Thursday, June 11, 2009

From Lady Nyo's Weblog

June 12, 2009 by ladynyo

From ” Sexless Solitude and Other Poems”

DON’T CONDEMN ME

It’s all linked but I don’t understand
or don’t want to understand because

I am too much with me and worry
about her dying libido and my

own shrinking sex amidst salsa chill
Bihu fever, Vishu rituals

ringing emptiness day and night shake
the age-wrapped youth for single-edge play

in forked flame carve image of heaven
to challenge the jealous God undo

sins of races flowing in my blood:
I love Him through the bodies He made

but they don’t understand redemption
in churning and parting of the sea

they don’t rejoice in the flames of henna
on her palms nor let the lily bloom

in the valleys use the clefts and cliffs
To deface beauty and spike voices

don’t condemn me if I am not white
The water still flows in my river

RK Singh
Copyrighted, 2009

This poem has haunted me since I first read it back in October, 2008 I believe. There are many, many religious images here, many that are alien to me, I must admit, but there are also Christian imagery, too.

It starts out with a Lament: the disappearing, (as it does with all of us) sexual drive, the aging issues that impact upon all humanity that live long enough, and but right before, it leads us into the depth of the matter:

“It’s all linked but I don’t understand
or don’t want to understand because”…..

the overriding concern, is not exactly the spiritual, the religious concerns as we would aspire to be, but the very, very human concerns of aging, disappearing sexual abilities, etc….yet it comes back around to the spiritual because—

“they don’t rejoice in the flames of henna
on her palms nor let the lily bloom

in the valleys use the clefts and cliffs
To deface beauty and spike voices”…

I am guessing here, RK, but it’s a call for tolerance, or this is how I read it….spiritual/religious tolerance in an very intolerant world.

But how beautiful the words… “the flames of henna on her palms or let the lily bloom”

There is so much culturally I don’t understand about this poem , but my soul yearns towards its imagery, the pure undiluted beauty of the poem…the mingling of cultures as I see it, ..well, this perhaps speaks volumes to a universal striving.

RK, I remember being so passionately inspired, impacted by this poem of yours, that I wrote a poor response of my own. Disgruntled with a Quaker Meeting, I took the receeding imagery, the ‘tones’ of your poem onto that bench one “First Day” and riffed upon some of your images.

Some Aberrant Thoughts

Sitting on a wooden Quaker bench,
The wood as hard as some hearts
Taking ‘pride’ in their tolerance….

Ah, I am beginning to hate that word,
That single word, because there ain’t none.
The stiff- necked brethren, and sisthern too,
Wear their spirituality like dull pearls around stiffer necks, proud in a borrowed heritage that came to do good,
And some did very well for themselves.

Sitting in silence is bearable, it’s when they speak, not the popcorn messages, that is tolerable, because it comes more from spontaneous Spirit,
but these sonorous, drawn out, perfectly enunciated vowels, the ponderousness of it all.

I wonder what the God Vishnu would do here?
Would he jump up, and burst into flame?
Would he call in the elephants to stomp the
Professors flat?

Kali could lend something to these formerly gray clothed worshipers.
She would not tolerate a false piety,
But would as she was known to do,
Run a path of death and destruction through the middle of the Meeting, and let them pick up their ‘weighty’ pieces?

And Shiva?

Would he bring a particularly nasty Rise of the Meeting, when all would shake hands to those on the left and the right?

Or would the trickster be a Yamabushi Tengu with a buzzer in his hand?

It boggles the mind, but at least gets one through the Meeting for Worship.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2009

LOL! Poor fare after your poem, RK, but like dominoes, your poem produced something I couldn’t resist: a resonance, a clattering of ideas and imagery that had expression, though it was just a beginning, and a rather pale attempt.

But that is ok, because we feed off each other in excitement and inspiration, that is what poets should do!

Lady Nyo….very thankful for all the participation this week…and looking forward for more.

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