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Touching Earth

To leave your homeland is to achieve half of the dharma – Milarepa

Leaving all places like walking out of an empty house.Long years of the dark-eyed lens

obscuring sight losing focus on what’s been lost

inland seas of tears

opened unburdened

a humming jet-plane moving empty-faced

across Antipodes desert and drift

sheer Himalaya ridge of mind’s eye

breaking through

unknown space.

Is that what all exiles are:

every morning meeting

‘the air of another planet’

knowing that freedom comes out

of a cupful of silent water

where bodies everywhere seek their own weight

in another wait in abeyance

to inner-city street-grit worlds

stories dried-up books forgotten

love sex dissolved in

film-frame all 24 maps of ecstasy

gone in a second

of wheels lifting from earth

the end-click of a long-distance line.

In buses trains planes

rickshaw oxcart cargo-ship

moving through still earth

without the Original Ticket

the next stop-point only

half a destination

to take flight flutter

unfurl get cast down -out

from nectar places unravel in fever-beds of

hunger or

the deafening suburbs –

where does everything go?


In India passing alone by Ganges steps

the ghats frantic with Shivaratri

mania of bells didgeridoo

among the flames Brahmin dead

satellite-enshrouded beamed-out from Krishna’s vast maw

kaleidoscope of all the worlds turning there:

Wall Street pretas Fairfax demi-gods

belly-dancing brokermen flab-fool’d

grasping at hours champagne flute

sewer-music efflux of the spheres

before the rage of yuga’s turning

CNN oraculars World Cup finals

bedtime benedictions of the BBC

updates on the bombing raids

‘keep the homefires burning’

terrorist cells inciting

domestic fissures new cracks in the wall –

stop in at Shiva’s druggy shrine

make offerings to all the ghosts

spirits yakshas

crowded inside the Shadow of untold lives

10,000 years gathered in this town

someone wants to sell you opium someone else enlightenment

drumbeats bloodletting Varanasi arteries

bhanged-out in the night

time-blown in the year 2012

on Dasaswamedh Ghat the aarti

hums an open-tuning on the air

all beings with the dead turning Shiva blue

by dawn chillum-smokers rouse

Ganges lapping bank

pale blue boat

drifting loose vulture hovering above

smoke-stained roof…

Syndicated News in Economy can’t show the burning

of Rohingya Muslim Syrian inferno

Abraham’s brothers-in-blood

Kurdish no-man’s land

Tibetan genocide unsung

Hutu plains of bone-bleached soil

lost peoples every one where do they all go

silent as old Buddhas of Afghanistan

blown up into ten-thousand pieces

each pregnant with Kasyapa’s smile

lying in dust to ask of silence

if the great matter of life and death

sphinx-riddle that refuses answer

world’s perpetual will to suffer is the only will to tame her

the hungers the horror of self-willed hells

the only proof to convince us

of death’s provisional night

the steady grace of pain

evaded misread unheeded

under stratosphere sonorities rustled newspapers

static over the intercom all the dappled Way

from some God to here…


Dawn come

birthing inbetween the blinds

someone else’s motherland yielding beneath the wheels

breasts of coastal hills

nervous system of Los Angeles grid

vast serpentine.

Milarepa was wrong

there is no homeland other than this mind

though its relinquishing give us dreams

no choice

though filmic narrations

demand heroes and ill-histories

succour of war


knocking at democracy’s

Janus-faced door

another crusade against

apostate the meek

Earth’s poor.

Coming to every unknown shore

an innocent and a fool

stepping-down touching earth

history’s weight uncaught

flies breathless

away from you

unyoked it seems always

unsought –

this life the only life to bring breath to.

Martin Kovan

Link to Martin’s original publish with author formatting