2016: Divided We Fall

Last year alone, an earthquake – among many – left 9,000 dead in Nepal. Stampede among the devotees caused death of 2,200 people in Mecca. Over 3.1 million children – under five – died of malnutrition everywhere in the world. They were not victims of terrorism or organized murders. They did not perpetuate any evil to justify a divine plan that took their lives. And yet, not one God or multiple versions of Gods could do anything to save them. That is because there is no God. There is no reason for a belief in God, or adherence to any religion. And yet, as if such tolls were not enough, we exponentially increase the number of untimely deaths of fellow human beings while using religion, god, nationality, race, caste, gender and private capital and power as our divine alibi. Instead of love, we engage in war. Instead of sharing, we promote hoarding. Instead of cooperation, we encourage competition. Nothing will likely change in 2016. But the hope still remains that reason shall prevail over unexamined emotions, while using historical lessons from the years before, as potential tools of liberation.

2016: Divided We Fall

Yet another year went past defining
deriding, describing, disrupting
decrying. Terrorism.

In the fight against the evil
the war of the rich
pitting the poor, the unsung
the unknown, unemployed
famished, hopeless.
Handing them a shotgun
assault rifle, pistol,
an oath of loyalty
to the military, nation-state,
a god, a belief, holy text
preaching freedom, salvation
duty, patriotism, nationalism
Terrorism – both ours, the NATOs
and theirs, the ISILs.

Yet another year went past ridiculing
rehashing, regrouping, replenishing
renaming. Identities.

In the fight against the backward
the march of the elite
positioning the hungry, the oppressed
the voices without a social handle
the suicidal farmers, indebted students
the workers without a union
being Black while driving – car and life
and those bereft of privileges
to raise their consciousness.
Deluding them with elections
leader after leader, hope after hope
emptying the wallet of promises
showering the wealth of rhetorics
constructing the highway of dreams
preaching love, preaching hate,
after a while, love-hate.
Plutocracy – both ours, the voting class
and theirs, the ruling corporate bosses.

Yet another year went past propagating
polarizing, preaching, propounding
programming. Ignorance.

In the fight against the subjugated
the collusion of the masters
requiring the working class
to stay divided, trusting none
vanquishing incentives to imagine –
a planet without borders,
people without religions,
genders without assigned roles
to obliterate the regressive texts
that justify terrorism, by state; by others.
Unity, empathy, solidarity –
not anymore threats to ruling class
when the year went past us
like they were anathema to the workers.

This world never so fragmented
so in despair to not understand,
to lend an ear, a hand, a tear.
Never so lacking in care
that it advances a Trump, a Modi,
a Hillary, a Cameron, a Bibi.
Only a Paris. Eurocentric lease.
Warmongers, homophobes, xenophobes
In power everywhere, the worst of us.

Maybe its all that we can muster
– or, with contradictions exposed
we can take this just no more?
Won’t the new year notice any difference
shall we keep on penalizing dissidence?
Call fellow travelers aliens, illegals, refugees
– or, with our inhumanity exposed
we can reattempt unity amidst diversities?

(by Saswat Pattanayak)

[2015 || 2014 || 2013 || 2012 || 2011 || 2010 || 2009 || 2008]

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2015: Of Incidental Revolutions

What about the promises this new year shall bring
Ballads of scrutiny, merciless calendar sings
Memories slurping away, with bitter windtongues
Cruel time ticking away, sans any arbitrary stops

Moments of endless reflections, for the years past us
Stunning silence of missing airplanes, roaring blunders
What if this, what if that, had we tried our best
Could we have ended this bloody war, that electoral race

A patriotic bunch in India murdering Gandhi again
Revitalized danger, right wing fascist men
Third World Project a dying form of irrelevance
Playground for capitalists, turf for deathly dance

Irreparable losses of beloved poets and thinkers too
Baraka, Seeger, Stuart Hall, Marquez and Maya Angelou
Decomposed pens, gloomy monotones, assessing the future
Racist cops, hopeless masses, Millions March for better

Have the twain already met, since the east seems like west
Signboard reads; One united world take this radical test:
When the monopolists unite across divisions they create
Is working class too fragmented to effectively protest?

Translucent agendas besieging chroniclers of history
Russia, China and Iran appear to be ruling by proxy
North Korea causing homelessness, poverty in Obama land
Free market postmodern feel-goods, realism be damned

Will the year of Ebola recognize a century of Hungers
Queens and Presidents end motionless austerity measures
Will underpaid waitresses emerge as debt-free students
Children grow into nonconformist poets, daydreamers?

