Friday, February 19, 2016


         for Sarika Singh

         In a large lecture hall in Denver, she spoke of the lifelong painting of tangkhas - a living with the sacred.  It lifts you, painter or observer, out of dailiness, accepts mortality.


      An Indian art, mother of Asia, no longer in India.

      Caves bear witness.


      One of the six Indians present said: the caste system is gone.  We have places reserved, in each university, for shudras.  Like America.

      How many of you are of shudra ancestry, she asked?

      No one raised her hand

      How many brahmans?



If you marry a Buddhist

and you are an outcaste

Brahmans burn

are you accepted

incense if you are present

as an equal

are you a shudra

DJ Ambedkar


if you are fighting

avoid your presence

clean up their shit

even a wind’s breath

for opportunity

they did not

no matter how smart

no matter how hardworking

no matter how beautiful

(they might rape you)

you must stand aside

burn incense


open sewer

they will use force

as in Mississippi

drove Buddhists out

as if there were a hope

of India long centuries


said W.E.B. Dubois

a brahman

burning a big

pile of incense

a bonpyre

that even their ashes

in the Ganga

could be clean

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