I was first introduced to the world of Chileans in exile, in the late 1970s, as adults and children fleeing political repression, torture, kidnapping, political rape and murder, arrived in Canada. In fact, Chile had not been know for mass migration until the political banishment of left and progressive sectors under the Generals. Chile’s self-image, shaped by the Spanish conquistadores and their later allies and competitors, … Continue reading Chile: Forbidden to Forget…
A series of drawings celebrating autumn in all her glory!
This is a seven part poem I have been working on since my work, studies, and travels have taken me to South America and Cuba. I have long been fascinated and moved by the strength of peoples who manage to hold on to their cosmologies in the face of terrible odds such as kidnapping, enslavement, auction blocks, trade-sanctioned rape, forced labour, soul-searing racism, and unimaginable … Continue reading Pachacutec
One tries to hang on to hope, in spite of the onslaught. Poetry, art, music, dance, theatre, and even sometimes film, can offer us someting in that direction, give us a glimpse of that blue star. This year has been filled with changes in our political landscapes, fear and trauma among many who have been scapegoated as migrants/racialized/ colonized peoples, and more and more signs … Continue reading We Lived Happily during the War
nothing but the need for friendship reduced, quest now stripped of myth how difficult not to remember the colour of eyes how we ran to and from such passions there was a time i thought i must not know you but outside the rain howled your name could not forget, would not, how could i? was it this then? all the aches leading up to … Continue reading Journey
a yellow butterfly flew past brushing bougainvillias with dreams of rain now the grass is solemn does not dance a shadow grows longer upon the limewashed wall somwhere near by, children ae singing to capture even half this beauty in the palm of the heart from A New Remembrance, 1993, Copyright Kaushalya Bannerji Continue reading 2 O’Clock
I am a strong supporter of the movement throughout the U.S. and Latin America and the Caribbean to stop celebrating Columbus Day. Critics of the pro-Colombus status quo signal to the cruelty and harshness of Spanish empire-building and by extension, European and British colonization efforts in the Americas. Genocide of indigenous persons, the wholesale buying and selling of afro-descended peoples through chattel slavery, the wilful … Continue reading Indigenous Uprising on Columbus Day
We went to the park the other day. Storing up the sunshine of these beautiful days while we can, like squirrels with their nuts. The ups and downs of the meadows and trees, the glint of the sun on the tiny river and all around, little inhabitants of our world, scurrying to save stores for a cold winter. The park was full of scampering feet … Continue reading A Walk in the Park
Today I marched in the climate strike with millions of people around the world. I marched because I breathe, eat, need water, have increasing love and appreciation for the natural world, and hold the lives of the world’s citizens in the highest regard. I have been appalled and sickened by the astronomical levels of pollution and contamination plaguing the lives of loved ones and strangers … Continue reading Denial is Not a Policy! Climate Strike 2019
I am always being told what to do. Like many people with poorly understood disabilities and conditions, I have heard every possible advice that people’s grandmothers, parents, aunts, doctors, naturopaths, second cousins, and their neighbours might possibly have to offer. Headache. Oh, just do this, and it will go away. My aunt/doctor/grandmother used to have them. but after they did this one thing, they went … Continue reading Patiently Brown: Misadventures in the medical system # 1
Today’s piece is sharing some poems which have been part of our English poetry canon for centuries and decades. Some I had to study in school, and thus happily rediscovered in adulthood. My mother suggested me a beautiful poem by John Keats, Ode to Autumn. I share it below. A beautiful cadence of the English language and evocative images. Here it is Ode To Autumn, … Continue reading Autumn
SNOWSCAPE The landscape is still-born Birth of winter brings blood to the snow someone is not walking but standing awkward space the corner of December Breaths are frozen leaving the pale orifices of mouths as though they were not inanimate Moving away fleeing the refuge of bodies And someone wanting the comfort of another thinks how people like trees are never fully reborn Snowscape, Kaushalya … Continue reading Snowscape
Ever since I saw the phrase, “They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds”, I have been so moved. I am a part of so many communities that have survived burial, in the manner of the phoenix. We are resilient and resourceful like seeds that are nourished by hope instead of fear, possibility, instead of prisons, new and green ways of being. … Continue reading They Didn’t Know We Were Seeds
