Monday, November 28, 2016

As Mammon Smiles

As Mammon Smiles

I have walked on city sidewalks
to my jobs and back to “home”.
I have watched the others walking.
I have seen the cars go by.

I have watched the people rushing
from place to place to place.
I have seen the cars that speeded
and I've often wondered why.
I think I know the reason—
at least for some of this:
we've learned that time is money—
on jobs—and errands too.
And who am I to question
the ones who race to work—
and back again for children
or things they have to do?

And yet I've walked and wondered—
for I have also raced
and been in stress and tension
from demons in the mind.
We each have been conditioned
to run when we could walk.
To things that we should notice,
our times have made us blind.
The aged are often lonely—
and scared, as savings ebb.
The moms and dads who're working—
they work and work and work.
So what becomes of children—
who troop, for years, to schools?
They take their turns as hirelings—
and labors, dare not shirk.
The workers spend their earnings
on things that drive the wheels,
the gears, the thrusting pistons—
and now, the pulsing bits.
I've glimpsed, at times, the village
where people too would work
and yet would sense the seasons—
with bodies, hearts and wits.
There are dances that are graceful;
there are rises, ebbs and flows.
There is work that has its rhythm;
there are things that take their time.
There is hurry, worry, scurry;
there are slipshod ways of work—
with our facts and logic faulty,
with our lines that do not rhyme.

There are many who are driven
by the few with inner drives
that need the work of others
so shares and profits rise.
And who am I to question
the workings of our world?
And yet, I've walked and wondered
if racing so is wise.
But speed is now a virtue—
and slowness is a vice.
So artisans are banished,
and the masses slave in mills.
It's “more and more and faster”
that drives the GDP.
The stocks and rents are climbing,
as Mammon smiles and wills.

2016 November 28th, Mon.
Berkeley, California

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Maya’s Mist

Maya’s Mist

It’s claimed that humans have advanced and those
who dare to question this are filled with gloom
for reasons other than reality—
that they have conjured, out of progress, doom.

Are there directions, foreordained by gods,
or chosen as the “forward” ones by those
among us who are wisest? Or are we
conditioned by what those, who gain, propose?
For we’ve been told and told and told
so many lies, and lies on top of lies,
that we confuse the true and false, and so
we rarely bother still with asking whys.
The empires rose and fell and yet the lives
of plants and beasts and humans still went on.
It’s only now that works of men devour
this planet’s life and threaten humankind.

We live in cities, filled with strangers, yet
we see the remnant tribes as backward, lost.
For much that’s primal and is gentle, sweet
we’ve now discarded—and we pay the cost.
Which emperor could gain the peace that is?
Which painter could replace the changing sky?
We sense that we have lost the art of bliss.
But who can tell us when and how and why?

Will we awake from this, our troubled dream,
and rub away the sleep, so we can see
that we’ve been racing on the way to hell,
while heaven waits for us to pause and be?

In truth, there is no bliss that lasts for long,
and neither do our heavens, hells exist,
except that we create them, through our thoughts
and words and deeds—while lost in maya’s mist.

2016 November 9th, Wed. 6:36 pm
Brooklyn, New York 

There Still are Joys

There Still are Joys

The despots and the ogres spread their woe.
They wreck our lives and rob us of our peace.
Yet one by one, like each of us, they die,
and some are gloried still—or vilified.

I walked, the other day, upon the green
and felt the grass and earth beneath my feet.
I caught the scents of burning autumn leaves
and looking up I saw the changing sky.
Which tyrant, hurried by his need to win,
could quietly savor water, earth and air
as those, untroubled by such urges, could?
And yet, how many still might worship him.
So those, who seek their worth from inner fiends,
and those, who crave the world’s attention, vie,
while those, who suffer at their hands, perceive
there still are joys, as long as life persists.

2016 November 9th, Wed.
Brooklyn, New York, 4:27 pm

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Gods

The Gods

The gods exist, as humans do.
They love and hate, like me and you.
So why then worship gods, when they,
the things that bind us, still obey?

Perfection, if your name is God,
with all of virtue, truth distilled,
I still would look at you askance,
as vice and falsehood unfulfilled.

Where yang is rising, yin descends,
but only till they circle 'round.
So light and dark, and virtue, vice,
are each, within the other, found.

The deities of the water, wind,
like you and I, have also sinned.
And yet, in awe or grief, we cry
to these, who're born like us to die.

2016 November 7th, Mon.
Brooklyn, New York

Sunday, November 6, 2016

When Hera Spurted Out her Milk

When Hera Spurted Out her Milk

When Hera spurted out her milk,
did others realize
that going shopping too, one day,
could make a mortal wise?

While walking to the supermarket,
I found I'd lost my way.
But then I realized I'd strayed
beyond the Milky Way.

And so, I found nirvana in
a borough of New York,
beside an arrow sign that said,
"The Home of Kosher Pork".

Ah wonders, that, in wandering,
we sometimes stumble on!
But when I went next day, that sign
and store were vanished—gone!

And then, recalling how I'd been
suspended, out in space,
beyond our starry whorl, I knew
I'd landed on my face.

Oh Zeus, and your green-eyed wife,
with spurting mammaries!
How strange, that we and all were born
from household rivalries!


But wait! A fellow told me, who
has doctorates and more,
that truth is stranger, far, than all
we dolts were told before.

So you and all your kin are myths,
Jehovah-Allah too!
The devas and asuras are
an ill-imagined crew.

