Friday, April 29, 2005

Do I dare to eat a peach?

I woke up this morning with a scratchy, burning feeling around my shoulders. Thinking it to be a reaction to some new detergent we bought, I didn't pay much attention. After a little while, however, I realised that the pain was only concentrated around the shoulders, sparing the rest of the body, which wouldn't have been the case with a contact dermatitis. And then it occurred to me; this was sunburn. I'd spent all of yesterday morning at the pool, either wallowing in the water or sitting by the side, reading. Gently roasting in the sun.

I feel so stupid.

How can I, who grew up in the benevolent sizzle of this desert country, be sunburnt?! I, who spent my childhood years playing football in the sun, and that too, as an idle defender because having flat feet meant you couldn't run fast enough to do anything useful. I, sunburnt? This is very disappointing. Only twenty-six and the implacable rot already set in. What will it be next? My teeth dropping out? Hair shedding itself at the slightest flutter of a laugh? No. From now on, I must only smile. No violent movements. No sudden gestures. All peaches will be boiled before eating. I grow old, I grow old. I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

I think I'll go to the library and drown my sorrows in a good book. As soon as it gets a little dark outside.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Alan Paton was a South African writer, most famous for his novel "Cry, The Beloved Country". This short story is based on his experience as a Principal at a large boys' reformatory in Johannesburg.

Of the six hundred boys at the reformatory, about one hundred were from ten to fourteen years of age. My Department had from time to time expressed the intention of taking them away, and of establishing a special institution for them, more like an industrial school than a reformatory. This would have been a good thing, for their offences were very trivial, and they would have been better by themselves. Had such a school been established, I should have liked to be Principal of it myself, for it would have been an easier job; small boys turn instinctively towards affection, and one controls them by it, naturally and easily.

Some of them, if I came near them, either on parade or in school or at football, would observe me watchfully, not directly or fully, but obliquely and secretly; sometimes I would surprise them at it, and make some small sign of recognition, which would satisfy them so that they would cease to observe me, and would give their full attention to the event at the moment. But I knew that my authority was thus confirmed and strengthened.

The secret relations with them were a source of continual pleasure to me. Had they been my own children I would no doubt have given a greater expression to it. But often I would move through the silent and orderly parade, and stand by one of them. He would look straight in front of him with a little frown of concentration that expressed both childish awareness and manly indifference to my nearness. Sometimes I would tweak his ear, and he would give me a brief smile of acknowledgement, or frown with still greater concentration. It was natural, I suppose, to confine these outward expressions to the very smallest, but they were taken as symbolic, and some older boys would observe them and take themselves to be included. It was a relief, when the reformatory was passing through times of turbulence and trouble, and when there was danger of estrangement between authority and boys, to make those simple and natural gestures, which were reassurances to both me and them that nothing important had changed.

On Sunday afternoons when I was on duty I would take my car to the reformatory and watch the free boys being signed out at the gate. This simple operation was watched by many boys not free, who would tell each other, "In so many weeks I'll be signed out myself." Among the watchers were always some of the small boys, and these I would take by turns in the car. We would go out to the Potchefstroom Road with its ceaseless stream of traffic, and to the Baragwanath crossroads, and come back by the Van Wyksrus road to the reformatory. I would talk to them about their families, their parents, their sisters and brothers, and I would pretend to know nothing of Durban, Port Elizabeth, Potchefstroom, and Clocolan, and ask them if these places were bigger than Johannesburg.

One of the small boys was Ha'penny, and he was about twelve years old. He came from Bloemfontein and was the biggest talker of them all. His mother worked in a white person's house, and he had two brothers and two sisters. His brothers were Richard and Dickie, and his sisters Anna and Mina.

"Richard and Dickie?" I asked.

"Yes, meneer."

"In English," I said, "Richard and Dickie are the same name."

When we returned to the reformatory, I sent for Ha'penny's papers; there it was plainly set down. Ha'penny was a waif, with no relatives at all. He had been taken in from one home to another, but he was naughty and uncontrollable, and eventually had taken to pilfering at the market.

I then sent for the Letter Book, and found that Ha'penny wrote regularly, or rather that others wrote for him till he could write himself, to Mrs. Betty Maarman, of 48 Vlak Street, Bloemfontein. But Mrs Maarman had never once replied to him. When questioned, he had said, perhaps she is sick. I sat down and wrote at once to the Social Welfare Officer at Bloemfontein, asking him to investigate.

