Showing posts from January, 2012

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Biri Blues

Drag on
Drag me out
But you are only dragging me down to the drain

to hide yourself from the scorn of society.
When all I have longed was some taste in you.
When you would not even buy me, my boy;
Why, tell me why, my boy?

The rabble rule.
Don't be so cruel.
You are acting
like a military, like a fake democracy;

Live inside your building of indifference,
while you build a statue of liberalism at your gate.
How can I let you know the truth?
How would you know it?

Blinking and winking merrily,
I would stay rubbing myself
against the cracked lips and crooked teeth
of my dear, dirty, poor folks, who chain-smoke to reach their gods.

But I'm just the butt, filter-less
of a biri, in my bareness,
Here, used and forgotten, near the drain
with a bloody, faded, red thread dangling on my head.

On Solitude

On this promising day,
as the sun bathes
the reluctant sky
before the cold airs of the season arrive
their wintry little hands
extending unto us unwished,
delightful it is, we are gathered here—but
I have been yearning,
with all this glaring emptiness,
to know what exists between us,
to see what really exists.

No longer do I care,
in this land of the strangers,
how the sun is sought after these days,
greedily on the verandas and balconies,
and how the winter will be missed so much afterwards.
Waiting all along, all around.

But when you talk of love,
I’m occupied
with how I should not hate you;
When you talk of peace,
there is always a clarion call for war;
When you talk of justice,
is there an seething frustration
to break all the division;
To love is not to not hate.
To be peaceful is not to be not violent.
To live in a just world is not
to be not unfair in living.
When you talk of freedom,
I’m tied up in a chain of boredom.

Between me and you, there i…

Today’s Morning News

Seven people killed, only three places bombed today;
In four places, sit-in-protest against the killing and bombing today;
The policemen blamed the patriots
The patriots are absconding, and a lot, the patriots are earning
The patriots blame the India—and of the land its vendible junta;
The India is sending a rocket to the moon in 2012;
6,000 acres of poppy fields are burned down, now deeper the raisers delve;
The genital doctor, he is my neighbour, has got a 1-crore demand letter
Search operation were conducted, luckily for the locality, only one suspect arrested
(According to some unreliable official sources)
The India is sending more mainland couches
For the beautiful wives and their riflemen and the army men;
I read the news, early morning, as I wait for the final poop
As I dream about fucking my motherland.

Of a Calendar Hanging Listlessly on the Wall

When whisky wants
The modification of man is over in a peg
Or two, for a vagabond like me,
Like the spring does to the dendrobium
But it’s only a spring of frustration for me,
Of my blindness that sees the big world so small and mean,
Of all the beautiful people longing only beautiful things,
Of a fresh new year arriving with more bombs and bullets;
Pots should replace drinks,
It makes me want to listen to Tapta.

The Chinese have included all the animals in their calendar;
Should we now include all the kinds of drinks too?
Would mentioning China urge
the United States of India to send more armies?
Nationalism can be spared for the next year,
In sobriety it’s easy to hide the sight
Of all the patriots and the bloody nationalists
In some meaningless words, in some bloody poetry;
But as soon as the whisky comes uninvited
From NFC and NAFED, does it arrive in galore
The man of change do accompany too;
Should we compare the number of people you killed
with the number of bottles we have finished?
We have the we…

Arrival and Departure — Poetry in 2011

A collection of poems which were posted on this blog in 2011. Nothing more special but there is a lingering push to recreate them better, thence the poems are now on a PDF taking a not-so-giant leap from blog pages and also to archive them more orderly, howsoever they are badly composed and edited. Now it has become an annual affair as in counting the number of deaths and bomb blasts in newspapers—this is the second year to be precise—to tally the poems and lay them out accordingly on some page-making and photo-editing software. InDesign and Photoshop were used for Arrival and Departure — Poetry in 2011  — The Year That Wasn't. So here it is.  


I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, 
and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.

Oscar Wilde


English Poetry in a Bamboo Bush

Of happy moments in the field of intolerable dreams
I’m visualising in it a life of essence
While ennui fails me day in and day out
As I fritter my time away in the killing fields.

