A Hundred Gourds 2:4 September 2013
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page 12  

Ray Rasmussen - Canada


What do I think of Western Civilization? I think it would be a very good idea.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Civilization began the first time an angry person cast a word instead of a rock.
~ Sigmund Freud

civilization –
anything us,
nothing other

1. Sunday Morning

I open Time Magazine to an image of Afghanis in the town of Mazar-I Sharif [1] . A circle of robed, turbaned men sit cross-legged on a dirt floor. They’re leaning forward, intent on ring centre, holding their hands up with money, offering bets. A bare light bulb casts a muted glow on a white-bearded man who is prompting two quail into a fight.[2] 

blood red
the winning bird’s

2. Sunday Afternoon

Super Bowl time. Friends, hands holding beers and reaching for snacks, are intent on the TV screen. I list our bets – who will win and the score spread. The referee blows a whistle and the announcer shouts, “Kickoff!”

cheers and boos –
a player carried
off the field

3. Sunday Evening

TV News: Sitting in a semi-circle, left and right wing commentators present information on the election that seems obviously embellished, if not outright false. I’m hoping that my side of the political continuum does a better job and that they show up those bastards for the liars they are.

washing my hands
the face of a stranger
in the mirror

[1]  Photograph by Qais Usyan, “Afghan Spectators watch a quail fight in Mazar-I Sharif, Afghanistan,”Time Magazine, December 7, 2012.

[2]  Quail fighting is a popular hobby and a gambling game in Afghanistan. Two birds are placed inside a circle and made to fight each other until one of the birds runs out of the circle and the bird that stays is declared the winner. Taken on March 28, 2013 from “Afghanistan, November 2011,” The Big Picture Website and from The Montreal Gazette Online, December 7, 2012. Photo can be seen at

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