Will Alexander: From 'The Ganges,' excerpt with glossary

[The following is an excerpt from a long poem, “The Ganges,” which runs around a hundred pages & is itself a third of a giant book entitled The Combustion Cycle. The book contains two other poems, “Concerning The Henbane Bird,” & “On Solar Physiology,” the former in the voice of a hummingbird, the Andean Hillstar, &  the latter spoken in the voice of an Angolan shaman. As for “The Ganges,” Alexander tells us, “it pours from the voice of an untouchable.” Of Alexander himself  I’ve written elsewhere: “Will Alexander, more than any of our other American contemporaries, is the inheritor of an ecstatic surrealism derived from European sources, colored by factual & scientific particulars, & drawing with great intelligence & passion from an international avant-garde & from the negritude writings of Aimé Césaire & others, for whom he acts as a true successor.”  His use here of historical & appropriated materials is also worth noting. (J.R.)]


The fifth-century Indian philosopher ... considers the faculty of speech to be an instinct or intuition. He compares it to animal instinct and does not believe language is learned.
-Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Volume .4

Lamas ... are not so much monks as priests and ghostly warriors who understand the art of fighting with demons.
- Sir Charles Eliot
Hinduism and Buddhism Volume Three

...a race of gnostic spiritual beings.
-Sri Aurobindo

The Rig Veda was composed by the Bramans ... and represents the sum total of the early Aryan experience. ... it is absolutely rampant with violence and racial overtones. It is also in the Rig Veda that we find the first documentation of the racially oriented caste system.
- Runoko Rashidi

"I've come to these waters
as Shudra*
as hallucinated lama
as spellbinding dictor*

in this regard
I'm not a mahatma
nor a spurious intrusion
singing in mystical parlando

I'm an old Dravidian from Goa *
velvet ssiv
discussing motions concussive with sand
or a poem ensourced by cholera
or formations tense with blue rotational acids

I am no more than a spectre
or a villainous discovery
or a gainless instigation
based upon a psychic set rivalrous with absence

I've come to these waters
to craft my own tremendums
to walk outside my nomen
to blur my trans-identity through culture

this is how blood works
how audition reacts
& stages itself
through reactive physical conflagrations

have I come to view to simply foil myself? or to ignite my force by regressive combining?

as I react & speak as I react
I've come to hover at the ghats
the colour of a psychic Kashi *
sometimes sable & liquid
at others
solferino & volcanic

as I respond through parallel as persona
there is Benares *
& Varanasi *
& Kashi once again
as if synergies were overactive with agua

as Buddhist
as Dravidian sprung from Goa
there is the English voice mixed with Kanada Hindu agua *
plunged in the depths
then exploding
as unquelled power as in the purity of ravens

& I see boats burn beneath an unstable Sun
ghats waver as strange proportional. Richters
as ciphered monsoon epics
as blank emission misfocused

& so the maharajah's walls
take on a cunning electrical rate
as collapsing body self-moored to an unsteady balance

I am different
I make no offering of "jai flowers" *
or take as my form philosophical unravelling
to evince a kind of portion
forced from the gullet as mountainous prayer

perhaps firewood on the ghats *
perhaps corpses piled as conflagrant in-audia
& perhaps my heresy of claim
being more than entranced moaning more than something beyond intransigent chakras *

for instance
my psyche swims through neglected alter currents
as if I'd stumbled on a feast of vermin
on infested sugar hamlets

& for those who declare themselves through samsara *
I've risen to no higher than the status of a ghoral or a pangar * 
or at best I'll live a million times
& never subsist as a purposeful vahana*

I've never sat in posture
chewing on Channa *
or invaded a dharmshala
speaking quietly to myself through immolated frenzy

when letters burn
when rocks fly in from the heavens
they are signs from bats & thistles
their kinetics refracted by curious solar incandescence

these being kinetics
between the "Varuna" & the "Asi" *
as if I were speaking of a liminal Varanasi felled
& brought to life again
by rays from the great Surya *
from solar form as shard
as cosmic spiral
as situational treatise
as looking glass spawned by complexification & sulphur
thereby listening to suns as scorching indigo & silver

what I am able to do
is to translate
is to merge samsara with ghat after ghat yet all the while barred from the crypto-Bramanic