Introducing democracy shall no more cause destructions
Free Speech advocates no longer imprison whistleblowers
Capitalism neither crony nor phony, or in need for reforms
Will next year incidentally bring about a few revolutions?

(by Saswat Pattanayak, Peoples’ Poet)

2014: Let Ourselves Prevail

“Where the mind is without fear” and whistleblowers roam free

Prisons abolished; die with them, values all reactionary

Where the world exults in differences, amidst sheer diversity

Supremacism ends; cease with it, any collective adversity

Where ideas spring from challenged truths, broken promises

Perfection wound up; sought after no more are divine images

Where faith is exposed as a hopeless quest, of oppressed states

Reason, power and strength too seen as elite privileged quests     

Where rape no longer a metaphor, nor millionaires act commoners

Celebrities awaken the conscience, not profiteers, accumulators 

Where the admired do not endorse wars, nor dwell in charities 

Corporate czars get caught faking empathies, moralist vanities

Where the homeless are not recruited to clean nuclear mess

Working class emphatically organize, not rescued under duress

Where marginalized empowered, seeking no solace in a pope

Into such a year of radical possibilities, immense in its scope

To undo, to unlearn, to find right here – both heaven and the hell

To end holy patriarchies and capitalism, let ourselves prevail.

 

Saswat Pattanayak, peoples’ poet.

 

(the above verse is inspired by Tagore’s poem in Gitanjali).

2013: Global Spring?

Another year past, and the die has been cast 

Future will be better, so predicts the soothsayer

Changes visible at last, with progresses steadfast

Status quo flayed forever, ruling elites now shudder

 

What can be worse, than the last year so coarse

Drabbled in colonial blood, Diamond Jubilee fraud

Millionaire monarchs, offering austerity measures

Middleton’s pregnancy nod, nurse upsets the god

 

Africa continues to exist, exploited, needy, subsists

Capitalist handouts ravage, suppress evolving rage

Gaza attacked by imperialists, Israeli apartheid wins

First world too has problems, Kim Kardashian craze

 

Yet Sandy storms still, Sandy Hook gun cultures kill

Frisk and search racist, disempowered cannot resist

Islamophobic Youtube reel, West’s warmongering shill

Obama’s growing kill-list, the American draconic fist

 

Hindus wake up to rapes, Indian conscience reshapes

Dalits brutalized, Maoists killed, Modi wins reelection bid

Where the mind full of fears, and head regretfully hangs

Protesters off the lid, protected again by nationalist shield

 

Shall we see more of the same, or more shall make us ashamed

For the historical alarms won’t ring, nor can we stop uprising 

Must curb individualist fame, for the sake of revolutionary flame

Let’s say, Two Thousand Thirteen will bring, a truly Global Spring!

 

– Saswat Pattanayak, Peoples’ Poet

2012: Reclaiming Roots

Wall Street Occupied without an organized movement

Egypt under siege, their democracy’s a farcical moment

Libya annihilated; no longer the anti-imperialistic force

Syria and Iran next; Arab Nationalism reduced to remorse

 

Regressive rebels talk about the promised freedom “Springs”

Vaclav Havel a hero, Kim Jong-Il evil, facts are broken wings

NATO the proprietor, Islam the enemy, Cold War not yet a ghost

Praise the God, drop the bomb, sanction when it hurts the most

 

Year after year, day after day, corporate media headlines the same

Celebrities make out, breakup, detox; royal families wedding game

Nobel Prizes to warmongers, Oscar Awards to King’s Speeches

“The Iron Lady” celebrates Neocons, no superstructure glitches    

 

A year of tragedies befell the world over the past twelve months

Farcical freedom bells, DSK and Murdoch trials, grand justice loss 

Eurocentric lens, American trades, Israeli fighter planes, still victorious

Bankers, philanthropists, presidents, billionaires continue as glorious 

 

Harlem’s burning, Paris in flames, London defeats alleged rioters

Class wars lost, Zapatista censored, Maoists shot in street corners

Are we to implore for equalities, or we must educate and agitate?

Will they still co-opt, shall we cop out, and ‘truths’ again fabricate? 

 

What promises lie ahead; even as we failed at prospects before?

Can we chart out grand visions again, for our revolutions in future?

Last year was mess, years ago were no less, now we owe to ourselves

If this New Year prevails, we reclaim revolutionary roots, and resurface!

 

– Saswat Pattanayak, Peoples’ Poet