Monday, April 28, 2008


At times ... I wish
I could meet in a duel
the man who killed my father
and razed our home,
expelling me
a narrow country.
And if he killed me,
I’d rest at last,
and if I were ready—
I would take my revenge!

But if it came to light,
when my rival appeared,
that he had a mother
waiting for him,
or a father who’d put
his right hand over
the heart’s place in his chest
whenever his son was late
even by just a quarter-hour
for a meeting they’d set—
then I would not kill him,
even if I could.

Likewise ... I
would not murder him
if it were soon made clear
that he had a brother or sisters
who loved him and constantly longed to see him.
Or if he had a wife to greet him
and children who
couldn’t bear his absence
and whom his gifts would thrill.
Or if he had
friends or companions,
neighbors he knew
or allies from prison
or a hospital room,
or classmates from his school …
asking about him
and sending him regards.

But if he turned
out to be on his own—
cut off like a branch from a tree—
without a mother or father,
with neither a brother nor sister,
wifeless, without a child,
and without kin or neighbors or friends,
colleagues or companions,
then I’d add not a thing to his pain
within that aloneness—
not the torment of death,
and not the sorrow of passing away.
Instead I’d be content
to ignore him when I passed him by
on the street—as I
convinced myself
that paying him no attention
in itself was a kind of revenge.

Taha Muhammad Ali, 2006
Translated by Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi, and Gabriel Levin

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hiatus, block, malady, misery

Even by my own hesitant blogging rate, I have hit a lean patch. In cricketing parlance, I suffer from a lack of form. My concentration and desire to write have got less and less recently, I am not scoring at all. It is not for want of trying or thinking of doing so, it is that there is a genuine block. Now, I should not take myself seriously and believe that I am a genuine writer and so on, for I have constantly strived to remind myself of what blatant dilettantism I am capable of. And sometimes one forgets to notice this, gives in to crass hypocrisy and so on again.

Yet this time, I do actually want to write something, for I am not tired of blogging as I do not consider it as a chore. In fact, everything else I do is, apart from caffeine and nicotine. I have always hesitated to rant, I do not want to tell the very few people who read this blog of how much coffee I drink and I do not go asking people their nationalities after reading them sympathize about Palestine. I also do not rant about how prejudiced you are, you have something against western writers, why criticise someone, anyone who dares criticise European writers makes you head itch, some such crap. Yet, I am even incapable now of ranting, as you can see. I had once dared to question Thomas Bernhard and his style, and what do I get......a self proclaimed great British blogger literally questioning my right to do so. And that after his cut and paste blog.

I must have been mad to volunteer to co-write the Proust blog with Antonia and Alok, my favourite blog writers. There too, I have gone dry, the runs have stopped, I am clearly leg-before. I wanted to write regularly and have been so dismal there. So, my dear Alok and Antonia, try keeping me in your team but if I am dropped, I will not question it.

My blog co-writer, who calls himself alpha2omega, had warned me of this phenomena last year, calling blog writing intellectual masturbation. Now, I still disagree, for we each will go into different graves, but I think he is right when he suggested that I might actually be tired of blog psychology, a sign of late capitalism! Ha! Perhaps, reading the rants of other bloggers has made me really anorexic, I mean in a writing sense, for who is interested in being told what one should think or write or read, so long as one has the right, admittedly self acquired of criticising what you and I write, but not at the cost of being told that stay off so and so, they are great writers, that kind of crap. There is too much mutual backscratching here in the blog world and some people excel in being members of a mutual admiration society of bloggers!

Once Alok advised me to read only what I wanted to. The advice is great but the projection in the blog world is great even for me to understand and succumb to, as evidence this naive post!

I do want to write again, but not repeat what I wrote the last few times, 2 absolutely hopeless poems, and one listless review of Bacacay. Give me poetry, I pray!
I will continue to read the unreadable books I have recently bought, including Ecrits and Dabashi. But, I find reading too boring at present, the likes of Arendt, with her myopic blind spot towards less civilised races like the Arabs of Palestine, too nauseating. I must read good old stories, and start reading Russian literature again. The intellectual world, I mean the genuine one is largely composed of Comprador intellectuals, those who are being paid to think and instigate wars. Those whose dull ignorance smacks of arrogant vacuity. Thus, we need more of the really great literature and not hatred and messianism disguised as travelogues and philosophy. Or even literature.

That said, even a holiday recently has not helped my batting slump ( I am always a batsman) and perhaps I must go again to Tangiers, and not avoid the cheapest cafes. That is where the waves and the bread and the sun and the nicotine gurgle and shine together. I want to go into the heart of poetry.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I want

I want to be
Plath's Elm tree,
burnt, scorched to the core,
radiographed to the roots,
suffering the atrocity of sunsets.

I don't want to linger,
staring at the sky.
I want to be nailed across your sky,
your blue black, ephemeral abstract sky,
your vermilion sky.

I am tired of waiting
for the perfect poem.
I want the waters of poetry
to rise, the ink of my hands
tracing the outline of your face
on these blank sheets.

I want the peace of having you,
not the vagueness of promises,
or the thickness of your silence
the hurt of my night.

I want
the musk of kisses and
the neurotic's agitation.
I want the stickiness
of paranoia, the roughness of need.

I don't want philosophy.
I like the tremor of poetry,
the ravishing of love, the unhesitant
thud thud, beat beat
tachycardia of my heart.

I want
the coarseness of a few
Dull slow flame
lingering across a festering love.
Come back.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Violent love

I threw my violent love at you,
I talked to you even when I didn't speak,
you saw my sea.
You looked askance, you looked away,
You escaped the tightest nooses
that I made.
You threw back the moon, violent moon
with its violent light.
I swung my most violent love at you,
raging tides with raging words.
You even escaped through the riptide,
the tightest tide to another side.
Then I threw myself at you,
sulphur, yellow, bright, bleak.
you escaped my heart,
looking away, you looked away.
You threw the night back at me,
how you escaped.
I wrote you my poems,
I did all this and much more,
but what now?