Last night, I glimpsed the harvest moon, red and full. This is the time of the year when the days grow shorter, the wheat and vegetables, apples, and stone fruit are harvested. Soon the nights of pumpkins and souls will be upon us. Autumn also brings the delight of jumping on crinkly fallen leaves, and the comfort of baked and roasted foods which warm the … Continue reading The Harvest Moon
For some reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about myth-making, religions, and various deities. I saw a Cannabis strain called Blue God. It made me think of Krishna, the Hindu blue god and flute player, and lover. Before the BJP’s Hindu nationalist agenda, this image of the blue god was one I always found to be of beauty, gentleness and/or passion, celebrating the love between … Continue reading Of Gods and Goddesses
An essay on the long-term effects of permanent facial palsy. Continue reading Ringing the Bell on Facial Palsy
Is that your face I see? Or an old map of travels we took, each alone? Bussing the Sierra Madre, two travellers homeless, dreaming of return. River beside us sand beneath our flip-flopped feet men we did not know All haiku and artwork, Copyright Kaushalya Bannerji, 2019 Continue reading The Haiku Way
I used to love the roads as well as blood loves vein fleeing from running to the geographies of other maps where my race charted like a cartographer’s fantasy finds itself obscured by the deviance of our desire in all my darkness i have never lost the way nor forgotten the words of this lamentation Global Warning A motorcycle revs up the evening somewhere a … Continue reading Traveller’s Lament
the new season eats us with raw uncertainty even this weather has us guessing night’s frost a riddle chancing upon a newspaper a little bit of history intrigues between the fullstops lives collapse and transform nations turn upon themselves jobs are lost wars won and all our dreams made homeless everywhere there are signs of disorder the streets are no longer clean we cannot permit … Continue reading Signs of Disorder
I’ve been aghast but not surprised to hear about the devastation of the Amazon due to uncontrolled fires set throughout mainly Brazilian territory. I don’t think fire will respect borders either. I’ve been remembering my own experience visiting the Amazon, a place that had always seemed magical and exotic due to the vast amount of literature I read from Brazil and other South American countries … Continue reading Blood in the Fire: A Cry from the Amazon
These haiku are inspired by music from the 1940s onward. I used to love listening to “latin jazz” and afro-cuban jazz. Years ago, when I had a radio spot, finding music to share was a delight, especially since it was long before the Internet! Chano Pozo revolutionized American jazz at a time when it was increasingly open to global influences, while at the same time, … Continue reading Skintalker!
Rulers they want us to hate ourselves easy to dismember flesh bone memory Ether/real Chamber the internet is not yet full with dead minds the haul must be greater Politricks in the age of Electronic Voting Machines/DREs Press that button quick hackers must work wonders all hail the motherboard of lies Elites they have a gated world to which they let in the world. online … Continue reading I like mine neat! More Haiku!
The colour Red is a bird with wings that shine. Yellow, turns into a sunflower. Grey, the colour of rainy afternoons when bodies love. Green, hope yet unreachable. Blue, the clear melody that cleanses everything in its wake. Pink, the tongue of a black cat. And Black, the open arms of night, although no-one, but the stars, takes notice. Arco Iris El color rojo es … Continue reading Rainbow/Arco Iris
(Kaushalya Bannerji, 2019) flow, like water wave, like water cry, like water rage, like water rain, like water dry, like water still, like water one drop, like water becomes many. Continue reading Be Like Water
Cats are amazingly complex creatures. Beautiful, predatory, cuddly, inquisitive and also experts at being lazy. Our cat often enjoys the evenings outside and the moon with me. What her shining eyes see only she knows… Continue reading The cat went here and there and the moon spun round like a top (W.B Yeats)
The day brings so much more news about ICE, the U.S.Border Patrol, family separation, the dependency of multi-billion dollar corporations on undocumented labour and racism. The buying of citizenship (U.S.A) and the ban on migrants who receive social assistance from becoming citizens (Germany). And in the midst of these conditions, people still love and live, full of dreams, hopes, relationships, and humanity. I happened to … Continue reading Deportee
This brief essay looks at the change in racist violence over the last century, making links between state and non-state actors.
