i: the way it is
the rich-country fishermen discovered the first victims of the accident:about 100 oil-coated birds along the southwest coast. the foreign vessel’s captain, a national of yet a third country – the poorest of the three – had been forbidden from leaving the southwest coast while being under formal investigation for endangering lives and causing maritime pollution. for the oil company spokesman the situation was clear: though the company may well have chartered the ill-equipped tanker to cut costs, International Maritime Law lay all responsibility with the shipping company owning and running the vessel. somehow the sole trace of the shipping company was the poor-country captain, also hired to cut costs.
A woman had just migrated to another continent.
Upon meeting her for the first time, her mother-in-law washed
her thick long hair with an anti-bacterial toilet cleaner
telling her it would make her hair yet more lustrous.
The next plan was to strip-mine the seas for squid.
This was in a poor country and a rich country alike.
50% of the children under 4 are malnourished
_____ & 60% of the women are anaemic___ the report reported.
This means an annual productivity loss of $10 billion the report concluded.
The non-union security workers’ job
was to guard the Christmas turkeys
and stop them from being stolen
from the frozen meat section of the grocery giant.
‘But it’s our right to guard them, we’re the ones who processed them’
the unionized turkey workers argued
‘But they have a right to live’
the animal rights activists protested
All the turkeys and all the claims
being made in the same world-mind frame.
A woman with plenty of shopping
slipped on a banana peel
in a metropolitan market
Several shoppers stood and stared.
One of them was gripped by a metaphor he saw there
He pondered for some time
on whether the woman was the banana-flesh or the banana-peel,
this woman from a banana republic
scraping the ground of the republic
which had eaten-up hers……..
As quickly as she could, the woman stumbled to her feet and walked off.
A man sauntered
from one film
to another film
instead of doing his work
in the haze of a day
when time clocks had been turned ‘back’
to ‘save daylight’
and make for greater productivity
He took note of his lack of discipline
but didn’t force the questioning.
On some level he was aware of what he couldn’t do that day
and on some level he was letting himself not do it.
The almost naked artist
at the tip of a wharf
on the edge of an ocean
his cut torso
and toweled pelvis
He had built himself a maze
an obstacle course
a ladder, a pole, a rope, and others
but before passing himself through it,
he wound himself into a long cloth bandage
first his arms, individually
then his chest
then his legs, stuck loosely together
then the neck to his knees,
bending over at the waist
and finally all around the head, the neck
with only a thin slit in the bandage
through which to see
through the crack between his knees
In this sculpture
he climbed the ladder,
slid the pole,
walked the rope
and so on
Near the end of the course
he took a broom stick
with an ass’s head on one end of it
and stuck the other end
through his cheeks
into the anus
Travelled down the last obstacle
off the wharf
onto the beach
and stood himself still
in cutting silence
soaking-in the wind.
In a rural part of a certain country
it is said
that a woman stripping naked in public
is a symbolic act signifying
she has reached the end of her tether
and will be pushed no further.
“Most of the people were frozen to death in the life boats. No one came to their rescue from the time they sent-out the distress signal, at 4:30pm Wednesday, until late Thursday morning”, the government official stated blankly.
in the dead of night
with parched eyes
and a coarse throat,
gulps-in some water,
and takes luxury
in feeling it
drop by drop
to empty space.
A stranger helped a stranger settle-into a new town in a new country: met the stranger at the major port of entry, gave tips on what to watch-out for and where to get candles on a low budget, helped choose a table and dishes and pots and plants. When the stranger saw that the stranger had a foothold of the place, the stranger left the other stranger to it. The other stranger felt thoroughly affronted. But you see, the stranger wasn’t looking to build a friendship. Simply trying to do for someone what no one had done for her.
A fifty year old man looking eighty
needs help every morning to button-up his shirt.
His fingertips have not been functional
since the military state tore-off his fingernails
But his handwriting keeps questioning, keeps questioning
And the vibrancy in his eye keeps radiating, keeps radiating
A young woman tosses keys in her right palm
in a steady rhythm
as she walks
She knows where what she has to do
what she wants to do
And she is doing it.
The readers did not recognize the lives within the structures within the stories and the figures
the writers did not necessarily recognize them all either
Those lives and structures were nowhere and everywhere
as were the lives and structures of the readers and writers.
Like a mirror facing a mirror, there was no reflection without eyes.
from being full
ash-pink clouds in an early winter sunset
and ash-pink raspberry branches bending in late autumn bareness.
from breathing for breadth, (TSAR: 2005, pp. 68-73)