The eruption beatifies the magma.
It becomes obsidian,
only breaks with a fracture,
smooth circles where it breaks.
My mom was born on the grass
on a lawn
in a moss covered canyon at the top of a volcanic island.
My grandfather lived in Malaysia before the Japanese occupied.
When the volcano erupted,
the lava dried at the ocean into black sand.
The British allied with the Communist Party of Malaysia—
after they organized.
After the Americans defeated the Japanese at Pearl Harbor,
the British took over Malaysia again.
They kept different groups apart claiming they were helping them.
The black sand had smooth pebbles and sharp rocks.
Ethnic Malay farmers lived in Kampongs, villages.
Indians lived on plantations.
The Chinese lived in towns and urban areas.
Ethnic Malays wanted independence.
In 1946, after strikes, demonstrations, and boycotts
the British agreed to work with them.
The predominantly Chinese Communist Party of Malaysia went underground,
guerrilla warfare against the British,
claiming their fight was for independence.
For the British, that emergency required vast powers
of arrest, detention without trial and deportation to defeat terrorism.
The Emergency became less unpopular as the terrorism became worse.
The British were the iron that brought oxygen through my mom’s body.
She loved riding on her father’s motorcycle with him
by the plantations,
through the Kampongs
and to the city, half an hour away.
The British left Malaysia independent in 1957
with Malaysian nationalists holding most state and federal government offices.
As the black sand stretches towards the ocean,
it becomes big stones of dried lava, flat and smooth.
My mom thought her father and her uncle were subservient to the British.
She thought all things, all people were equal.
When her father died when she was 16, 1965,
they moved to India,
a foreigner in India, though she’s Indian.
She loved rock and roll and mini skirts
and didn’t speak the local language.
On the dried black lava,
it can be hard to know the molten lava flickers underneath there.
Before the Korean War,
though Britain and the United States wanted
an aggressive resolution
condemning North Korea,
they were happy
that India supported a draft resolution
condemning North Korea
for breach of the peace.
During the Korean War,
India, supported by Third World and other Commonwealth nations,
opposed United States’ proposals.
They were able to change the U.S. resolution
to include the proposals they wanted
and helped end the war.
China wanted the respect of Third World nations
and saw the United States as imperialist.
China thought India was a threat to the Third World
by taking aid from the United States and the Soviets.
Pakistan could help with that and a seat at the United Nations.
China wanted Taiwan’s seat at the UN.
My mother went to live with her uncle,
a communist negotiator for a corporation,
he threw parties and invited other artists, musicians and writers.
I have the same brown hyperpigmentation at my joints that he had.
During the day, only the steam from the hot lava can be seen.
In 1965, Pakistani forces went into Jammu and Kashmir with China’s support.
China threatened India after India sent its troops in.
Then they threatened again before sending their troops to the Indian border.
The United States stopped aid to Pakistan and India.
Pakistan agreed to the UN ceasefire agreement.
Pakistan helped China get a seat at the UN
and tried to keep the west from escalating in Vietnam.
The smoldering sound of the lava sizzles underneath the dried lava.
When West Pakistan refused to allow East Pakistan independence,
violence between Bengalis and Biharis developed into upheaval.
Bengalis moved to India
and India went into East Pakistan.
Pakistan surrendered in December 1971.
East Pakistan became independent Bangladesh.
The warm light of the melted lava radiates underneath but burns.
In 1974, India tested the Smiling Buddha,
a nuclear bomb.
After Indira Gandhi’s conviction for election fraud in 1973,
Marxist Professor Narayan called for total revolution
and students protested all over India.
With food shortages, inflation and regional disputes
like Sikh separatists training in Pakistan for an independent Punjab,
peasants and laborers joined the protests.
Railway strikes stopped the economy.
In 1975, Indira Gandhi, the Iron Lady,
declared an Emergency,
imprisoning political opponents, restricting freedoms and restricting the press,
claiming threats to national security
because the war with Pakistan had just ended.
