JUMP CUT
A REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MEDIA

copyright 2003, Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media
No. 46

Selections from A road-map for America

by Anandam P. Kavoori

[Editors’ note: Jump Cut contributor Anandam Kavoori here provides a creative look at television images of the Gulf War, as seen from an immigrant’s perspective. We present three selections of his poetry from his book length cycle of poems, A Road-Map for America.]


The President’s Face

My mother
says on the long-distance call from Delhi
“Its his face,” she says
“It mocks us
sneering your country in our face”

My friend’s brother
on the long-distance call from Cairo
starts to shout
when he sees the President’s face

“Its not personal,” we say
“Its ideological”
they shout back:
“No, its personal
he mocks us frame by frame
every night
smearing your country in our face”


The looter

Carefully
I take my home
and re-make it in your vision
I have watched closely
how to vacuum and
use a washer-dryer
to delicately balance
my deceit with a surfeit of need

In Arabic
the sign says:
“looting is sinful”
it does not say
do not fill washer-dryers
with buckets of water
turning on the shanty-town’s
low-watt line
to watch the clothes tumble-dry


Abraham in overtime

Born in Ur of Chaldees
never returning
burying
the faith of idolaters
the original Sin
our three fathers
Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael
*
Cat Stevens
plays his reprieve
the head touched low
the body cool
suffused
with love
beyond minarets
Yusuf, he says
feel me
run through your
divine supplication
you float
surmising nothing
but my word
the cords hum
from here to eternity
with the one
the only
the original

*
Abraham is buried
at the age of 175
at Beersheba, Abraham took Isaac
Sarah’s Love
to hold near the pyre
and raised to cleave
but at the buzzer
a reprieve at Temple Mount
in time
a ram’s death
and life for our fathers three
Muhammad, Jesus, the other
*
Charlatan
Heston
cold dead hands and more
an Abraham complex?
he surrounds himself
with memorabilia:
a Moses robe
a bottle of single malts
stone hands dug out from Iraq
or perhaps archived in the Geniza
from Hebron
stones for his pebble path
from Haran
mud for a wall motif
“I am” he says in a lucid moment
“a Canannaite, a merchant
I crossed the desert
In Shechem, Nablus
I ignored the PLO
at the well where I once stood
behind a camera mount
was a child, bandaged
I asked for his gun”
*
In his name
kill three faiths
father to all, Abraham
in the remains of his house at Ur
you can find an archeological dig
deeper still (if you dig)
three-fold love
Sumerian literature, arithmetic, language
and an arcane reference
to many personal Gods
and to Sin, the Moon-God
The young man, Abram,
not yet Abraham
would posses rare energy
as he whipped the donkey
around the date palms
today, we would say
he had the moves
setting up the play
for a single frame
the original one
our big word:
MONOTHESIM
*
Osama Bin-Laden
crazynot like a fox
dares not say
what he thinks:
“Muhammad-Am-I”
instead he abuses
the original father
and uses his name
in steady monotone
in poetry
a sotto voice
a faded face
his millions
feeding his penury
the soft focus video
the AlJazeera feed
getting without return
a dividend
in stockpiled deaths
in body shaped arsenal
in the BOLD typeface
SUICIDE BOMBERS
*
In Haran, Turkey
Abraham found
a clamorous community
Amorites, Hurrians
mutli-cultures
an early warning?
No!
good times
he traded wool for wheat
had a large flock, a following
King Nimrod,
quite the spoiler
tried assassination (it didn’t work)
for here, in Heron
the great nation
indivisible
under God
was born
*
Misguided missions
every decade
born again Bush
one and two
“It’s easy,” said the Taxi Cab driver
in New York, holy ground
“A Bush in the White House
means (once again)
the economy’s down
and we are getting ready for war”
*
In overtime
we need you
the one father
Abram, Abraham, Ibrahim
please understand
our true supplication
we are the multi-cultural
in one
we are tired
of madness
Please
step back
across the line
take a good look
take the game over
make the shot