he burnt the hay to ashes
used it as fertilizer for the field
that has sucked forty years of his life.
He grew the cabbages
betraying his wife and daughters
never ate a meal together
but drinking his own sweat
and eating his own muscles
all alone standing in the field
under the sun with one hand
holding a sharp spade
He smiled looking at the cabbages
popping out of the soil
like he was watching his own kids
growing up in a land of fairy tales.
He rented a bullock cart
loaded it with all the cabbages
and rode it to the keithel
singing his dream to the ox.
the ox waved his tail in his song
the wind from the mountains teased his song
blowing away his unuttered words
to the dry canals of his own field.
He reached the keithel
His eyes were suddenly blinded
by the mountains of cabbages
like piled up dirt from a sewage
The cows were not even eating them
they only smelt and turned away
towards soibum yonbi
his song went away incomplete,
he could felt the warmth of his own tears
realizing he was one of the few
in the noise of keithel who suffers
for tilling and toiling.
He spanked the ox with his stick
rode the cart to a nearby drain
and poured away the cabbages in it
Now the cabbages became skulls
that laughed at him;
You knew this will happen
you didn't grow cabbages
you grew human skulls"
He spat at them
and he swore by the sun
and by all his sweat
he wouldn't grow anything ever in his field
but guns and bombs
Histories are written for books.
Khongnagthaba has rested
forever under the Khongnang Pambi
Smoking bidi and chewing kong kwa.
Manipur, stop showing me the 12 naked mothers
The Kangla Gate has been re-opened
Your kingdom is in your hand
don't tell me what i can do
Manipur, Stop spanking me,
My buttocks are as red
as that of a Japanese infant
it will make me bleed my life.
Manipur, stop offering me poetry.
Now i own 215 unpublished poems, enough! it is enough.
the newspaper boy delivers poetry,
wrapped with the news,
All i do is to unfold them.
the mothers in ema-keithel sell poetry
like oranges, apples and bananas,
all i need is to peel them off
Manipur, stop singing your lullaby
I have no intention to sleep on your lap
You have been decorated by death
like the marble slabs
in Ministers' toilets.
I don't want to surrender to be your son.
I believe "death is the end"
Manipur, it is raining human heads
and chopped hands, the sky above you is crying.
it has been raped by your growing mountains
what have you whispered to them?
Manipur, I don't need you to spend a sleepless night
i don't need you for my poems.
Manipur, Stop loving me when you are dying
but don't drag me down, i don't own you.
Manipur, stop looking for your tail
Don't spank me for my pony tail
Don't hit me for my good digestion.
Manipur, you have hills like Kashmir
why don't you cry on Kashmir's shoulder?
but dont bring suicide bombers
here it has already been bombed,
why do you get raped so easily?
Manipur, why do you always want to play Holi?
you dont know when is autumn
and when is spring.
My colour-blindness doesn't matter at all
i could smell your colours.
Manipur, stop reminding me
what's the value of such life.
I have seen my kind of lives in the gutters, in the sun;
in the name of peasants, in the name of police
in the name of death, in the name of revolutionaries.
Manipur, Are you testing
our human kinds can be a sample or not?
Are you asking for an exodus?
are you asking for a movement, a mass movement?
or are you crucifying yourself ?
Manipur, why are your poets obsessed with Africa?
Manipur, don't spank me any more
I disown you, you disown me.
My palms turn wet.
Little by little
The white mosquito net too turns red.
In the white bed sheet
The word “defeat” spreads
And I see Irabot’s statue
Standing still and surrendering
To the goddess Kali.
And above the statue
There flies the Pablo bird
Without its feather.
And I see the socialist poets
Reading poetry with their fists in air
At Mayakovsky’s statue
Still I walk out of my bed
Alive to start another revolution
“This is not poetry
You shouldn’t use words like gun, bombs
Prostitution, revolution, corruption.
Poetry should sense melancholy
It should have a rhythm of silence
It should rhyme..say..like
At Tidim Road you see green at both sides
And the fields connect the mountains
Nature has beautiful symmetry , You know?”