The federal government took over Kerala’s communist dominated government and others.
My mom could’ve been a dandelion, but she’s more like thistle.
She has the center that dries and flutters in the wind,
beautiful and silky,
spiny and prickly,
but still fluffy, downy,
They say thistle saved Scotland from the Norse.
Magma from the volcano explodes
and the streams of magma fly into the air.
In the late 60s,
the civil rights movement rose
against the state in Northern Ireland
for depriving Catholics
of influence and opportunity.
The Northern Irish police,
Protestant and unionist, anti-catholic,
responded violently to the protests and it got worse.
In 1969, the British placed Arthur Young,
who had worked at the Federation of Malaya
at the time of their Emergency
at the head of the British military in Northern Ireland.
The British military took control over the police,
a counter insurgency rather than a police force,
crowd control, house searches, interrogation, and street patrols,
use of force against suspects and uncooperative citizens.
Political crimes were tolerated by Protestants but not Catholics.
The lava burns the rock off the edge of the volcano.
On January 30, 1972, ****** Sunday,
British Army policing killed 13 unarmed protesters
fighting for their rights over their neighborhood,
protesting the internment of suspected nationalists.
That led to protests across Ireland.
When banana leaves are warmed,
oil from the banana leaves flavors the food.
My dad flew from Canada to India in February 1972.
On February 4, my dad met my mom.
On February 11, 1972,
my dad married my mom.
They went to Canada,
a quartz singing bowl and a wooden mallet wrapped in suede.
The rock goes down with the lava, breaking through the rocks as it goes down.
In March 1972, the British government took over
because they considered the Royal Ulster Police and the Ulster Special Constabulary
to be causing most of the violence.
The lava blocks and reroutes streams,
melts snow and ice,
Days later, there’s still smoke, red.
My mom could wear the clothes she liked
without being judged
with my dad in Canada.
She didn’t like asking my dad for money.
My dad, the copper helping my mother use that iron,
wanted her to go to college and finish her bachelors degree.
She got a job.
In 1976, the police took over again in Northern Ireland
but they were a paramilitary force—
armored SUVs, bullet proof jackets, combat ready
with the largest computerized surveillance system in the UK,
high powered weapons,
trained in counter insurgency.
Many people were murdered by the police
and few were held accountable.
Most of the murdered people were not involved in violence or crime.
People were arrested under special emergency powers
for interrogation and intelligence gathering.
People tried were tried in non-jury courts.
My mom learned Malayalam in India
but didn’t speak well until living with my dad.
She also learned to cook after getting married.
Her mother sent her recipes; my dad cooked for her—
turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne and green chiles.
Having lived in different countries,
my mom’s food was exposed to many cultures,
Chinese and French.
Ground rock, minerals and glass
covered the ground
from the ash plume.
She liked working.
A volcano erupted for 192 years,
an ice age,
disordered ices, deformed under pressure
and ordered ice crystals, brittle in the ice core records.
My mother liked working.
Though Khomeini was in exile by the 1970s in Iran,
more people, working and poor,
turned to him and the ****-i-Ulama for help.
My mom didn’t want kids though my dad did.
She agreed and in 1978 my brother was born.
Iran modernized but agriculture and industry changed so quickly.
In January 1978, students protested—
censorship, surveillance, harassment, illegal detention and torture.
Young people and the unemployed joined.
My parents moved to the United States in December 1978.
The regime used a lot of violence against the protesters,
and in September 1978 declared martial law in Iran.
Troops were shooting demonstrators.
In January 1979, the Shah and his family fled.
On February 11, 1979, my parents’ anniversary,
the Iranian army declared neutrality.
I was born in July 1979.
The chromium in emeralds and rubies colors them.
My brother was born in May and I was born in July.
iron, copper and chromium—
isn’t a gas
but it isn’t a crystal;
it’s between the two,
the ordered crystal and the disordered gas.
They made swords out of obsidian.
This is the next part of Lava.