Sunday, July 24, 2016

Review of "Eulogy" By Lecturer Muhammad Ehtesham of Edwardes College





Lecturer Muhammad Ehtesham of Edwardes College, Peshawar, was kind enough to review/critique a poem of mine titled "Eulogy" published on Women for One. I am truly indebted to him. He not only has insight, wisdom and is learned, but is by far, the most knowledgeable mind I have met regarding literature. 


The poem is published on --> Women for One  and Rebelle Society

Spoken word audio is above and on --> Soundcloud  

 Review of Susan Marie’s "Eulogy"


The voice of the divine – so transcendent yet anthropomorphized – is heard singing from a mountain of the “grandeur” of female spirituality and intellect. Susan Marie’s Eulogy has the voice of the woman Ubermensch that appropriates the tone of masculine assertion hence subverting the way power is seen.  Yet the tone is far from feminine itself. This power is the life-force, the voice of an animating spirit.

The duplicity of the female voice, one from the mountain and the other mediating is an “unapologetic” fragmentation of the consciousness that is “magnificent” yet “shrieking”; “unabashed” with all the vulnerabilities of nakedness.

Her brow wet
with brine,
upturned to the most holy sky,
arms raised
in supplication
to a dying world,
embracing,
all that is.


The Ubermensch transcends suffering through suffering. And while the stanza is intertextual with:

    Here the stone images
    Are raised; here they receive
    The supplication of a dead man's hand
    Under the twinkle of a fading star.

 
    Is it like this
    In death's other kingdom
    Waking alone
    At the hour when we are
    Trembling with tenderness
    Lips that would kiss
    Form prayers to broken stone.
 

  - T.S Eliot; The Hollow Men


Yet the voice is far from hollow and rather than being an empty spectator to the death of man as a whole, the voice in Eulogy is messianic.

The “she” sits “cross-legged” (not cross-armed) in “brazen” sexuality in an earthly transcendence flaunting “gods” and “goddesses” yet quite beyond sexuality in the sense that the voice like Gaia encapsulates the whole of the Earth in it: all the “desire” and “madness.”

The Paradox of desire and madness makes the voice a neutral whole in its fragmentation.

Her howling
becomes one with the wind,
distress signals to the raiment,
the ancient raiment
that poets and sages
sat under and above
for millenniums.

The masculine image of “ancient poets and sages” is problematized by the female Ubermensch as she “howls” distress into the androcentricity of history.

Throughout the poem, the body parts of the “she” that are foregrounded are her legs. There’s a tinge of subverting the androcentricity of society and history through complicating spirituality and sexuality.

A eulogy to the past,
a welcome to the present,
an embrace to the future.

What it holds
is of no concern,
for she knows
where home is,
away from this society,
away from the busy-ness of life,
away from monotony
and dramatics,
away from this life
consumed
with triviality.

She is here
now,
waiting for you,
to set you free
from chains
you have bound yourself with.

Whip your shoulders back,
allow them to fall.
Feel the weight
vanish.

Grab her hand, willing,
loving,
kind,
calm,
pure and desirous.

Show her
how your soul
shines,
show her
how your eyes light up,
show her how you have released
from your very soul,
all the toxicity
of existence.

Henceforth, she becomes the voice of universal emancipation from what holds back humanity -- from all of its triviality. She becomes a part of all of us – in a very Jungian way. She becomes that part of human psyche that is female – the one that liberates; the one that nurtures and nourishes; the transcendental; the spiritual; the purgation of all that is “rotten.”

Spirituality is feminized and femininity is celebrated as a universal part of Nature – if not the whole of it, rather than a mere gender.

The present is to be captured, to be realized in a holistic experience when all the fragments of self-hood come together in a union, glued by the collective anima of being. This part of the human self is celebrated as a cleansing, invigorating, pulsating vibrancy -- the realization of which shall cause one to:

Sing of the grace bestowed upon you
for you are born to be supreme,
you are born with the ability to fly,
you are born with the gift to see
with six senses,
seven.

This force that is pushing man beyond his limits – so to speak, blowing up possibilities where he can see with six or seven senses, has less to do with fact and more to do with the force of language.

Muhammad Ehtesham
Lecturer in English
Edwardes College Peshawar, Pakistan
 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

dreamcatcher



 
A threshold, she stood.

Feet, bare, body clad,
in white cotton raiment
swirling about her ankles
as the wind sang like a lute
upon the still night sky.

A woman's song
carried upon the breeze
playing with the edges
of light and dark,
night and day,
the precious time
between dusk and nightfall.

Her ravensong
burst forth from mouth
wide open in awe,
chin upturned,
jawbone outlined,
tears precious
gifted in humble grace,
against the light
of the coming
of fresh eve.

A dreamcatcher
she was,
weaving lives within lives,
connecting dots
with fingertip raised
pointed at stars,
moving them across Father Sky
to meld into one another -
just
like
lovers.

Bare feet
slapping upon
concrete,
she pulls both arms outward
like some holy crucifixion
and met the maelstrom
head on -
for this
is
all
she
knew.

- Forward -

And he waited there, silent.
He knew she would not falter
yet kept watch upon her -
for his path led
in a line etched
from his soul
to her own.

And they tread into ancient firmament
where Gods and Goddesses exist, eternal,
and celestial wars rage.

Together,
yet apart,

- holding hands
as children tend to do -


they walked into the great abyss -

beyond all
that
is.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

I Do Not Have An Answer



https://onmogul.com/stories/i-do-not-have-an-answer


The universe we exist in is in a constant state of flux, just as our bodies are. True balance is inconceivable, an untruth, nearly impossible. Maybe for a short time, then everything changes from millisecond to millisecond.

The world we live in operates with short periods where things are peaceful then tumultuous. There are times when you see people show great compassion for one another and times when the seething darkness embedded in the human soul completely takes over.

These are tough times, hard times. The times you feel utterly helpless or extremely enraged far beyond anger.  For me, it does not matter if the issue directly affects me, what matters is that things are set straight, that truth is told, that people treat one another with love and kindness and that justice is met.

Values embedded within my own soul guide me to what is right and wrong and what is harmful or helpful. What I myself stand for, with and behind, in solidarity, usually has nothing to do with me directly, except for, and most importantly, my role as a human being.

Our world is a dangerous and beautiful place. This is the light and dark at play. 

However, I cannot nor will I even attempt for one moment to know exactly what it feels like to be repeatedly raped as in sexual trafficking, to have a different skin color and be condemned and killed for it, to be jailed for my beliefs, to follow a faith that directs me to hurt and judge anyone, as well as be abused for my faith, and carry myself as if I know what any of that feels like. I don't. I only know what I have experienced.

Yet what I feel is horror and hope, simultaneous. I am unable to control any government, nation, any political or religious organization and any group of people that have power and control in the name of fear, which equals hate.

What I am able to control is myself. That I am 100% accountable for.

As a human being, I stare out at this world, our world, sometimes fully engaged, sometimes as an observer, and always, in utter confusion wondering how people do not know how to be kind. Take that a step further and witness people being outright hateful. Another step further and witness murder, beatings, rape and abuse.

What am I to do?

A hell of a lot, that's what.

I stand in solidarity. I do my best to not project negativity, and in the very least, use my voice as one of reason to say, This is wrong. I am with you. You are not alone. 

Sometimes that is not enough. Sometimes this world needs a good shaking up. Sometimes it takes going through the deepest, most frightening tunnels in order to get to the other end where there is light. Sometimes it takes upheaval of all that is in order to retain some sort of balance. Sometimes.

No, I cannot nor will I ever claim to know what it feels like to be anyone but myself. What I can claim is that I am a rational thinking, extremely empathetic human being that cares for the rest of our race, the human one,  as a whole. Not just a skin color, a sexual gender, a faith, a group, or a nation.

All of us.

I ask please when you open your eyes everyday to in the very least try and put yourself directly into the shoes of another human being that experiences existence much differently than you do.  It makes a difference. It helps to take away some of the hate that is rampant in all societies. It helps you to understand what others are going through. It helps you to connect to your own town, city, state, nation and the world. It helps you to connect to other people. It helps you to connect to yourself. 

Make all kinds of friends, learn of other cultures, sexual genders, faiths and ethnicity. Expand your mind so far and wide that you cannot even conceive of allowing hate to settle within your bones for a solitary second.

As Leonard Peltier wrote in Prison Writings: My Life is My Sun Dance -

"“I don’t know how to save the world. I don’t have the answers or The Answer. I hold no secret knowledge as to how to fix the mistakes of generations past and present. I only know that without compassion and respect for all of Earth’s inhabitants, none of us will survive – nor will we deserve to.”



Saturday, July 2, 2016

Born of This


It is tiresome
being human
with a beating heart.

I wish to close my eyes to horror,
yet my soul was made to speak.

I shout atrocity from rooftops
with rusted gutters,
my jawbone clenched tight.

Hoping that the blind shall see,
and the deaf shall hear;
dead-men nod to my supplications.

The sky quivers and quakes,
roaring untold stories of ancestors.

Nature does not judge.

Instinct is the root
of coming
into becoming whole.

Oh, such peace
to be among the birds and trees,
the grass, green.

The deer and raven dine side by side.

I shall recharge like Walden,
gain clarity,
go home where I feel peace.

The human race confuses me,
and I am often ashamed to admit
that I am born of it.


https://onmogul.com/stories/i-am-born-of-this