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KAPIL ARAMBAM’S

Songs of desires 1


songs of desires A collection of poems written in 2010 *a couple of them were written earlier*

Songs of Desires is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on works at http://kapilarambam.blogspot.com 2011 Created by Kapil Arambam

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contents singing the songs of desires — an introduction one the howling experience and others 01 life in poetry at the end of the year 02 dreams and nightmares 03 the song of desires 04 somewhere along the road to nowhere in the middle of a night 05 on changing the faith 06 disturbed 07 on diwali eve 08 a fleeting stream of consciousness 09 of pain, torture and agony 10 the light i see in the distance 11 news, news, news 12 after the spat 13 in the name of the dog 14 five steps forward, one step back 15 abc programming 16 disillusioned 17 unconstipated kicks 18 against authority and almighty 19 eager soul, eager dreams 20 the prisoner’s dilemma 21 a clarion call 22 a tourniquet for the land 23 to the rented alley 24 of the misanthrope 25 an open letter to india 26 great expectations 27 serenity in disguise of an unknown entity 28 a trip down memory lane 29 rage against the machine 30 primitive delight 31 to my father’s soul two haiku haiyo—the unintentional

sacrilege of an art form 32 delhi depression 33 weathering blues 34 flying high 35 akoiba taibangpal 36 khunai-gi khollao 37 chahi niphu-taret yeikhaiba 38 master, master 39 the flag that fails 40 the confession of a nihilist 41 punsigi khongchat wari 42 Haiku taiyonnaraba

three anouba

yawol­—manipuri seireng 43 eigi eegi leibak 44 tera kakcheng 45 numitki mangalta ngairiba lamlanba 46 feijom jagoi 47 huranbagi heijrang

points of reference: some of the graphics that i had created for the poems

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singing the songs of desires—an introduction

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ongs of desires is a collection of poems, mostly written in 2010, and which I have posted on my blog. I have to document them lest I might delete all of them in a fit. Even if I throw some tantrum and burn the print-out, I’m sure I’ll have them on the net now. But I know I’ll not delete them from the blog as well as burn them down—I’m not that impulsive. I still regret shredding my journals in the past out of sheer ignorance and annoyance before posting online or putting the copies up somewhere. When I write I’m too political at times. Poetry, though, is not my area of expertise. I’m only more adept in establishing nonconformitive thoughts and finding ways to live normal with them. In a way, I’m just a normal guy in a normal life with a normal day-time job. When I look around, longing to see some sense why we are here, living on this planet—everything is so fucked up outside my ‘self’, which really disturbs my inside. This egocentrism is perhaps killing the spirit of conformity. However, nothing can kill my desire to express.

And so here it is: the Songs of Desires that I want to sing all along. Though our bondage has broken the tempo, the bombs and bullets make the numbers out of tune, and the absurdities been strumming a-failure all over them. [Should I just whistle …freeedommm…?] I would also add that these Songs are not all about politics—that is, I’m just too idealistic and not a fanatic. You can find some poems on several other themes, and as mentioned above, I’m just a rookie flirting with different styles like haiku and prose poetry. Kapil Arambam January 4 2010 http://kapilarambam.blogspot.com/ 4


o n e :

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t h e

h o w l i n g

e x p e r i e n c e

life in poetry at the end of the year

And no more will be the uncouthness of the youth And no more will there be rejection And no more will there be dejection But now when I walk through the street I see the only route of the offbeat For the familiar roads, they are smeared with blood The people and equally, the things grunted We are forgotten, but nay forsaken The armies and cops would remind us often. I saw my dreams and nightmares As I wish now, as my heart shares Let these days be only in my sleep Out from the slumber, let peace and justice seep.

