Sunday, October 30, 2016



I can try and bear your weaknesses—
your frailties of birth,
the ones that come from circumstance
or the choices that you made.

But I might not bear your meannesses—
your judgments that are harsh,
your prejudice, impatience and
the coldness in your heart.

I will not bear the consequence
of your actions that are rash.
You’ll take your risks and bear the costs,
without my time or cash.

There are limits to my empathy
that you should recognize.
An accomplice, I will never be,
in all your acts unwise.

I'll give of love and not expect
return—except in this:
you will not snare me more with lies
or ignorance that's bliss.

2016 October 30th, Sun.
Brooklyn, New York

Time Again to Run

Time Again to Run

There are nuances in nature.
There are shades within ourselves.
But it's "winner" and it's "loser"
For the Donald and his elves.

You are for me or against me.
We are born to run, compete.
So it's victory for the winner.
For the others, it's defeat.

There's a better way to do things—
And there always is the best.
To be quick and more efficient
Is the teaching of the West.

And how the East has taken
That message to its heart!
They will take that style of running
And make, of it, an art.

In the cities by the seaside,
You can see the women run.
They have little time for leisure,
They have little time for fun.

And the leisure they're permitted—
It is not what it should be.
By the shore, the waves are breaking.
But who is there to see?

It's the leisure for consumption.
It's the tour of packaged fun.
It's the holiday that's over,
So it's time again to run.

They run in Hiroshima.
They're racing in Shenzhen.
And in Ho Chi Minh City,
It is time to run again.

2016 October 30, Sun.
Brooklyn, New York

Mood Blue

Mood Blue

There are causes for our problems.
There are problems that we cause.
So the cycles, that we're caught in,
Keep us running, till we pause.

But to pause is to have trouble.
If we question, then we sink.
We are workers and consumers.
We pay taxes. Do we think?

There are channels for our thinking.
To these channels, we're confined.
We are penned and we're addicted.
We have little peace of mind.


We are flowing like the water.
We are blowing like the wind.
Yet we like to think we're solids.
That's the reason we have sinned.

Can we write upon the water?
Can we shape and hold the wind?
Did they ask themselves these questions—
Those in Egypt and in Sindh?

In old Mohenjo-daro,
Could they savor breaks from work?
Could the workers too, in Giza,
From the pharaoh's labors shirk?

We can see the woman running,
As she races to her train.
We can see the woman aging
From the stress and from the strain.


And who is it who profits
From this racing, from this work?
If we knew, then we might stop it—
Give the finger to the jerk.

Is it God, up in his penthouse?
Is it Bloomberg, in the skies?
The widow holds the ashes.
The orphan sits and cries.

We have drugs and schools and markets.
We have courts and we have lawyers.
We have banks and corporations
And they need the skillful liars.

There's the blue that lights the heavens.
There's the blue that's in the soul.
There's a time for pause and sadness
That is needed to be whole.

2016 October 30, Sun.
Brooklyn, New York

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Before We Go

Before We Go

When the mind is agitated
and the heart is weighted down.
we only think of matters then
that make us fear or frown.

And then, when moments do arise
when fright and stress recede,
we might be filled with old regrets
and weep for those deceased.
We don’t recall those others then—
the ones we have neglected.
We leave no space or time for those
that our actions have affected.

It’s time to clear the clutter then;
it’s time to walk a while—
to breathe a bit of open air,
to look around and smile.

It’s time to say, “We’re passing through.
We’ll soon enough be gone.
Let’s tend to things before we leave
this planet that we’re on.”

And so the storm within may cease
awhile—and give us time
and space for things that matter more—
for heart—and reason, rhyme.

And then perhaps we’ll see a face
or hear a voice, and so
we might resolve to visit, call
or write, before we go.
And also then some things may come
to light, that the fog had hidden,
and we might see a path, a hope
that our panic had forbidden.

2016 October 29th, Sat.
Brooklyn, New York

Entropy and Empathy

Entropy and Empathy

The alchemists had tried, by various means,
to turn the cheaper metals into gold.
They failed. But doing so, they surely saw
that shining iron turns in time to rust.

We do not see the old grow sleek and lithe;
instead, the glow of youth is dulled by age.
So order turns to chaos by itself,
as there is ever more of entropy.
So all our plans and years of effort fail
to keep our loves and selves and treasures safe.

