Off Walls Off Pedestals

Damn You Progress! Progress, Damn You!

Posted in My Artist-Friends by tsabri on May 11, 2010

John Heiser, sometimes we call him, Yahya, is an American friend of ours. Sometime in 1986, Nagesh brought John to our ITM studio and introduced him as a friend whom he got to know in Klang. John married a Port Klang girl and was visiting his in-laws. We, eventually, became close friends as John is also into paintings, drawings, wood-prints and sculptures. He also writes poetry. I remembered a poem, Damn You Progress!, which he read to me – perhaps in a train-ride from Klang to Kuala Lumpur or elsewhere. John stayed and worked in Klang sometime in early 1990s. He staged a one-man exhibition at the then 10 Kia Peng Gallery, Kuala Lumpur. He exhibited mixed-media paintings, wood prints, sculptures and his poems.( *further notes needed. Illustrated is an image of a mono-print by John titled as ‘Self Portrait’, 1984, from John’s Album on his Facebook.)

Impressed with the poem and it’s title, Damn You Progress, I wrote a few lines of ‘poem-notes’ using the same title or the idea of ‘damning progress’. Mine, which is here published, was trying to capture John’s impressions on digitalization as well as what he wanted to do. I have not John’s poem, it would be exciting to hear him reading Damn You Progress again. John currently resides in Milwaukee, USA.

Damn You Progress! Progress, Damn You!

… last night, the Indians were busy on tv, they were driving the Yanks to the oceans. Pocahontas was queen – sitting on her titanium throne; looking from the gilded window: braves were riding rainbows, changing holographs of sitting-bulls and black-clouds.

The line jammed.

A meteorite storm in space … the broken satellites and other junks were disturbed again.

(John. He enrolled his children to a school without computers. He wanted to dig his own well. Damn you progress!)

… the punks left at three after their tired eyes blinked fluorescence and neons after their FAQs were left unanswered by the Nerd who had gone fishing of which was his favorite before dawn activity which he missed since his hardware store went bankrupt because the line was always jammed. The line jammed. The line jammed.

23 terabytes before was a dream. The Tower fell, crushing onto idiots celebrating national days, ah there – 109 were given out-patient treatment; 33 were warded, badly injured and 18 crushed to death.

… the fonts changed; like in someone’s else poem.

(John must be angry with progress. He talked about buying a land. Remote. Green. Hilly. Cool. He talked about planting. Breeding. Goats. Cows. Freshwater fish. Prawns. He wanted to dig a well_ John)

Damn You Progress!

End August 1995

Inside Poems

Damn You Progress!: Edited Piece 1995


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