drool of law

The law is naught but Ought
           Where is reason
           Able and when? which sound will
           Love make as it descends upon
The breaking of all law, the
           Sense of non/ the
           Frolick of crush and meaning &
           Tendency, pain, thresholds..


The crow, which now dominates the totem of the Haida nation, was the grandson of that great divine chief who made the world.

When the crow wept asking for the moon, which hung from the wall of tree trunks, his grandfather gave it to him. The crow threw it into the sky through the chimney opening and started crying again, wishing for the stars. When he got them he spread them around the moon.

Then he wept and hopped about and screamed until his grandfather gave him the carved wooden box in which he kept daylight. The great divine chief forbade him to take the box out of the house. He had decided that the world should live in the dark.

The crow played with the box, pretending to be satisfied, but out of the corner of his eye he watched the guards who were watching him.

When they weren’t looking, he fled with the box in his claw. The point of the claw split passing through the chimney, and his feathers were burned and stayed black from then on.

The crow arrived at some islands off the northern coast. He heard human voices and asked for food. They wouldn’t give him any. He threatened to break the wooden box.

“I’ve got daylight in here,” he warned, “and if it escapes, the sky will never put out its light. No one will be able to sleep, nor to keep secrets, and everybody will know who is people, who is bird, and who is beast of the forest.”

They laughed. The crow broke open the box, and light burst forth in the universe. – From Eduardo Galeano’s, “The Memory of Fire: Genesis”.

I’ve got daylight in here, cawed
the harbinger
I’ve got the measure of all things
stray, pray
Tell me what should I do? But there
is law that
Inhibits the stroke of the sun, the
measured qubits
Plying, playing with truth – ooof!
i’ve got day
Light in the shades of a distant
hades, you’ve
Got to speak with a bent garble to
make any sense
These dark, dark days – I’ve got
daylightinhere.

The big man and the small small, Accra 2016 – III

(The first two posts on my recent Accra visit are here and here.)

Kwame Nkrumah was the nationalist leader who led Ghana to independence in 1957 and went on to serve as prime minister and president until he was ousted in a military coup in 1966. That was fifty years ago. I tried to bring him up in a few conversations, and the one that sticks out is one in which the great leader – and Nkrumah is the Ghanaian archetype – is extolled over ordinary people, for what do people want except to “eat and sleep!” (quoted by a Ghanaian colleague who also proclaimed, “one great man is worth a thousand ordinary people.”)

I couldn’t disagree more.

I tried to bring in Eduardo Galeano‘s words to counter this elitist search for a saviour, but to no avail. Here is Galeano on the topic:
“You and I are educated and we know the world. We are in many ways what they call the leaders. And leaders must serve their people. No matter how tough our lives are, we are not victims. Those who are suffering are the robbed, poor, uneducated people. They have to decide whether and when to take up arms and go: they, not we. If and when they decide to fight, we have to obey and lead them. Whether they will fight or not is not up to us to decide.”

May 23

To say again the all; the singe
Of song; to cry again the wary
Wail and the army's ail; the
Bemoaned are the joyous, but
They will not carve out an 
Evolutionary niche in the
Political economy of a tired
Literature and burnt poetry.

Slavery according to Aristotle

“One who is a human being belonging by nature not to himself but to another is by nature a slave; and being a man he is an article of property, and an article of property is an instrument . . . The slave is a living tool, just as a tool is an inanimate slave.

Hence there are by nature various classes of rulers and ruled. For the freeman rules the slave, the male the female, and the man the child.

The art of war includes hunting, an art which we ought to practice against wild beasts and against men who, though intended by nature to be governed, refuse to submit; for war of such a kind is naturally just.

Bodily service for the necessities of life is forthcoming from both, from slaves and from domestic animals alike. The intention of nature therefore is to make the bodies of freemen and of slaves different.”

“Slavery according to Aristotle”, from the book, Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone by Eduardo Galeano.

Bodily service – the axe to grind
An historical allegory; would you
Refer to the nightwatchman to
Guard you against the sinning saint?

