You might have just glimpsed
the way to write this book:
Start with Thich Nhat Hahn’s recollection of Ben Tre
the city he knew from which a few shots
were fired at American planes
that came back
to wipe out the whole city.
We had to destroy it to save it, the Yanks said.
The fire in the monk’s heart lasted for days.
Anger consumed him.
Then he sat down and embraced it:
‘I looked deeply into the nature of my suffering.
Then compassion arose in me…
The young men sent to Vietnam to kill
and be killed suffered deeply.’
How on earth did he get to this point?
If your book could start right there, right here…
After reading Hahn on the way to Nagasaki
you felt worthless.
You did not have a peace book in you.
You have numerous books of war.
Scorn knows no bounds in you.
Not a night passes without a dream that seethes.
Your peace book has to exterminate the warmongers!
It has to start with an embrace, like old Walt’s:
‘I would not tell everyone, but I will tell you…’
‘You’? Who are you?
In Japanese, the character for Other
is made of Man, and Scorpion.
All creatures are our neighbours.
Will you ever be able to fully believe that?
Can you, as they say, make that work for you?
Six weeks after the Nagasaki blast
the ants came back to the surface of the earth.
Somehow, in the course of composition,
re-compositions, your insect mind has to
become as hard as nails.
It’s not a matter of loving your neighbour.
It’s a matter of loving your neighbour
as you love yourself
if you are able to love yourself.
Let the book start there if you can
and if you can’t, you can’t—
which might be where the fire really starts—
with the hard-baked zero
the Self-immolation part
which is not an ‘embrace’:
there it is, your anger, rising into the ether.
Thereafter, some words will emerge, yes:
try to make a clear start with them
see where they take you
try not to simply assume a peaceful end.
- 100: BROWNFACESUBMIT NOW with W S Dunn 99: SINGAPORECOMING SOON with A Pang and J Ip 97 & 98: PROPAGANDAwith M Breeze and S groth 96: NO THEME IXwith M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRICAN DIASPORAwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones