Remembering Somorendra (June Imphal)

you smelt victory on the way
the victory of Ho Chi Minh,
but you died with you own bullets.
and death has its own beauty.
now they stand a statue for you
again here you follow comrade Irabot.
on every 10th of June,
the flamboyant gentle men will make a vow to you
and your biography becomes just another book
in our library.

Ema Keithel (July 8th)

Fish of all kinds meet here,
Half smoked, half dead, half rotten

“I swear by Ema Leimaren, echa yokpa ngamdana mange
They were just caught this morning from Loktak
See the gills, smell it, smell it”

Plucked off breasts on lukmais
Unsold like their cheap humor.
Dreams get drowned
In the glasses of black tea
Like slices of ginger and lemon.
Flies oozing their sperm swarming
On kaboks, on honey, on the notes.

Women of all kinds join the noise,
Smoking half smoked bidi,
Blowing smoke from the nose,
Smiling as fresh as fish out of water,
Wearing flowers in their ears,
With the scent of chinghi creating ripples of fragrance.
Poets say it is the scent of Mother Earth,
But they care not for the poets
Nor for who sings ‘Hallelujah’
All they care is about their guavas and papayas

“I swear by Ema Leimaren, echa yokpa ngamdana mange
They are not from Moreh”

They bring laughter from huts in torn thumoks
They bring stories in red tomatoes from the hills
They bring smiles in rotten potatoes and sour plums
Tears leaking from torn thumoks

In pineapple seasons,
Laughing at Bheigyachandra
And their far away- husbands’ testicles
They sell pineapples
In sarongs of all colors

“I swear by Ema Leimaren, echa yokpa ngamdana mange
They are as sweet as honey”

They call with their hands
Rich gentle men and say:
“O Pamuba! I got lots of thing to sell
Come, come buy from me
This will be the first of the day
And you will be the luckiest in town.”

Some whisper to others
“This man has got eyes like pineapples”
Others giggle and whisper
“But we got only two nipples, ha ha”

“Hey bitch! Do ask your lady killer husband
To come here again” giggles
“Ho Ebemma! Don’t even think of him in your dream.
Do you see these Uhmorock?” they giggle again

Altogether their laughter,
Their stories a noise
To the ears of this city of villages
But a single laugh is a cry
That they can’t save for the last meal,
A meal of aluminum plates.
The city dwellers take away their laughter in pockets
The rag pickers dump their stories in their sacks
While Bheigyachandra keeps looking
Searching for the stars
In broad daylight

Love Letter (July 12th)

“I miss you again,
I have missed you many times
But not like this before
You were so close to me
In that angry crowd
I ran after you breathing hard
That I couldn’t smell your odor in the wind,
But the wind wouldn’t tell me where you have run
And I lost you again, as I have many times before
In the thin air, in the noise of cries and death
In vain I searched for you
I hurt myself hitting iron walls
I became soft like cotton
To the walls,
But to you I was impervious
That’s why you ran away from me.
Please come back to me
You complete me
I was born and made for you
I want to break into your heart
I can’t stop loving you.
Jut say your body is all for me
Not for anyone else.” - So wrote a bullet to me

I had to reply,
“Baby, I am still mama’s boy
Mama don’t allow me to have affairs
She doest even let me climb alone the stairs
And you are still a stranger to me
Keep missing me
Let’s collide when I am stronger
Let’s meet somewhere in the Jungles of Myanmar
There we can penetrate what we see and scream
Among the banana plants and poppies and bushes.
And by that time I will have many surprises for you
And I promise you I will remain a virgin
Let’s not meet at the coffee bar or market place
Our public display of affection will shock many innocent lives”

To Jayanta (18th July)

do not cry for this land
this land was never yours
it was for those who died
in the east pakistan
it is still for them who hold guns
do not cry Jayanta
The night is all yours
if you can sleep
Look at your lover
Watch her cooking
or you cook her the best hawai in this city
the whistling pressure cooker
is whistling for you.
Hold her tight
She is all that you got to lose
and you belong to her
Watch your love stitching the broken hearts
watch her wearing white
to tame the unknown patients
in the Hospital
ask her to open your heart,
your not so open heart

