, gone
And will never come back
And no amount of support
Will be enough
To keep its spirit alive
Though the letter may preserve

And we are to blame
For creating a society where
Need is milked for all its worth
And not talent respected
And not confidence nurtured
And not perseverance praised

Today things have changed a little bit
He has been told his talent is great,
Finally, long over-duely
But he still doesn't think
He is equal to those who tell him so
And he will hesitate
To have tea on the same table
With them

But when his palms hit the little drum
He is a different being
Still a god, still magical
Still wondrous, still unaware of it
And so,
For anyone willing to listen,
He sings the song
Of his own gotterdammerung

Monday, June 26, 2017

Seeds you sowed

It's like
Something died in me
The day you decided
To lie down and
Let me be lied to

I will never trust again
But even more,
I Will forever wonder
If he is happy with me
Or if it is just a ruse
That he is waiting to shed

I will forever wonder
If i am stifling him
If i am enough
If i am leting him feel neglected
If he is plotting his escape
If he is opening up to me,
Or just pretending to until
His real soulmate comes along
And he can put me,
The placeholder, aside

I will forever wonder
If he is opening up his soul
To someone else
And complaining that i am
Too overbearing

You and me

You might think it doesn't
Mean much to me,
The way
I don't talk about it

But maybe i am nurturing it
Too close to my heart,
Protecting the fragile thing,
Scared of
Exposing it to the worldq