So reason too is dimmed and virtue fades,
as passion, teamed with vice, prevails.
So sanity and peace are massacred,
as madness wreaks the mayhem that is war.

When all our good intentions and our work
have led us deeper into tragedies,
and we are faced with darkness and despair,
what light remains—what hope, to give us strength?

What comforts us, when conscience tells the soul,
“You sunder things, but cannot make them whole.” ?

How easily is innocence destroyed
and trust betrayed!  So all that’s precious then
dissolves.  Suspicion, rancor, hatred rise
to take the place of empathy and love.

If we could take the shattered glass and join
its pieces seamlessly or mend the heart
that’s broken, then we could, with truth, proclaim,
“We’re graced in being skilled at such an art.”

But who is there among us to repeal
the laws of Nature and the ways of Man?
In every sainted one, those flaws exist,
that others, not so sainted, proudly flaunt.
We’re told that there are beings that are wise,
that know the future as we know our past.
But we are mortals, so we err and we
are limited in what we can achieve
or even comprehend.  So why then lash
ourselves—and add yet more to misery?

We do what we are able. Things may turn
out wrong despite our efforts, yet we should
remember what we did, what others too
have tried to do, be grateful—and forgive.


We might have smiles and presents for a friend,
but who can give these to an enemy—
to one who's wounded us and brought us woe?
Is there such love, in full sincerity?

In peacetime and in war, we rape and burn.
The orphan cries. The widow holds the urn.

When we can see that he who harms us is
within us each, we then can truly see.
And seeing this, we each can then be healed
and find again that peace that dwells within.

We each in time will face dishonor, death,
and each of us will eat of ashes, yet
we still can cleanse our selves of all our sin
and all that others did in heartlessness.
2016 October 29th, Sat.
Brooklyn, New York  

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Napit Ojha—নাপিত ওঝা—The Barber Shaman

The English translation, directly below, is followed by a link to an amusing video clip (in English) and then by the Bengali original.  This is given first in a phonetic Roman transcription, then in the traditional Bengali script, and finally in Google's Roman transcription, which faithfully follows the Bengali spelling.

The Barber Shaman

I had been possessed by fiends—
by demons, witches—yes!
I went to the barber-shaman then,
for I was in a mess.

He gave me such a pounding, oh—
as barber-shamans do,
that one by one the demons left—
and took the witches too.

Tuesday, 25th October, 2016
Brooklyn, New York 

Video clip:

You should be able to see this without having to sign into Facebook. However, a reminder might then appear, which might block out the lower half of the video if you are using a wide screen.
This should not be a problem if you are using a screen with an older aspect ratio (less wide relative to height) or if you are using a tall screen. The latter can be achieved on most "smart" cell phones (that have automatic rotation) by holding the cell-phone in the proper orientation.


Napit Ojha

Pe-e boxechilo amae, ogo,
bhut-petnir do`l.
Gelam napit-ojhar kache.
Ar ki ko`rar? Bo`l.

E`mon do`lai-mo`lai dilo,
birat' jore, bawa,
holo tate, cho`t'-pho`t'ie,
bhut-petni haoa!

Mongolbar, 25e O`kt’obar, 2016 Khri.
Bruklin, Niu Io`rk

For a brief summary of the transcription scheme, see:

নাপিত ওঝা

পেয়ে বসেছিল আমায়, ওগো,
ভূত পেত্নীর দল৷
গেলাম নাপিত-ওঝার কাছে৷
আর কি করার? বল্৷

এমন দলাই-মলাই দিল,
বিরাট জোরে, বাওয়া,
হল তাতে, ছটপটিয়ে,
ভুত পেত্নী হাওয়া৷

মঙ্গলবার, ২৫এ অক্টোবর, ২০১৬ খ্রি
ব্রুক্লিন, নিউয়র্ক
Nāpita Ōjhā

Pēẏē basēchila āmāẏa, ōgō,
bhūta pētnīra dala.
Gēlāma nāpita-ōjhāra kāchē.
Āra ki karāra? Bal.
Ēmana dalā'i-malā'i dila,
birāṭa jōrē, bā'ōẏā,
hala tātē, chaṭapaṭiẏē,
bhuta pētnī hā'ōẏā.

