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POEMS

- by Anne Waldman


AJANTA

(from the caves)

 

 

pierce through

torch light

 

you enter/            gasp /                                  exit/

 

you restore from the street your text

 

of displacement

 

                    you delineate the vihara, the chaitya,

 

rock-cut replicas of wooden architecture of the day

apsidal halls of secular communities & guilds

a hall built like the inside of a whale

 

modernity the conception of secular desire

all sides

the power of “cave”

war, interrupts, cave

war, interrupts, woman, exiting, her, cave

Pakistani girl asks who are you?

traditionally clad

from Vancouver

lives with her

Muslim grandparents

in Aurangabad

hidden behind scarf

pale blue with filaments of ornamental gold

 

while the fires of Torra Bora still smoke 

 

industry to all sorts responds

the listener

to all sorts

the buyer

the traveler

the money market account

&hawkers, desperate for coins

sell jagged glinting crystals from nearby hills

 

to all sorts action claims collectivity & yet…

the buds of this crystal play an action with light

natural delineation of grace/gasp/ exit the cave

& animals reincarnate to Buddhahood

 

 

 

kinship among all forms of life

 

marginal?  all strata depicted on the walls

 

pauperized?  all strata…

 

Daravi slums of Mumbai

                                                          less good reason

 

a treason of “them” & company

 

 

less good

 

a terra, a terror, a territory, refuge in a cave off the street

& Kabir took me to a rectangular sacred pool in the middle of the city

where everything sounded different, muted & we said

 

“The creeps from Contra back in their loud arrogance”

 

                   & he said:

 

“& US rushed request from Israel for more than

1,300 US-made M26 cluster bombs

and how the reshaping of the Middle East

destabilizes us all”

 

                    & I said:

 

“& the street action in January

& the railroad bombing on the peace trail,

Delhi to Lahore. windows barred you  can’t escape”

 

                   &  Kabir said:

 

“xenophobia”

 

 

& I:

 

“complex conflagration

each a world apart

& until you recognize Palestine

 

                         & we said:

 

“the dis of slaughter”

“the dis of displacement”

 

& global

& human

& Habermas

 

                                   /  RIP  /

 

 

terra verde, red & yellow ochres, lamp black,

lapis lazuli all went to make this paint, clay mixed with rice husk & gum

& then a coat of lime applied for smoothness

 

a pigeon being chased by a hawk who says it’s his lawful prey

takes refuge with a king  who cuts out

an equal piece of flesh from his own body

                                                                             & RIPS into the secular

 

at the airport in Beirut during the 6 day war, a submachine gun to the dakini’s head

 

slowly chipping away at artifice

the top of the woman’s shoulder lifted as a lid

& the juice poured in to make her  run, keep running

on empty    

 

             puddles of oil for the asking

 

 is it

 

“ relegare” or “religare”?

 

&  I asked what is it worth?

 

& Kabir said

 

“run on your own  juice

where images are forbidden

& you have the mystical dome, the mystical stupa

primordial shapes of mind on fire”
Biography
Poet Anne Waldman has been an active member of the “Outrider” experimental poetry community for over forty years as writer, sprechstimme performer, professor, editor, magpie scholar, infra-structure and cultural/political activist. She grew up on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village where she still lives, and bi-furcated to Boulder, Colorado in 1974 when she co-founded The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics with Allen Ginsberg at Naropa University, the first Buddhist inspired school in the West, where she currently serves as Artistic Director of its celebrated Summer Writing program. Allen Ginsberg has called her his “spiritual wife.” She is the author of over forty books of poetry including Kill or Cure, Marriage: A Sentence, Structure of the World Compared to a Bubble, and the poetic text: Outrider which includes an interview with Ernesto Cardenal, and essays on Lorine Niedecker and Charles Olson. Manatee/Humanity will be published by Penguin in 2009 and she will be on a reading tour in April. She has also the author of the legendary Fast Speaking Woman (City Lights, San Francisco), now translated into Italian, Czech and French, as well as the 800 page epic Iovis trilogy (Coffee House Press), forthcoming in 2010. She is editor of The Beat Book (Shambhala Publications) and co-editor of The Angel Hair Anthology (Granary Books), Civil Disobediences: Poetics and Politics in Action (Coffee House) and a comprehensive Beats at Naropa (Coffee House, 2009), with previously unpublished work by Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, and William Burroughs, among others. A book translated into Chinese is forthcoming in 2009.