The next time I had Ha'penny out in the car I questioned him again about his family. And he told me the same as before, his mother, Richard and Dickie, Anna and Mina. But he softened the "D" of Dickie, so that it now sounded like Tickie.

"I thought you said Dickie," I said.

"I said Tickie," he said.

He watched me with concealed apprehension, and I came to the conclusion that this waif of Bloemfontein was a clever boy, who had told me a story that was all imagination, and had changed one single letter of it to make it safe from any question. And I thought I understood it all too, that he was ashamed of being without a family and had invented them all, so that no one might discover that he was fatherless and motherless and that no one in the world cared whether he was alive or dead. This gave me a strong feeling for him, and I went out of my way to manifest towards him the fatherly care that the State, though not in those words, had enjoined upon me by giving me this job.

Then the letter came from the Social Welfare Officer in Bloemfontein, saying that Mrs. Betty Maarman of 48 Vlak Street was a real person, and that she had four children, Richard and Dickie, Anna and Mina, but that Ha'penny was no child of hers, and she knew him only as a derelict of the streets. She had never answered his letters, because he wrote to her as "Mother", and she was no mother of his, nor did she wish to play any such role. She was a decent woman, a faithful member of the church, and she had no thought of corrupting her family by letting them have anything to do with such a child.

But Ha'penny seemed to me anything but the usual delinquent; his desire to have a family was so strong, and his reformatoy record was so blameless, and his anxiety to please and obey so great, that I began to feel a great duty towards him. Therefore I asked him about his "mother".

He could not speak enough of her, nor with too high praise. She was loving, honest and strict. Her home was clean. She had affection for all her children. It was clear that the homeless child, even as he had attached himself to me, would have attached himself to her: he had observed her even as he had observed me, but did not know the secret of how to open her heart, so that she would take him in, and save him from the lonely life he led.

"Why did you steal when you had such a mother?" I asked.

He could not answer that; not all his brains nor his courage could find an answer to such a question, for he knew that with such a mother he would not have stolen at all.

"The boy's name is Dickie," I said, "Not Tickie."

And then he knew the deception was revealed. Another boy might have said, "I told you it was Dickie," but he was too intelligent for that; he knew that if I had established that the boy's name was Dickie, I must have established other things too. I was shocked by the immediate and visible effect of my action. His whole brave assurance died within him, and he stood there exposed, not as a liar, but as a homeless child who had surrounded himself with mother, brothers, and sisters, who did not exist. I had shattered the very foundations of his pride, and his sense of human significance.

He fell sick at once, and the doctor said it was tuberculosis. I wrote at once to Mrs. Maarman, telling her the whole story, of how this small boy had observed her, and had decided that she was the person he desired for his mother. But she wrote back saying that she could take no responsibility for him. For one thing, Ha'penny was a Mosuto, and she was a colored woman; for another, she had never had a child in trouble, and how could she take such a boy?

Tuberculosis is a strange thing; sometimes it manifests itself suddenly in the most unlikeky host, and swiftly sweeps to the end. Ha'penny withdrew himself from the world, from all Principals and mothers, and the doctor said there was little hope. In desperation I sent money for Mrs. Maarman to come.

She was a decent, homely woman, and, seeing that the situation was serious, she, without fuss or embarrassment, adopted Ha'penny for her own. The whole reformatory accepted her as his mother. She sat the whole day with him, and talked to him of Richard and Dickie, Anna and Mina and how they were all waiting for him to come home. She poured out her affection on him, and had no fear of his sickness, nor did she allow it to prevent her from satisfying his hunger to be owned. She talked to him of what they would do when he came back, and how he would go to the school, and what they would buy for Guy Fawkes night.

He in his turn gave his whole attention to her, and when I visited him he was grateful, but I had passed out of his world. I felt judged in that I had sensed only the existence and not the measure of his desire. I wished I had done something sooner, more wise, more prodigal.

We buried him on the reformatory farm, and Mrs. Maarman said to me, "When you put up the cross, put he was my son."

"I'm ashamed," she said, "that I wouldn't take him."

"The sickness, " I said, "the sickness would have come."

"No," she said, shaking her head with certainty. "It wouldn't have come. And if it had come at home, it would have been different."

So she left for Bloemfontein, after her strange visit to a reformatory. And I was left too, with the resolve to be more prodigal in the task that the State, though not in so many words, had enjoined upon me.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Jazz Bit

I'm not a fan of the whiny, self-obsessed, banshee acoustics of the desi alternative/grunge scene but there's these two guys from Peshawar who've come out with a few singles, one of which is a very impressive jazz piece. I don't know about their songs but the instrumental's slick enough to deserve a listen. It can be downloaded here.

