POST IMPERIAL BLUES

A terrorist gets his way by violence.

Like Alexander,
he would prefer a city to surrender peacefully.
Like Alexander,
he will destroy it if it doesn’t
and enslave its population.

A successful terrorist,
like a successful leopard,
does not change his spots.

A pugilist can break jaws
but not repair one.
A terrorist can destroy old laws,
but not administer fair ones.
A hunter can kill lions
but not create them.

In Parks Road they kill the innocent
but cannot reinstate them.
(A don can bleed a student’s life to death,
but not give him the kiss of breath.)

The endless chronicle
of massacre and poverty,
ethnic violence and crime
across the map of Africa
reveals the footprints
of successful terrorists
and the statistics
of nine million dead.
Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia.
Zimbabwe, Rwanda,
M’gabe, M’beki, M’ndelia.
Nigeria, Uganda,
Liberia, Congo,
Kenyatta, Omar Bongo.

A leopard cannot change his spots.
A terrorist cannot wash the blood
off his hands.

(from OXFORD BLUES)

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DYING RACES OF MANKIND

When the rich see the very poor
they know it is time
to buy their valuables.
Cheaply.

This ancient people
were driven out of Tibet
by the Tibetans,
out of China by the Chinese
and out of Burma
by the Burmese.

Ah Kah people are very poor
and cannot offer much resistance
to economic assistance.
They make exquisite silver jewellery
and headdresses.
Treasure hunters
have been buying them.
Cheaply.

Ah Kah people have bright shining souls.
Christian missionaries
have been buying them.
Cheaply.

Although the missionaries,
have been taught
that moth and rust doth corrupt
and thieves break in and steal,
they courageously bite the moral bullet
and seek treasures on earth as well.

Ah Kah are animists
and see all around them spirits
and the ghosts of their ancestors.
Their villages are small,
their houses bamboo
and on stilts.
They are accustomed
to having to abandon them
and move on.

Outside each village
is a ceremonial swing
on three poles.
Smaller than the Giant Brahmin Swing,
it serves the same purpose;
to gently dislodge the jiva
from the physical manipura
and reawaken the old self-knowledge.

The Headman reawakens
the old tribal-knowledge.
He can recite the names of the ancestors
back to the Beginning.

Carefully carrying
this self-knowledge
and this tribal-knowledge,
carefully preserving
this family identity,
they have wandered on
like Bronze Age tribes.

Like the Israelites,
who recited their ancestral names
in the Generation of Adam;
And Adam begat Seth
and Seth begat Enos
and Enos begat Cainan
and Cainan begat Mahalaleel
and Cainan lived eight hundred and forty years
after he begat Mahalaleel…

Like the Ashokhs in Transcaucasia,
reciting the story of Gilgamesh.
All these are Inheritors.

The missionaries are bookworms
and teach the Ah Kah
not to believe in spirits
but to become Christians
and go to heaven after they are dead
(which the missionaries
do not seriously believe in
and to which they are unlikely
to be going after they are dead).
The missionaries have already bought
twenty five percent of the Ah Kah souls
in these rolling green hills.

The Spiritual Inheritance of Ah Kah
is bought with running water,
fertilizers and televisions,
radios and motorbikes,
pharmaceutical drugs and jobs
and education for the next generation.

In this village there are two brick buildings,
the priest’s house and a Church.
Despite this, the recitations still go on,
as does haruspication
from the entrails of black pigs.

Further down the valley to the east,
that large white building
is where the children eat and sleep;
and are schooled in the virtues
of the neverland
of western industrial society and its sanitized philosophies.

(from BAMBOO LEAVESpoetry in Thailand)

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PYRAMIDS AND SARCOPHAGI

Why did they spend so much time there
in the anteroom of death?
What could they prepare?
Paper possessions as light as breath
were too heavy for their dead to bear
away from the fire.
Why did they keep their eyes
on pyramid, tomb and funeral pyre?
Even the wise.
Why did they go
into the shadow
and stare
at the nothing there?

Monumental keepsakes
built with all the patience of eternity.
Can we not wake
from all these dreams of our identity?

You’ll not find
time between breath and breath
to hold them safe
within your mind
at death.

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LEARNING

Learning out and learning in
both from now and here begin.

Going back to change the clock
yesterday’s secrets will not unlock.

Writing plans on your diary’s page
makes nothing happen (except old age).

Singing old songs,
reciting old parts,
rights no wrongs,
breeds more false starts.

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YOU ARE AT PEACE

You are at peace
and someone comes,
thoughtless not unkind,
and jogs you with his moment;
demands your recognition,
your admission,
your consent
to his place in your mind.

What do you do?
What harm has he done
to you?
What calm had you won
and no room for him inside?

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BLACK MAGIC

…A flowering of the human spirit
in which Evil torments and exploits
as much of Creation as it can reach.

…A development of Freedom To,
when the corner stone of Ethics is discarded,
that proliferates and insinuates
to as near Absolute Power as it can reach.

…Its latest and fashionable flowering,
Materialism.

…Its fruiting,
concentration camps and guards,
farms and farmers,
vivisection laboratories and Ph.D.’s.

…Its High Priests and Thought Police,
Bishops and Ayatollahs and MPs.

…All those who seek to corral
the Living Spirit
and embed it
in dense shadowy stuff called Matter.

There, compressed by pain,
it evaporates away
to re-form eternally
somewhere else
again.

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COMPLETING CYCLES

The Juggler throws
his batons at the sun.
The sky throws them back again
like rain,
each and every one.

Surely by now he knows
what it is he’s gaining?

Come Mr. Juggler,
look at it from your point of view,
just how long has it been raining?

On you?

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