G.K. Subbarayudu

"Being Godless" a poem by G.K. Subbarayudu to be included in the Seeking Kali Artist DVD. Opening artwork by Marta Barnes.

G.K.Subbarayudu, Being Godless

I am not a religious person
How undertake a teertha?
How dwell in the state of ecstasy, Brahmaananda?

KaaLi was a goddess in a temple at Calcutta
I knew the taste of that KaaLi prasaadam from time to time

One such visit… the temple yard… priests
holding a goat… a spirited blow of the sickle like cleaver…
priest thrown feet away by the recoil of a headless torso…
devotees applying the spattered blood as tilak to forehead…

the prasaadam didn’t taste so good
any more. That was the last visit
to the KaaLi temple at KaaLi Ghata.

Parween Sultana’s voice took flight into the distances of the stars,
Radio waves on All India Radio carried me farther than the stars and the milky way..
Into the range of the Teekshna VeekshaNa of Bhawaani .
Mahishaasura mardhinii’s Kindness
Dayaanii’s Big-eyed Benevolence
was beyond my appreciation
Ugra- Chandi roopa seeking sacrifice
was more real, if a little terrifying

Her Bhairavi
took me to a plane well beyond vaak and artha ,
into an ecstasy I could not comprehend.
The music of the moment extruded into a micronic thinness,
like the skein of the charge of lightning,
and rolled through my eardrum into my heart and veins.

Much later, Bhimsen Joshi‘s Bhairavi
created the state of Paramapada and Brahmaananda
inviting a stay, nay a visit, a transit halt
will I take the offer of resort?

Jasraj’s Adaana
in praise of Maata Kaalika
powered its way into my being through the images of
the chopper, the chopped, and the skinned

How reconcile the cry for a darshan of Dayaani
with the saakshaatkaara of “khaDaga, munDa, khappara kara-dharini” ?
How overcome the panic of duality?
Can the hand ruffle your hair in aasheervaada, then tighten the grip to chop off your head?

Grandmother and Mother… saas--bahu
I teeter at the understanding of the hostile relationship
Grandmother, nearing the fierce, death-phase of KaaLi
Mother, in the life-giving stage, Dayaani.
I receive the prasaadam, life.

Life and death
will thrum in unison
only in music and art
and in the images of Shakti, Durga, KaaLi.
The intense, intricate lines of the paintings in the KaaLi project,
the probing of the musicians,
and the blood-as-tilak in the temple at KaLi Ghata
shall have to reconcile in
the straight line of the ECG monitor at my mother’s death bed.

Achalatva, Samaadhi, Brahmaananda.
Om Tat Sat.
I am still not a religious person.


Billie Maciunas

A poem by Billie Maciunas to be included in the Seeking kali Artist DVD.
The poem,  Morning After?,  is spoken by Susan Shulman.

                                        Morning After?
                                                           Please put on your clothes
                                                           you are so much more

                                                            in your cream-coloured
                                                            turtle neck

                                                            all your cold Kali shrine
                                                            by some 
                                                            sweet snare

                                                            © Billie Maciunas  _ Morning After?

Ria Vanden Eynde

Two poems by Ria Vanden Eynde to be included in the Seeking Kali Artists DVD. The poems, Kali Ma and Kalachakra are spoken by Susan Shulman.

Ria Vanden Eynde uses the following lines in her folio 
from our upcoming Kali portfolio of images.

Kali Ma, look at me,
I'm suffering to the bone.
Kali Ma, come and dance
On my ashes, on my bones.
Kali Ma, come and dance
Bring them back to Life,
Kali Ma, come and dance
Bring me back to life.
Kali Ma, can't you see?
I wear your colors,
I carry your mark.
Kali Ma, Kali Ma.
©Ria Vanden Eynde

Kalachakra - Ria Vanden Eynde ©2010

Sometimes I see you 
fiercely running
crossing the field of my dream
Eyes red, tongue lolling
Relentlessly slashing
The worlds of my mind
Endlessly provoking me
To create new ones
for you to annihilate
Harshly showing me
That emptiness lies at their base
Until finally
Only emptiness remains

Mimi Shipiro

Poem by Mimi Shapiro to be included in the Seeking Kali Artist DVD. Spoken by Susan Shulman.

A Poem by Mimi Shapiro (16):

there are many manifestations of Kali
for centuries and today
there is no light without dark
day without night
as the sun circles and as the seasons change
both she and I change in time
over time through time
once the gods were human
and we revered them as gods
over time these myths grew
until the gods became blended with our spirits
we can destroy ignorance and
restore order
what can you do? for Kali
for today
for change?