Saturday, April 23, 2005


Ammi's surgery has been postponed indefinitely because of her severe asthma. The anesthesiologists felt that her lungs weren't good enough to permit safe surgery and she'll be at home until lung function can be optimised.

Jazak Allah to all those friends who remembered us in their duas. We're very grateful.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Request for Duas

Insha-Allah, my mother is scheduled to have some major surgery on Sunday. Please remember her in your duas and pray for her health.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Griffin calls to come and kiss him goodnight
I yell ok. Finish something I'm doing,
then something else, walk slowly round
the corner to my son's room.
He is standing arms outstretched
waiting for a bearhug. Grinning.

Why do I give my emotion an animal's name,
give it that dark squeeze of death?
This is the hug which collects
all his small bones and his warm neck against me.
The thin tough body under the pyjamas
locks to me like a magnet of blood.

How long was he standing there
like that, before I came?

- Michael Ondaatje

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Request for duas

A friend's son, diagnosed with leukemia in 2003, has recently suffered a second relapse. I'm not sure how many of you have had the experience of having someone close to them suffer from cancer. It's a gruesome disease not only for the way it insidiously corrodes a person's body and their spirit but also for the havoc it wreaks on the family. It's very difficult to watch a loved one in pain and not be able to do anything about it.

Please remember the child and his family in your duas.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Reach Out and Touch No One

An interesting article about people who pretend to talk to their cellphones.

How many? It is hard to say. But James E. Katz, a professor of communication at Rutgers University, says his classroom research suggests that plenty of the people talking on the phone around you are really faking it. In one survey Dr. Katz conducted, more than a quarter of his students said they made fake calls. He found the number hard to believe. Then in another class 27 of 29 students said they did it.

"People are turning the technology on its head," Dr. Katz said. "They are taking a device that was designed to talk to people who are far away and using it to communicate with people who are directly around them."

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Indian Takeout

"What is patriotism but the love of the good things we ate in our childhood?" - Lin Yutang

Jhumpa Lahiri reminisces about her parents' piracy

Monday, April 11, 2005


If Allah helps you, none can overcome you: If He forsakes you, who is there, after that, that can help you? In Allah, then, let believers put their trust. - Surah Aal-e-Imran, ayah 160

I passed my exam. The one I couldn't study for (my sleeping dreams and my waking dreams meshed inextricably into one continuous nightmare.) The one I almost missed because I left home too late to catch the right bus (thank you random stranger who saw me running down the street and gave me a ride to the bus station.) The one I had a splitting headache through (thank you kind invigilator woman for rummaging into your purse and coming up with Panadol Extra, not once but twice. You had a sweet smile.)

Alhumdulillah. Nothing is easy except for what God makes easy. And only He can make what's difficult easy.


A wonderful article on adoption.

Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face

Be glad your nose is on your face,
not pasted on some other place,
for if it were where it is not,
you might dislike your nose a lot.

Imagine if your precious nose
were sandwiched in between your toes,
that clearly would not be a treat,
for you'd be forced to smell your feet.

Your nose would be a source of dread
were it attached atop your head,
it soon would drive you to despair,
forever tickled by your hair.

Within your ear, your nose would be
an absolute catastrophe,
for when you were obliged to sneeze,
your brain would rattle from the breeze.

Your nose, instead, through thick and thin,
remains between your eyes and chin,
not pasted on some other place--
be glad your nose is on your face!

- Jack Prelutsky

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Hey! You! Get off of my cloud!

"Hi Davinder aunty!" I said greeting our neighbour at the supermarket.

"Oh, hello, beta," she said, smiling back. "I always forget your name. Karrvakarela, isn't it?"

"Ji, aunty," I replied. "How are you?"

"Fine and yourself?"

"Not too bad," I said, lying. I was bored as hell. It had been a long and empty day, livened up only by the periodic bouts of sleeping I forced myself into. Too hot to go out anywhere during the day, the evening had come as welcome relief and as soon as the bruises drained out of the sky, I'd left for a walk. Now, the town I live in isn't a particularly large one and invariably a walk always end up at the mall. The fact that the said mall is only ten minutes from my house and ice-creamed and airconditioned tends to help matters somewhat. But that's besides the point. I live in a small town.

