Desire garden, garden of pain

slowly to open up doors in that long corridor

dark and humid this season

solemn hours

and always with the old loves tender in the heart

the never lost shining silently

homages, many homages

named and unnamed

the whole of the earth is the promised garden

even for us, and nothing less, and how

if not to possess but jewel like glow

in this small intimate garden-hand

secret and decisive

Speak, ancient elegiac land in all your vast blood

and miniscule houses quietly suffering their dailyness

an epic hunger masking all forms

this adult skyward growth

this sodden subaltern garden even

as grass grows dazzling chrome green

colour excessive and cruel

blazes a hole through the sky

festive and brief

joyously brilliant minutes

fragile minutes, incandescent as hearts

violently phosphorous

all love all obsession

as revealed as image

filling the heart of that big monkey

now, in a garden

garden of big speech

language garden of wood and clay

sweet work and its sweet pain and terrors

from the pit of the flaneur-eye

cunning philosopher, lover, wanderer

thousands of miles of road and sea

on the transparent qualities of light and heat

mother, science

you are a fine one to dust away

this ancient melancholia

disease of our creatures

in the twilight of the marginalised villages

when night is about to descend

sit firm and good like our moo-moo kitty

burn steadily even as the sad yellow naked bulb

give us your worked dogged sweat and laze

bless us with books and with dreams

not without the old vanishing divine taste of jackfruit pickle

fill with these other strange unknown gardens

provinces constantly invaded defended

to intangle centuries, faces, pictures

and through your luminous golden yellow desire

vindicate the longings

of the dark dead souls

Your tragic passion for this very garden

dear boy haunts

its largeness is not mine

only its damp smell, beautiful

swelling to near madness

I know, while you

Eaten by want and much needed peace

And the daily insults, gifts of the poor

Sunk into a sad greed speeding for redress.

Orphans we are

and with the same creed

standing in this garden now in silent speech

much is lost and much inherited

among these our many brothers

and teachers, and here

the good the brave and the sad can still laugh

and walk, always walk

with steps that sound with a quiet dignity

October 1991


A few notes

At the junctions and crossings, in our town and cities, wherever two, three or four roads meet there arises a still moment and its zone. A very restless zone, a marvellous zone, so sharp in its counterpoint to the ceaseless movement on the road, and this is the potential site for the new sculptures we want to make. This is a site waiting to be overwhelmed, to become luminous. From here sculptures will sit and call up the itinerant gaze of longing, already sown and prepared in pain and undiminished wonder, travelling opaque, resigned, tired, silent, on the roads. In the moment of sculpture, a moment will become free as moment of enrapture, of joy, of recognition. Sculpture can create the encounter to light up the eye. It can sit patiently and become heavier with the weight of disparate desires, wishes, curses, correspondences.


Exaggeration, flourish, a certain kitsch extravagance within language, any language, is something specific to the ‘sense’ of living in an underdeveloped society under strain. It comes from dark continents of pain, and is more than an anti-alienation technique, on which the human substance feeds and yields to dreams. In it life is closely interlocked with death. One sees this everywhere, human passions which briefly alter the scale of things, animate the inanimate, create giants and dwarfs, to pose an alternative to eurocentric views. The pain of subaltern perceptions and tragedies can free and deepen the humanist tradition. How well the writers in Latin America understand this!


From the pit of a single wounded eye well up feelings like the waves of the sea, and subjects as vast and as hungry as this pain that seeps in through the hands, a sculptors hands, and in which the wounds of many of a land can be bathed. Only connect, and remember the voices in the night, and the feet covered with dust, sharpened to a shrill pitch. Thieves in the night terrorising sleep, with dreams of tears, sitting, walking, sleeping tears.


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