Another year is in its final stage, and I’m waiting for my poetry to draw the curtain on the year’s slow death. Our lives earmarked with a calendar, each event separated by a date. In the end, the days did not matter as much as the people, events and some thoughts. Of people we met, of events we saw, of what we thought—and our life enriched from some purposes that we serve to humanity. Yet it’s the dead-end, nothing is beyond the cremation ground, no rhyme, no reason; so merely it’s to fine-tune this illusion. Everything is good in life as long as we accept and let them go. And nothing is just good if we accept and let them go. That contradiction! Now the new year: there are so many mountains beyond the picnic spot at Koubru Leikha. Many more pegs to follow the empty Old Monk bottles. And many more distance we have to travel beyond our drive back home. And the pessimism is already lurking in the horizon. How many more years, and how many decades will we have to taste the blood, smell the pungent bullet powders, hear the piercing wail of the people? As if… as if this was foreordained. And inside my self, I saw the day, and outside I saw the night. I wish, I wish the new year illuminates all around.

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a n d

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dreams and nightmares

the song of desires

bring me the guitar let’s while away this nightfall of blood, hate and pain

we killed and murdered we found blood and hate and pain the night will be long

If only Utopia was possible How the air would be so blissful If only this unreal real was unreal And if only the dreams were real And I would not want to be the birds And I would not search in the words And good it will be to paint the world with sables of truth

seemingly painful it is to the night itself ah! ingratitude! 5

o t h e r s


of talking shops and miserable people:

now you sing the sing whilst i play the melodies as the night hollers

“We have had enough We need to have common sense But fight for the land.

wait for the morning and we will begin afresh new tunes, days and hopes.

“And, kill for money And go all out for freedom So we can make peace.”

so m ewhere al o n g the ro a d to no w here in the middle of a night 04

Now the commotion scuppers, and in the middle of this night how I wish I could draw my hands out, wangle an unearthly power and stop the watch,

A tribute to some unknown highway corners on Imphal-Jiri lambi

But Day and Night, they are more precise than atomic clocks and are not jaundiced like rogue governments; that they cannot be scotched, their punctual approach.

I have been longing for these midnight hours, when the world would be in the arms of Morpheus while I lay awake, living a life my own.

In this desperation lies my life besides Winding Jiri Roads and Tall, Drooping Tamenglong and Local Begrimed Earth

In the morning, the afternoon and the evening, never had they stopped turning me upside down;

Alas! I could not even dream, and can suss the outside forces would play havoc if I plead for serenity that I want for eternity and do things that are close to my heart;

On the glaring eyes of cameras and on the notepads of the newspapermen, I was stripped naked and again ruthlessly clothed,

I would love to breath the bracing air of the neighbouring Mesa, but not those miasma of Gunshots and Bomb explosion;

And the world that wanted to console with me and show their empathy, and I bore only in my feelings — the sensation of impuissant that I loathed.

To wake up every morning to watch the cheerful Sun, and if Day permits, to wander around the vigorous shrubs, while enjoying the unpretentious views and natural exhibition.

I had lost the sense of beauty a long time ago and would shudder in the darkness alone, which I have got used to, from those times they started campaigning, politicking

The Conflict of aspiration for entitlement and uninvited incidents in diurnal lives flusters noisily, making a hell of the Hillside Stillness.

And ever I ignore the lifelikeness of life — the humanity and civilization — for all I long now is the triumph of Sensibility. So what if I’m not a mortal, I do hear the wailing.

So far it is good to be away from the groans and complaints and hue and cry about what and how I should be; for this silence is a well-made possession and I appreciate it’s a few hours from daybreak and another awaited daily spell of Human madness.

When the bombs blasted, when your folks got killed, I heard the cacophony 6


I owe no one a grudge and am only in debt to my search for the ideal, To break free from these chains of tapering vision and the living’s ordeal And it struck: how thrilling our book of absurd existence would become a brilliant opus If we belong together, in lieu of allowing the religions and countries to own us.

Before the Sun comes to pass, I pray for the dead fabulists who promised the masses garbs in fine fettle for me and beseech not to worry to those who are committed to persevere, keeping back the legacy of unconvincingly tailored pledges; From the crack of dawn, I’ll retreat to my former Self: a disgruntled, mute Object of curiosity, with the usual harlequin drapery that blankets lonely, serpentine passages.

