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edited and reposted from the ghost with / open wound, 6th January 2012

 

 

 

the ghost with open wound

I

                      I grieve for my stillborn children
                      the markbook the yinyang learning
                      delivered and left in the theatre
                ‘how beautiful those babies are!’ said the people in the gallery
                      but the surgeon had left the room
                talking urgently with his staff about something else
                      much more important

        I grieve for the upbringing I gave to them anyway
        all of my mother’s thought and striving
        all of the creativity I put into them
                lesson after lesson
        for only adventitious and unexpected gain
                like a mother from the wrong minority in the wrong neighbourhood
                raising her children to have pride and dignity
                to have their place in this fair and equal society

                                     not openly condemned
                                ‘for we are a righteous, civil profession’
                           but silence’d awkward-ed false-smile’d
                                ‘it-must-be-so-difficult’ed
                           ‘if-there-is-anything-I-can-do’ed
                                ‘how-are-your-children-getting-on’ed
                      while all the newspapers and televisions ask and debate
                                openly, transparently and so very fairly
                      what exactly these minorities contribute to our fine society
                           which aspires to be an Outstanding society
                      to stand proud in posterity …

II

                      … I am Rosa Parks
        tired of having to give way
                                even though I am sitting on the right seat
                in Montgomery I am Steve Biko still
chanting with my bloodied lip
                                     face down on the cell floor
                           in Port Elizabeth I am Solzhenitsyn blowing
        warmth onto my hands
                      far far across the Archipelago I am the
                Chilean mother with pictures
                      of my sons tied around my neck
        in Santiago I am a Vietnamese family
                                split up and adrift
                      on several boats in the South China seas I am a silent
        Thich Quang Duc sitting
                by the Austin Westminster I am an ex-monk
                           on a tour around the restored Jokhang in Lhasa
        China I am a
                                ‘best minds of my generation’
                succumbed to madness

                           and I howl silently
                      against the society that put me in this cell
                      but told me I am free
                           I am tired but push on
                                even pick up the pace a little although
                I forget: I am weak
                      no one cheers me on
                      others only notice
                           when I stumble

III

                twenty five years ago I was scurrying about
                      trying to pick up the pieces of a dream
                but the wind kept blowing them out of my reach
                      as I kept bumping into fences and walls
                ‘stop the wind!’ I complained in longer and longer documents
                      although no one would hear me
                      through the noise of the machines

        ten years ago I offered up a lightweight
                latticed bin with which to tidy up the yard
        ‘what is he carrying that bin around for
                while we are trying to push the leaves into one corner’
        they shouted to each other from their walls and towers
                ‘I wish he’d get out of the way?’
                      ‘but the bin’ I said
                           something whole integrative dialectical webbed adjustable

                clamour excitement
                      I could hear the crowd grow to a roar as I ascended the steps
                the torch held high I lit the beacon and …
                      … absolutely nothing.
        No beacon no crowd no stadium no roar
                the tumult had built and built and
whmmph! –
        not even an echo remained

IV

                           Where am I?
                           Was I in that stadium
                           did I run those steps
                           was I going to light
                           that whole stadium?

                           Surely I didn’t imagine it all!
                           Surely there were steps
                           the stadium the beacon
                           all those people.
                           Surely all those things
                           were there!   Why else
                           was I carrying the torch?

                The torch I kept.   I kept it burning.
                I burnt it more and more efficiently
                      – clean, pure, bright.
                I fashioned a lamp to keep it in.
                It sent out light beyond itself and
                I wandered around this bardo.

                                     But most of it is gloom:
                                     odd voices odd shadows
                                     strange noises and chants –

                           seepeedee                youpee-ess
        ay-yeffell                      arr-aygee                      geetoo-ohpe
                      errf-ormanst                      argits-cry
                                     tear-eearrrr

                      From time to time I could see
                      people calling me to account
                      I moved between them, I held up my lamp
                      but they couldn’t see me, couldn’t hear me.
                      And then they’d turn and talk to me
                      they’d look me in the eye and tell me
                           – so that I understood clearly
                           that this was urgent –
                      what society needed now
                      how deficiency was related
                           directly
                      to what I – face fixed
                           eye-contact name at the top
                           of the document   You!   Me?   Now!   Already?   Criteria!
                           But…?   Proe-fesh-shun-all –
                      did and what I did not do

                      and then they would Team me
                      three more heads turn and fix me
                      six heads – heartbeat self-conscious
                           ‘I’m noticed at last I’m here’ –
                      advance towards me
                           ‘I can act again’
                      bear down on me
                           ‘I know I’ll…’
                      and walk right through me –
                           whuphh, mphhwaphhwumpp, phblphbdphbdph…
                      … agghh!

                      held up the lamp
                           almost blew the wick out
                      quick turn it down turn away under my coat
                           shield it keep it alive
                           hide it

                      I am alone again
                           just the noises
                      keep it alive hide it
                           keepitalive hideit
                      keepitalive hideit

                           I – am – keeping – it – alive – !

                                space all
                                around
                                no echo
                                no denial
                                no light
                                madness

        I saw the ghostly stadium the neon beacon
                (‘bulb needs changing. A flame would be much better)
        people blurring past and through me
                I held up my lamp but it lighted up nothing
        people ran through it –
                almost put the flame out

                                          I died a living
                                          active yet muffled
                                          for ten years then
                                          twenty not sure
                                          how long and
                                          every so often
                                                                                              I go mad

V

                I have been in, but not part of, the stadium all this time.
                It is here, all about and above creaking and flapping
                      I had thought it didn’t exist at all.
                It is cardboard and canvas standing up
                against the inevitable winds and snow.

                So much construction, so little structure, so little warmth.
                It is cold here in this wasteland.

                I am still cold but I sit to one side now –
                      out of the way –
                and try to stuff my ears to the noises the voices.
                I still have a lamp.   I try to keep warm by it.

                I can’t see them – out in the night and cold –
                but are there other souls wandering lost
                      feeling their way?
                Is there anybody else out there?
                Please come and join me over here.
                If we sit together I can get quite a lot of heat
                from this lamp.   It is powered by …
                      fire.
                Let’s see – what wounds have you got?

 

 

 

————w(O)rmholes________________________________|—–

(hidden) Allen Ginsberg & career & teaching wormhole: my life / of others
assessment for learning & markbook wormhole: ‘let everything go …’
learning & targets wormhole: aghh – we’ve been infected / it’s spreading through the system / we’re losing our files … / it’s taken out the processor … / I, I can’t open with this program anymore … / it’s scanning me – / I’ve got to buy a Virus Protection Program from it …
management & managerialism & performance & teaching art & teaching craft wormhole: through a cracked glass greenly
performance management wormhole: Failure
professionalism wormhole: Struck
resource wormhole: dry rot
society wormhole: lobby

 

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