Working on the cover page of a War magazine

Working on the cover page of a War magazine


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



I need to press the truth on their face either ruddy in chilled touch

or wrapped inside the smiles of the evaporated warmth of the yesteryears!

Suddenly I could wring meaning from their feelings and come up with the perfect Headline,



Working on the cover page of a War magazine!

By Anupama Bhargava


The words of Elie Wiesel wrapped the air, snug inside my mouth, into

Peace is our gift to each other.”

They all laughed!

Suddenly it had seemed like a bubble gum spit on the moon face.

Cancel it! Next!

Diana, don’t you know that the hiss of the modern times is not limited to the nude horizons of disbelief.

It’s beyond disbelief, into belief, that in our Kashmir is still clinging to the falling walls of the militant emotions of Islam by killing more Hindus with each passing day; the belief in which

The real success lies in the natural echo of the mourning after swallowing their voices.

Therefore our Headline should brim with an insufficiency to shield itself from these bites and stings, as if of an entire desert winter coaxed into language, that is

Hardly visible under the sallow glow on the patient faces on the remembrance column, asking “If anybody still remembers FLT. LT. PANKAJ AHLUWALIA, etc.”.

The Headline should be able to

Transcend the talks of each peace submit to the hopeless tears of the real faces that have lost all it’s inside detail and finally making people see the real wings of the demon with the winds of greed under them.

It shouldn’t be disappointing by talking about Allah instead of people dying!

And if you can’t get your hands on reality give me fiction!

I need to press the truth on their face either ruddy in chilled touch or wrapped inside the smiles of the evaporated warmth of the yesteryears!

Suddenly I could wring meaning from their feelings and come up with the perfect Headline,

“From Pakistan with love…”

Their chorus joy comforted my last failure!

Stop talking of Secularism, when for past 55 years Pakistanis have been talking of Jihad!

Bhagwan, Allah, Wahe Guru were all in deep sleep while

Even teenage girls were impregnated by wrong men to give birth to wrong children (That’s what they say wrong men give birth to wrong children), and

Their bodies were being craftily designed to meet the need of the time, with two stomachs -one was the normal one and the second was for them to be able to bear the fruits of violence within themselves, if

They weren’t left dead and naked, their genitals tattooed with blood by the stench of rotting human flesh emanating from their father’s or brother’s ears and noses chopped off their faces, their genitals mutilated, their extremities chopped off, their eyes gouged and their heads beheaded.

And this is how mourning with a cast of musalaman (muslim) characters stood center stage that historic night half a century ago, to find its way to another zone of metaphor,

Within the women’s silence around the event during the days of partition unaware that one day it will be transformed into a world in which this silence will be dwelled upon, again but this time by

People shrunk and dwindled into symbols screaming instead of, “Gore Angrez Hindustan ko kha gaye!”

(Savage, Cannibal, White Britons ate Hindustan!)

Slogans of Islamic Pakistan, “Pakistan’s Gift to Hindustan- Then and Now!” The words that leer with cauldron of bloodshed and horror yet to come.

And thus please, Hindustanis,

Stop trying to hasten the end of empire like Gandhi by the simple expedient of turning the other cheek,

Stop your foolish attempt to establish who was the “guilty” party that had lead to the appalling outburst of violence that even today dwarf anything we witness now,

By once again going through every weekly report submitted to Mountbatten by the governors of India’s provinces, then, officials who represented the best and wisest products of British rule in India,

Sitting on the mahogany table and chair, as amazingly no one foresaw this disaster even remotely close to the one that had overwhelmed the subcontinent since then.

And even more amazing is how you all politicians are still overlooking how far communal thinking had made inroads into secular organizations and sensibilities,

Or simply pondering that,

Did independence come too soon? Searching for an excuse.

Stop talking of Secularism, when for past 55 years Pakistanis have been talking of Jihad!

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books



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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

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Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid

By  Frank B. Wilderson, III

Wilderson, a professor, writer and filmmaker from the Midwest, presents a gripping account of his role in the downfall of South African apartheid as one of only two black Americans in the African National Congress (ANC). After marrying a South African law student, Wilderson reluctantly returns with her to South Africa in the early 1990s, where he teaches Johannesburg and Soweto students, and soon joins the military wing of the ANC. Wilderson’s stinging portrait of Nelson Mandela as a petulant elder eager to accommodate his white countrymen will jolt readers who’ve accepted the reverential treatment usually accorded him. After the assassination of Mandela’s rival, South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, Mandela’s regime deems Wilderson’s public questions a threat to national security; soon, having lost his stomach for the cause, he returns to America. Wilderson has a distinct, powerful voice and a strong story that shuffles between the indignities of Johannesburg life and his early years in Minneapolis, the precocious child of academics who barely tolerate his emerging political consciousness. Wilderson’s observations about love within and across the color line and cultural divides are as provocative as his politics; despite some distracting digressions, this is a riveting memoir of apartheid’s last days.—Publishers Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

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posted 17 June 2003




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