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For the moment, let me myself be a being.

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on changing the faith

disturbed

The crap in papers from your master It’s what you have given us Piled together in empty explosive boxes. For too long that you might have forgotten When you did hurl it across But do you see— The tears that flow across the Nambul, The blood that have turned The verdant, lush fields into dull crimson?

Obscured and sporadically loosened, I was when I chewed over my ancestry, I belong not to a part, so I toll the knell and become a part of an entirety; You cannot label me from the character in this farce of life I playact, It’s a sin, the old folks would holler, yet I have changed my faith, my sect. I foresake now, with deep apologies to my death forebears, and choler for the hoi-polloi, Even as I would not mind, if I’m excommunicated or people call me a loi. Regrets for I’ll call their favourite priests, who chant Sanskrit in Chinese, no more And anger for putting me off and keeping back prehistoric chatlam lutin and mores of yore.

Tell me you don’t know The legal framework thing The crap of colonial constitutionalism. Two hundred years of serving the sahebs All the gas of those dry chappatis Your one-billion-year-old civilization All of these you have bartered With the dogshit in blood-smeared papers Just to suppress The countless motherland lovers’ feelings Or to chain us to the frontier?

Seeing as I have been a human being since man came unhurriedly out of nowhere; But because we are a ‘piece of the continent’ that the bard wrote somewhere, As the Meiteis and Manipuris for millennia and centuries, we have been waxed As the others for sixty-one fucking years – and on our patience, India has taxed. 7


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on diwali eve

a f eeting stream of consciousness

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What is there we have to lose in this emptiness, When nothing is left in the barren terrain, everything is spoiled with the paucity of ideas. The gun, the blood, the lust, the avarice, the drugs, the stinking resilience bind the consciousness. The supermen and jungle warriors of fucking politics and lousy economics; The marching bands of gun-toting spin doctors have razed the reluctant sprouts in the jam, the matériel of messy legit masters merely miff the mob and trigger mayhem. Old men lie bleeding with syringes and guns and debts whilst antsy mothers cried for their lost kids. The lost kids burgeon in the labyrinth of pesky geography and nagging history, consume in the theatre of the absurd. Casting the vote for the tricksters in each ghetto, paying off the elected tricksters to bring a smile on their wives’ puckered visage. And in a flash they lie bleeding with the syringes and the guns and the debts. Fight for the freedom whilst we sing the redemption song; Fight for the money they think it’s their legacy whilst the hoi polloi gallop hell-bent for leather to make both ends meet; Fight for the land in the plains and the hills and fall into the pit of jerkwater notions;

Light, light, everywhere, And all the buildings do shine, Light, light, everywhere, Yet I heard all over, people whine. Now the tale is too long No mariner can even vie The misery with his song. I’d chosen the place Outside a minister’s gate To see the light showcase Yet, more I become so irate. As I saw artificial disco light With sweets we celebrate the day With crackers we start the cockfight With lolly we go ashtray. And I realise I didn’t see the illumination The load shedding that defies Our life--it’s been auctioned. Now the authority is futile Now the adopted religion has gone anal Now Diwali is just another dry day Now naysayers are predicting the doomsday Now it’s time for another peg. Light, light, everywhere, Not a thing I can see.

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No more the mind, however, will be in manacle As more thoughts find their orifice from the dark debacle Of masters, confrontation, group, and blindness and what not To free expression and valour, which now our lives denote.

Fight for the prestige our great ancestors had renounced for the sake of race and religion and power whilst crooked regimes unwind in the catbird seat. This is the calamity of nothingness. This is the nadir of a society. This is the end of a history. I choose not to persist The fleeting stream of consciousness I choose to believe in my free will.

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As I get ready to make merry of the night’s impending death I see the bright light in the horizon. The joy that we had when we found the thabal chongfam Oh! Those tube-light, you remember that were seen from afar.

of pain, torture, and agony

Of these nights that keep tolling its dark hours We would howl, “Celebrate, rejoice for one day these will be over, And those fresh imagination, those cheerful mornings of ours, Of new ideas and freedom and happiness will be delivered.”

