Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Funky Rhyme [a poem]

[This poem is dedicated to Tanushree, for telling me to 'Funky it up!']

She read one poem, and then two
And then more, devouring them
Words, soft as strawberries
With a flow that rises, sets, varies
Like sweet breeze through the hem
Of her skin, her hair, her breasts too.

She found the words clear and crisp
But didn't like the rhyme pattern
AA, BB, CC...
"Funky it up" she said, "and let's see
Imagination & creation take a new turn:
Your words can be more than a repetitive lisp!"

So I set out to dance to different a chime.
Decided to funky it up like a mad dictionary.
Added transgressive tastes, acknowledged diversity
Like a naughty child: disrespectful, full of perversity
New rhyme licked fingers over top of jars feeling merry,
Over tastes of green-vanilla... red-chocolate... blue-lime...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Video In the Midst of Militarization and Homophobia [Is that comic relief?]

There we are, with Teheran indulging in nuclear testing while the good old West is now worried, oh-so-utterly-worried for its safety. Did you hear the latest about Guantanamo not closing down? The best part is about how closing down the base "imperils the safety of American people. The American people don't want these men walking the streets of America's neighborhoods," says Senator John Thune, "The American people don't want these detainees held at a military base or federal prison in their backyard, either."

Somebody please shoot me right now!!

And who's been following up on Aung San Suu Kyi?

Yes, I'm in a foul mood, and I've been in a foul mood. May be I should stop following up on militarization when I'm in a foul mood. Did I mention the number of dead in Pakistan this week?

Anyway, this week witnessed the International Day Against Homophobia-- whatever that means? I'm still very confused. What about trans-phobia? Is there a day for that as well? And what about queer-phobia?? But then being queer-phobic simply means being right-wing, conservative and patriarchal, doesn't it? Anyway, I am very ambivalent about the entire day against homophobia thing. There's something in the political agenda that seems totally amiss... Somehow... and it's almost like a terrible itch bothering the soles of my feet right now. Shall think it through and write more later.

Nevertheless, after the fiasco of the failed gay-pride in Moscow over the past week-end, and all the arrests that ensued etc., it is my duty to leave you with a video before I head back to work (yes, it's been the longest term of my life ever, I don't think I've ever worked so much in my entire life, I have a feeling I'll never be on holidays, I feel dead inside, I feel dead outside, and yes, that was my two cents' worth of rant!!) The video is a re-make of Lily Allen's Fuck You song and was made by a bunch of French folks for the International Day Against Homophobia (which seems pretty much a French thing so far, but coincided with the events in Moscow, so that's a good thing.) I find this video much more enjoyable than the original.

Oh as well, for those who asked, click on this link for a 3 minute reportage from the Canadian forces on how they brought Tim Hortons to Afghanistan.

P.S: Hopefully, next time I'll post, I'll be on holidays.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Note-Book [a poem]

An old note-book:
Scribbles in blue ink,
Black ink and sometimes
Purple, red, pink.
Post-cards, square stamps
From here, from there,
Stick to pages of
Coffee stains, dust, saliva,
Sometimes tears
That have disappeared.

And here, and there,
Torn pages: lacerated
Like a heart
Where a relationship has ended.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

There's Something About Kitchens [fiction fragment]

That night, like many other nights, he said there is something about kitchens, though he could never show me what that something was. When I pointed out to the ice-cubes melting in the red vodka of my Ceasar; he rid me off with a whistle between his teeth saying that was too objectified, materialistic even. When I asked whether it was the gray of the hearth with her living coals and dying ashes, the originary point of community that feeds the warmth of the family; he said I was being too symbolic, that it wasn't that. So I suggested the kitchen as a feminine space to be claimed and reclaimed as a feminist space; but he said I was being too intellectual. I retorted having seen our mums and grand-mas in the kitchen since we were kids; but he said Spivak would ruin his dinner if I went on, just as she had ruined my mind already.

Once, I did ask whether it was about all those small saffron-colored pots, with dried sticks, dark seeds and titian powder in them: spices like our love. To be tasted to the right degree, in just the refined amounts, smelt with a pinch of subtlety, neither too much, nor too little, yet, just right enough to please each other, fresh delicacies everyday (that would last forever?) But he said I was being too romantic. I wondered whether it was our intimacy, the way we fed each other's taste buds and made meals while the rest of the world made love and fed babies. At this point, he took the bottle of wine away saying I had drunk enough for the night.