Continue reading Strange Fruit: Death and Democracy in the United States
Duende is the word flamenco practitioners and enthusiasts use to name the unnameable— the gooseflesh or shiver that you get when you experience the outpouring of passion and soul that is flamenco…But the soul of flamenco is rooted in its nomadic beginnings in India and its route through West Asia to its hold on Southern Europe, particularly Spain, and even influencing the Fado music of … Continue reading Duende!
I love the centuries-old tradition of Japanese haiku. Its economical style and breadth of material — observations on the natural, philosophical, and social world are astonishingly profound, and often, wry. It’s refreshing to see the power of seventeen syllables in an age of verbosity with so little to say. While my introduction to haiku has always been in translation, Matsuo Basho and Kobayashi Issa are … Continue reading Haiku
I often find the combination of music and drawing irresistible. Sometimes, the visual expression has nothing to do with the music, and at other times, the song may inspire the images. My drawings are an illustrated backdrop to this powerful lament. I have been drawn to this song since I first heard it as a young person of thirteen! Getting to see the incomparable Mercedes … Continue reading Alfonsina y el Mar/Alfonsina and the Sea
This quote from novelist Louis de Bernieres has inspired this series of drawings of birds. In the dog days of summer, we’re forced to slow down in the high heat and humidity. A good time to draw… Continue reading “Man is a bird without wings and a bird is a man without sorrow.”
Say their names. Those who are being detained and subject to inhumane policies of family separation, those who die in the arms of frightened parents who cannot protect them, those who are terrorized in prisons built for little children. Say their names… Do not let the amnesia of profit fill the ether.Yes, I have again been reflecting on the state of the world… https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2019/jun/26/us-border-shocking-photo-of-drowned-father-and-daughter-highlights-migrants-peril-video-report As … Continue reading Say Their Names! From the Borders to the Camps!
Ouroboros: The Snake Who Eats His Own Tail I’ve been thinking alot about the state of the earth lately. We are not living here, we are holding the planet hostage. And the ransom is too little, too late… In Greek mythology, Ouroboros symbolizes completion, wholeness, even the infinite. For me it has come to symbolize the cannibalism of capitalism, the ways in which all species … Continue reading Ouroboros
This post is about a place where I have experienced great pleasure, great awe, and deep sadness — the ocean. I have been fortunate enought to play and swim in the waters of two great oceans, the Atlantic and the Pacific. I have also learned to overcome my fear of the water, to see with new eyes, the life that lives within the ocean, and … Continue reading To See the Sea
I recall this poem I wrote during the Oka Crisis of 1990. Thirty-one years ago. Things have only gotten more dire. Oka Nada It was true what the foremothers told us. Words are unrepentant birds which fly off and leave us silent. (Once more we watch the silenced movie. Clear Quebec Sky, still summer days). The army and the police destroy dignity and land. Earth, … Continue reading The Weight of All Our Rage/Red Dress
Refugee production continues to be caused by war, ethnic cleansing, class warfare, narco states, apartheid, climate change and collapsing economic conditions. In 2015, the world was horrified by the searing image of Aylan Kurdi (3 years old), drowned on a Mediterranean beach, but the commitment to stopping the creation of refugees has not been matched by the supposed outrage. Since 2015, the heartbreaking image has … Continue reading World Refugee Day June 20
A vibrant take on the centuries old game of Loteria and a homage to the beauty and rich power of Mexico!
Continue reading Loteria: A Homage to Mexico
(Kaushalya Bannerji, The Faces of 5 O’Clock, Sistervision Press, Toronto, 1996) a poem is a dream with many endings just like words are shapes that have no form but human Continue reading Linguistics II
ourselves or nothing seeking my eyes on your face i long for our complicity bankers with guns patrol the streets and our sister’s children go growing hunger like a poisonous fungus. ourselves or nothing the woman we did not choose whose breasts sagged over her belly the colour of her skin, our skin the colour of her eyes, our eyes hands which crack with work … Continue reading Ourselves or Nothing
(The poet is you who reads) Song for a City/Fieldwork I walk Sun at my back. Sun in my face. The pavement licks my flip-flops. There are surreal and abstract buildings Where you can see dream and sky through the windows that do not exist. There are plants and flowers that salute the cocktail of the evening with the perfume of their grace. And everywhere … Continue reading Song for a City