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:: Monday, January 26, 2004 ::

Poetry Circle - "The Wind" by Vikram Seth

The bay is thick with flecks of white.
The freezing air is honed and thinned.
The gulls sleep on the stones tonight,
Wings locked against the prising wind.
With no companion to my mood,
Against the wind, as it should be,
I walk, but in my solitude
Bow to the wind that buffets me.
Poetry Circle sends mailings once a week.
If you'd like to be added to, or removed from, this mailing list, please send an email to seema33@sbcglobal.net
:: Seema 6:45 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, January 20, 2004 ::
Poetry Circle - "Aztec Mask" by Carl Sandburg

I WANTED a man's face looking into the jaws and throat
of life
With something proud on his face, so proud no smash
of the jaws,
No gulp of the throat leaves the face in the end
With anything else than the old proud look:
Even to the finish, dumped in the dust,
Lost among the used-up cinders,
This face, men would say, is a flash,
Is laid on bones taken from the ribs of the earth,
Ready for the hammers of changing, changing years,
Ready for the sleeping, sleeping years of silence.
Ready for the dust and fire and wind.
I wanted this face and I saw it today in an Aztec mask.
A cry out of storm and dark, a red yell and a purple prayer,
A beaten shape of ashes
waiting the sunrise or night,
something or nothing,
proud-eyed gambler.
Poetry Circle sends mailings once a week.
If you'd like to be added to this mailing list, please send an email to seema33@sbcglobal.net
:: Seema 10:39 AM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, January 13, 2004 ::
Poetry Circle comes to groupthink
Poetry Circle is something I started a few months ago where I send out a poem once a week to everybody who signed up to the Circle. Poems vary from short to long, serious to humorous, old and new, french, british, american, greek, south american etc. poets, you name it. So far I've gotten pretty good feedback and Hari has asked me to start blogging my weekly mailout. Here's this week's. Enjoy! If you'd like to be added to the weekly email, send me an email at seema33@sbcglobal.net -- ss

Poetry Circle - Two poems by Jacques Prevert

Paris at Night
by Jacques Prevert

Three matches one by one struck in the night
The first to see your face in it's entirety
The second to see your eyes
The last to see your mouth
And the darkness all around to remind me of all these
As I hold you in my arms.

Morning Breakfast
by Jacques Prevert

He put the coffee
Into the cup
He put the milk
Into the cup of coffee
He put the sugar
Into the cafe au lait
With the little spoon
He stirred
He drank the coffee
And he replaced the cup
Without speaking to me
He lit
A cigarette
He made rings
With the smoke
He put the ashes
Into the ashtray
Without speaking to me
Without looking to me
He stood up
He put
His hat upon his head
He put
His raincoat on
Because it was raining
And he left
Without one word
And me I took
My head in my hand
And I wept.
:: Seema 7:13 PM [+] ::
:: Thursday, January 01, 2004 ::
what u can buy on ebay.
check out this little aircraft carrier.
:: h 10:44 AM [+] ::
:: Sunday, December 21, 2003 ::
was at a lecture/workshop/gathering yesterday afternoon sponsored by the AIF. it was a chance to hear from some of their service corp volunteers who had served in India for 9 months to a year- working on development issues. Indicorps has a similar program up and running. though the programs differ a bit in their execution- Indicorps volunteers have to pay their own way from the US while AIF springs for the trip and a $20 monthly stipend, the goals are the same- to immerse motivated individuals in an environment that exposes them to some of the challenges the other 97 percent of the world faces- and let them use their energies to improve some segment of the challenges the country faces. most of the volunteers agreed that India affected them more than they were able to affect it - whether it was through reconstruction projects in the wake of the Bhuj earthquake or smaller village projects. one of the comments i found most interesting was from the individual that went through Indicorp- when he was asked whether or not he felt hopeless at times, he said "how could i feel hopeless when i was surrounded by such hopeful people". i had never really articulated one of my loves for India in such a way. we call is spirit, entrepreurism, drive, the fight-in-the-dog, etc., etc., etc. but it really just comes down to hope.
one of the things i felt while shooting some of my non-profit stories in India this summer was that pity is a ridiculous and useless thing to feel for people who are less fortunate (in the material sense). one of my stories begins with a woman who has lived on the same street, in a roadside shanty since 1969. her HOME is literally a blue tarp. her child who also lives under this tarp is part of a pilot program of the sornammal educational trust- at st. anne's school. essentially 1 out of 4 students there receive some sort of financial aid or another. anyway- what i saw was that the woman wasn't resentful at all the things in the world that were wrong, she just took it a day at a time, picking about 10 kilos of trash a day for about a dollar, and making sure there is something for her daughter to eat when the little girl gets home from school. shes just living her life as best she can. most people around me- in this rather "advanced" society would head deep into depression, turn to some sort of meds- whether it be alcohol or drugs, to begin coping with this sort of reality- but most people in most parts of the world- COWBOY UP- to borrow a phrase.
another idea that i manducated on for a while was the juxtaposition of spiritual and material wealths and poverties of the two countries. i remember a long time ago i wrote a little ditty called pilgrims about people journeying to India to find that "thing in itself" as Kant would say.

