Kirsten I Mike I Kirsten I Shawn I Mytili
when agitation and remorse are present in us who is aware? agitation and remorse present us to ourselves but only sometimes sentient. when they are absent in what fields do they hide Monsanto green? when agitation and remorse begin to arise are you wearing the right armor? in Ayodhya: Brindavan: does it rain redress explain Bombay? or soldier flare fulfill the Vedas and Pokrahn will they pay you in coin or in salve? the sign dissolves the camera solves resisting bodies India day parade. when already arisen agitation and remorse are abandoned the country slips into the disputed river. saffron clash supplied defiance depends on women lining up for water. clamor: breathe: it's august nineteen ninety eight the desert holds. suffer in what attribute whose skin? worship did not divide us but now the lord and headlines tell us so. becomes a fact, accomplished. fold over fold over already abandoned agitation and remorse. who is aware. torn cloth of subsistence, a flag, agitation. mercy. will not arise, the future. already, remorse. already abandoned.
Accourding to Kirsten Thorpe: Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 22:55:02 -0500 (EST) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kirsten L Thorpe) this is really good. and it feels almost silly of me, but sincere, what is this about? i really think it would be great to meet live. when is a good time for everyone? week, weekend, morning, evening? k.
Accourding to Mike Magee: Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 10:10:07 -0500 From: email@example.com (Michael Magee) Mytili, this is just a brilliant poem - moving, in all the best senses of that word. The measure is so precise! - the way you get the effect of phrases and sentences clipped short. Which I think is achieved because the poem is built by *sentences* as much as on te poetic line: the periods resist the sort of Whitmanian flow in which, especially at this late date, the only options of tone seem to be elegy or celebration. Whereas the line you've settled on (all puns intended) is much more "agitated" than that. (What's great is that the senetences are long enough (most between 12 & 20 syllables) that one starts to hear something like Whitman just before being interrupted) l also can't help but hear the echo of Yeats (that rather vexed nationalist) from "The Dialogue of Self and Soul": "When such as I cast out remorse / So great a sweetness flows into the breast / We must laugh and we must sing, / We are blest by everything, / Everything we look upon is blest." But whereas Yeats ends on this note of transcendence, your poem can't stop revisiting "remorse" - and the difference is striking on the level of both form and content. One thought I did have about that ending - or a question maybe - is, what difference would it make if that final word, "abandoned," were changed to "abandon"? What I like about "abandon" is it can be both noun and verb, and it can mean things as diverse as "to discard" and "freedom." So, I thought maybe it would be nice to have those possibilities operating at the end, particularly given the complexities of the subject. In any event though, great stuff. -m.
Accourding to Kirsten Thorpe: Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 10:55:59 -0500 (EST) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kirsten L Thorpe) Michael Magee wrote: > > One thought I did have about that ending - or a > question maybe - is, what difference would it make if that final word, > "abandoned," were changed to "abandon"? What I like about "abandon" is it > can be both noun and verb, and it can mean things as diverse as "to > discard" and "freedom." So, I thought maybe it would be nice to have > those possibilities operating at the end, particularly given the > complexities of the subject. In any event though, great stuff. -m. > this is an interesting idea, but i think that maybe the syntax is too influential to make it happen the way you're suggesting, mike. "the future. already, remorse. already abandoned." if you were to say "abandon" it would be noun parallelled with noun following from "remorse", and instead of being as flexible as you suggest, i think it might lean too much towards that carefree connotation that doesn't seem like what the poem wants to say. i think "abandon" suggests is double meaning enough still couched in its word plus suffix "abandoned". after all it's still there. kirsten
Accourding to Shawn Walker: Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 15:23:17 -0500 From: email@example.com (Shawn Walker) Mytili, this is beautiful. You have such a style, one which is meditative, but not so "easy" as to lull. A real focused concentration. I'm continually jolted by the repetitions of those two words, and inspired by the ambition of your initial question, which directs the rest of the poem. The questioning is, I think, exactly the right tone to take with this. (Here I thought I'd point out some phrases such as "in coin or salve" which stand out to me as particularly powerful, but there are so many...) Thanks for sharing. What a delight that my mailbox is full of poems! I think this is the first poem of yours I've read. Do you have any published anywhere that I can look up? Or can you (and everyone!) post more? Also, do you mind if I share this poem with other people who aren't on this list, or is it still "in the works" or private to you? Shawn
Accourding to Mytili Jagannathan: Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 18:51:30 -0500 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mytili Jagannathan) Thanks so much Mike, Kirsten and Shawn for your comments on "nationalism redactor." Mike, your comments reminded me of what a perceptive reader (and hearer) you are; it's great to be able to see something you've written through someone else's eyes. For example, it would never have occurred to me to actually *count* the syllables in my sentences, although I know that I was listening for rhythm and measure as I was composing. At the most I probably decide that a phrase/line/sentence needs more or fewer syllables, but your putting the numbers down is fascinating and concretizes my own "hearing process." Your suggestion about the final word (abandoned/abandon) was quite interesting. I liked the idea, but when I tried it, I ended up agreeing with Kirsten that the "noun" form of "abandon" would dominate, and I think I prefer "abandoned" because it suggests abandonment of remorse as well as the "future." Kirsten, you asked earlier what the poem is about. Its take-off point was the nuclear tests conducted by both India and Pakistan last year, as well as a series of violent events orchestrated by right-wing Hindu forces in India. In 1992, these forces manufactured "agitation" over competing claims for a religious site in Ayodhya in northern India. Some Hindus claimed the site as the birthplace of Lord Rama, but a mosque--the Babri Masjid--had existed at the site as well. The "religious nationalists" (who wanted to claim "India for the Hindus") called for a rally at the site, and the crowd ended up destroying the mosque on Dec. 6. In the wake of this event riots broke out between Hindu and Muslim communities across the country; Bombay was one of the cities where the violence was the worst. Brindavan is considered the birthplace of another god, Krishna; I'm not referencing a political event here, but rather the way that places are understood or imagined through the stories (ancient and contemporary) we tell about them. Pokrahn was the desert site of the Indian nuclear tests. In the weeks Pokrahn was the desert site of the Indian nuclear tests. In the weeks following the tests, some politican or government official was quoted as saying the Vedas have been fulfilled. These ancient religious scriptures included elaborate descriptions of "celestial weapons" that could travel vast distances and destroy cities. "India day parade" refers to the commemorations of India's independence that occur in some cities in the U.S. In New York, South Asian feminist and queer groups have been barred from participating in the parade, and have mounted regular protests. I hope that context is helpful. It worries me a little that so many references in the poem may be unrecognizable outside particular communities, but I didn't feel I wanted to narrativize in the poem itself. Shawn, thanks for your words as well. I don't mind if you share this poem with particular individuals, but please don't post it to another listserve. (I've had some unpleasant email encounters...) More conversation later! Mytili