Touching Earth

1 February 2013

To leave your homeland is to achieve half of the dharma – Milarepa

Leaving all places like walking out of an empty house.
Long years of the dark-eyed lens
obscuring sight losing focus on what’s been lost
inland seas of tears
opened unburdened
a humming jet-plane moving empty-faced
across Antipodes desert and drift
sheer Himalaya ridge of mind’s eye
breaking through
unknown space.

Is that what all exiles are:
every morning meeting
‘the air of another planet’
knowing that freedom comes out
of a cupful of silent water
where bodies everywhere seek their own weight
in another wait in abeyance
to inner-city street-grit worlds
stories dried-up books forgotten
love sex dissolved in
film-frame all 24 maps of ecstasy
gone in a second
of wheels lifting from earth
the end-click of a long-distance line.

In buses trains planes
rickshaw oxcart cargo-ship
moving through still earth
without the Original Ticket
the next stop-point only
half a destination
to take flight flutter
unfurl get cast down -out
from nectar places unravel in fever-beds of
hunger or
the deafening suburbs –

where does everything go?

*

In India passing alone by Ganges steps
the ghats frantic with Shivaratri
mania of bells didgeridoo
among the flames Brahmin dead
satellite-enshrouded beamed-out from Krishna’s vast maw
kaleidoscope of all the worlds turning there:
Wall Street pretas Fairfax demi-gods
belly-dancing brokermen flab-fool’d
grasping at hours champagne flute
sewer-music efflux of the spheres
before the rage of yuga’s turning
CNN oraculars World Cup finals
bedtime benedictions of the BBC
updates on the bombing raids
‘keep the homefires burning’
terrorist cells inciting
domestic fissures new cracks in the wall –

stop in at Shiva’s druggy shrine
make offerings to all the ghosts
spirits yakshas
crowded inside the Shadow of untold lives
10,000 years gathered in this town
someone wants to sell you opium someone else enlightenment
drumbeats bloodletting Varanasi arteries
bhanged-out in the night
time-blown in the year 2012
on Dasaswamedh Ghat the aarti
hums an open-tuning on the air
all beings with the dead turning Shiva blue
by dawn chillum-smokers rouse
Ganges lapping bank
pale blue boat
drifting loose vulture hovering above
smoke-stained roof…

Syndicated News in Economy can’t show the burning
of Rohingya Muslim Syrian inferno
Abraham’s brothers-in-blood
Kurdish no-man’s land
Tibetan genocide unsung
Hutu plains of bone-bleached soil
lost peoples every one where do they all go
silent as old Buddhas of Afghanistan
blown up into ten-thousand pieces
each pregnant with Kasyapa’s smile
lying in dust to ask of silence
if the great matter of life and death
sphinx-riddle that refuses answer
world’s perpetual will to suffer is the only will to tame her
the hungers the horror of self-willed hells
the only proof to convince us
of death’s provisional night
the steady grace of pain
evaded misread unheeded
under stratosphere sonorities rustled newspapers
static over the intercom all the dappled Way
from some God to here…

*

Dawn come
birthing inbetween the blinds
someone else’s motherland yielding beneath the wheels
breasts of coastal hills
nervous system of Los Angeles grid
vast serpentine.

Milarepa was wrong
there is no homeland other than this mind
though its relinquishing give us dreams
no choice
though filmic narrations
demand heroes and ill-histories
succour of war
refugee-plagues
knocking at democracy’s
Janus-faced door
another crusade against
apostate the meek
Earth’s poor.

Coming to every unknown shore
an innocent and a fool
stepping-down touching earth
history’s weight uncaught
flies breathless
away from you
unyoked it seems always
unsought –

this life the only life to bring breath to.

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