When the situation hits reverse
When you sleep and the situation speaks in tongues
When you don’t have a seatbelt and you don’t have a car
Going backwards off a cliff is not such a bad plan.
You might start dancing and you might change hats
You might introduce yourself as somebody new
But you don’t have a car and you don’t want to steal
So you rise from the dead just to try it out.
And you’re not such a dunce – as you feel your way –
And you spin even more – and feel even more new.
I wrote this in a couple of minutes to the tune of Fates Right Hand by Rodney Crowell – sort of a country rap song from years ago. I always like personal transformation stories. Not that Fate’s Right Hand is a personal transformation story. But I guess the juxtaposition of these images signifies such a possibility.
When I was young and my mother even younger in the history of the world I stood one day looking at the rain outside the window and on the window.
And my mother did not speak to me of rain upon the sculptures at the Hoysaleshvara temple in Halebedu, Karnataka, SW India, carved in the 1200s of the common era. No. She said farmers need the rain.
And my mother did not speak to me of astronauts or ancient astronauts or vimanas sailing through rain and cloud. No. She said farmers need the rain.
And I believed her. I had no reason to not believe my mother speaking of rain.
Just before Jimi Hendrix played the Star Spangled Banner
A wave went through the crowd.
Sleeping girls with feet caked in mud stirred.
Boys asleep with long wet hair awoke.
Potheads spinning up looked down.
Potheads coming down looked up.
Country Joe and Buffalo Springfield and Melanie
saw something moving like a river & coming into view.
He spoke without using a mic.
Ask not what your country can remember for you.
Ask what you can remember for your country.
The crowd applauded and gave him a standing ovation.
‘Inauguration Day man,’ the guy next to me said.
I looked at him closely.
The pottery in the next to last image is of Cucuteni-Trypillian neolithic heritage. I thought it played off the idea of ‘pothead’ as well as being a vessel the motorcade passed through. The images superimposed over JFK in the third image are the Sri Yantra diagram and a detail from the Book of Kells representing JFK’s ancestry. JFK loved poetry and read for pleasure so these are perhaps fitting images of tactile and spiritual deep time.
I do not claim copyright on original images. I have created new, non-commercial artworks for the purpose of parody or commentary.
Around here we measure everything
words, costs, speeds–
so nobody gets hurt
be sorry et cetera.
Define and predict: the span of germs,
the time of dinosaurs,
the era of humans.
Expiry dates on foods
favour short-lived romances
over the lifetime ones.
We’re being practical.
We measure tumours.
Sizes disturb us
same as their unyieldingness.
We keep notes. Calculate and file.
Out of stubbornness
we look for equals.
The whereabouts of clouds
we know precisely. Not so sure
about our thoughts,
we get near them,
and wave –
young hands inside a steep creek.
Realm of flesh fingers that measure
the cruelty of flow.
Born in Albania, Majlinda Bashllari is the author of two poetry collections, Një udhë për në shtëpi (A road to home), published in Tirana, Albania (Morava, 2007) & Love is a very long word, published by Guernica Editions in 2016. Bashllari’s work has appeared in numerous Albanian art and literature magazines and in Albanian anthologies of essays and short stories. She lives in Toronto.
He fell in love with a visionary
who cared for a tree.
Her visions became commonplace,
as she cared for the tree.
The knight sometimes
at a leaf dangling in the wind,
or a branch bent low, or bark,
or beds of moss
on the edges,
Basement bright with skin
shows dark, rapt faces.
They hold him
in their hearts and brains.
Someone whispered the world
is not worth becoming evil for –
On the ceiling, which is the maiden mother’s floor,
they pound, and pause, and pound again.
Blood pulsing in their fists,
the pierce of loathing under their ribs.
In a shadowed mezzanine
below the conscious mind,
they gnaw on river fish,
direct you to the wrong people,
put glitter in their eyes,
control the atmosphere,
arrange stillborn thoughts in old places.
Later they will say you brought down
the old, dull, rusted sword
with your own hands – and you did –
on the samovar that hid her hand
and the bed where she bared herself.
bird reposed in flight,
love for whose sake everything, murderous
and merciful, is done –
It’s so quiet now,
vouchsafed to a world of sullen depravity,
a few crumbs of dust for the broom.
The true operation of your mind – follow it –
Ned Baeck lives in Vancouver.
His poems have recently appeared in untethered, The Continuist and Sewer Lid.
His first full-length collection of poems is forthcoming from Guernica.