Which is why whenever I go to the supermarket I always end up running into someone we know. Today it was Davinder aunty, our Sikh neighbour and the mother of two extraordinarily precocious children. (A third, older than the other two, plays ice-hockey in lieu of displaying any remarkable talents.) But Amardeep and Hardeep are bright and energetic and, having almost immediately befriended both my mother and our housemaid, are always over at our house. Amardeep likes to draw on the paper from our printer, flattering us with carefully proportioned family portraits that say nothing for her eye for detail and everything for what a generous heart she has. She also likes to suck her thumb. Her brother Hardeep's endearing, though somewhat disturbing, qualities include his passion for dressing up like a woman, complete with dupatta and high heels and a voice that sounds like a pressure cooker about to explode. Together, these two provide an entertaining interlude to our adult lives and we are always glad when they come.

Sometimes their mother joins them and she and Ammi sit out on the front porch talking to each other. Davinder aunty is a sweet and gutsy Punjabi woman, always ready for a laugh. Belying the stereotype, though, she has known her fair share of personal sadness and sometimes, if you catch her off guard you can sense the marks grief has left on her. But most of the time she is sassy and delightful and, like her daughter, has a very generous heart. No birthday goes forgotten and every Christmas we are, each of us, given our gifts, wrapped and ribboned with a hand-written benediction. She is that sort of person.

So, it was a pleasure running into her at the supermarket. She had the two kids with her, the thumbsucker and the cross-dresser, and was obviously looking for something so I thought it best not to keep her and excused myself. Besides, I had my own little mission to run. For the past few days, ever since I fatefully stumbled on to a tray of Nachos on a trip to Dubai, I have been obsessing over the taste in my mind (Cheese dip! What a concept!) and have made several failed attempts to actually go out and buy a jar of the precious food. Imagine then my disappointment when today, after scouring the aisles for what seemed like an irresponsibly long time, I find my heart's ambition met by a box of dessicated tortilla chips and no sauce. This in a supermarket that has fifty checkout counters! Globalisation sucks.

Crushed by this unprecedented failure, I turned to my contingency plan in the hopes of salvaging my dreams of midnight gluttony. Hershey's chocolate syrup, slathered generously over a bowl of soft vanilla ice cream. Gone were the days of rummaging in cupboards and coming up with all sorts of dismal combinations. (Strawberry jam and vanilla ice cream is an experiment best confined to memory.) Chocolate syrup was where it was at and thus fortified by visions of limitless debauchery I set out on the task of locating the source of this vital sauce.

Which would ordinarily have been pretty easy except that Hershey's Chocolate Syrup happened to be the hypermarket's best kept secret. No one knew where it was kept. I asked one attendant who dutifully led me into the Bleach and Toilet Cleaner section to ask his colleague.

"What do you mean, chocolate syrup?" he asked, perplexed.

"You know, you can put in milk or pour it over ice cream. Like syrup?" I replied, trying to explain.

"You mean, liquid chocolate?"

"Yes!" I said, seizing upon the epiphany. "Liquid chocolate!"

"No, we don't have that."

How could it be? A hypermarket that has fifty checkout counters and that keeps its doors open to the adoring public from ten in the morning to midnight each night, how can it not stock on chocolate syrup. It couldn't be. I refused to accept it.

And thus another few minutes were wasted, fastidiously wandering up and down aisles in the fervent hope of locating this precious fluid. It couldn't be that hard. It's only chocolate syrup. They must have it somewhere.

But they didn't. Or if they did, someone had cast a spell on it to render it invisible to the mortal eye. It could only be found by someone of a managerial persuasion. Someone who knew the inner workings of this dark and demonic enterprise, this hypermarket with its terrible secrets. The playground of sorcerors and other practitioners of the dark arts. Lair to all the woebegotten outcasts of the world who punished tortilla chips and chocolate syrup in a cold act of ignorant revenge for all that society had inflicted upon them. Only a manager, and no less, could negotiate these terrible realities and deliver safely into the hands of the truthful and peace-loving their beloved chocolate syrup.

"What do you mean, chocolate syrup?" he said to me, blinking vacuously as if I'd asked him where they kept the Giant Rat of Sumatra.

"You know, you can put in milk or pour it over ice cream. Like syrup?" I replied, repeating myself.

"You mean, like these?" he said, pointing towards to the tins of canned peaches.

That was it! I'd had enough of this useless exercise. Managers be damned! I was going to a higher authority. Someone who really knew the place of things. Someone who wouldn't disappoint.