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When you lost everything, you can lose any more. When the tears could be hidden no more, And when life becomes but a fucking piece of shit, And when life could not bear the searing heat, That's when you want to fuck off away, To fuck off from this fucking illusion of dismay. For nothing is real, but the Real and the moment still Yet this fucking pain I still feel.

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news, news, news

when the gunmen killed the old timer when the mercenaries loot the exchequer when the nationalists do the land a favour when protest becomes the occupation of the teacher and the doctor and the engineer and the student and every commoner when passion is found only in blood and drugs and in the activities of the executioner and the trickster

the light i see in the distance

these are not news, my friend, these are but the ordeal of the people of a forlorn land where the bullets fly faster than gossips in the page 3 columns where calamity and uprising are printed larger than the lead story the news of the barons, they say -- second to none

Gloomy, ever the things are unfortunately Answers if we can find now will be so timely But here we are in these nights of fighting These nights of avarice, these nights of killing.

come on, every tomba come on, every chaoba the news is business tell me what the fuck do you have to tell a tale about?

This obscurity, all the same, is only too long There will be a dawn after the night, no matter if it is prolong Wanted: the guiding powers of consciousness Come on, it can be anyone’s business.

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after the spat

Like the prostitutes can sell their body Like the public servants can loot the public treasury Like the ministers can lie without suffering ignominy. And growling at everyone, it fritters And lose its sweet worth sourly.

Silence between us and above, Confusion more bitter. Catching more pretty flies of love With honey than vinegar That it was supposed to be, Yet the quietness and time augur That it was not supposed to be.

As I draft the epitaph of its early dead, For it was lifeless sans its loyalty, its blitheness For I saw in its eyes, the image of insanity widespread, I notice the true colour of the authority, their impunity That they are more wretched than the animal. Leastways the cockeyed creature knows not to kill, Nor its disrepute helps it make more brutal Nor it forced us to pay its bill. Now Mr Jackson’s words need to be altered The one-time love—it seems it is forever lost For in the filthy dog’s image lies a picture Telling us thousands of words about the thickos.

Now the feeling’s so solemn Deprived of colours by disfavour And please don’t say it’s venom When I come to you with the armour To take you back To the place where we belong To mend what we lack To sing our song.

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in the name of the dog

f ve steps forward, one step back

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The Jackson guy said it’s the only creature Seeing the gods in its master And I love it when it is humbler, it is calmer And bark away the worries of its possessor. But one day, I saw its night of desires Beastly it became as much as it can be In this land of thousand masters. Eating the shits breathlessly, It lives so bastardly Born in the streets, with no line of descent In October nights when the autumn air is crispy On the road it fornicates, without any lament Like the commandos can kill the people

When we know the destination When we have the aspiration We can march ahead Our eyes on the goal Our heart on the flagpole No looking back till our dead For we are no eonian We do have to catch our breath And we have our poetry and pena and plebeian And the idea of moving forward in itself our wealth.

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abc programming

A COMPLETE MORON’S GUIDE TO ADVANCED BASIC COMPUTER PROGRAMMING

Delete “Corruption” Delete “Fuckfaceleaders” Delete “Imaginging.Histories.” Delete “Laziness” Delete “InferiorityComplex” Delete “Easy:omoney” Empty the bin Insert “Hopes” [typeface 2.x bigger] Refresh “Ideas” [typeface 2.x bigger] /These are essential functions/ Compromise? No.No Means No. Period. Say Aloud.Stay Together. }

█║▌│█│║▌║││█║▌║▌║ Manipur \Bleeding.. Government \Unavailing Underground \Flooding People 1 \Suffering People 2 \Looting People 3 \Running.Fuckedup. Mission Peace and Progress Start. Dissent [in ‘boldface’]. { Why/? Gunfucks. Politicsfucks. Ibobicompanysuck.:o Disunityfuck. People’s Consent.?. Election.? ‘Yurem’.Rs 500.?. Blood..

