Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Poem for Bombay (Mumbai) from Adil Jussawalla

Sea Breeze, Bombay

by Adil Jussawalla

Partition's people stitched
Shrouds from a flag, gentlemen scissored Sind.
An opened people, fraying across the cut
country reknotted themselves on this island.

Surrogate city of banks,
Brokering and bays, refugees' harbour and port,
Gatherer of ends whose brick beginnings work
Loose like a skin, spotting the coast,

Restore us to fire. New refugees,
Wearing blood-red wool in the worst heat,
come from Tibet, scanning the sea from the north,
Dazed, holes in their cracked feet.

Restore us to fire. Still,
Communities tear and re-form; and still, a breeze,
Cooling our garrulous evenings, investigates nothing,
Ruffles no tempers, uncovers no root,

And settles no one adrift of the mainland's histories.

(From the Oxford Anthology of Modern Indian Poetry)

When tragedy strikes, art has the power to connect. While searching my files for artistic connections to the events in Mumbai, I found the thoughts and writings of Amardeep Singh, Assistant Professor of English at Lehigh University, to be of great importance. Amardeep Singh led me to the work of Adil Jussawalla whose thoughts from a 1978 interview with Peter Nazareth still ring true:

Jussawalla was asked about the responsibility of the writer in times of crisis. “I don’t know,” he replied. “I think each writer will deal with the crisis in his own way . . . Maybe I see writing as an activity, at least for me personally, as linked up with a whole life, a whole sense of time. Indian writers do have a different sense of time in relation to their own work than the writers in the States, in England and in France, which means that we are bound to have a different attitude even to crisis . . . Am I being fatalistic if I say that for Indians, the crisis is perpetual?”

Gregg Chadwick
Walled Garden
48"x48" oil on linen 2008

As a global community, it is our duty to mourn with the families of those who were lost and also, as some will seek vengeance, to remind them that, as Gandhi taught, only love and understanding will eventually break the cycle of prejudice, hatred, and violence. It is my hope that these desperate and bloody acts in Mumbai will actually bring the people of India and Pakistan together in mourning and thus create a spirit of cooperation to battle a common enemy which preys on both states. Measured, calm, rational responses to the current chaos will help stabilize the region and the globe.

More at:
Amardeep Singh
Poetry International on Adil Jussawalla
Gandhi An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments With Truth

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

"Times are tough. There are difficult months ahead. But we can renew our nation the same way that we have in the many years since Lincoln"s first Thanksgiving: by coming together to overcome adversity; by reaching for " and working for " new horizons of opportunity for all Americans. So this weekend " with one heart, and one voice, the American people can give thanks that a new and brighter day is yet to come."--Barack Obama.

Two years ago, I posted these thoughts on Thanksgiving:

I have been reading Barack Obama's new book, "The Audacity of Hope" on this Thanksgiving. Obama's astute words on Abraham Lincoln brought to mind the ongoing need for healing, thanks and humility in the United States. On October 3, 1863 as the Civil War raged, President Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day on the last Thursday in November:

"I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise... for deliverances and blessings, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, and commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union."

Barack Obama Carrying His Copy of Fred Kaplan's Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer
photo: (Anne Ryan-Pool)

On this Thanksgiving I am reading Fred Kaplan's Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer. On Saturday evening, Obama had a copy of Fred Kaplan's new book as he was photographed in Chicago. Not only will we have a new President who reads. We have a new President who is interested in gathering ideas from an American President who saved the nation from a Civil War and the evils of slavery:

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have born the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan - to do all which may acheive and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."
-Abraham Lincoln

Fred Kaplan was "thrilled" to learn that Obama was reading his book and in the National Journal had this to say: "Obama is, like Lincoln was, an obsessive reader, who through his years of his education has read above and beyond what was required of him during his excellent American education."

On this Thanksgiving, Barack Obama is now President elect. Even though times are tough both economically and, as evidenced by the brazen attacks in Mumbai, in the global political sphere, I am convinced that today the American people can give thanks that a new and brighter day is yet to come.
This is just the first dawn in a new era. It will take time, hard work, and patience from the global community for this new hope to bear fruit. Nevertheless, we are on our way.

More at:
Reading Obama on Thanksgiving
Obama Reading About Lincoln Again
Harper Collins Page on Fred Kaplan's Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer

Friday, November 21, 2008

Darren Aronofsky's "The Wrestler" Trailer

Darren Aronofsky's latest film The Wrestler already was awarded the Leone d'Oro given for best film at the Venice Film Festival. I am a huge fan of Aronofsky's films and find it interesting that after the rich spirituality of The Fountain that he is mining a flinty Hopperesque American scene for The Wrestler.

Edward Hopper
Girly Show (strip tease)
oil on canvas 1941

Bruce Springsteen's The Wrestler: full song

More at:
The Wrestler Trailer: HD and Ipod
The Wrestler Official Site

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ludovico Einaudi Live: Upcoming Performance Tonight at the Largo in Los Angeles ~ November 18, 2008

"In general, I don't like definitions, but Minimalist is a term that means elegance and openness, so I would prefer to be called a Minimalist than something else." -Ludovico Einaudi

Ludovico Einaudi's music has been described as ambient, meditative and introspective. His piano based works combine the influences of minimalism, world music, film scores, and contemporary classical music to create sounds of incredible space and poignance.

The Poet's Dawn
Gregg Chadwick
The Poet's Dawn
38"x28" oil on linen 2008

If you are free tomorrow, November 18th, and in Los Angeles drop everything and head over to the Largo at the Coronet for an evening of inspired music. I will be there.

November 18, 2008
Ludovico Einaudi - The Solo Concert
Largo at the Coronet
366 North La Cienega
Los Angeles, CA, 90048

Tickets at:
The Largo

More on Einaudi at:
Decca Site on Divenire

Ludovico Einaudi Website

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Birthday United States Marine Corps!

A Marine Corps glider being towed by a power plane from Page Field, at Parris Island, S.C.
photo by Alfred T. Palmer
color transparency
1942 May
Repository: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.

In my family it is not uncommon to miss a birthday greeting here and there. But woe to the family member who forgets November 10th. In that spirit I wish my dad a fervent, "Happy Marine Corps Birthday!"

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Obama's New Day

Barack Obama
A New Day - Barack Obama
48"x36" oil on linen 2008

"Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers."
-Barack Obama

Here in Santa Monica, the streets are wet with a new rain washing away the stains of the last eight years. A new day dawns.

"Good Morning Mr. President" - January 20, 2009
"Good Morning Mr. President" - January 20, 2009
12"x12" oil on linen 2008