Poetry is better in English:
It smacks of the Foreign, in our land so barren
A motif of greener grass that others own;
In my mother tongue,
I chew over a few verses but they are worse,
They taste so native, so bland
Like the loadshedding evening on a bandh
Like the defects of English;
Bring in more English nouns and verbs
and adjectives from faraway lands,
We can relish quality in quantity
Get more adverbs to show
We have been spending the nights listlessly;
Whitman and Auden and Ginsberg are my heroes
My love for English poetry is more than
The sweet sentiments of Khamba, he had for Thoibi,

—I would still not care to read Hijam Anganghal
Until I can go to a wedding, wearing what I want
I'm allergic to all the attires and apparels so aglitter
The English and Hindi and Bengali are too much
But if not nothing, let me we…

God is not Dead

God is not dead,  But pretty much alive in so many divine ways
In and out, here and there, left and right
One of our oldest kings is also a god
He looks like a big python and a dragon
And there are beautiful goddesses
More lovely than the others
Falling in love can be so devotional
God is not dead, my friends,
And there are many photos, you can see
In colors, in monochrome, in black and white
There are many artists too, who can paint gods
Sometimes all adorned and sometimes all naked.

Once an old man told me
The gods and goddesses live elsewhere
They fled for we curse too much
They are found everywhere, I said, like bombs in our place
He told me I will know it when I reach his age
I do like to reach his age and prove him wrong
But I’m afraid he will be a dead man then
Don’t wait for heaven, it will come to you, he advised
“Chant the names: a ding ling ga jing ga
They will let you garner
They will let you plunder
The last time I had, it was the wet dream about a goddess.”
The old m…

Get Power Cut or Go Kaput

A translation of RK Bhubonsana’s Mei Mamgera Budhi Mamgera

Get power cut or go kaput
—It is the new government notice
It is mandatory to choose one.

Get power cut or go kaput?

The octogenarians talk over
Amongst themselves, the better choice:
‘If it is affirmed
We should get power cut
than to stuck in a rut.’
Slowly the suggestions stream in,
Slacking their stooping shoulder
The burden on their walking sticks:
‘Going kaput, for us, is open-and-shut
Today is as confusing as yesterday as tomorrow
So if it is really done, before we pop our clog,
Let the electricity be damned
Get some good sense back.’

And right away
does the government pass the verdict.

In view of the old folks’ judgment
There has been power cut
A regular load-shedding,
It is not a government's trick.

Get power cut or go kaput?

So the news spread,
Amongst the middle-aged folks
The discussion goes forward
As they campaign from home to home
Across the town.

And after deliberation they decide:

As far as electricity i…

Awfully January

Part One: I Feel a Change Comin’ On

As drunkards shout for power
The power of itsy-bitsy nothingness
On the powerless streets
For the dictatorship of the donkeys
I feel a change comin’ on;

all these days I have been only waiting
In the passage inside my place of drainage
All these days I have been only waiting
For the next thousand days for more blood and gore
I do feel a change comin’ on.

They yell again to make it special
The beginning of the festival is marked here
—The festival of the fools,
With the loud merrymaking of bombs
I feel a change comin’ on.

Part Two: Of the People, On the Election

I hit the road as the festive moods prevail
There are going to be folks who are interested
Even if I'm interested in none of them
For the plastic dawn we dream of seeing in the horizon
And standing under a banyan, all I saw was Bose
And I talked to him, he had got the day's first dose
So strange he is not like a drinker like all of us
In this cold January morning
He had managed to …

My Buddy, Mr Bush

A translation of Thangjam Ibopishak's Eigi Marup Mister Bush

Last evening
In a hotel in Lilong Bazar
I had red tea together
With the president of America, George W Bush.
We gabbed
On terrorrism in Iraq
On the changing landscape
in the relation between India and Pakistan.
He said: "To fight the global terrorism
The Meitei martial art is the only way,
No nuclear warfare, nothing will do."
That's true;
We have the Meitei theng-gourol
In a flash of the sword
that a flyspeck seed of sesame cannot slip in
that five English heads had literally rolled!
Bush is bright
But brighter am I.
I asked: "Have you heard about the Manipuri art
called chainarol mentioned in the ancient puya?
The Maoist revolution in Nepal is going out of control;
How would you solve it?"
He replied: "Listen to the Bhagavad Gita
Spread the Hindu wisdom."
Towards the end of the meeting, I said:
"Mr President, I have no money
I have to go back to Imphal by bus
Give me Rs 10."…

Good Taste and Bad Times

Back in those bad old days, men would savour anything from roots and shrubs—the one with the hardest nails getting the most delicious parts—to the flesh of any prized catch. Now in a sort of time-machine leap to the present time, we have the blandest egg curry served in the finest ceramic plate, sprinkled with nicely sliced onions and bits of green chillies in ostensibly what is called a good presentation and serving and we would relish to our heart’s content. In a similar pulse, a public hanging for lousy criminals would be a grand entertainment in the bygone centuries but we have heightened our taste to the degree of using only fingers in front of an electronic box for amusement today. This gives us, precisely, a rough idea of how we have evolved through the ages and the difference between, to put it brusquely this time, the cultured and uncultured people. In the latter there lies a conflict, a dispute over the guffs of being overly civilized or not civilized.