End. Essential// End. Dissent. Start. Breaktime.[in ‘italics’] { If Song = Passion\m/ Enter /pena Ctrl.Enter /original Else Poetry./wareng Then preserve.publish.protect. Lock IF>ELSE>THEN by default. Unlock.whatisinside Ctrl C .beauty .folks

} End. Why/? { Essential// For the Great.Unwashed. Blood..* Guns + Syringes + Eternal Ail Crossout [{Frontier}Mainstream}] 11


For we have to live In this cosmic ghetto We called it the humanity.

.literature .+veQualities Ctrl V

Argue For the sake of vying Fight For the sake of killing Work For the sake of earning Die For the sake of living.

} End.Breaktime End Blood.. & Greed Renew .Hopes Explore .Resources Restart .Hard Work

What else we have For when we leave We will be only dust.

Continue Mission If Mission = Continue [sum = ok] Else Abort.Die.

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disil usioned

unconstipated kicks

Before I asked you why you always need to get the kick, I had already known the answer, written all over your unamusing face. All I want you is to make you realise again how low you can get by getting that high, even if telling you more than a thousand times had not worked I saw the kind of expression that would humiliate the fresh sunshine of the morning, and that would take all the colours out from the azure skies You gaped as if the previous night kick was still working but your eyes told me the story— how you were longing to get a fix That’s the only thing you wanted in those hours, that’s your way of life, and that’s what you do to get yourselves rid of this world.

Darkness, I saw Contradiction, isn’t it— Seeing the darkness? We called it the law Of bondage, of a society To bind us To make us social To let us know We are fucking human beings. This gloominess, It stands for our time: When we sacrifice for it When we earn from it, And we excrete our wildness

But tell me, my friend, why you should always go to the place, where miserable men come to hawk their wives’ earrings and wanton women live to sell their body? 12


It was already late when people graduated from pot to powder Now it’s better late than ever to give up your addiction My dear friend, I’m already high though Getting the kicks out of chewing over the books of our future.

If only for the piece of powder that you are taking chances Serious illness, the narcotics police, society’s gaze. There are more than meets the eye, for I also see it’s not only the urge for shots compelling you to betray your parents and lie to us and cheat on others And I’m not saying like I’m now on the other side of the fence. I’m still so close near you, though far away from Chingmeirong and Churachandpur.

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I can see the Kafkaesque terror that engulfs our land, where you think you can hide beneath the cigarette packets armed with the syringes—fuck, who are you gonna poke them with? And now if you feel I’m telling you too much, you have to assure me how you are marching through To the tunes anew, to the beat of the humanity. But don’t you justify the irregular tempo of our land makes you dizzy and crave for the final shot before you come clean And your substances of choice might have made you more unreasonable, Do you realise how we are plunging into the shithole of decadence?

against authority and almighty

I’m a soldier The pens are my guns The words, my bullets; And ever I will revere them in a way, You have the gods and governments. You have created the armies of almighty Destroying others’ clergy and humanity, And the artificial authorities have bought us And sold us off to the agents Of unruly rulers. Tho’ I will not ruin And I’ll do no business, For I’m a soldier, For the ideals, I fight.

Ok, take the fifty bucks and get the shot before you lie again Though I don’t mind it, at least you are not a member of the legislative assholes You owe me nothing but have to give me one good fucking reason, why you ever have to continue living the life of a junkie why you cannot ever see the impending doom why you simply have to let go of these plights of our existence Or have I overlooked completely that you are much into the flow? That you are walking along the roads of our time, feeling alright that you can see the crimson skies that is azure no more, hear the screaming souls, touch the nadir where the lowest of animals have dared to drudge . . .

If the nibs get broken If my words, if their meaning’s lost I would not mind, If you throw my instrument box away To the commode; Perform its last rite, avow its dead; Hide it inside your filthy safe; Throw the pen and words away And in lieu, keep your plunder Or grenades and demand letter, Or stolen wealth. Tho’ I will march forward For I’m a soldier For liberty, I can stop writing.