Later one fine day,
I went to the mortuary to identify his body
His poems could escape from violence
But his body failed to do so
So he died with 7 bullets on his chest.
And his death rhymes with my poetry
And I wrote it in one of my sleepless nights
But I still remember you
Raging on the streets of Imphal
Burning down what you saw
Cutting down the roadside trees
Which did nothing to you
But the river said nothing
Understanding your anger
Hearing your cry and scream
What made your finger secretly stamped on the palm?
On the day, were you just a scarecrow or their hands cut your hand?
Should I remind you which hand blinded your eyes?
“I can’t die for love”
“We promised to poison ourselves
And she died with the child in her womb
I didn’t poison myself, I was scared to die
So today, I cry, and everyone laughs at me”
And there is a lawyer
In this land of lawlessness
But he farms and grows potatoes
He is happy because he eats the best potatoes
And there come the sex workers
From Namthirok with the virus
They sell their flesh for drugs they abuse
To console their broken past of riots
And the police take away their money
Sometimes they get beaten
If they refuse to suck their timid dicks.
And everyone reads the news
Like it is an obituary.
And the government is busy broadening the road
For the killer commandoes and IRB to escape easily
After their daily crimes.
And for the Sunday poets in Poknafam,
Poverty is their poetry
Death is their ballad
Love is their dope
Freedom is their cry.
And the infamous Chief Minister is famous for his saying;
These fools they want to eat egg
but they don’t want to break the egg
And there is a father and a mother
Who sleep by the Ukhrul road
Since their son got married
They are the one who haunts the dead night
And there are rich
And their sons and daughters
Who love the land in books
While they are being guarded by hawaldars
Yes even their love making is guarded by rifles
And there are villages
Where police does what dacoits do
They rob the shops
They shoot the young bloods
And there the effigies are burning
And there is a singer who steals
And there is a clown they call him politicians
And there is an overdosed kid
they call him “rehab hero”
and there is a widow they call her whore
and there are poets (Us), they call them warraki kabi
and there is a feminist
who believes feminism is the solution
so she preaches to her dying old father
and there is a friend
who divides our beats and tunes
and say we are the folks,
who cry who clap with our heart
And the flamingo is what the world wants to hear
And an alcoholic and a drug addict friend,
Who once was a student
With a dream to invent the best telescope,
Becomes the cheapest life
And the police use such lives on the road
Claiming they are the ones.
And the cobblers are speaking better than us
And live happily under their torn umbrella
Under the hot summer son of Imphal
And there is always a “Joseph’s son”
Sleeping cold and death in the mortuary
And there is always a cremation of unclaimed body
And the kids are beaten up so often
By the police with their rifle butts
Now they sing when a bullet flies above their head
And the rebel owns the editors and newspapers
And for every son everyday is a war
He may or may not come back home
But the parents know where to find him
A bullet flies at the speed
Of one death per bullet
When you keep it on a table
It smells a threat
A used bullet smells of hope
And desire of a dead young man
When you load it in a gun,
It feels a victory but not for the body on the river bank
When you wear a bullet in your neck
It tells you nothing
When you sleep with bullets, in your dream
You will see those boots marching
When you make love with bullet,
Not only your virginity
You will lose all your blood
When you read about bullet in the books
You think you can smile and face it.
But mother earth will swallow you
When you face it.
words of different kind
words of different meaning
we speak day and night
words go heard
words go unheard
depending upon at which mouth
Look at the book stores
words in different form
some in sexual books
some in guerilla warfare books
some in autobiography of great men
words fly from bees to flowers
words flow from small mountain streams
to big rivers
words can rhyme revolution
Poets compromise widows for windows
just for a need of rhyme.
"She is shy so she cries
He can fly so he dies"
if these are words by great men
these will give great meaning
but these are mine
some said yours is a revolution
some said you all are spoilt brats
some said you all are the "heavenly poets" of Neruda
some made calls to kill you all.