Initially the act of r…

Tattooed with Taboos: ‘Quietely and Unexpectedly Poetry Came and Woke Us Up’

Source: The Imphal Free Press January 8 2011 Interview by: The Gender Studies Journal

Tattooed with Taboos, An Anthology of Poetry by Three Women from North East India was published by Siroi Publications and Loktakleima Publications in September 2011. The book was awarded the Best Book Production, 2011 in the recently concluded book fair held in Imphal organised by National Book Trust, Raja Rammohan Roy Library and Central Library,Imphal. This is an interview of the poetesses Chaoba Phuritshabam, Shreema Ningombam and Soibam Haripriya by The Gender Studies Journal based in University of Delhi. The poetesses talk about the process of writing and publishing poetry, negotiating gender, Manipuri society and politics. (They are referred to by their initials.)

What made you write poetry? How is your gender identity related to what you write?

S.N. : Writing poetry came to me in my school days. For me poetry is a revolt. It can hardly erupt from a banal feeling. It has to be from a deep pleas…

On the National Death Day

The splitting of the January skies disturbs
The anxious corpses at the riverside crematory
Seeing no mortals in the cold, wet morning
They rise for an apparent cut and run to No Man’s Land
How long could have they been waiting for these unholy hours?

Some of them would have been surprised seeing me
But indifference marks their rush
As if it makes no difference no more, they are seen or not
As I run ahead, in front of some bullet-ridden cadavers,
To tell them they will be missed:
“You, folks, have been so close to us.”
And assuring, just in case, if they would ever return
I will welcome them, singing the national anthem;
One teenager with one side of his face cloven uglily,
He barks back all he care is a national flag.

Withal I realise what importance
All these things are of, but my own volition
—What I make of myself.

On Revolution and Dustbins
Trotsky, Zedong and others share a platform when we look up to the r…

Sitting by the River Last Night

the Nambul is weary now,  Forever watching its own tedious flowing
Under the cerise skies,
Hearing the all-time wailing

The seasons are changing,
But these are only distorting
The fragmented ideas
Of killing and bombing and raping

How would we tell it to stop
Its reluctant running
Pass the lawless riverbanks
That show only desperation?

How would we tell it to stop
Its reluctant running
Pass the pipes of faeces?

But happy it is, this evening
As we sit by its side, comforting

We are innocent people, having
Brains in the buttocks;
Buttocks in the brains,

That we have always been so close,
By its bank, as we drink and dope
Forgetting the grunge and grime;
Sharing, all is not lost, yet,
We still have a packet to fill the pot
We still have the guts to gun down the government.

The Sparrow’s Story

caged in the hencoop a sparrow,
It dreams of flying away to Shangri-la
As wires and metal bars of the cage ridicule
not its plan of an ever-impending flight,
But its arrogance of dreaming
What the cage owner would not even dare to.
It has seen in many wakeful nights,
The inevitability of dawn
The coming of light, though, is never enough
New days—its company of melancholy
Arrive duly, only for some hopeful fellowship.

It is one thing to dream, quite another to realise it
The tragedy of life, in and out of the shackle
The unruly imperfection of a night in which a day would melt into
The wretchedness of wires and metal and their damn slavishness
The invisible cage owner who possesses the puppets
All of these, the sparrow knows not, but its destination.

For the dreams it lives;
But its stories are beautiful only in narration
While, inside the cage,
Even breathing is becoming burdensome
The sparrow's life is sinking into oblivion.

rocket gabble: shoot them away to uranus

we must get the rocket,
our monstrous creation,
out of our trouble;
get it ready now.

the men in white: their class is supreme, let it be
and should they seat in the lavish business section
and load up all their loots and goods beneath their seats
and should they wear gaudy yellow and orange ties,
like the old man with a coat and tie from noney
who came all the way to buy the gospel cd;
the supreme men have looted enough all along,
in the name of the land
in the name of people
now the time is over;
so is it for the clever middlemen
who ever dream of heaven in our hell:
take the seat behind the supreme leaders,
dream of a better place than heaven now,
far away from blood, bombs, bullets, bollocks;
the police and the patriots of the land
should they take the economy section
at the rear, should they fire, fight, fuck freely
inside the special rocket, off our world.

shoot; shoot it right away,
straight off to uranus
but we are so afraid:
what would become of us,
without them, the wise…


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