And verily, the truth is such
as Arjuna could not
conceive, though he beheld, in awe,
what humans have forgot.

So in that mouth immense, wherein
this universe was swallowed,
there were such things that mortals such
as we could not have followed.

As Krishna sat beside him,
being a devil-god indeed,
Arjuna then was bent, in awe,
to do the dreadful deed.

So drawing out his arrow from
its quiver then he drew
his bow, as horses galloped towards
the kinsmen that he slew.


So then, resolving to return
to this, the world that's plain,
I turned towards my home again,
with something to explain.

"So where's that kosher ham?" she said.
"There's a sandwich I must make."
But all I then could do was stand
and in my innards shake.

2016 November 6th, Sun.
Brooklyn, New York
For the reference to Hera and her milk, please see
and look under "Greek and Roman". This describes a Greek myth about the origin of our galaxy.

For the reference to Arjuna and his vision of the true nature of his charioteer, the god Krishna, please see:
This is
 a horrifying passage in the Bhagawad Gita, part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Ke`lkat'a Ai-ক্যালকাটা আই-Calcutta Eye

Below the image, there is a the link to a story in the Telegraph (India). This is  followed by a free translation of the verse into English. Then there is the Bengali original, in three forms:

  • a phonetic Romanization that follows standard Bengali pronunciation;
  • the Bengali script;
  • a Roman transcription that follows standard Bengali spelling.

London Eye

Calcutta Eye

When the rains come again, oh then I will ride
Upon the great wheel, with my girl at my side.
We will soar up on high, ho ho!  We will see
the city below us.  In the clouds, we will be.
Then—lightning!  Below, they will see the great flash,
and when we return, they will find that we’re ash.

2016 November 1st, Tue.
Brooklyn, New York

Ke`lkat’a Ai

Bo`rxa kale corbo ami, birat' cakar sit'e.
Boxbe paxe xokhi amar, bolbe ko`tha mit'he.
Ut'hbo dujon urdhe, hoho, dekhbo xo`hor xara.
Megher majhe mixbo xexe, meghei ho`bo hara.
Nice jara, dekhbe ho`t'at, cokh-dhadhano baj.
Axbo phire xokhir xathe, jholxe jaoa lax.

Mongolbar, 1 la No`bhembo`r, 2016 Khri
Bruklin, Niu Io`rk

ক্যালকাটা আই

বর্ষাকালে চড়ব আমি বিরাট চাকার সিটে৷
বসবে পাসে সখী আমার, বলবে কথা মিঠে৷
উঠব দুজন ঊর্ধ্বে, হোহো, দেখব শহর সারা৷
মেঘের মাঝে মিশব শেষে, মেঘেই হব হারা৷
নিচে যারা, দেখবে হটাৎ, চোখ ধাধানো বাজ৷
আসব ফিরে সখীর সাথে, ঝলসে যাওয়া লাশ৷

মঙ্গলবার, ১লা নভেম্বর, ২০১৬ খ্রি
ব্রুক্লিন, নিউয়র্ক 

Kyālakāṭā Ā'i

Barṣākālē caṛaba āmi birāṭa cākāra siṭē.
Basabē pāsē sakhī āmāra, balabē kathā miṭhē.
Uṭhaba dujana ūrdhbē, hōhō, dēkhaba śahara sārā.
Mēghēra mājhē miśaba śēṣē, mēghē'i haba hārā.
Nicē yārā, dēkhabē haṭāṯ, cōkha dhādhānō bāja.
Āsaba phirē sakhīra sāthē, jhalasē yā'ōẏā lāśa.

Maṅgalabāra, 1 la Nabhēmbara, 2016 Khri
Brukalina, Ni'u'iẏarka

Te~tuler Acar—তেঁতুলের আচার—Tamarind Chutney

Tamarind Chutney

The pods of the tamarind fruit are hanging from the tree.
Do you remember the taste of the tamarind chutney?
Grandmother made it.  It tasted sour and sweet.
She’s long gone.  No more of that for us.

2016 November 1st, Mon.
Brooklyn, New York
Tetu~ler Achar

Gacher theke jhulche de`kho, tetul pho`ler d'a~t'a.
Mone po`re, chot'o be`lar tetuler acar ca~t'a.
To`k-mixt'i xad chilo tar, banano t'hakurmar.
O`nek bo`chor, ge`chen uni. Nai ko acar ar.

Xombar, 1 la Nobhembo`r, 2016 Khri
Bruklin, Niu Io`rk
তেঁতুলের আচার

গাছের থেকে ঝুলছে দেখো, তেঁতুল ফলের ডাঁটা৷
মনে পড়ে, ছোটোবেলার তেঁতুলের আচার চাঁটা৷
টক মিষ্টি স্বাদ ছিল তার, বানানো ঠাকুরমার৷
অনেক বছর, গেছেন উনি৷ নাই কো আচার আর৷

সোমবার, ১লা নভেম্বর, ২০১৬ খ্রি
ব্রুক্লিন, নিউয়র্ক
Tētulēra Ācāra

Gāchēra thēkē jhulachē dēkhō, tēm̐tula phalēra ḍām̐ṭā.
Manē paṛē, chōṭōbēlāra tēm̐tulēra ācāra cām̐ṭā.
Ṭaka miṣṭi sbāda chila tāra, bānānō ṭhākuramāra.
Anēka bachara, gēchēna uni.  Nā'i kō ācāra āra.

Sōmabāra, 1 la Nabhēmbara, 2016 Khri
Brukalina, Ni'u'iẏarka