0

Reblog: Degrees of freedom

Here is one I posted five years ago. Munira was reminded by Facebook; she reminded me,  and I met myself once again with a “glad to meet you” and decided to repost. She asked me to dedicate it to Qandeel Baloch, so I do. One of my recent posts is Silence and Freedom which is relevant to both this post and Baloch in two ways: i) the external form and ii) Audre Lorde’s words: when Lorde speaks of oppression, the resonance is deep enough to touch all its fangs: race, gender, class, age, and every which way in which humans otherize the other.

Degrees of Freedom

3

Tagore/Kabir V – Maya as oppression

This is the third post in the Tagore/Kabir series.

I
An oppressive taunt is Maya’s
Brother in law; the

Cusp of a lesser heaven; the
Beerbelly is contingent

Upon remembering how much seep
Was ingested and

How it came about that you wept
So soundly.

II
A fellow blogger/poet, ThotPurge, interpreted the original thus:

I killed my shadow
Blocking the afternoon sun
Now clouds distract me

Ans this is how Tagore originally appropriated Kabir

I. 63. avadhû, mâyâ tajî na jây

  Tell me, Brother, how can I renounce Maya?
  When I gave up the tying of ribbons, still I tied my garment
    about me:
  When I gave up tying my garment, still I covered my body in its
    folds.
  So, when I give up passion, I see that anger remains;
  And when I renounce anger, greed is with me still;
  And when greed is vanquished, pride and vainglory remain;
  When the mind is detached and casts Maya away, still it clings to
    the letter.
  Kabîr says, "Listen to me, dear Sadhu! the true path is rarely
    found."
4

Silence and freedom

The quotes prefacing my poems below are taken from a 1977 paper delivered by Audre Lorde titled, “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action”.

“What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence?”
the bureaucracy of joy
Operationally exigent, the
Skill of my day-to-day is
Contingent, held by the
Noosed nylon that will swing

You to the other side; the door
Is procedure, sentiment; cross that
Tee and knot that eye with thatched
Thistle carving up the parchment

Into friendly spaces, cells and columns,
Political economy of verbs & nouns,
Forms content with fill, ink’s dissent
With fill of space, the dotted eye.

“We can learn to work and speak when we are afraid in the same way we have learned to work and speak when we are tired. For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.”
rules of communion
Commit to the arbitrary whim
That seeks plenitude but knows

Not how, and then organize those
Whims, the exigencies of action.

Figure out the ancestry of the
Why of what you have to do, and

Write it down: to commit is to
Want to breathe, sink and greet.

“The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken.”
freedom is inherently dangerous

freedom is inherently dangerous; it can
unfetter the slovenly pink and discolor
the unfelt solder, the axed appropriate
mandate, the breaking of swords, triads

of affiliation, tinpots of manged hate;
freedom is thus danger; and why not? it
reeks of past, it seeks the past, flits
of memory crawl out of nowhere nothings
0

Tagore/Kabir IX: Not Known

This is the second post in the Tagore/Kabir series.

The thorn of passion, a larger
Head, the 
         substance and grind and tenor of which is 
Not rhythm

The thorn of passion, a silent
Dig, the 
        plunge and prick and singe of which is
Not song

It is in the now, also then, also
Hence, the
        inner and outer and which and what is
Not known

Tagore’s take on Kabir

I. 104. aisâ lo nahîn taisâ lo

  O How may I ever express that secret word?
  O how can I say He is not like this, and He is like that?
  If I say that He is within me, the universe is ashamed:
  If I say that He is without me, it is falsehood.
  He makes the inner and the outer worlds to be indivisibly one;
  The conscious and the unconscious, both are His footstools.
  He is neither manifest nor hidden, He is neither revealed nor
    unrevealed:
  There are no words to tell that which He is.