©mimi shapiro

Abha Iyengar

Poems by Abha Iyengar to be included in the Seeking Kali Artist DVD. Spoken by Susan Shulamn

Abha Iyengar-Dance with Kali (13):
Come dance with me when the moon is full

Come dance with me when my flower is full

Come dance with me when my heart is full

Come dance with Kali

© Abha Iyengar

Abha Iyengar, Finding Myself

I am all arms and legs entangled
Holding them around me
Strangled I feel, tying those
Knots myself.
Cares, needs, concerns
Me, mine and the rest of the world.
Like a butterfly well meaning
but rudderless.
Eyes darting, mind whirling,
With these arms and legs
Grasping me, telling me
I cannot do so much without failing.
Falling. Falling.

And then you appear within me
A flood of waters raging.
Fill me with hope so much I emerge
a great tumultuous energy, wind
whipped hair and sailing.
Arms and legs open wide
wielding weapons of healing.
Compassion, love, desire, passion,
A kaleidoscope of feeling.
But, above it all,
red hot woman energy, all consuming.
A sense of self in being and believing
Womanhood, creative spirit, justice
and freedom. A giving and receiving.
My limbs dance
manifesting your power.
My tongue speaks red and bright
River of joyful fire.
Rising. Rising.

I am become you, O Kali Ma, I am you.
©Abha Iyengar

Susan Shulman

Poem by Susan Shulman to be included in the Seeking Kali Artists DVD. Poem and Voice by Susan Shulman.

Susan Shulman, Kali Sara Gypsy Goddess

No knocking is required
For there is no door.
No jingling of a key
For there is no lock.
Nonchalantly, strolling into my dreams
as always - I welcome and embrace her.
TIme stopping as Kali Sara Gypsy Goddess
visits me between the dimensions.
I am mesmerized, breathing with no breath,
As fleeting moments seem to last forever.
Whispering my true identity
Through the colored veils of time,
As I carefully and soulfully listen.
I am floating in
And out of consciousness.
Lovingly wrapping me up
With dancing auras of psychedelic brilliance.
Showering me,
Inspiring me,
With hopes and desires.
My essence is soaring.
Exploding into a million fragments of pure joy.
In the background, the gypsy tambourine is calling.
I feel that memory vibrating through my body,
Dancing somewhere near a fire,
but as soon as I relive that vision the music dissolves.
Smiling, no words passing between us.
She transfers to me that sacred word
That confirms each time her existence.
I close my eyes,
within my eyes,
In bliss.
I awake, startled.
My eyes wide open, sparkling and twinkling
knowing another secret another day.
Grinning and laughing out loud
Kali Sara Gypsy Goddess
I am
Reborn... once more again! 
©Susan Shulman 

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), Chain of Pearls

Mother, I shall weave a chain of pearls for thy neck
with my tears of sorrow.

The stars have wrought their anklets of light to deck thy feet,
but mine will hang upon thy breast.

Wealth and fame come from thee
and it is for thee to give or to withhold them.
But this my sorrow is absolutely mine own,
and when I bring it to thee as my offering
thou rewardest me with thy grace.

Herb Sundvall brought to our attention the introduction from
the book Singing to the Goddess: Poems to Kali and Uma from Bengal.
ed. by Rachael McDermott

Terrible-faced, horrible, with disheveled hair and four arms
Divine, adorned with a necklace of sliced off heads
Holding in her two left hands a freshly hacked head and a cleaver,
And in her right displaying the "fear not" and boon bestowing hand gestures;
Lustrously black like a cloud, and robed with nothing but the sky,
Anointed with blood dripping down from the necklace of heads at her throat;
Terrible because of the pair of children's corpses she wears for earrings,
Her teeth horrid and Her face frightful, but Her breasts high and uplifted;
A skirt of cut arms hanging from Her waist, laughter bellowing out,
Her face shining from the red stream dripping from the two corners of Her mouth;
Shouting terribly, dwelling on the very fierce cremation grounds,
Her third eye permeated with a newly risen sun;
With fangs for teeth and a pearl necklace that swings to the right as She moves,
Sitting on the Great Lord, who has taken the form of a corpse;
Surrounded by jackels and their terrible all-pervading cries,
Engaging Great Times in the act of reversed sexual intercourse; (she, too, likes to be on top)
Her face happy and pleased like a lotus--
He who thinks on Kali thus will have all his wishes fulfilled.