Sunday, June 03, 2007

Beat Elegy

in memoriam Shakti Bhatt

Many times I tried to become a bard for her but found my tongue
                lost to the screams in the mouth
                of my last night’s dream —
the dream where I run to catch the sorrows singing on his homely wall
                & find them black with my own blood,
the dream where things happen without a reason, or logic, or forewarning,
                & towers fall with no more provocation
                than a breath of flat air,
the dream where I try again to run after & catch the japing sorrows
                but they fly straight into the premises
of a noble spirit, guarded by snakes of dust & sweat & fearsome tears,
                so I can only look at her cradled between the
                branches of parijat, wearing a band of 7-colour peacock
feathers & a rope of charcoal, & my entreaties to her to remember him
                go unheard, my summons to our commonalities
                of age, once love, to no avail,
my conjuring of that tangy summer evening disregarded where
                perfectly formed couplets were spoken &
                soared before our collective delighted eyes,
& I give up & think she has returned to her own species,
                or else the trace of blue
under her eyes will become one day a blue bird resting
                its head at the tips of the branches,
but the thought hurts so much I wake up in a shrieking silence.

May 2007

Also here

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Despisals by Muriel Rukeyser

[First heard on Poetcast; found the text here. I read this at the QueerFest yesterday, along with my own poems.]

In the human cities, never again to
despise the backside of the city, the ghetto,
or build it again as we build the despised
backsides of houses. Look at your own building
You are the city.

Among our secrecies, not to despise our Jews
(that is, ourselves) or our darkness, our blacks,
or in our sexuality wherever it takes us
and we now know we are productive
too productive, too reproductive
for our present invention – never to despise
the homosexual who goes building another

with touch with touch (not to despise any touch)
each like himself like herself each.
You are this.

In the body’s ghetto
never to go despising the asshole
nor the useful shit that is our clean clue
to what we need. Never to despise
the clitoris in her least speech.
Never to despise in myself what I have been taught
to despise. Nor to despise the other.
Not to despise the it. To make this relation
with the it : to know that I am it.