Maṅgalabāra, 25ē Akṭōbara, 2016 Khri
Bruklina, Ni'uẏarka  

transcription from:


I talked to my friend
for half an hour.
I went on and on.
He listened patiently.
Later, I thought,
if I’d talked less
and listened more,
it would have been
2016 October 25th, Tuesday
R-train, Manhattan to Brooklyn

Saturday, October 22, 2016


The things that humans build and make,
in cities, factories—these
are often wasteful, monstrous and
disturbing to the soul.

And so we need the open space,
with sky—and water, earth,
and all the hues and sounds and scents
that heal and make us whole.
We need the plants, we need the beasts—
we need the rest of life.
We need the clouds, the rain and snow,
we need the open sky.
We need the dawn, we need the dusk,
we need the arcing sun.
We do not need to speed to work
and back—to race and run.
We need the curve of hill and branch,
the flow of water, wind.
With quadrants and with walls, we’ve penned
ourselves and we have sinned

against this world and all that lives
and all that gave us birth,
and all that still sustains this life
upon this whirling Earth.
We need the whispers of the winds,
the gurgling of the streams,
and all the softer sounds we heard
that soothed us in our dreams.
We need to savor what we do—
to labor slow, with love.
We do not need the overseer
who drives us from above.
We need the brightness of the day,
we need the heat and cold.
We need the darkness of the night,
we need the moon and stars.
We need to learn, we need to teach,
to care for young and old.
We do not need the speed, the din,
the factories and the wars.
We need to find or grow our food,
to spin and weave the string.
We need to feel, beneath our feet,
the earth, the grass, the moss…
We need to talk and touch and kiss,
we need to dance and sing.
We do not need to bend the knee
or bow to lord or boss.
2016 October 22nd, Sat., 1:47 am
Bensonhurst Park, Brooklyn, New York

Friday, October 21, 2016


These lines are meant to be sung out loud. If they appear irresponsible and irreverent, I beg pardon.  At times, a little playfulness is needed.


You can keep your mansion-house—
and all your magic toys.
You can keep your shiny car—
with all its speed and noise.
You can keep your shoes and boots—
and all your clothes, so dear.
You can keep your property—
that’s growing, every year.
You can keep your bank accounts—
and all your cards as well.
But leave for me my poverty—
and leave me out of hell.

2016 October 22nd, Sat. 2:45 am
Skyway Restaurant dhaaba

Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York

Wednesday, October 19, 2016



It was past the midnight hour
when I noticed they were there—
my ghostly twin companions—
and they gave me quite a scare.

I was walking in the park then,
with these beings by my sides.
They lengthened, twinned and faded
and then strengthened with my strides.

They were shadows from the lamplights,
they were shadows from the moon.
They were shadows that were absent
when I’d walked about at noon.

They were beings of the nighttime
that would suddenly appear.
They would change in length and darkness
and then fade and disappear.

And in time I grew accustomed
to their presence, and I thought—
they are kin to me, these shadows,
in the dance of maya caught.

For the self that I have treasured
is a shadow in the dance,
projected, of a being
that is also in a trance.

And that being is a shadow
of the being that has cast
its figure on the streaming
that is future, present, past.

Or so I speculated,
as I walked with shadow-mates,
as they also might have wondered
on their origins and fates.

One may question if a shadow
could be sentient, but I ask—
are we owners of our sentience
or the fabric of its mask?

We are digits in a sequence
that will never have an end.
We may point to a beginning,
but we only can pretend.
We are shadows of the shadows
of the shadows of yet more.
There are shadows that will follow
and the ones that went before.

It was past the midnight hour
when the shadows spoke to me,
in the silence of the nighttime,
of the things we cannot see.
2016 October 15th, Sat. 12:48 am
Bensonhurst Park, Brooklyn, New York
(last five stanzas added October 18th, Tue.)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Vote for Trump?

Vote for Trump?

The middle class is in a slump,
and so we turn to Donald Trump.

He boasts about himself a lot,
about that “German gene” he’s got
that makes him, oh so very “smart”,
a master of the swindler’s art.

He’ll make “America great again”
by taking us all back to when
this country had been bathed in light,
because the voters all were white
and men—like him, our Donalt Drumpf.

Then sports like Trump could freely hump,
while Mexicans and Muslims, Jews
and Africans would keep their views
to just themselves—and knew their place,
as workers do, to their disgrace.

"He'll make America great." you say—
for sleaze and jive will have their way
and make us see that night is day.

He blusters, lies and bullies, and
this thing, we have to understand—
if he's President, and you're in his way,
he'll have you quickly put away.