But we have come to the conclusion
that your voluminous poems will be counted
they will be taught in school
but as poetry has a habit of reflecting
yours too is filled with so many
we, the official of Govt of Manipur, request
you all that from now on
be optimistic about what you write
and write good things about our land
dont scold the officials, politicians
dont remind us about any history that you witnessed
dont talk of effigies, you can write about mountains
but dont write about the conditions of roads in Hills
You all will be paid
if you write one poem a week.
you will not be paid
if you write more than one poem a week
or you take more than one week to complete a poem
So from now on
you all have become 21st century
At your Service
And now what I do is to write poetry
I write poetry because I can not talk what I feel
If I talk what i feel i will not only talk
I will scream like the lunatic kid Calvin
Of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes
For example if I say MLA
I will scream it so hard
That it will sound like “Mother Licker Animals”
Or “Money Licker Assholes”
And everyone know the consequences
Of such soothing melodic scream.
And my vocabulary is weak
I can not write all that I feel
And it automatically serves
As an act of censorship
So I write poetry
And I have never seen Ministers reading poetry.
Forget about poetry.
I have not even seen them reading newspaper
Even if they read,
They would react to the grammars, the punctuations
And the printing qualities
Like people react only at the times of election
For some hundred rupees
I write poetry because I feel drunk
By searching words
And these days only drunken men are excused
By bullets and demand letters
So you never heard poets having “Wakat Meefam”
When it comes to death
My old chap Thoiba said,
'Poetry got nothing to do with death
We have more to die.
We need people to die.
So many Jews were torched inside church.
We will die, die! Die!
Unless someone shows up
And make Kanglasha sings
Like Chairman Mao made the Chinese cats
Sing ‘Mao, Mao, Mao’
Like Ho Chi Minh made the Vietnamese Lions
Roar “Ho, Ho, Ho””.
and Thoiba too is a poetry to me
which dissects poetry and death
who rejects his own death
but appreciate others' death
Two drunken animals argued
Over morality and plurality of this land.
Slowly the red bottle turn white.
And the white polythene collapsed
As if it can’t bear our stories.
We stopped arguing,
We said to each other
“We are such a thoughtful animal
That we talk of politics
That we hate so much
Even at this stage of drunkenness”
And Deepak said “This is the time we exercise freedom”
So we threw the cigarette in rain
And jumped into the pukhri
Played like little ducks
Deepak popped up like bubbles
Here and there
His tired potato farming hands
Made the pond a place of storm
a place of waves
the waves that has no beginning and no endings
And he owned the moment.
Two wet soul sat in rain on the thonga
Wearing the smallest khudei on earth
We looked away
As the water droplets blurred our views.
The wet ploughed field opened to us
With its shallow water reflecting the bluish
nothingness of the sky.
We could smell the mud and its shallow water.
Deepak again said,
”Now I do not care of tomorrow.
If I die bury my heart in this field
Sow my soul in this field
Grow my hands in this field
Fix my eyes to the hills to watch this field.”
And the next moment
Our cars howled down the road
And we faded away
To the valley of artificial green
Celebrate for the crushed lizard
Celebrate for the wingless butterflies
Celebrate for the killed boys for few thousands
Celebrate for the floating dead fishes
Celebrate for the curtain that your homosexual sons wear to hide from you
Celebrate for the number of bodies in the morgue
Celebrate for their politics
Celebrate for the boots that step on your head
Celebrate for the guns that make you timid
Celebrate for the bungalows you build for them
Celebrate for the rivers that flow your child’s blood
Celebrate for the bullet that pierced her vagina
Celebrate for the young good looking Gandhi
Celebrate for being born in this “jewel of india”
Celebrate for your unread poets and writers
Celebrate every time they show you their pistols
Celebrate for the junkies that you disown
Celebrate for the villages where girls are being raped by the revolutionaries
Celebrate for the number of women who have been raped by armies
Celebrate for the electricity which makes you insane when you want to watch Delhi, Mumbai
Celebrate for the headlines in the newspapers
Celebrate for the little fields and its fertility, which makes you steal, rent and buy what you need for your survival
Celebrate for Moreh that gives you the cheapest toothpaste
Celebrate for your unemployed helpless lazy sons
Celebrate for the burnt library
Celebrate for the blasts which know no rival
Celebrate for their polls inside your hut
Celebrate for the widows who sell cigarettes and pan
Celebrate for the rickshaw pullers and their body odour
Celebrate! Celebrate !