"Davinder aunty, do you know where they keep the chocolate syrup?" I asked pleadingly.

"Oh, you poor dear," she replied with such tenderness that for a moment I was almost tempted to push my face into her ample belly and start sobbing. "I know, they keep it in a really weird place. Here try this aisle," she said, pointing to the dried goods section.

And lo and behold, there it was! The precious chocolate syrup, nestled inconspicuously between the powdered milk and the sacks of flour. Hiding it under my shirt, lest someone should try and rob me of my coveted prize, I ran to the checkout counter. Behind me, I could hear Hardeep and Uncle Soorae running after me. "Has he found it? Yes, he's found it!" their voices cried exultantly through the throes of ignorant attendants and stupefied managers.

Frantically, I paid for my purchase and ran all the way home, locking it up safely as soon as I tumbled into the house. It now sits gloriously in our kitchen cabinet for all to see and admire. I cannot, after all that we've been together, ever conceive squandering my magnificent victory over some insignificant ice-cream. It's far too precious for that.

Anybody got any ideas for a tub of ice cream?

Friday, April 08, 2005

Awesome stuff: The Dabba-waalas of Mumbai

The representatives of Mumbai's dabbawallas will attend Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles' wedding at St George Chapel, Windsor Castle, on April 9. The unique relationship between Charles and the dabbawallas started in November 2003, when the Prince visited India. He wanted to meet the dabbawallas to find out about their unique food supply service that had featured in Forbes magazine. The dabbawallas were delighted when the Prince took time off his busy schedule and spent time with them. When the wedding was announced, the dabbawallas wasted no time in sending a wedding gift -- a turban for Charles and a sari for Camilla.

The Prince was moved by their gesture and invited them to the wedding.

Who are the dabba-waalas?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

I Had a Hippopotamus

I had a hippopotamus; I kept him in a shed
And fed him upon vitamins and vegetable bread;
I made him my companion on many cheery walks
And had his portrait done by a celebrity in chalks.

His charming eccentricities were known on every side,
The creature's popularity was wonderfully wide;
He frolicked with the Rector in a dozen friendly tussles,
Who could not but remark upon his hippopotamuscles.

If he should be afflicted by depression or the dumps,
By hippopotameasles or the hippopotamumps,
I never knew a particle of peace till it was plain
He was hippopotamasticating properly again.

I had a hippopotamus; I loved him as a friend;
But beautiful relationships are bound to have an end;
Time takes, alas! our joys from us and robs us of our blisses;
My hippopotamus turned out a hippopotamissis.

My housekeeper regarded him with jaundice in her eye;
She did not want a colony of hippotami;
She borrowed a machine-gun from her soldier-nephew, Percy,
And showed my hippopotamus no hippopotamercy.

My house now lacks that glamour that the charming creature gave,
The garage where I kept him is as silent as the grave;
No longer he displays among the motor-tyres and spanners
His hippopotomastery of hippopotamanners.

No longer now he gambols in the orchard in the Spring;
No longer do I lead him through the village on a string;
No longer in the mornings does the neighbourhood rejoice
To his hippopotamusically-modulated voice.

I had a hippopotamus; but nothing upon earth
Is constant in its happiness or lasting in its mirth.
No joy that life can give me can be strong enough to smother
My sorrow for that might-have-been-a-hippopota-mother.

- Patrick Barrington

Sunday, April 03, 2005


In solidarity with Binje's post (Monday, March 28) commemorating the struggles of the scandalously single desi.

Should I get married? Should I be good?
Astound the girl next door with my velvet suit and faustus hood?
Don't take her to movies but to cemeteries
tell all about werewolf bathtubs and forked clarinets
then desire her and kiss her and all the preliminaries
and she going just so far and I understanding why
not getting angry saying You must feel! It's beautiful to feel!
Instead take her in my arms lean against an old crooked tombstone
and woo her the entire night the constellations in the sky -

When she introduces me to her parents
back straightened, hair finally combed, strangled by a tie,
should I sit with my knees together on their 3rd degree sofa
and not ask Where's the bathroom?
How else to feel other than I am,
often thinking Flash Gordon soap -
O how terrible it must be for a young man
seated before a family and the family thinking
We never saw him before! He wants our Mary Lou!
After tea and homemade cookies they ask What do you do for a living?

Should I tell them? Would they like me then?
Say All right get married, we're losing a daughter
but we're gaining a son -
And should I then ask Where's the bathroom?

