Saturday, December 08, 2012

REST in PEACE, MR. JAY WAGNER. my beloved Maths teacher, American Peace Corps Volunteer 1974

"MR. JAY" (WAGNER): A CELEBRATION of A PEACE EDUCATOR
(MY HUMBLE WORDS and DEEPEST CONDOLENCES TO THE WAGNER FAMILY in St. Lyons, Michigan, U.S.A)



I do not know what to write today
and how to honor you for those days you taught me

what sharing culture and humanity means;
grieving I was for days a few;



You left us just when I had the thoughts

of collecting the memories

of who you were

and what brought you

to a world you had come to love,

in a place where many did not dare venture into;



I shall stand like a good teacher

like you

in honor of you

and in celebration of a "gift" I would expect

what it was you never knew;



Strange was the land you chose to be in

Those times when chants of "peace not war"

was louder that it had ever been;



The windy city of Chicago you hailed from

Thousands of miles you came to us;

little did you know what your gift of love

had made us become;



Peace was your mission

You gave us moe than glimpses of a vision

At such a tender age

With such a deep sense of curiosity

You shared with us stories

of what America is like beyond those Hollywood movies



Blessed I was to be with you

in all those years

when learning Maths was not like roaming in my kampong

and going into the rivers catching ikan puyu

You taught me well

Though I never did become a geek with a beautiful mind

But still endless was my contemplation of the nature of numbers

and taught about Descartes, and Poincare' and what Einstein ate;



Unschooled and unsophisticated we were as kids

Not knowing what a first name and a last name, let alone prefix or a suffix

We called you "Mr. Jay" all the way

Instead of "Mr. Wagner" as the Americans

and Frank Sinatra would say;



Ahhh .. kampong kids we were

Blessed with an American teacher who once worked with a company called "Caterpillar"

Ahhh ... everday in hot and short pants we were

waiting for you to ride into our rugged road into campus

in your Easy Rider Norton golden brown two-wheeler of a scrambler

and we at times cheer and wished one day we too will ride those rugged bikes from Kuantan right up to Mount Kilimanjaro



Great it was those days when life was simple

like living way up in the Appalachian jungle

only that it was in a land where spirits and ghosts good and evil

love to possess dwellers of the ashram, those boys and girls;



Mr. Jay Wagner

our beloved Maths teacher

I could still remember that one afternoon

you brought us to your house a barbecuin'

and lo' and behold my eyes saw on your living room wall

a huge painting of the Beatles

You told me you painted it on your own

A spirit of peace you possess, I was sure home-grown



You taught us with a lot of patience

We were kids of simple folks

Who grew up to become quite useful blokes

With a love of american music, like rock and jazz, and blues, of course that thing called "folk"



A peacemakers and not just a teacher you were

With others we fondly remember

Alan Saari

Thomas Ainlay Jr.

David Erikson

and all other hippie-teachers of the Kennedy generation



Mr. Jay our beloved teacher

You left so soon

Many are still in tears

But all these years you had been a friend

From far you kept in touch as a facebook friend



We were supposed to one day meet

in the middle of New York's Times Square

like in that High Noon movie

in a gun-slingging moment so sweet

to settle some scores --

you a Republican and

I from the Party of Utter Confusion

--as american we are as a german and a mexican



But I know you are now smiling

from way up high in Heaven

looking at me

and wondering

what is that student of yours doing

in that egg-like structure of Osamu Noguchi

in that Storm King Art valley



We will miss you Sir

Our Mr. Jay we love

and we will fondly remember



But I must tell you what that special "gift" I secretly took from you

One that will never be taken away

as long as this hand writes

and writes

It is your style of WRITING I should say

those slants and how the letters danced

as American as they are fun

I thank thee, Mr. Jay

I shall not worry about not remembering you

You have become a part of me



But more than this

Much more than this

That you have left me

and many you have set free

is the gift

of LOVE

of HOPE

of PEACE

of HUMANITY



Rest in peace our beloved teacher and friend ...



-- Azly Rahman, December 7, 2012

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