Do not cry Jayanta
listen to Ginsberg's poem
you will smell the scent of marijuana
even when he cries
against this heterosexual world.
and yes you will laugh at his obsession
to asses of 14 year old boys

Or look at the mirror
throw away your spectacles
thats you in the mirror
with two eyes and a nose
and the hair that stood
when you listened to me reciting poems
Thats you!

Look around
your freinds and brothers are getting married
all they care is for life insurance
learn from them
there is lot more to do than wondering
and crying for death.

Don't cry
Just call your lover
through your old nokia phone
tell her how you wish the dead poets
to recite poems on your wedding day
how you wish to announce the day holiday
holiday for the students of Oinam High school
Tell her now you are not that lonely

She knows you travel up and down
from Nehru Vihar to Gurgaon
and you drop yourself dead
on the woolen bed sheet covered bed
in this summer, betrayed by monsoon
and she loves you
do not cry, just talk to her.

And to you (July 20th)

and to you
O radical activists
standing at your doors
waiting for the wrong doers
to slit their throat..
when they gift and present culture
to you like a birthday cake
to you whose stomach
is full with dal-makhani and strawberry ice cream,
you throw them away saying
"it is a shame"
and suddenly you draped your khamen chatpa
and like kailashpati you dance

O culture! your RSS-like culture
to it i surrender my khudei
to your radicalism
i surrender my life
Please think about life
before you think of culture
Please stand by Sharmila
not by the rivers of our great history
of tradition and culture
the sun didn't see your radicalism
when three souls from lukhrabi thong
haunted the street of Jantar Mantar
O! save lives first not culture
save yourself first before
you set others to fire

O radical activist
Clad in red khadi of Fab India
Discussions and Adda
With bottled Bisleri water
and cuppa chai
And rind of blue smoke
Trailing from your well prepared speech
Your preoccupation is overpowering
But why the fury at the delicate acrobats
and the soft limbed contortionist
We all have learnt this way
Trying to duck against whizzing bullets

O radical activist
I have learnt my lessons
I have packed my bags
with folders from your seminar
heavy with profound words, strong argument
I collect them hoping
to sell it with my old newpapers
that contains grainy picture of death
and everything else

(Written with Priya)

Burma, If You have a Heart (July 18th 2009)

Burma, if you have a heart
Embrace me please
I have stopped looking at my own shoes
Now I look beyond these lofty mountains
I see nothing in them except a handful of useless dust
I stop looking towards west
To me it is all just a waste
I stop leaning on India
Delhi crushed me among its sky scrapers and dtc buses
Mumbai left me stranded in the railway tracks
Bangalore didn’t let me smoke at my own will
Kolkata has too much of mouth revolution.
Tamilnadu is still mourning for Prabhakaran
Madhy Pradesh is still a nightmare after bhopal gas tragedy
Gujarat is for Modi and his fundamentalism
Pune is for Marathis
And we have been the niggers of India;
Read Pacha

Burma if you need a lover
That’s me
Embrace me
kiss me please
Let me spread my wings in your poppy field
Let me sail in your smallest river with all my songs
Let me cry out all the tear that I save in this punctured heart
Let me shit out what I have eaten
I have eaten what have not grown in my land
I ate hilsha from Barak River
I ate wheat that grows in Uttarpradesh
I slept on the mattress that was made in Delhi
I sang Guthrie and Pete Seeger
I wear VIPs
I drank 8pm of Haryana at 8am in morning
I danced in the song of Indian Ocean
I climbed the Western Ghats with Iranians
I smoked the dry leaves of Manali
I watched both Hollywood and Bollywood movies
And still I was my own man standing alone
Singing “Ema Nangumbi Leite”
Now, I can’t praise my land with my poverty
Now I need a new land
That can erase my appetite and memories
And Burma that’s you
You are the closest.

