Abbajee, reason & faith

Survivors have all the prerequisites to be rebels. Abbajee, my father in law, who passed away yesterday in Karachi – while I am in Accra for work – was testimony to this. His childhood (and here’s a story by Mun on her dad’s youthful grittiness) was as tough as his uncompromising yearning for reason in the face of a world as uncompromising on its insistence on unreason to get by.

His was a scientific, tinkering, inventive mind. Playfulness doesn’t sit well with conformity, so he had no choice but to question relentlessly. When we met, he sensed a kindred questioner, and he never stopped sounding me out (not everything that we exchanged concurred, but that is dialogue).

(I was a bit scared of lending books to him: nothing but the content mattered, so much so that by the time he got through some of them, they could no longer lay claim to their bookly sheen.)

Last year when my dad passed away, I quoted my dad’s favorite lines from Saadi, which speak of the humility of the raindrop upon meeting the expanse of the ocean. And it is relevant again now.

Faith and reason have had a contentious history, but there is a meeting point as elusive as it is beckoning which compels the questioning to seek, always. Abbajee sought, always.

I do not know its name, so I call it Tao

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

Abbajee with my mum-in-law, daughters and sons-in-law at his 50th wedding anniversary 3 some years ago.

Mohammedi Mamoowala
Seeker, Survivor
December 23, 1935 – June 26, 2017

The moon remembers

Returning in her blood, the
moon remembers which

near star is no more, and
it sinks its shade again,

builds up the root of the
mountain as it climbs out

of yet another shadow.

Here is Muriel Rukeyser’s poem:
Martin Luther King,
Malcolm X

Bleeding of the mountains
the noon bleeding
he is shot through the voice
all things being broken

The moon returning in her blood
looks down   grows white
loses color
and blazes

…and the near star gone—

voices of cities
drumming in the moon

bleeding of my right hand
my black voice bleeding

this much we know

The poetic possible sits alongside with
say the etymological

But can it run ahead? Without a hint of
disdain can the fire

Hurry up any more than it can burn? The
remote is now nuanced

Into a silent belief in tinynesses that
beget, belie, behold-

here is a graver explanation; this much
we are in agreement

the rope of the grave lies in steep
question; this much

we can say is true; whether the will
is coalesced or roped

into a managed soliloquy, I cannot say,
but this much is allowed

this need & dare

“This first bright day has broken
the back of winter” (1)

As you will it, as you make day beckon its
wince, its sense of pay

“it does not pay to cherish symbols
when the substance
lies so close at hand” (2)

at hand is metal
it is shunned by pieces of,
remnants of burnt life

“my shoulders are dead leaves
waiting to be burned
to life” (3)

leaves welled up as tears are
torn again with the grind of
spade    another morning, an
other funnel of seedless faith

“I do not know when
we shall laugh again
but next week
we will spade up another plot
for this spring’s seeding.” (4)

And I know not when your
sun will drown this
piece of land, this need &
dare    yours, mine.

1-4: from Audre Lorde’s poem, “Walking our Boundaries”

A closeted riverbed speaks

how does my fondness for solving
the apparitioned problem

chime with the poem? the mis-
represented danger that

threatens: is it dark because it
is obscure or do you

smell a further abyss? cognition
is sensibility & the

problem will be solved as love
equates with the poem

& the burden of tangled knots
dissolves, overflows

the zone of the torrid

my X upon theta of whirl
lone gobs

are stunned into bellow
and I bind

A closeted riverbed 
           Come cut

The lower half and expand
Come    dress up this mar
With the green spiff cult

A closeted riverbed
           Come wit