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Holding the Center by M Shahid Alam

I taped it to the black board
a map of the world
Rand McNally
printed in USA.

It split Asia
right down the middle:
the truncated moieties
exiled to the right
and left edges
of this fixed habitat.

It was necessary
this sundering: so
USA could sit
right spat
at the center
of subjected memory.

It isn't easy
holding the Center,
mind you.
See to it
that they
see you holding it.

You have to
charge the cavalry
of cartographers
the hired guns
of history
to center
the world on you.

(Source: M. Shahid Alam is professor of economics at Northeastern University, Boston. His recent book, Poverty from the Wealth of Nations was published by Palgrave (2000). Copyright: M. Shahid Alam)

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