Burma, let me see your prison
And makes me feel I suffer less
Less than your outlaws and criminals
I was told you dump your criminals in a Polang
Like chickens in Chingmeirong Bazaar
Burma, embrace me
Let me wear that bamboo hat
Like famers that farm everything
You will not regret to be my lover
No great poets write a line for your Tamu
And cheap sex inside your wooden cabin.
But I do, if you don’t believe me
Look at
You will find me whistling singing
Like my favorite gay poet;
“Go fuck yourself with your AFSPA”
Along the Indo-Myanmar border.

Burma, Just give me a shelter
You are the closest to me.
Let me measure the angles of Golden Triangle
Let me smack cocaine, let me smell you
Let me bleed out all this blood
That this heart churns breathing oxygen
That comes out from death and all these fake revolution.

I will pretend I love no monks
And their recent movement
Except the seven year old monk
And its bitterness
I even joke "monks evolve from monkeys
So they have the same color
Like gods evolve from dogs
So they are omnipresent"
I even hate U2’s song on Aung Sang Su kyi
I don’t know what the freedom fighters do in your Jungles
I haven’t heard about a hero of guerrilla warfare
Who emerges from your jungle.
But I know what I can do with myself
If you provide me a shelter and a guitar
A blank page and a poppy flower
Burma, just embrace me
You will find me very fine

Rusted Sickle Sheds Bangles (17th July 2009)

With the golden hammer and the unused sickle
He just reached from China with his troop
With great oval hips and fake tits.
He said his land is another Cuba
But without Castro
With all the death in the morgues
With the naked mothers
With great boxers and great traditions.
And his voice raised
Like he was in an election campaign

And there a man shone on the stage
With his lipstick and necklace
With his face half covered
Imitating the dancing courtesan Rekha
And how her heart beat
In the beats of tabla.
And there the Cuban ambassador
Smelling the garland of flowers
He wore in his wrist
Smoking the Havana cigar
Blowing smoke in east and west
Like once he advertised Guevara
Like he did with Cuban medicine.

And the culture savior spoke
“This is how we save our integrity”
Even if he doesn’t know how to save it
With other ethnic groups in his land
And Chacha Nehru rose from the bushes
In the smell of Nupishabi
In the clinking sound of his bangles
Chacha hit his own chest with his fist
And said “this is it
This is what I missed in my "discovery of India"
I must rewrite it again
I must rewrite it again”

And the culture saviour felt in Nehru’s feet
Leaving behind his rusted sickle to the dying peasants
And said “Sir! I belong to the Jewel Of India”

Behind the Podium (July 18th 2009)

With spoon and fork in your hand
You eat your breakfast in the finest suit
Your leather shoes inside the table shine
Like you mother’s necklace.
With ease you eat the noodles
With the chopsticks
You learnt it from your Chinese students
Without uttering a word,
From your laptop, you read the headlines,
News from home,
A letter from graveyard.

You hit the table with your fist
The servant thinks he hasn’t put salt in the omelet
You say to him “I must go back home
It is turning into a graveyard”
And your phone rings
You say “hello”
She says “hi”
And you smile in air
With your eyes glittering
Like a child with a new toy
And your love blooms out of the bowl of noodles
Your heart brims with love
Like the glass of warm milk.
And you say “I was never happy with the girl from north”
And you hang up the call
Wiping the last drop of milk from your moustache
With your perfumed handkerchief
Saying “ I am going home, home is calling, take care.”
And you blow your nose
Till the tissue tears apart

With all your good smell and ironed shirts
You fly home with your flamboyant accent
And there you stand behind the podium
In front of Meira Paibis
Delivering great speech like Martin Luther King JR
But all that you lack is a dream that share with the women
And all that you have is self obsession

