The books in my library, those other than I inherited from my late father, bear my signature, date and place where I bought them. It is not, as you may think, a mark of my ownership; it is a sign that each of them contains a bit of my soul. Looking at each of them, I can recollect the moment I saw the book, caressed, smelled it, leafed through and with muc pleasure and excitement paid for and became its happy owner. Similarly, my friends, believe me, into every word that I write here, goes a bit of my soul. Read them together – and what I gift you with is what I can call really my own – my self. Scattered among these virtual pages lies kaleidoscopic Balachandran V. You roll it, shake it, take it to light – you have every right to like or dislike, love or hate me.
I am happy that all of you found my gift of C K Williams most endearing. Reading his poems, I gather an image of C K Williams and am humbled that he let me into his soul.
The other poem that I wanted to share with you is not Shame, but Harm – forgive the vagrant memory of an old man! Again, it is not available in the ‘net – therefore I will type it down here. I hope C K Williams would forgive me for this violation of his copyright etc, but believe me, Mr. Williams, I am paying a tribute to you. I would love to buy copies of your ‘A Dream of Mind’ which has ‘Harm’ in it and give to all my friends, but am too poor to do that. All I can hope and fantasize is that perhaps you might read me one day and think of me as a kindred soul who looks up at you, you, like a bright star in the sky…
There is a reason why I am taking this effort. I want you, my friends, to look beyond the walls that surround us. Beyond the walls lies the vast and eternal ocean of life. It is beautiful, ugly; serene, tempestuous. I would like you to look at life the way C K looks at it – with compassion, with dispassion; with love, with detachment; touched and untouched. If what you see is disquieting, remember that it is only your reaction; reality is real and unchanging. All that changes is your perception of life. In perceiving life, you perceive yourself – that is all life is about – understanding and marveling at the you in you. Do not be judgmental, on you or anybody else. Be open and vast like the skies and the sea and the forests that lead to the edge of the horizon. The void and darkness invariably follows – later.
Harm – by C K Williams
With his shopping car, his bags of booty and his wine, I’d always found him inoffensive.
Every neighbourhood has one or two these days; ours never rants at you at least or begs.
He just forages the trash all day, drinks and sings and shadowboxes,
then at nightfall finds a doorway to make camp, set out his battered little radio and slab of rotting foam.
The other day, though, as I was going by, he stepped abruptly out between parked cars,
Undid his pants, and, not even bothering to squat, sputtered out a noxious, almost liquid stream.
there was that, and that his bony shanks and buttocks were already stained beyond redemption,
That his scarlet testicles were blown up bigger than a bull’s with some sorrowful disease,
and that a slender adolescent girl from down the block happened by right then, and looked,
and looked away, and looked at me, and looked away again, and made me want to say to her,
because I imagined what she must have felt, It’s not like this, really, it’s not this,
but she was gone, so I could think, But isn’t it like this, isn’t this just what it is?
My most sincere and warm regards to you all. I value you; immeasurably.
Balachandran, Trivandrum, 12.02.2010