Saturday, August 16, 2014

"Black cat in a coal bin" [rubai]

Black cat in a coal bin    in a cave at night!
Can't say how your eyes gleam     with a trace of light!

Blindness is endemic     to the world at large!
Maya though systemic     is dispelled by sight!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Words Overheard in the Parking Garage
from a Passerby's Blaring Walkman

". . . a spiritual guide to mastering
the challenges of women.  We'll start
with a quote.  Isaiah says . . .

Okay but what did Isaiah say?   & what
(one wonders) might be    "the challenges
of women"?   challenges to men? (this must
be the implication    of the opaque phrase)

so would Isaiah    blithely fall in love
with a sweetheart    so young in years?
Biblical heavyweights    of the old race
of my forefathers   may've adjudicated

every point    of the arcane maze of loving
& yet the lost quote    (one must assume
whatever in the world   it happened to be)
was likely geared toward   a different crux

of ancient challenges    on the battlefield
of the love-fraught human    male heart


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Guide to Pronunciation [limerick]

The Okies have never been vague
about how one ought to say Prague
     as distinguished from Prague
     (rhymes with Indian raag
like the one sung by Tansen called Megh)


The small city of Prague, Oklahoma [population less than 3,000; land less than 2 square miles] -- said to be located at roughly the geographical center of the United States -- was the site (in 1952) of an automobile accident, with Meher Baba among the injured passengers (he and his party having been amid a lengthy drive en route from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, abortively heading for California). This bit of history is commemorated at the Avatar Meher Baba Heartland Center.

Locals (as noted in the above ditty) are said to favor a pronunciation of Prague that pointedly differs from the standard English pronunciation of the name of the Czech Republic's considerably more famous capital city (using a hard "a" in preference to a soft "a") -- a city which was once home to the writer Franz Kafka (among others).  Possibly absurdly, my ditty relies on a reader's familiarity with certain Hindi words to clarify and illuminate this point of divergent pronunciations.  If I am not mistaken, it has been opined that denizens of Prague, Oklahoma (many of whom were Czech immigrants) intentionally invented this peculiar pronunciation variant so as to ward off any confusion of reference between their new city and the old-world capital.

Monday, July 7, 2014

July Selfie Sonnet

Where went my hair?
whence the white musch?
who can repair
Maya's fattoosh?

where went my bangs?
youth that I knew?
life's clamor clangs
who stirs the brew?

where went the days?
moons years slow seasons?
who clears the haze?
who hides the reasons?

time ebbs to naught
what glimpse were caught?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Nightfall on Montana Avenue   [sonnet]

When class is over Soha speaks of love
how Ishq is a word describing tendril vines
that cling to the tree more tightly than a glove
& need it more than a tippler craves his wines

she says she went into dance because she sought
to comprehend what's human in our expression
while robotics is another strand she caught
to examine this (and thus isn't a digression)

she reconstructs the gestures of antiquity
and choreographs with freshness & elan
we're told that God has infinite ubiquity
and is himself our breath (our very pran)

can a dance class lend a glimpse of his delight?
might it deepen with the beauty of the night?

for Soha Sharif
June 24, 2014

Ishq (Arabic for "love").  Specifically, Soha (the dance teacher / scholar) explained the word Ishq as cognate to and originating in Ashagheh (the name for the plant we call Ivy).
Pran (Hindi for "breath").