language-hobbyist jam ismail materialized in the british crown colony of hong kong,
1940. contexts past & present include: koran, masculinities without men (hongkong);
ezra pound, sacred texts of the east (edmonton); frantz fanon, lisa robertson (vancouver);
henry corbin, hamid dabashi (london); gayatri mantram (bangalore). jam studied &
taught in hong kong & western canadian departments of english. her graffiti include:
'from diction air ' (1989), 'from scared texts ' (1991), 'translit-' (1997), & 'perch' (2001).
for anthologized texts, see many-mouthed birds:contemporary writing by chinese canadians
(vancouver:1991); shakti's words:an anthology of south asian canadian women's poetry
(toronto:1993); outloud (hong kong:2002); & wwnorton's forthcoming contemporary
voices of the far east (2007). for publications in journals, see contemporary verse 2
(winnipeg:1988), ankur, canadian literature (vancouver:1992), westcoast line (vancouver:
1997), prairie fire (winnipeg: 2001), & how2journal.com (indian innnovation, vol.2 no.4.
spring 2006). jam lives in the special administrative region of hong kong, china.
international feminist bookfair (montreal 1989). a woman from india
asks, what does 'lesbian' mean? a woman from pakistan replies.
midnight blue in cafeteria, with gold border. terra
cotta, ecru saris
'at first', she mused, stroking her face, 'it
meant you made love with women.'
steam pillowed our white styrofoam waddles.
'then', she frowned, 'it meant you could make love
with men too.'
eyes widened narrow around table.
'then', she didn't quite shake her head, 'you
didn't have to do either.'
we all laughed, such good magic!
'but now', she reached for her cup, 'they seem to be
using it to mean commitment .'
we sipped tea. sigh. back to work.
You want your soul's de sire
Go to hell!
She won't come laughing to a waiter, she's
Unhad, you'll have to abstain
All bad habits, give them away
The machines of pride & envy too
She can smell the pea thru many mattresses
Trist's not only a saison alone
In time gone fast loving takes mor time
She won't come to a lighted complexity, she
Disdains mirrorers, they hav been wrong!
In her sleep she runs a long dark transparence
When you go there, you mustn't dazzle
She has belonged to no one
Like a land wher sleeps
A noble prince
Are you special, little brother? May be
Some country's her image-inn you've seen
Better than other? Coyote's own run
Or under moon the corridor
Time she gives you, for her self
Timing's for you to tell. When to change
If you flash pieces of knowhow
To blind. If you force
If you test false , will she escape
But the prince will have
spit into you
Your husband says:
His intellectual dogs will make you forget yourself !
to n. rimsky-korsakov, 'song of india', op.5, sadko
sleep see two men inside this new my yard | i'm coming home
a sidewalk passerby | what speaks across the fence is dark,
tall, twelve-footer, sleek, white-sheeted black doghead* |
woof, I look away, leave my voice courteous | to be spoken
to by such phenomenon might well be deemed by some flattering |
east horizon, big maple, creamy horsechestnut, roofs of red &
grey shingle | clouds billow & smoke up heavy grey air |
flaming fringe is seen above the schools south | is it the
house where i used to call home | take me with you he is
beseeching | meaning by walky-talky hand. | & I nod or like
that in a hurry | & it's not my home that's oh fire (fly! |
Now crackle's corpsing up my eye
Sometimes intense & rapid dying brings the life rushing out of the body,
the dier sees the important events of it flash before the eyes . a sudden fall off a mountain, the
reader is shocked into perfection, requiring of the life-sentence no revision . the re-seeing of
very sad happenings is not painful . this final report which some call the last judgment & others
only time , from the city. There is no sense of a known appointment . perhaps he had under
stood up love after all . in the rusty twilight dawn he sees a huddle in less cut cloth, those
who've stayed on in the naive village . they shuffle a long dipping the very sloping rays into the
copse's winter shadow like refugees be reft to words colder dark & disappear . perhaps in the
shadow the snow grasses brief, as his eyes strain to take in a beloved or some friend of youth .
or maybe he stands & looks on , simplified , already undensing lucid flesh.
the crowd of persons on his side in that whiter imageless place are lining up too . he does not
wonder if he knows them / the ran domness increases . the rows some of them are not strait to
infinite . with white about him now like plane cloud , he sees he is seeing separation
do you know , in the paradise there's a saying , it's not your fault , the angel explains , it's
not your fault that you were the agent of so much misery.
The sound, see divides into frequencies
what else can I tell you please
navigate by day
dream [.] the type , the type
face , the heft of book its shape . alight on a feel of paper.
there she is, reading some one I know . is she talking , or struck
still . communicated
when i imagine such satisfac t signifying wisdom or bringing fame
i'm a drift toward the dictator free dom
hear what is right in the writing
& what's left
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