Dhaka resounds around us, trying to draw our attention.
It succeeds, usually, with mangoes.
They grow high above the roof; hard to reach,
unless you climb up – and cast your eyes to the city.
Fresh green skin; baby soft, with a light grip that breaks on a pull.
Dhaka tempts you to the cliff edge; sniff and get a nose-full.
It is to be remembered, that for all our diversity,
the white lily blooms; even in adversity.
All blood is the same and different throughout,
all water is the same in storm and drought.
The sand settles over a puddle of rain,
and rain over concrete will do the same.
A novelist is a creator in all written word;
A musician is an artist in all music heard.
To Antor, thank you for being an amazing counterpart for me in the ICS programme, and please continue to grow after I’ve gone.
From Hannah Watson, July 2017
Wednesday 21st of June, 2017
The jack fruit ripens and falls from the tree,
Fresh, bulbous, and just for me.
Its flesh is wonderous, not yet rotten:
Crack it open, never forgotten.
How often can taste like this be?
How often is happiness free?
Oh Nero, true and endless lore,
You will be mine forever-more.
Let tide and time quiver before us,
And speak of Nero, and his love Sporus.
If I can be over-hopeful:
May our love last like shining opal.
May it gleam, white-gold,
and keep all lovers bold,
Glint of green in the eyes of men,
May they fail to carve them, then.
It would repel all scripture and heart:
if you and I were ever to part.
Take my hand up to you lips,
and kiss along my fingertips,
and if you so dare, suck on my forefinger:
I beg you, let your passion linger.
By your eyes the gods were tempted,
I thank them all you were exempted.
Love may be what love can be:
let your mind only occupy me.
I think of you as Achilles did his lover:
Patroclus felt that flame, and did not recover.
Pluto told us to feel unafraid,
And on his deathbed where he laid;
He wishes all men and men,
As all same and women,
Would find this heartache over stricken;
It will not be sin, and our pride may thicken,
we may trust that it should.
Oh, my love, did you so hurt her that she could
not carry your child to life?
Had she deserved to suffer in strife?
To be loved, and loved in your basking heat
like the sun; sizzling our skin, and meat;
Ripened fruit, and grapes plump and dark.
May our hearts be roots; and your anger be our bark.
May I be a boy as well as I can,
And a better lover, not a man.
Lift my veil and look deeply inside,
All this love i will not hide.
Ut manibus meis, my love, and follow me to shame.
Tongues languid, love, and set our hearts aflame.
Read about the true story of Roman Emperor Nero and his second husband Sporus, whom he castrated in an attempt to keep his boyish looks, here.
1971: the becoming
Emerald surrounds blood; mimicking its sheen.
Own it; become it,
it was yours to begin with, and it always has been.
Bangla; golden, even in black.
Two-million in a night, but who’s keeping track?
The CIA World Fact Book tells us that the green of the flag represents Bangladesh’s lush landscape, and the red circle is a representation of the blood of Bengalis shed in the Independence War. To learn a bit more, click here.
We’ve been here for two weeks today. On the way to our community, a small village in the north of Bangladesh, we saw some pink ducks; the farmers dye them, so that they know whose ducks are whose. Something about those pink ducks stood out to me, I got a zap of inspiration to write something. That something being a brand new novel, already 5,187 words in. The main idea revolves around a group of people who travel to Bangladesh with the YMCA, and it will definitely have some pink ducks in there. Maybe even dedicated to them.
To my mother, always supporting me, and my father; kind and generous. To Chloe, to Nescafe, and to the pink ducks dotted in that arsenic infected water in rural Bangladesh.
That’s another thing; a few years ago Bangladesh experienced the biggest accidental mass poisoning in history, and 80,000,000 people got infected with arsenic – I’m too paranoid to even brush my teeth with the water.
Most of the time we are planning things; workshops, focus groups, community development projects, and lesson plans. We usually teach in a few groups that stick to their own schools; and I was lucky enough to get chosen for the disabled school. We went to visit today and speak to the teachers. Attitudes toward disabled people are exactly how I had read; they are shunned and teased on the street, and parents and guardians are completely out of their depth with very little support. We’ve also been told by professional’s that “they bite”, and they are constantly compared to “normal” children.
In the following weeks we will be deciding what to focus on in the communities around us – some of the biggest things, especially with young men, is the need for more education on how to stop smoking or using drugs. One man in a focus group commented on how smoking near his pregnant wife had caused their child illness when it was born, but he still had not quit since then, despite wanting to.