a history, erased

This poem is a gathering of my thoughts following the recent Kenyan elections. Fear, frustration, division, celebrations, calls for peace so that we can “move on”, move on to what? It is not about the elections, this is an inevitable expression of what we have ignored or suppressed over a long period of time.

***

a history, erased

sounds of vuvuzelas drown echoes of the past
commissioner’s seal blots out history’s ink

grief is indeed a luxury

history begins here

every action, word
every thought, memory
creates my history
while you create yours

but
which one of our histories will survive
which one shall be suppressed?

don’t look back, nothing to see
move on
move on
you, move out!
move on

“life goes on”
(but somewhere it must reach)

you are a people without history
stick to your geography
boundaries were not sketched without reason

the kind of anger that is visible
a fire that scathes skin
and the kind of anger that simmers silently
filtering through each pore,
unseen

erase
erase
erase
what will remain
shall be your history

***

But, we shall heal….

Do You Remember?

This post is about the poetry group I have recently joined. We are experimenting with different ways of creating poetry, in particular local content. This week’s assignment was a Documentary Poem where we have to use other people’s words and create our own poem.

Find 2 sources and take 8-10 words/phrases/sentences from both and create a 12 line poem in couplets. I was very apprehensive, but once I started I can’t begin to tell you how much fun it was.

My 2 documents were my Twitter TL and lyrics from the song that for some strange reason has been playing in my head of late – One Day at a Time. Well, this is what I came up with:

Do You Remember
 
do you remember wildlife, oh
what fun “human”

harvesting, one day at a time
vote for change – Otherwise?
 
yesterday’s gone woman!
corruption spinning

out of dust
tomorrow may never be
 
mine. healthcare (sweet
jesus) it’s worse now
 
than then
do you remember

 

What do you think of this experiment? I seemed to have created something very different and though I have tried to hide behind other people’s words, I still find myself in this poem. Why don’t you give it a try and experience this for yourselves.

Oh and here is the beautiful song, enjoy :)

 

***

P.S. If you would be interested in my previous poetry workshop assignments, check out these posts:

A Land, Broken
Rearranged
The Importance of Being an Object
Red Stilettos, and a Pair of Shoes
Wallowing

A Conversation with a Poet

I had shared my poem Unnoticed on Twitter. Only a poet could respond with such precise but eloquent thoughts that left me wordless. Here is a conversation between  and 

light is light
as always bright
darkness she eludes
illusion she deludes
passion she lures
higher she soars
envy she abhors
love she adores

light is feeble, temporary
it can be obstructed
and eventually dies
curiously, enlightenment
leads you to darkness
a place of nothing

without light
there’s no darkness
without sun
there’s no moon
consort of none
she consoles all
she hides
never dies
at tunnel’s end
she’s there

I do not dare respond
Multiple meanings
Between the space
Of each couplet
Leave me dizzied
Poet, I salute you

disciple daren’t thank
master of high rank
at her feet he kneels
in hope he chills
inshaAllah
paths may cross
here hereafter
matters it not

undeserving I am
yet undoubtedly grateful
for your compelling words
(inshaAllah…)

Many thanks to Professor Shivji for allowing me to share this conversation on my blog.

Unnoticed

light remains without weight
and until light is defied
its presence is unnoticed

do you see light?
no! you only see
the effect of light
on what obstructs light

oh, how powerful is this light
that has no significance on its own
(like a religion without followers)

but wait! light is fast, isn’t it?…

and with a smirk of pride
light raced against all creation
but upon reaching
burned with envy, as
darkness was already there
waiting for her

***
I was reading two different answers about seeing light
Light is the only thing we can see
and
We inherently cannot see light.
What we see is actually the object on which the light falls.
I chose to write about the latter.
What are your thoughts?
Oh, and I could not resist being a little cheeky about the speed of light :)
These are in fact two poems combined

***

Inspiration: Sadhguru

A Letter from God

Dear Traveler,

Do you wonder where you are headed, where you will end up? I sense you are afraid that you don’t know your purpose and worse, that you feel you may not even have any. Why your destination does not seem obvious when those around you seem to have it all figured out? Or have they?

You are worried that what you do not know far exceeds what you do know? That is only the first step to be a seeker. But wait, you have no need to be a seeker. Simply allow yourself to be found. “How?” I hear you ask. Come rest awhile, sit beside me. Advice is always free, mistakes may be costly, but only if they don’t teach you anything.

See the road before you? Keep your eye on the path and there is no need to focus on any destination. Destinations keep changing, indeed some journeys have no end. All you got to do is keep walking on and look around you appreciatively. Be not in a hurry, never ever hurt or distress others. This is, in fact, the easy part. The more difficult task is not to distress or hurt your own self. Remember you are your harshest critic.

What you gather along the way, be mindful of the fact that it is not you. Never confuse your experiences, thoughts and memories for yourself. As you walk all will be shed in good time, no reason to mourn for nothing is truly lost. How will you be found if you are well underneath all these layers?

And sometimes you should stop and dance like Shiva, the Lord of Dance. Let the entire creation shake in your own rhythm. When you sing let it be a meaningful and uninhibited Hallelujah. A time will come when you will need to resist. Then do so with the courage and intention of Hussain*. Fight reluctantly, only after all other means have failed but without fear, stand up for justice and against oppression. Though you are merely a grain in the bigger picture, you are a unique grain with an ability to transform the entire scene.

Moving every step forward, let my fragrance infuse into your very being but take care not to allow religion to taint you or instill fear. Blemished beliefs are the birthplace of bias and bigotry. Devotion could lie in serving others, words of prayer may be recited instinctively rather than habitually. Don’t merely pray, you have to become your prayer.

Take the help of your ego to propel you further. Yes you heard right, it’s not such a bad thing, use your ego. It is helpful in boosting your confidence especially with the doubters and the envious all around you. But then, you should also know when to discard it. Don’t permit the ego to feed upon you, replace it at once with dignity. Believe in yourself and bow before no one.

We still got a way to go, never look back except to check if you have left your footprints behind. Indelible and eternal they will become if you have been able to create something on your journey. Creativity equates you with me like nothing else, after all I am the ultimate Creator am I not?

It’s not a bad idea if you peek towards the future, don’t worry if you see nothing. Carry a dream, or even two, there is no baggage allowance limit on our journey 🙂 Though they may be fragile, dreams are easy to rebuild. All it requires is imagination… and a touch of hope, such a great companion to travel with.

And so I must ask you a question. Did you notice that though your intention was that you should be found, you never actually let it guide your way? Here’s the thing…the more you intend, the less likely it is to happen. Sometimes I love to have a laugh at your expense. So keep your plans a secret from me and we will get along just fine!

I have finally found you, my dear companion. This “God” gets lonely sometimes with everyone constantly seeking and fighting and humbling themselves (and too right, I see through their pretentiousness). All I ever wanted was for you to allow me to find you, bare and unlayered.

With much love,

You

***

*Imam Hussain – Prophet Muhammad’s grandson who sacrificed his life fighting injustice and oppression.

Re-posting this letter in full. It was originally written for the Walking with Intention series where I was encouraged by Sreejit to step out of my comfort zone of poetry and write in essay form.