in other news. bbc has a couple of programs on the local npr affiliate on sunday afternoons- one of them is an interesting little ditty called instant guide, its just that- about a 25 minute program on topic x or y. this week it was about the geneva conventions. unfortunately i don't think there is an online archive of the program but a solid reference site on the conventions does exist thanks to the society of professional journalists. there is a clause in one of the conventions which protects prisoners of war from insult or public curiosity. i remember learning about that first during the last gulf war when we witnessed US soldiers on video tape making all sorts of confessions under extreme duress. are we to think that the videos presented to CNN of the most recent capture open one up to public curiosity. i think the intent of that rule was probably so prisoners of war aren't paraded on the streets or dragged behind a truck- but in this information age, a couple clips of SH getting a medical flying around to every internet site and 24 hour network- its a bit larger audience than that hypothetical street- no? i also remember watching the leslie stahl interview of donald rumsfeld where he declared that hussein would be accorded the protections of the Geneva Convention.
another story that caught my ear was that of Cheryl Stearns the lady who plans to set the new world record for highest skydive. shes basically going to jump from the edge of space, 135,000 feet, about 25 miles off the deck. she'll have to be in a spacesuit essentially and at times she'll hit speeds of 900+ mph as she hurtles toward the ground. she said during the interview that not until 85,000 feet or so does the air pressure and resistance become significant enough where she'd slow down to what you and i consider terminal velocity. bit different than when i did it a dozen or so times in college. keep in mind that most commercial airliners we fly are cruising at an altitude of 37,000 feet.

:: h 9:04 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, December 17, 2003 ::
ozo good.

if u ever get a chance u should check out a live performance by the band ozomatli- think high energy band ala 311, some fusion funk ala leftover salmon all with a latin/hiphop/salsa vibe. 10 guys... JAM- horns/guitars/percussions/singers/rappers/ and a SICK dj playing the wheels of steel
awesome live show- they end it by cruisin' through the crowd, setting up a circle in the center of the floor, playin' a medley including themes from sesame st. and the hokey pokey and leavin' the crowd fired up for the next gig.
:: h 10:05 AM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, December 03, 2003 ::
heard some fascinating thoughts over thanksgiving from some interesting characters. from an architect talking about how water influences city architectures to someone studying privacy and 19th century cartography who described the wealth of informaiton in the compactable knowledge of maps to a constitutional law professor who thought we might just want to do away with the US senate since it was such an unrepresentative and counterdemocratic body. without getting specific, i'll just say that my weekend was a chance for me to feel like i was in school again, listening to, and engaging with some bright articulate individuals from different walks of life.

one of the eye opening workshops regarded the future of the health care system in the US. since medicare legislation had just been passed, it was the flashpoint for discussion. panelists included mostly doctors and a few policy folks but I had never really thought about the wide range of abuses inherent in our system and how individual arms from the pharmas to the HMOs to the lawyers to the doctors and perhaps even patients all seem to be contributing to an escalating spiral of costs while heading further away from any semblance of universal care. we've all heard the arguments against the pharma companies- that they spend a disproportionate amount on marketing of their drugs while shielding their high costs behind the argument that the companies invested heavily into research and development. we've also heard about the increasing trend toward specialty medicine where in order to recoup the severe costs of a medical education, doctors head toward more lucrative specialties or subspecialties. combine this with higher malpractice insurance rates the doctors have to pay, and HMOs bill services at exorbitant rates to cover costs and of course show shareholders profits. throw in a general population which seems to have a proclivity for litigation, -though one member in the audience of this discussion discounted our litigousness as agressive marketing by the insurance companies- and we get the high prices we have. i definitely feel socialist (as usual) when it comes to health care. i feel that regardless of your income or citizenship- if you are wounded and walk into an emergency room, you should get treatment. i think this happens "most" of the time and certain communities are left holding the bill which creates resentment. speaking of resentment, i don't know of anyone of my generation who feels like medicare or even social security will be around when we reach retirement age at 67. i just received my annual social security notice of benefits and it seems like quite the ponzi scheme.

:: h 4:56 PM [+] ::

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