He takes the credit, shifts the blame.
He sniffs the wind and plays the game.
He's out to "win" and feels no shame.
He'll tell you what you want to hear
and then you'll pay the price that's dear.
Alas! He speaks a bit of truth
and says he'll give the Bigs the boot,
but he is all about his dick,
and since his temper's really quick,
when challenged, he might hit a button
and bring us straight to Armageddon.

He fancies girls, which would be fine,
but even takes to her, a shine,
who is, by all accounts, his child—
and if we think that that is wild
and say so—why, he then will sue,
which can't be borne by me or you
or others—yes, including those
he chose to grope. So I propose
we vote, November, not for Trump,
but show that we detest this chump,
and vote instead, in places blue,
for Stein—a vote we will not rue.

2016 October 15th, Sat. 11:37 pm
(2nd-4th & 6th-7th stanzas added Nov. 4th, Fri.,
5th stanza added Nov. 7th, Mon.)
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York

Please see also:  Ignorance 
That piece does not name Trump, but applies to him, and also has many pictures of him, each a classic, along with one, at the end, of wiser folk. The text of "Ignorance" does require an unhurried, deliberative, even meditative frame of mind. But you can always just look at the pictures of our potential president and his betters instead. ;-)



Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Ever Changing Sky

The Ever Changing Sky

The moon was shining as I swept the yard—
A gibbous moon that hung there in the sky.
Its lantern light, from time to time, was dimmed
By fleets of clouds that floated swiftly by.

I swept that moonlit backyard free of leaves,
But when the shadows came, I looked on high
And watched that act of light and dark within
That play that is the ever-changing sky.
How many eyes have watched that circus-stage
Yet never seen an act that was the same
As one before?  The hours and seasons ride
A horse that none of them can tame.

In darkness and in silver light, I swept
The driveway through—and ventured in the front,
And there was struck by light from LED’s—
The city’s streetlights, given to affront.
And next I swept the sidewalk and the yard
In front, till all my bags were filled up high.
That done, I paused to take a little break—
To breathe and look up at that changing sky.

I saw the clouds were streaming close, in force,
And threatened then to overwhelm the moon.
A breeze was blowing, shaking branches, so
I knew my work would be negated soon.

I shivered, as the night grew colder and
The moon was hidden by the crowded fleet.
So Priam, as he gazed at Grecian sails,
Could well have done, from fear of Troy’s defeat.
2016 October 13th, Thu.
Brooklyn, New York

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Déjà Vu

Déjà Vu

The sun was a vortex of lightness
In the grays of the streaming sky.
The waves on the river reflected
The shades that were churning on high.

I could see that in Queens it was raining.
In the distance, I'd seen a bright flash
And I'd waited to hear then the thunder
But I'd waited in vain for that crash.
For I was a passenger, riding
On the train on the bridge in its arc,
On that train that was hurtling from Brooklyn
To Manhattan’s own caverns of dark.

It had roared from the shoreline of Brooklyn,
On the rails that the columns held high,
And then it had clattered through tunnels
To emerge to that bridge and that sky.

I had heard that a storm was approaching
And I looked at that sky and that stream
And I sensed that the world was in motion—
And that this had been part of a dream.

It seemed that I’d seen this in dreaming—
That all this had happened before,
But that train and that storm and that river—
They were not in that dream anymore.
How wide was that gray-green of streaming—
That serpent that slid to the sea!
I looked at that wind-ruffled river
And wondered how all this could be.
The sky and the river receded.
We were diving back down to the dark.
Like the dream and that storm on that crossing—
This was part of my journey—my arc.
2016 October 6th, Thu.
Brooklyn, New York

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Below and Above

Below and Above

The train careens through darkness for a while
and then we see the columns flashing by.
Along the other side, the people wait
upon a lighted platform for their train—
but then we plunge in darkness once again.
In time, the next one—not a soul in sight,
just advertisements on the shining walls.
And so, with alternating darkness, light,
we ride the subway, through the tunnels, till
we surface and we sight the open sky.
We only were beneath for half an hour—
yet how we missed these arcing blues and whites,
these greens, that passing glimpse of russet earth,
and there—a bird that lightly takes to wing.
There now are buildings, people, cars on streets,
a sun that hides behind the clouds—and then
strikes out with dazzling brilliance.  We squint.
So zombies might awake—to live again.

2016 October 4th, Tue, 4:25 pm
(on the D-train from Manhattan)
Brooklyn, New York