Inaugurate your lives
There is lot more to come
There is more
For you in the store.
To make their chair an electric chair.
What we need to call our revolutionaries is KKK
What they need is a Bolivian diary
Not a corpse of a professor inside the campus
What the government needs for its logo is a gallows pole
Not a hand, not a palm
What we need is to re write
Pacha’s “Imphal amasung magi ishing nungshit ki fibam”
What we need is to walk naked on the streets
To stop them from stopping us
To show them we got our own weapon
To fight for our own race
What we need is not to commit suicide
To avoid Jewel of India, Manipur, Kangleipak, Meitrabak
What we need is to shoot cannon balls
Till the mountain slides and bury the highways
What we need is to chop our ears like Van Gogh
And present them to the Assembly Hall
And say “We don’t wanna hear anything anymore”
What we need is to masturbate
When politicians hoist the tricolor flag.
What we need now is to write on the walls
“It is the time YOU count death”
“You have also arrived?
I can’t even sell yesterday’s
Please move to the next one”
Then they carry me further.
The next young woman said’
“Come closer, let me touch you…
You are still very fresh,
Oh, there is only one hole”
I look at my navel and said,
“Yes I have only one hole”
She said “You fool! You deserve to be here.
Whatever it is I can’t take new ones
I am closing from today
I have earned enough
I am going back forever to my town”
Again they carry me further
The next ugly fat seller says,
“I want half spoilt ones for my dogs
These days no one comes here to buy”
The next gluttonous man ask,
“who am I?”
Now I can’t answer
My mouth is filled with blood
I see black all around
Slowly the warm blood drips from my nose
But I hear them saying,
“He is one of those missing persons
Who turned up as dead militants?”
At thangal bazaar
Near Gandhi avenue.
I didn’t know where to run
Where to crawl where to hide
I lost my senses.
In my eyes
The bullets flew so big
Like the morning sparrows
When I came to my senses
I was crawling under a table in a hotel.
There he was,
A young bearded handsome man.
He too was panting like others, like me
I asked him,” are you a native?”
He replied in his husky voice,
“I am a native of everywhere
I came all the way from Nazareth
Your hill people called me.
But I can’t heal them
For years their lives are seasoned
With misery and poverty.
I am so helpless.
Once I could heal lepers.
I don’t know still I can walk on water or not
I have put on my weight
As I have been sleeping days and nights
I even forget to save Iraqis, Palestinians”
So I exclaimed,” you are Jesus, the messiah!“
“Why do you hide from bullets and bombs?
Aren’t you supposed to save us?
Bombs and bullets can’t kill you
You are a god
Not a dog like me.”
He replied,” in my hey days
There were no bombs and bullets
And the super god that sent me on this awful earth
Didn’t teach me anything ‘bout bombs and bullets,
If the super god taught me
Why would so many lives be lost in Nagasaki?
Why wouldn’t I save your Gandhi?
O I am late
It is already 5pm
I must go to Sekmai
For my last supper again
He walked away not touching the bloody ground.
But I didn’t know could he ever reach Sekmai or not
Or lying somewhere in the morgue
Because after the cross fire day
13 non Manipuris were shot dead.
Don’t make a crying face
Dance while there is noise
Don’t shy away
No one is watching you
It is a hot summer
Dance my love dance
Your children are always hungry
There is not a leaf of grass left in our garden
Have some faith in our hunger
Don’t stop dancing
On the streets of Imphal
No one is around you.
Move just as you want
Even if your hip is not oval
Smile my love smile
It doesn’t matter if you cry too
Tear and sweat taste the same
Tear is for me
Sweat is for you
These complete our lives
Dance my love dance
I am cooking for you
I am making the bed for you
Come with your smile
Don’t come with brimming eyes