the newspaper

Look! look!
It is in the newspaper.
the Indian team has reached Sydney.
Let's pray for them.
Hope they come back with the trophy.

Hey! Hey!
What is today?
Today is Monday
the newspaper is filled with Christmas Stars
tell the kids to stop crying
O! how wonderful Christmas is around

Daddy! Daddy!
I am hungry
i have not eaten a loaf of bread
since yesterday...
boy! My boy!
It is not written in the newspaper
so you are not hungry probably
wait till it comes in the paper

i got a gunshot!
i got a gunshot on my chest
It must be in the newspaper.
Look out folks...

Oh! sorry!
It is not in the newspaper
probably you haven't got a gunshot
or it did not bleed at all...

O Son! my Son!

Do you feel cold?
Do you feel thirsty?
It was yesterday
you rose up tall
and looked down
on the paddy field.
You went away
like morning
bright and fresh.
You came back
like evening sky
the crimson sky
so red! so red!
All wet with blood
Open your eyes
it is no time for you
to be slept on my lap
your daddy is weak
he hardly smells alive
O Son! my Son!
Do you feel cold?
Open your eyes<

the story

If i was young
and tell them my story
that my father was killed in a riot
and my mother was thrown into fire
they would have given me a hug or two

If i was old
and waiting for my time to die
and tell them my story
that i had stood against the government
and exiled to Myanmar for ten years
they would say; “my eyes already tell the story.”

with my fist raising against the sky
i am just losing myself inside my story
i will be swallowed at the end
without a trace
Many me, again, will come
to be swallowed
to be sunken
to be drunken
to be numb
to be dumb

O! a story will be left unwritten
until the human fades

A dark room ( for Ka-Dhiren)

The sun was above heads
With its light tearing the different shades
Of green of the summer trees

A dark room!

His clothes hanging behind the door,
An exit to step on the slippery floor.
He dropped himself
Upon his old companion
Bed and pillow

Piled up newspaper in a corner
An old wooden guitar humming a tune
Without a guitarist
A shelf filled with books

Among it, ones that stood out
Were James Baldwin
And poems on Lenin.

Upon the shelf
A black and white photograph
Of his 15 years old love

Who somewhere in South Korea
Sailing backward in time
In search of a signature
Of early universe

What had he in common
With the painting
Hanging on his wall?

A painting,
Something to do
With the painter's mother

Which I heard the painter lost
When the strokes of his brush
Were not so strong.

Not so dark to see his hands
Stretching out in his sleep
To find his distant love.

His spectacles needed to dust
He hardly used it to look
At the far away hushes
Of her lips that moves in silence

Once I overheard him
Saying he doesn't really agree
With the meaning of sacrifice

But a soul, which sacrifices, is his.
He often reminds me of Hemmingway
When we talk of drinks

Darker the room gets
The more it becomes vivid
Like a first dawn
Seen by the prisoners after ages

want to fly to America

your daughter has become a lady
neither do i want to ask you for help
nor do i have enough money
to fly to the Brave New World..
neither am i impressed with the Statue of Liberty
nor do i care to pay homage to the twin towers..
i just want to listen to the words of his
neither does he recite poems of Shakespeare
nor does he sing like the nightingales
nor does he whisper in my ears
he just paints me with happiness
he just opens me up
like he dissect the roses in his lab
Oh! i want to fly
I want to fly to America
how i wish to have breakfast in America
with his Chinese tongue
speaking American english
sitting next to me
and me, a Manipuri
who has been scattered all over in India...
How complete that would be, Daddy?

Winter, Newdelhi, 2007

I was half sunken into sleep.
the day was not so shitty
In this awful city
your call made me emerge
out of my blanket.
we talked, ,
i hardly heard you
i just talked
what i wanted to talk in my dream
we hung up...!
Soon hunger stabbed my stomach
so i tiptoed inside the kitchen like a cat
i found an egg
i found some ngari with green chili
so i whistled the rice in the cooker
like local trains of Delhi-Faridabad route
while the cooker was in charge of my rice
i read little magazine...
i read poems
i strummed guitar
i wanted to talk to you...
i was just hungry.....
still hungry my dear

these pockets are never filled
this heart is never touched by anything
without you! !
so i left my mustache unshaven
let it grow
let it sow
the seed of an artiste in my face
let there be traces of this phase
of my life, that a part is with you

ngari - fermented fish eaten widely in north east part of India

I was stripped (Assam, 24th November, `07)

I was plucking tea
when the Brahmaputra river was overflowing.
nature brought justice to all.
so we suffered together.

Winter paved nature to Spring.
with my little hopes
outshining the green garden
i was singing, dancing and plucking Tea!

the city was celebrating everyday.
i could see its smoke rising.
men were spitting out beetle juice
walking with those shoes.....

the armies were ambushed.
the girls were taken away to be sold away.
my folks were singing our Adivashis' songs.
in the rhythm, i was still plucking Tea!

I walked out with my folks one day
out of my tea garden on the streets of the city
where people love the smell of my hand-plucked tea
i thought i was saved under the umbrella

But I was stripped, I was chased
I was kicked, i was dragged
I was running naked all over the city
With tears, with fear

these hands that plucked the tea covered my breast
i ran, watched by the eyes of the city...
Oh! these hands will never stretch out again for tea
Oh! these breast will not be milked but blood