Enjoying the oblation for living for living’s sake As you find new ways of permanent high, supplementing the heroin With grass and amphetamines and methadones and buprenorphines But a chain is only as strong as its weakest link How on earth, or hell for that matter, are you gonna be in the nexus With defective credibility and delirious consciousness? 13


For I believe when I got up I can rely upon The fresh mornings of glory that would be awaiting itself And the efforts to make things right I would not mind showing all my might For it is the essence, and these words I would ever recite.

But be amiss not My love for pen and words Passes the acclivity When the authority and almighty Writhe at the foot of the hill, Now would you please allow me— On the authority to defecate unsmellingly, With some scented cleaner to flush the almighty? Just once, I beg, when I feel the pressure to . . ? Eh! A hungry tiger’s face I can see on your face But psycho I’m not, to shit on your god Tho’ I believe in my inner voice For I’m a soldier For peace and justice, I beseech the humanity.

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eager soul, eager dreams

There was once a fellow inmate: a man of forty Burdened with life’s absurdity He made a plea to confess For in his heart, he bore a guilty conscience Not for bombing the state assembly building that he committed Not for corruption while holding office that he was incriminated But he wanted to admit the truth and Get rid of his guilty feelings That he was disgraced for he cannot metamorphose the world. In his sedated voice, he said:

Deep inside my heart, I carry along A load I wish to see in the open The desires that one can fill lifelong

Of living in peace, where truth and justice are written In the mind and spirit, and in the air we breathe In times we spend, in love we make In people we meet, in all-round views we enjoy In the societies we live, on the road we walk And on the journeys of life we have taken. Aah! If that be, I would live and I would die Caring not a thing in our world And no more I would vie For ways to clear my conscience The shadows if they ever are the dreams itself I would not mind dreaming on.

the prisoner’s dilemma

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“Darkness ruins my life while the sole thing in life I ever wanted was the lightness, the feeling of joy, the pride. A selfish love still binds me to my native place, where I belong. Inside this jail, my life has grown worse but I will try, until death does me apart from this world, to break free from the shackle. I had read the story of Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, now it inspires me to plan my jailbreak. Inspirations there are many, however, there is only one more thing to accomplish


all these benefactors get a job for our society is too investigative. We have the respected civil organisations, and those gun-toting courageous people who shoot at any thing, any time. So I did help other non-donors too, by selecting them for the job. What a surprise it would for them: getting a job without ever having to worry about mortgage and debts. And I could not stand for trials In their open courtrooms near the unknown hilly slopes for selecting only my donors.

—and the desire to do it fuels my existence. I long for nada but the emancipation of the mind. “I do care for my unborn child, and my blood. Leave the other bloods; I saw theirs flowing profusely across the Nambul. “But they said it was an act of corruption to plunder wealth, that it was wrong. I had sighted my successors’ future bright, —that illuminates with currency notes I can hide in some family members’ bank account. So when I was serving the people as a secretary of the State Property and Defalcation Department, I used to indulge in money-making and merry-laundering —that’s my sole consideration for future generation. And I take myself even today, that I’m clean, having used only scrupulous means to gain the assets.

“And not long ago, I was one of the common faces in the crowd. Leikai, leikai, in each leikai, I had gone for my campaigns. With the support, the trust I had invested in the people bored its fruit when I won the election. And now I—the fucking living example of democracy —Writhe inside this jail, with darkness and nothing else. And the people, they are waiting for the next election. “But I got, as planned, the chance to attend the assembly of self-seekers. Oh my, these guys were more self-interested than I had presumed and more than me! I was more concerned with the funds from New Delhi while they were obsessed with power too. Candidly, would they admit how power elevates you to the level of a god in this blood-thirsty land and absolute power elevates you even higher than the gods. No, no, no, any kind of corruption is just an institution but there is no such thing as corruption of power. We have only shades of institution —of robbery and bullets and murders and dogs and cops and what not. What not. Now you see I had surrendered