Dusting yourself standing in the heart of the land
Saying, “Ah! It smells home”
You book a flight to capital.
Once the plane takes off
You say goodbye to the mid air
And it says back “Coward! Coward! You Mr. Professor”
And there you reach safe and sound
And all your loyal servants who have betrayed the land
Seeking its meaning in great books of philosophy,
Psychology and theatres,
Come to hear from you
And you say you are disappointed with Draupadi
And your loyal servants say “it is disappointing “
And now you are filling forms to get the money
That you spent on flying to and fro to the land
Just for its aroma that you dusted off again
And your loyal servants too are filling forms to fly back to the land
To stand behind the podium
And deliver your speech.


This heart was broken
and i called myself Manipur
i told my friends "they are manipur"
if they have love letters in their pockes
there will be love
if they have guns and bullets
there will be blood shed

But today, Russel
My heart is more than,
what i believed it was, broken
I take my words back
I can never be Manipur

The city rains
They dance with their naked chest
but my tear runs deeper today
as I cry for myself

A letter to Krishna from Brindavan

My Dear Son, Kanhai,

You have lived long enough for centuries
In the calendars, in the forms of stones and statues,
And among the Gopis with your bamboo flute
And you must have stopped worrying about death
But I can’t stop worrying about you
As I gave birth to you inside the prison
And I remember the day still
You, my own lump of blood, I still see you
As that little boy who steals curd and butter
What makes me worry about you
Is due to the crime rate in the place where you are living
I hardly get news of you and that land
These television networks
And newspapers hardly cover about the place
Is the name of the place “Imphal” or “Nepal” I don’t know?
I forget fast as I am getting senile.
Is the place part of our Bharat?
I have never heard people talking about it
Forgive this silly mother for such silly questions

I recently heard that there they even kill fetus
How barbaric is that?
I have always told you not to go to place
Where they speak some tribal languages.
So the moment you get this letter
Pack your back, stop playing your flute
It might be attractive to those barbaric ears.
And here Radha has been fasting for years
For her deprived past life
The Prime Minister too visited her twice
And Many Human Rights Activists had come.
Many feminist NGOs too are not happy with you
They even harassed me asking such question;
How did I raise you?
They call you a MCP, what does that mean?
And the Gopis are being deported.
Brindavan needs you
Ganga is also running dry with the ashes from the land
We can’t milk the cows without the sound of your flute
So come back, leave that land behind
I was even told about a poem written by a young Kabi
sometime in 1969
It was called “Hayingkhongyambi” or something
(have you ever heard of the poem?)
I talked about the poem to VHP leaders few years back
Before the demolition of Babri Masjid
They believed you must come back soon
Or fight back with your “Chakra”

Forever your mother
Stone number 110,
Dated 1/06/2009
Hayingkhongyambi is a poem by Thangjam Ibopishak

As the dead mother sings

As the dead mother sings
To the fetus inside her womb
“My baby,
Don’t ask the moon for anything
It will drop bombs and snakes
Don’t ask the sky for milk
It will rain blood till it suffocates you
My baby, don’t try to grow up
I heard they eat human flesh
Sleep my baby
Sleep inside my womb
This is the sweetest place in the world”

The fetus sings back with its little hands waving in air
“Mother! They have cut your womb
And taken me out
From my sweetest place in the world
They have kept me inside this chafu
They say it is a bit of Mother Earth
Mother, touch your womb
They have stitched it
Like you stitched the potato sacks

Mother, what do they mean by shoiren?
They call me by this name
They even say you are dead
And now I am starting to believe them
Cos you are lying inside the wooden box
Not on your bed
And I smell blood
And why is my brother crying?”

And a lullaby echoes in the streets of Imphal
But no one listens to it even if they hear
And wait for a day to sing their own lullaby

Bir Tikendrajit Road

O Brave Bir Tikendrajit!

You r heart is still thirsty

You are still the same hungry lion

My mother is pouring out all her blood

For you, gulp it slurp it

Ask her too for the flesh

She will never remind you

The land you died for.