I bore in my heart
the thorn of passion:
Drew it out one day
And my heart is numb.
– Antonio Machado

2

Tagore/Kabir II. the dallying dollopful deity

This is the first of a series posts tagged Tagore/Kabir. Basically, a few of my rend(er)ing of Tagore’s rendition of Kabir from his Songs of Kabir.

Commentary
It is only in active play that being is discovered. Every act of hoarding is fundamentally static, and it turns being on its head as you end up revering icons and symbols.

Versified Exegis
the dallying dollopful deity
drips a symmetrical drop of
godful godliness; even Raidas
gets a handful, imagine that

the dallying dollopful deity
trills the songs; the caste of
the casteful castigated is
cast aside; rammed in the

sloppy merryness of the car
pentar, the washerwoman, the
priest who knows no name but
the dallying dollopful deity

Tagore’s translation of Kabir

I. 16. Santan jât na pûcho nirguniyân

  It is needless to ask of a saint the caste to which he belongs;
  For the priest, the warrior. the tradesman, and all the
    thirty-six castes, alike are seeking for God.
  It is but folly to ask what the caste of a saint may be;
  The barber has sought God, the washerwoman, and the carpenter—
  Even Raidas was a seeker after God.
  The Rishi Swapacha was a tanner by caste.
  Hindus and Moslems alike have achieved that End, where remains no
    mark of distinction.
4

rile and error

۱
At a certain depth, you will see
The revolving shore, the bolstered
Panopticon reeling from so much

Vision; at a certain depth, the mid
Wife of leavened sorrow breaks; it
Is denied, reddened and bleached;

At a certain depth, you will see
Crutches of meaning, the daubed
Paper stains that are now ghosts.

۲

No, the lamp in the cast off bulb
Is not the one you seek; you seek
The heart of riverstone; no, that
Plinth, that crux is not the song

You sing; you sing the heart of a
Bledstorm; no, those ballasts oft
Sped into truthspills are not the
Wrong you seek; you seek the peat

۳
I swallow my rooted mask at the
Tip of error,

At the glowing mint and whisper;
The tip of

Error, at the house of worship and
Want; at the

Tip of error, I swallow my rooted
Mask and fly.

0

III form/verse/acts

I. the recognizance

the recognition by sundown of
my verbroot is an
arbitrary systematization of negation/
                             assertion/assertion/
                             negation. It is,

Therefore it can be there
Fore it must.

II. this ring of fire

This ring of fire
  is 
  not withstanding 
                 /ought
                  the ouch of naught, and / inch
      while you were away, zealot inkfellows yellowed out your burn.

III. the dry bleed

In a beached solvent, the
   Dry
Breeds
     A soluble contentment, a
   Dry
     Bleed, a systematic appropriation of change as ambassador.
7

The halted screech

The screech is halted as
  a wound; it is tempered

As voice, as a weathered
  bell, as the stone worn

On a feathered toe; as we
  climb out of the well;

To work its way as sound
  does, as the flippant 

Aerial word does; the air
  is trapped in a stone

Lung and it is parched with
  yesterday, yesterday.

5

the unstuck poem

When you peel the poem off 
   your back, it

Comes undone, it sticks back
   on to dear life.

That is the last breath of
   the unstuck poem

As it unravels its fight
   before your lies. Your ink will not think
   its grief

as if it is bound to a
   stone out

of gratitude - it will not sink, it will not be any briefer than it has to be.
0

The world as loss

To reach beyond the loss; hark, sun,
   the droop of my mourn as
   ash counts wedded beats
   and reveals an acorn beast.

Hark, sun, the wringed azure,
   as you plunge the red across
   my morn, and as you read the
   acid lawn, explain.

This was written as one possible response to Muriel Rukeyser’s Song.

The world is full of loss; bring, wind, my love,
    my home is where we make our meeting-place,
    and love whatever I shall touch and read
    within that face.

Lift, wind, my exile from my eyes;
      peace to look, life to listen and confess,
      freedom to find to find to find
      that nakedness.
Muriel Rukeyser