“The trends of corruption would compel you to snub my remark but I’ll explain one instance. Perhaps this might clear your doubts and I don’t blame you, I accept things are really deplorable now. Once in a blue moon, there used to be job vacancies in the government agency where I used to work. People used to come to me For they have nowhere else to go with gold and chains and money that they gathered from their mortgaged houses mortgaged land, mortgaged fields I liked them and their memorable gifts. But you see that I was not supposed to help

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this engine of society, which cuts sharp across its parts! Beggars in galore, judgment in haywire. Engine-Fuck! Government fucked! Authority fucked! And I’m also fucked inside this rat-hole, by darkness and rejection and dejection. Everything’s so fucked.

my power as a minister on that day they passed the life sentence for me. “But I heard my inner voice before the B-day, Even before I learn how to beg for votes, even before I saw how the things work. I had found how we can create a situation where we can live as human beings, As human as any mortal in the busy Khwairamband I learnt it from the chilly airs that blow across the Koubru how we should be free from any kinds of agency. And I noticed from the white ibises, gliding swiftly in March skies, how we could fly across the verdant fields throughout the seasons. “And so I put a mask on, more quickly than those gun-toting guys that they had put on the veils of patriots. And so I decided I should disguise myself And so I bombed the state assembly And so I killed all the mongrels. What uses are of them? What fucking uses are of them?

“So I have been incarcerated here in this confinement, they are making me making my life, making my thought processes Schools and colleges teach you to be obedient In the home you have to be acquiescent In obeisance and obligation lie the mundane glories.” The elected assembly building bomber would have went unendingly, Taking my objectivity as sympathy or understanding, while I was high Inside this jail you can get anything, but what do you need? Two shots of junk every day till death does me apart from this world. So I stopped him As I signaled him to drink the glass of water As I scribbled in my notebook of my understanding of his turbulence, and I told him: “Your days are only as long as the numbers of hours you are awake In this land where a life is more important only than a ball of cotton In these days when killing is more dangerous only than what yesterday was In this lottery that you are only as safe as the unpicked number You are lucky that you are still alive You are a tiny drop of water that has been lost from the sea of humanity And it does not matter how long you are going to breathe, but tell me how your aspiration would change the world when people want no indisposed ideals of happiness but money to buy their family that plain felicity and places to go to watch to follow the soaring, wading birds and time to divide it by hours, not by day and night.

“Hadda get ridda the dogs with a bomb! Hadda get ridda the dogs with a bomb! Hadda get ridda the dogs with a bomb! Hadda get ridda the dogs with a bomb! “If I had felt any sympathy, I could have loaded all of them in a low-cost airline —and hired it to fly them away to the end of the world to a place where they don’t have to drink blood to a place where they have to eat shit. But no, I desperately needed a lesson or two to teach their heirs that it is not a beggar’s job to be engine operators. And how I disdain

“And your barbarity in killing all the sixty fuckfaces

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While I got up from the chair, and knelt down Gritting my teeth and clenching my fist I resolved this was just the struggle for existence, And fighting—this violence fuels our essence All the happiness killed with the aborted child of the night And how I wanted to piss on the night’s face!

will provoke the main masters to send in the armies, while they go to America and join the bands of democratic pioneers; while it will mean more intimidation for the people more fear psychosis, more violence, more everything that is more unwanted than the government that you once belong to. “So I’d suggest that it’s better if we wither here together In this rotten room, in this bondage with our immoral sense Believe me, it’s less spoiled than what our world is outside where a piece of dung is more expensive than life where the air is filled with the smell of dead animals And if you are still too disgruntled —take this piece of junk, and I have a gun for you —have a shot and go high, maybe you will feel alright.”

