week of August 28-September 3, 2006
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Sankar Roy (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is a winner of PEN USA Emerging Voices, associate editor of international poetry anthology, Only the Sea Keeps: Poetry of the Tsunami (Rupa & Co, Bayeux Arts) which was one of the three finalists for 2006 Benjamin Franklin Award and winner of Skipping Stone Honor Award His poems have appeared or forthcoming in Bitter Oleander, Blue Color Review, Color Wheel, Diner, Pittsburgh City Paper, Runes and Whiskey Island Sankar’s recent project is creating an international website ( www.writersalliance.net ) to create a worldwide artistic and literary response against the genocide in Darfur
The following work is Copyright © 2006, and owned by Sankar Roy and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
From a roadside farm fire, smoke erupts
like god’s autograph This morning, I am again
passage-happy in my car On I-80, my car throttles
behind the mile-long traffic, roadwork,
single lane my providence
for another fourteen miles My luck
once took me away from my own clan when
whirlwinds, like desert flowers, covered my footprints
and a mirage appeared in the distance,
taking the shape of my yearning
There was not enough space
for five siblings to grow in a small room There was not enough rice for all of us
in our mother’s kitchen
After living in a rich country for fourteen years,
I still have no CD player in my car I cannot listen
to my favorite Hindi songs I scan the car’s radio
and stop at a priest howling on the bible station At roadside farms, Mexicans are picking produce
from the dry earth Someday each hopes to be a citizen
like me I understand the things that bind us are not our words
There is a tree in the background
in one of my childhood photographs But I cannot remember what the tree is called
It is not a mango or a guava tree Once I knew its name, the texture of its leaves,
its fruit’s fragrance Now I forget it all
Like an ingrate who eats dishes
and forgets what they are called, forgets the name
of his preschool teacher who taught him how to read,
forgets the face of a childhood friend
who took all the blame for not returning home
night of the festival
What was the name of dish that our mother used to cook
with spinach and barley? What was the name of the god
who could fix almost anything in the universe?
Is that a moon? No, it is a dark gash
through the sky’s stomach, a bayonet scar Heaven bleeds through it, its black blood
Do we remember that fireball?
Is that the Sun? No, it a searchlight
attached to a helicopter’s belly Using it, they look for us Hide
girls, hide behind a sand dune
Are those wind marks?
Can we follow them to go where the wind goes?
No, they are a vulture’s nail scratches Stay away from them
Is that a well, that crack in the ground?
No, that is where a comet struck,
killing our camels, our men Lay a rock there, a desert flower
Where is our mother? Why she is not going with us?
Mother has turned into a mirage Let’s follow her hand signals
to reach to the place where
no one can hurt us any more.
My name is Barbara Hasanat I don’t have a biography, just a life I have read great literature all of my life-almost all of Dostoevsky before I was 12 Presently, my favorite poets are Haiku poets Issa, Buson and Basho I also like many Chinese poets and Walt Whitman, Wordsworth, T.S Eliot and Emily Dickinson I began writing poetry 4 months ago about one year after becoming a Buddhist and beginning my practice of daily meditation I was born and lived in the great city of Chicago most of my life but now live in Tucson, Arizona
The following work is Copyright © 2006, and owned by Barbara Hasanat and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Your prehistoric scales
belie your immortality How many oceans
have you sailed
How many seasons
dived down deep into muddy waters
to bring you to this one spot
This fine clear day
on this shimmering sea
Bug in the Zendo
You were heading for the door
A little bit further
and you would have been free You were caught, Bug, and slaugtered
Now, we being buddhists,
You would have been spared,
but decisions were made things had to be squared
Because you see, Bug,
and we hope you don’t mind
But even with bugs-
How shall I put this-
there’s a right and wrong kind
Forever in our memories!