O God, and the wedding! All her family and her friends
and only a handful of mine all scroungy and bearded
just wait to get at the drinks and food -
And the priest! he looking at me as if I masturbated
asking me Do you take this woman for your lawful wedded wife?
And I trembling what to say say Pie Glue!
I kiss the bride all those corny men slapping me on the back
She's all yours, boy! Ha-ha-ha!
And in their eyes you could see some obscene honeymoon going on -
Then all that absurd rice and clanky cans and shoes
Niagara Falls! Hordes of us! Husbands! Wives! Flowers! Chocolates!
All streaming into cozy hotels
All going to do the same thing tonight
The indifferent clerk he knowing what was going to happen
The lobby zombies they knowing what
The whistling elevator man he knowing
Everybody knowing! I'd almost be inclined not to do anything!
Stay up all night! Stare that hotel clerk in the eye!
Screaming: I deny honeymoon! I deny honeymoon!
running rampant into those almost climactic suites
yelling Radio belly! Cat shovel!
O I'd live in Niagara forever! in a dark cave beneath the Falls
I'd sit there the Mad Honeymooner
devising ways to break marriages, a scourge of bigamy
a saint of divorce -

But I should get married I should be good
How nice it'd be to come home to her
and sit by the fireplace and she in the kitchen
aproned young and lovely wanting my baby
and so happy about me she burns the roast beef
and comes crying to me and I get up from my big papa chair
saying Christmas teeth! Radiant brains! Apple deaf!
God what a husband I'd make! Yes, I should get married!
So much to do! Like sneaking into Mr Jones' house late at night
and cover his golf clubs with 1920 Norwegian books
Like hanging a picture of Rimbaud on the lawnmower
like pasting Tannu Tuva postage stamps all over the picket fence
like when Mrs Kindhead comes to collect for the Community Chest
grab her and tell her There are unfavorable omens in the sky!
And when the mayor comes to get my vote tell him
When are you going to stop people killing whales!
And when the milkman comes leave him a note in the bottle
Penguin dust, bring me penguin dust, I want penguin dust -

Yet if I should get married and it's Connecticut and snow
and she gives birth to a child and I am sleepless, worn,
up for nights, head bowed against a quiet window, the past behind me,
finding myself in the most common of situations a trembling man
knowledged with responsibility not twig-smear nor Roman coin soup-
O what would that be like!
Surely I'd give it for a nipple a rubber Tacitus
For a rattle a bag of broken Bach records
Tack Della Francesca all over its crib
Sew the Greek alphabet on its bib
And build for its playpen a roofless Parthenon

No, I doubt I'd be that kind of father
Not rural not snow no quiet window
but hot smelly tight New York City
seven flights up, roaches and rats in the walls
a fat Reichian wife screeching over potatoes Get a job!
And five nose running brats in love with Batman
And the neighbors all toothless and dry haired
like those hag masses of the 18th century
all wanting to come in and watch TV
The landlord wants his rent
Grocery store Blue Cross Gas & Electric Knights of Columbus
impossible to lie back and dream Telephone snow, ghost parking -
No! I should not get married! I should never get married!
But - imagine if I were married to a beautiful sophisticated woman
tall and pale wearing an elegant black dress and long black gloves
holding a cigarette holder in one hand and a highball in the other
and we lived high up in a penthouse with a huge window
from which we could see all of New York and even farther on clearer days
No, can't imagine myself married to that pleasant prison dream -

O but what about love? I forget love
not that I am incapable of love
It's just that I see love as odd as wearing shoes -
I never wanted to marry a girl who was like my mother
And Ingrid Bergman was always impossible
And there's maybe a girl now but she's already married
And I don't like men and -
But there's got to be somebody!
Because what if I'm 60 years old and not married,
all alone in a furnished room with pee stains on my underwear
and everybody else is married! All the universe married but me!

Ah, yet well I know that were a woman possible as I am possible
then marriage would be possible -
Like SHE in her lonely alien gaud waiting her Egyptian lover
so i wait-bereft of 2,000 years and the bath of life.

- Gregory Corso

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Mirror, Mirror

A young spring-tender girl
combed her joyous hair
'You are very ugly' said the mirror.
on her lips hung
a smile of dove-secret loveliness,
for only that morning had not
the blind boy said,
'You are beautiful'?

- Spike Milligan


This poem conveys wonderfully what I was previously struggling to say. Which is that beauty comes from within. It's a quality that's inspired by the good we do and the love we receive. It is a mark of God's Mercy. It cannot be manufactured.

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