So I’ve finally decided what direction to take this journal in. "behind_the_sky” is dead…at least for now, I may find a purpose for her sometime in the future…
I wanted something that would reflect who I am without giving all the gross little details of my life because A) I don’t want to be that vulnerable, B) it wouldn’t be all that interesting and C) it would definitely create some awkward situations...
Instead, I'll mainly celebrate the works of art that have struck a nerve and, of course, take the piss out of modern media/culture...I do so love to bitch.
Who knows if one person can really understand another. Maybe not. At any rate this will be my quiet way of saying 'thank you' and hopefully finding some new/fellow admirers of this stuff.
Much consideration went into the first choice for a post…okay, actually, um, none at all. I was given this book, “Red Silk: An Anthology of South Asian Canadian Women Poets” a little while ago by my god-father who came out of the woodwork around graduation time, and it had one of those, “this is an omen”
feelings to it. I’m not generally into niche-writing, y’know, ‘blah blah blah Lower-Middle-Class 2nd Generation Afro-American Asian Tales of Struggle and Triumph’…but something about this collection touched me. I think it’s because as a minority (and one of the unlucky ones to have a marginalize-able culture), there’s something in their attempt to access a history that is lost to them and in their refusal to be defined by history which evokes my day to day experience and that of our whole post-post-modern non-culture. I can’t claim that rootlessness is specific to sob-story ethnics like African Americans - we’re all bastards these days.
All that said, I’m not choosing one of the India-focused poems. “Saccade” is about ugly/eerie modernity; the cold, disjointed collection that is city life. It says a lot about the way I see the world and relate to it: a little bit sad; surprisingly beautiful; reveling both in its coldness and in its warmth.
Note: Saccade: A rapid intermittent eye movement, as that which occurs when the eyes fix on one point after another in the visual field.
Note2: Some of my best friends are Lower-Middle-Class 2nd Generation Afro-American Asians. And they're very nice people.
Saccade By: Rishma Dunlop
The chronicle of the city unravels
like a prayer cloth
calm of storybook nurseries, book codes,
swift calligraphy of desire.
The city dreams us
gives us exigencies in eavesdropped
stories, undistinguished pleadings
requiems for forgetting.
There is a small star pinned where Hiroshima used to be.
It’s late and someone’s almost forgotten how to convince you
he’s telling the truth.
Even in sleep he cries out for help
and you minister to him
a woman like history returning for its wounded.
Blackbirds drop from telephone wires
rose petals collect in birdbaths.
Everything stories you. You take Rilke at his word.
Taste it everywhere. Wonderland signs
Eat me. Drink me.
Your hands like hobbled birds
Read the classics. The hero enters the arched gate of the city.
In these books it is clear where the story of the city begins.
In the book of lost entries
nothing is pure but the forgotten things
crossed out words on a haunted page
useless dark of ink.
Today the city is unwriting itself
in a coffin of glass.
In the blurred doorways,
in skyscrapers that rise silver and blue
cool as if nothing could ever make them burn.
Sprayed on concrete walls
Where is my beautiful daughter
Emma was here
I’ll pray for you Lucas
Fuck the politicians
The billboard with the women tall
with long legs against white sand and blue ocean
red mouths puckered high above the crowds
smooth lipsticked smiles longing for cigarettes and sex.
Across the city, lights are shutting off
Good night, good night.
On the radio, the sirens are singing
Emily Lou Harris, Alison Kraus, Gillian Welch
ethereal lullaby Didn’t Leave Nobody But the Baby
Come lay your bones
On the alabaster stones
And be my ever-lovin’ baby
Reading Emily Dickinson
Beauty crowds me til I die
You feel the loneliness.
That’s what is left of the dream of beauty.
So many kinds to name.
You hope for a day soft at the edges
for something, someone to
know the small hands of rain
to be like rain
wet with a descent happiness.
Kiss the gleaming armor of the world.
Feel its electric purr.
Close your hands on wind-stunned leaves.
From: Red Silk: An Anthology of South Asian Canadaian Women Poets. Eds. Rishma Dunlop and Priscila Uppal. Toronto: Mansfield Press. 2004