Or would you rather breathe content,
Despising the reined, despite the
Rain off course, of coarse fabric,
Taint, hubris, hued with haw & pun?

Presentism and the poet’s rage

Presentism is a modern stain. It is vehement in denying all explanations of now that go back in time, wanting to start anew with such passion that the past becomes trivial. Forgetting becomes less an explicit act and more an implicit elision brought about by massive distraction.

(The social forces that compel presentism are the same that animate the modern assault on understanding, restricting the scope of vigorous debate to a limited spectrum (Chomsky1) creating the illusion of diversity.)

When we are robbed of the past, we have no choice but to project the image of the present onto the future (Galeano2). The assault on imagination is terrifying. When our language is robbed of historical consciousness, the sensibilities brought into play are dystopic.

If language is fossil poetry (Emerson), then the poet should be all the more outraged by such an appropriation of expression. Dylan Thomas rages against the dying of the light. If we accept Kundera when he says, “the struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting,” then Dylan’s rage is sterile unless the dying light is cast in the light of the ever alive past.

rage is the new normal; night is
an interpretation; flip open the
valves and let the ink bleed the
catchments dry for a new version
of night, a variation on history

rage is the new normal; the long
machinery of myth, the stench of
an older order, more primal than
the scream of the new version of
night, permutating with mutation

rage is the new normal; delights
in the rediscovery of the ultra-
mundane, the hodgepodge factotum
and mishmashed equilibria - this
is no more primal, no more night

rage is the new normal; the fist
that dares to open, to ask, want
to dare to ask, to stamp its bit
on the new version of night, the
variation on theme, an older one

Notes
1. “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” Noam Chomsky, “The Common Good”

2. “Incapable of recalling its origins, the present paints the future as a repetition of itself; tomorrow is just another name for today.” Eduardo Galeano, “Upside Down”

Sisyphus’ heel

the infinitesimal is utopian; it 
    falls 
             behind the
curve that slopes ever 
 so 
   slightly, tends to
lie
lest it fall behind further, at
which point there is no real
point,
is there?

“Utopia lies at the horizon.
When I draw nearer by two steps,
it retreats two steps.
If I proceed ten steps forward, it
swiftly slips ten steps ahead.
No matter how far I go, I can never reach it.
What, then, is the purpose of utopia?
It is to cause us to advance.” – Eduardo Galeano

“In a race, the quickest runner can never overtake the slowest, since the pursuer must first reach the point whence the pursued started, so that the slower must always hold a lead.” – Zeno’s “Achilles and the tortoise” paradox of motion, as recounted by Aristotle.

feel-thinking

I grapple with the word-form, the
verb-act, the similitude and the
norm; word opposes word in stream;
the begetting of meaning and its
arousal – beset by cloud, cut off from
the arm that inks each word, where
will the sigh announce its opposition?

“Reality is very, very contradictory, and so I try to write just perfecting what I see, what I read, what I feel, in a feel-thinking way. Not only giving ideas, or receiving ideas, or trying to explain something, but mainly feel-thinking, a feel-thinking language able to tie the heart and the mind, which have been divorced.” Eduardo Galeano

Fear

Prey on the filament of the dawn
Of fear, on
The silent grip of the numb at noon
Of fear, at

Dusk and then when the eyes plumb
A sleep
Less want, a depthless drum of river's
Need, a

Blessed blight of trembling limbs that
Crouch
In dire need, in the fleeting sheen of
Dark,

Pry off the hunger, the long rectangle
Of solid
Angles that reek of innate howls of
Childscare.

“In a world that prefers security to justice, there is loud applause whenever justice is sacrificed on the altar of security. The rite takes place in the streets. Every time a criminal falls in a hail of bullets, society feels some relief from the disease that makes it tremble. The death of each lowlife has a pharmaceutical effect on those living the high life. The word “pharmacy” comes from pharmakos, the Greek name for humans sacrificed to the gods in times of crisis.” – from Eduardo Galeano‘s Upside Down