I never found out what he meant by "there's something about kitchens." But today, as I washed the dishes and did not feel the barely-perceptible breeze of his hips against mine as he passed by; as I didn't feel his hands around my waist and the hungry warmth of his neck poking over my shoulder like an impatient child wanting to see what's on the stove, I realized there used to be something about my kitchen, and this something, used to be him.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Origin Of Love [the song, the poem, thoughts etc.]

I watched John C. Mitchell's Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001) again last week and it somehow sent me on a craze (as some of you know already!) and I decided to spread to craze, or at least, write about the The Origin of Love, for those who don't know it. I discovered The Origin of Love (the poem) back in 2002, when I was in my first year in India and Reena had sent me a letter with the lyrics in it because we used to send each other very long letters at the time! I was in-fact thrilled by the poem, which got me to see the film. [As an aside, I am glad to say that watching Hedwig after all these years that included two years of film-studies, film-theory and some film-making, I still found the film astoundingly wonderful! It's a master-piece!]

The Origin of Love is based on Aristophanes' speech in Plato's Symposium (yeah, the one where they are all drunk and having a party and talking about love between men amongst others!) Stephen Trask both composed the music and wrote the lyrics, and in my opinion, there has never been such a powerful rendition of (the origin of) love. The way love itself is captured by the end of the song is simply out-of-this-world, so I shall not try to describe it. Instead, I shall leave you here with the poem itself, and I long hesitated between posting the audio track or the video from the film or Rufus Wainright's outstanding cover of the song; and I decided to go for the video from the film. My students keep saying that they are a "visual" generation, so I shall go by that! Oh, and for those who haven't figured out the hew header to the blog, it may just give you some insight into why it's there!

Happy Aesthetic Experience:

When the earth was still flat,
And the clouds made of fire,
And mountains stretched up to the sky,
Sometimes higher,
Folks roamed the earth
Like big rolling kegs.
They had two sets of arms.
They had two sets of legs.
They had two faces peering
Out of one giant head
So they could watch all around them
As they talked; while they read.
And they never knew nothing of love.
It was before the origin of love.

The origin of love

And there were three sexes then,
One that looked like two men
Glued up back to back,
Called the children of the sun.
And similar in shape and girth
Were the children of the earth.
They looked like two girls
Rolled up in one.
And the children of the moon
Were like a fork shoved on a spoon.
They were part sun, part earth
Part daughter, part son.

The origin of love

Now the gods grew quite scared
Of our strength and defiance
And Thor said,
"I'm gonna kill them all
With my hammer,
Like I killed the giants."
And Zeus said, "No,
You better let me
Use my lightening, like scissors,
Like I cut the legs off the whales
And dinosaurs into lizards."
Then he grabbed up some bolts
And he let out a laugh,
Said, "I'll split them right down the middle.
Gonna cut them right up in half."
And then storm clouds gathered above
Into great balls of fire

And then fire shot down
From the sky in bolts
Like shining blades
Of a knife.
And it ripped
Right through the flesh
Of the children of the sun
And the moon
And the earth.
And some Indian god
Sewed the wound up into a hole,
Pulled it round to our belly
To remind us of the price we pay.
And Osiris and the gods of the Nile
Gathered up a big storm
To blow a hurricane,
To scatter us away,
In a flood of wind and rain,
And a sea of tidal waves,
To wash us all away,
And if we don't behave
They'll cut us down again
And we'll be hopping round on one foot
And looking through one eye.

Last time I saw you
We had just split in two.
You were looking at me.
I was looking at you.
You had a way so familiar,
But I could not recognize,
Cause you had blood on your face;
I had blood in my eyes.
But I could swear by your expression
That the pain down in your soul
Was the same as the one down in mine.
That's the pain,
Cuts a straight line
Down through the heart;
We called it love.
So we wrapped our arms around each other,
Trying to shove ourselves back together.
We were making love,
Making love.
It was a cold dark evening,
Such a long time ago,
When by the mighty hand of Jove,
It was the sad story
How we became
Lonely two-legged creatures,
It's the story of
The origin of love.
That's the origin of love