Addictions I never drank my fill of wine or beer or heady liquor, Except for once, when I was young and still in youthful vigor. I never took more drags than one on weed that passed around, I never smoked more cigarettes than one in a daily round. I snorted once some powder, when a post-doc in the west, And knew at once that this, for me, was clearly not the best. I drink a cup or two a day of coffee, sweet, with milk, And tea aplenty when I eat of noodles and their ilk, And I'm addicted now, for years approaching nearly seven, To writing, typing verses that have more of hell than heaven. And I had written chapters long on states of schools in trouble, But more than all of this I've spent on working shifts of double. If only I were paid for both, I could have now retired, But since I never was or could, I've just grown old and tired. And when I cease from working, why—the demons in my brain That never had a place before, play tricks I can't explain. For conflicts deep have entered and have ravaged the seat of reason, And there's no drug to cure that wound, nor hope of a kinder season. So now I understand, perhaps, addictions all around, For when the peace within is lost, then devils do abound. And all around, the manic race, and all around, the wars, The destruction that is senseless, mad, come not from baleful stars, But from addictions deep, profound that rise from lack of peace, And till that peace within is found, these conflicts will not cease. Babui / Arjun 2011 December 17th, Sat. Brooklyn
I met my mates the other night, down at the local pub, It was our weekly gathering, it was our social hub. My wife had told me earlier, "Do not carouse till late! I want you home tonight, my dear, to eat with mom, at eight!"
But I had had a bit too much, of public house's ale, And did my pals, with stories loud and boisterous, regale. And when I realized, alas, that I was running late, I took a short cut (so I thought) as it was well past eight.
And as I wandered homeward, why, I seemed to turn about, And all was turning, as I turned, and I began to shout. But sadly, no one answered -- and so, I silent fell. And all around was silence -- and dark as bloody hell.
I felt, of sudden weary, and leaned upon a tree. And shut my eyes for just a bit, to be, of tiredness, free... And when I opened eyes again, I felt so much refreshed, I set off striding jauntily, by my own self impressed...
But then, as I was striding, I looked around and saw An unfamiliar setting that filled me with some awe. It was a sylvan wilderness -- with starlight it was lighted. It was a little frightening -- and yet I felt delighted.
For this, I sensed, was where I'd been, a long long time ago, And this, I knew, was where they were, the ones who were no more, The fairies and the pixies and the goblins and the trolls And all the little beings who had played their little roles.
In the middle of that forest, where the fairies gather 'round, I heard a soft and eerie, yet a joyful kind of sound. It was midnight, it was moonless -- and through the silent dark, I heard that gentle throbbing -- and to its sound did hark.
And on glimpsing, in the distance, a strange and ghostly glow, I hurried, heart pulsating, determined, then, to know From where and why this throbbing, from where and why this light, That gave me trepidation -- and filled me with delight.
And then I saw a clearing -- and through it shone a star That hypnotized me, briefly, with twinkling light afar. And when I shut and opened -- my eyes, by star enthralled, I saw the small ones dancing, as other wee ones called.
Oh surely they were graceful, oh surely they trod light, But they were more than graceful, they were a wondrous sight. I saw then, lanterns glowing, as summer glow-worms glow. And other lights were moving, in midnight firefly show.
I heard the sound grow louder and then appear to fade, Until I heard but silence -- and felt again afraid. But then, like chorus rising, I heard the calls begin And knew that they were gentle, untouched by worldly sin.
It was the sound of water, it was the sound of breeze, It was a gentle murmur that set my heart at ease. I floated on that rising, I drifted on that ebb, To sound I did surrender, ensnared in woven web.
How long that seance lasted, I really do not know. I woke at dawn's arrival, as east began to glow. And then, I wandered homeward, to scolding from my spouse, Who thought, perhaps, her chosen was just a drunken louse.
What matter? I just kissed her -- and roundly, on both cheeks, And bounded past to mattress, the one that loudly squeaks. And there I fell like timber, to dream again in wonder, To see again that dancing in that uncertain yonder...
Babui / Arjun 2011 November 18th, Friday, 9:30 pm Brooklyn
There is the tree, by the side of the pond,
Where the elders would gather. The children were fond
Of climbing its branches and hearing them speak.
And there was the dance, at the end of the week,
There, where the grasses are growing so green,
And all is now quiet and peaceful, serene.
Once there was singing and dancing and more,
The laughter resounding that now is no more,
The coming and going of women and men,
The play of the little ones, plentiful then,
Whose faces I see and whose names I recall,
There, where the grasses are growing so tall.
Here was a village, where now there is none,
For a nation has lost and another has won,
And all that is left, of the people that were,
Are the remnants of things, from which they infer --
The ones who now study the shards that they find --
That here was a village, that's still in my mind.
Here there was slaughter and here there was death,
Here, the pursuers the pursued had met.
They finished the task they'd been set and returned,
While ashes still smoldered and grasses still burned...
And I had escaped and another small child,
Who once had been gentle but then had grown wild.
There, where a sapling has grown to a tree,
Was where I was born, where a hut used to be.
There lived my father, my mother and three,
My brother, my sister and then-little me.
Where are they now, I wonder and turn
Away from the faces I once had seen burn.
How haunting is the cry of wounded love!
How desperate the straits of a lover scorned!
The madness born of love misplaced begets
Such suffering as may eclipse a life --
Or else ignite a soul, so poetry
Bursts forth in flame that casts a light as bright
As revelation from the Lord!
I saw you once in winter and you just walked away.
I met you in the springtime but you were with another.
You passed by me in summer and then I heard you say,
"When the leaves come down in autumn, I'll go to meet my brother."
The autumn leaves have fallen and winter winds blow cold.
"And where are you, my sister?" I ask the drifting snow.
The seasons, they are passing, and I am growing old.
And all that I had understood, I now no longer know.
I thought I saw my uncle and then I slipped and fell.
My body took a beating, my spirit did as well.
And in a dream my father reached out to me his hand
But I was busy talking and did not understand.
The one who nursed my sister and cared for me beside,
I looked for her the other day, across the ocean wide.
The sun was slowly sinking and birds flew through the air.
And in the waves came drifting my mother's waving hair.