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Read more broadly, it touches upon the underlying fear of the unknown--events, persons, the Other--that undergird our contemporary moment, this society, with its "dark-skinned male" or "Muslims" or "immigrants" a stand-in for any and every evil, every problem, every crisis, and state and corporate violence and surveillance, the violence of elites and capitalism itself, elude sustained mass, public critique. Only unlike the poem, whose 14-line sonnet form can contain the excess that threatens to spill over, there is no similar container for everyday reality. We would do well to listen to Prageeta here: "things are unexpected, people are terrible / sometimes," and "Events that are pleasantly unnoticed / are not about adventures."
This is the kind of knowledge that poetry often can best convey: like a lens that zooms in and simultaneously can pan all the way up and out. But you have to look through it. Look.
ACTION-PACKED SONNET This rather tall Indian man shot me in a dream; I thought I could just mosey up on him and say in a protective but assertive voice, I am a Hindu and he would put down his gun. But he said you are my enemy and my unmarried hands stung only for an instant, realizing this immensity was fake immensity. And it goes to show you that things are unexpected, people are terrible sometimes. Events that are pleasantly unnoticed are not about adventures, not about paranoia or silk turbans. If you are my gun, put it between the mattresses, it will rest underneath us like a holiday inside eternity. A firefly
admits to light, a ray gun, obfuscated, we both tumble before I look the rather tall man in his angry Indian face.
Copyright © Prageeta Sharma, from The Opening Question, New York: Fence Books, 2004. All rights reserved.