but I know the very summoning of phenomena
as the Ganges reacts as luminescence through phenomena
through a spell of transverse murmurs bringing in
& taking away
the purest patterns of breathing
being colourless amethysine which emboldens
itself through rotational blinding

errors are seemingly blinded & drained yet what has always concurred
is the body as wooden abandonment
as exhausted coronation
as the sensate stained through providential inversion

so if I pick out points in time
it makes no ultimate significance

& if on such inscrutable date
a certain sari was stolen
if peculiar Yaks were transmogrified
life would seem as no other outcome
being nothing in itself
being energy randomly exchanged
not unlike tsunamis in Lisbon
so nothing would blaze at that hour
such as listless feuds
such as pointless tiger cats prowling

these being energies which create from themselves riddles
& superimposed
so that
from  the core of being ciphers erupt where animals can live & be brought back from the living
so if vultures crawl & exhibit no response I call them naked
fraught with competitive cremations

& there exists from this
a flicker of understanding
within fuels
which are considered transgression
much in the manner of the torment of owls
or hornets which gather their own affliction
& then revert in themselves
to a scorched or empty preludial

this is how hawks grow empty of their optimums
of their torsions
of the writhing in their bones

at times
I make sport
synchronized to certain bodies

as a curiously saddled sheep
absorbing codes from Mongolian ponies
transposing in my sleep certain levels of waking

not that I contest my own substance by cognition
or that I've reached unefforted fissure that thoughts from certain Gods can't bury
because I've lost my thirst for the heralded soma
for the image of myself
that nothingness inspires

the rats condone me as vapour
as a scent which kindles venom encircliing itself without envy

as if Í'd entangled myself netting
with unsuspected clauses
with rifts in the motes of cyclonics

as if I'd captured dust from fractured ‘tidal heating’
as if my strange basaltic wastes had hollowed their way through gravitized
as lighted prows
as blazeless forts
as monomial stealths & tensions

not that these wastes are cold tellurian rapids
or that they exist as forms peculiar & mixed with carnelian
or as heightened waves
delimited & sterile by fraction

of course beings exist
they descend from the ghat
they descend as perplexed Plesiosaurs in crises
being those who emote by proportional strain

I cannot say that the Ganges contains no suffusion
or that it has no effect on human deliverance
or that it ceases to provoke insular navigation

I am not saying
that the Ganges is not of summoning
or has never existed
that it's monaural worth has not blossomed beyond the Vedas
beyond its stones of sacred writing

the Ganges
perhaps fumes from a stored up sun
or from a moon
which has fallen from itself
in response to halos seized at ironical twilight

as Shudra
do I seek to extract from the Ganges
flow from Tibetan soliloquy
or give it the means to sculpt from itself proportional tenet?

because I remain perilous to the ghat
I am seen as alien
splashing its iniquitous waters *
& am seen as witness
according to navamshas
poised as they are against dominance & forgetting ..."





Shudra - Lowest of the four castes. The Brahmins being the priests, the Kshatriyas being the warriors, the Vaishayas being the trading classes, and the Shudras being the servile class. An Untouchable.

dictor - coined term. Variation on the word dictation.

Dravidian from Goa-Southern Indian "descendants of the Nile Valley." Their central energy was located in the Indus Valley civilization. The language spoken was Brahui and is part of the Dravidian language grouping, which includes Tamil, Malto, Andhara, Malayam, and Gondi.

Kashi/Benares/Varanasi-Kashi and Benares, synonymous names for Varanasi, regarded as holy. It is the oldest city in India, and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on Earth. Located along the Ganges.

Kanada - Another Dravidian language.

jai flowers - Cast by Hindus into the river Ganges as symbols of their troubles floating away.

ghats - Refers in this instance to the burning-ghats. It is a level spot at the top of a river ghat where the Hindus burn their dead.

chakras - Seven major centres of psychic energy located along the spinal column.

samsara -The Buddhist cycle of "birth and death."

pangar - Light colored onagar in Malaysia.

vahana - Animal that accompanies or conveys a God.

Channa - Asian snakehead fish.

Dharmshala - In Buddhism "a building devoted to a charitable power; a shelter for travelers."

Varuna & Asi - Tributaries to the Ganges.

Surya - The visible Sun. Yet during the Aryan period the Sun was never considered the most important deva during the Vedic rise.