She will never say a word to you

She is all yours

But you can never be a son to her

Look at your blood stained street

Still it will be walked

I must tell you

“It is just an incident to add a single orphan

In this orphanage”

Now you play the politics with bullets

Not with your blood stained sword.

Mother saved me

From your politics of bullets

I will grow up like any other orphan

Remembering this day and this road

But I swear to you Tikendrajit by my mother’s blood

That I will never pluck a flower for and from this land

I will never move a stone for them and you

And I will live till the day I see this land drowns

In my memory of this day

mr. lecturer

You float in the oil of their saliva
Mr. Lecturer, Delhi University.
I wish to drag you down on this soil
to smell this fresh blood on earth
I cant now remember your face
as i remembered your face
as one of the hands of the winning MP
I wish to open your eyes
with my razor blades
I believe you sleep well everynight
reading the congress politics.
Your "letter to editor" in ponapham
was as pathetic as you are and you will
"power of the Government to the People"
which book doesn't say this?
Only your government does not say this
what it says is people are to be killed

July Haiku (2009)

Once this was a field

Of paddy, rodents, scare crow

Now it is all red

Once in this mountain

We heard the woodcutter’s song

Now the wood is fired

Once they waved goodbye

With little hands to the trucks

Now they trigger guns

The lantern waited

For him to blow off its light

But wind blows it off

The missing politics

Lets you live but your heart agrees

Not with your civics

Cut them by their throat

Before they teach their children

How to steal our lives

Diaper and it Culture

Now you have grown strong
You even know how to get stoned.
Your hands can grab your dreams
To your love, your words are chocolate cream

You have not remembered yet
How you were wrapped by the grey fanek
In those misty winter mornings
Yes! She pleased you and your siblings

Now you say you can’t hold or touch a fanek
“Our culture is what our women wear,” you say yet
But every night you wear the culture of your loud mouth
And she sheds her tear suffocating in your breath

Yes! Your diapers were your father’s old feijom
The plays you watched were of War in Khongjom
The tunes you hummed were of great Meitei heroes
But the meal you eat are cooked by the betrayed sorrows

Your daddy once kicked at the womb
Today you kick the same womb
Every time you say a word you use ‘cunt’
Just to energize your friends and for fun

But when you die in their beatings and killings
You will cry out your mother’s name
And without any shame, you will lose your fame
In a fraction of a second

Yes! After your own death
You will worry about vultures
You will stop worrying about fanek and culture
You will die without culture

You will be cremated without culture
You will be forgotten without culture
Because you are not the first kind of such Meitei Nongsha
Hundreds of you have died and are born and born and born

Chime Time

why is everyone so silent?
was there a violence?
were you all shot by rubber bullets?
or are you all waiting for winter?
are you listening to the melting ice of Himalayas?
or are you listening to the child under the grave?
or are you all sleeping in the sun?
or are you all dying with your unpublished poems?
or are you speaking without words
or writing without ink?
Come On,
Now is the time
we make us chime

Opportunist Poem

when i was a baby
i sucked my mother's breast.
slowly i sucked her life out
and she is sitting watching me
scolding her
all withered and wrinkled
like a fallen leaf

when death takes its toll
i fake my tears
i write poems after poems
Using words like freedom,liberty
i even claimed we need a condom
to fuck these corrupt society

I am an opportunist
who sees everything as my own poems

Sometimes i write poem like
"My love, you left your sweet smile
under my pillow
I have washed your panty
with my warm tears"
Even her unwashed undergarment
is an ingredient to my poems
So i am an opportunist in a way

She (Part 2)

in one hand she holds
her kitchen knives.
with other arm she holds
her baby.
on her head
she carries the sanapun.
on her back
she carries her bed.
in the air
the rumour flies
"she has been a mistress
to so many misters"

now she sheds her fanek
and has run faster than ever