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NOW How long should we sleep with these nightmares? With our half-awaked consciousness, with our own errors It’s no more time we count our lives on prayers. And how long should we dole out the anti-rabies spares? For those military men in galore, their evil glares; For those ever-volatile flares.

a clarion call

When the soaring doves coo, Giving the clues of the eerie silence of the hills And about the breathtaking view We may perchance find serene moorland Those are aplenty, coming frequently in stills Unfortunately, though in our own land We are strangers The road is not the place to revel But we do have a Loktak-full of good things to marvel We love the fair Lady Justice— with weighing scales, swords—and living gracious. And there, no more Delhi’s beggars, no more violence-branders.

THEN As I was sitting, reading inside my room one night I heard the people shrieking Seemingly unceasing were the sounds of fright And then followed the barking Of dogs and the cops. On the street the folks had had hooch in torchlight Away from their pitiful wives and unruly kids On the moonless and silent, load-shedding night It was a curfew too—oh, the god-police forbids Curfew and bandh and general strikes cause no affright Yet the night was not right that night.

We will have to dig deeper Beneath the surface, even beneath the leisha, To bury the cinder Of injury and destruction and pseudo-junta While we unearth the sweet things of life we aspire.

More boots thudded against the concrete road And more whipping, more shrilling cries, more barking followed

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22

a tourniquet for the land

23

It’s a good business If not for the extortion If not for the intimidation

to the rented alley

Flock together, yet separate we are In these alien wires of different made And us, belonging to different backgrounds Of lilac, yellow, maroon, green, pink, of different shades

It’s been long I have been working in this hospital Right at the centre of Imphal For my ilk, it’s the paradise And the people, their slaying never suffice And some maimed, some deranged And some who looked they were hit by warheads! And more sick souls on sickbeds And the filthy liquid they shed And my only spirit of service.

In a familiar wire, I had taken shelter Imagining freedom Imagining the white ibises Imagining the meaningfulness We plume ourselves of where we come from Forbidden it is, withal we long for our nests Ever fly back to our roots where we long Where we long to get back those azure skies that have turned crimson

It’s a good business If not for the extortion If not for the intimidation They say we are only bleeding When we are only building Tomorrow and beyond. Get a tourniquet if all of you would chime But I see only greed and lust that grime.

But those colours of vehemence Those colours of dissonance Those colours of despair Drove us away in droves And here, every day I saw the heaps of my stock Laughing and crying, some droves drift and pass me by I know some droves see me, see me giggling too And we know, we know nothing of some droves too

It’s a good business If not for the extortion If not for the intimidation See, see it clearly here There, there, these are mere fluids Of hate and pain and avarice And if you would still say it’s real blood Tattoo my forehead: People are gods in a democracy.

In this strange place, we dream We dream, we dream, we dream of essence And fly, fly, fly to feel the breeze of essence As if life, we are living a life of essence Over again, a thousand lines I may fly A thousand views I may enjoy A thousand extraneous worms I may eat But our homes are truly where the hearts are.

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24

of the misanthrope

25

As I walked across the street Towards the target area my legs wobbled Yet I knew I have to shoot Clenched fist inside the pocket Sad memories on the mind Angry clouds across the neighbourhood While the metal bruised my groin And penalty or impunity didn’t count I took my weapon out Loaded with secret mystical powers And I fired point blank And I fired one thousand times Through the unfeeling hearts Through the unthinking heads Through the untouchable bodies of pain of violence of injustice of blood of bullets of bombs of dishonesty of greed of unholy desires of a fucking society of fucked-up people of government of authority of money launderers of land dealers of religion of tradition of convention And I felt like the ibises Near Langol I had seen them As pure white as they can be Against the blue and green mountains I felt like them I felt so happy For the unwanted are no more And I wrote an obituary for the scums And the papers I shred them and set them ablaze

an open letter to india

For the wonderful things that have happened in our lives I’m sending this letter of gratitude, thank you. I have been in your galaxy of being the colonised and the developing and then your emergence. Your russification then, and your americanisation now; I have evolved along with your transformation I adore the tall northern Himalayas that clothe you with greens and whites The rich fertile of your south, and your plateaus and deserts And I love your foods as exotic as the spices were to your former masters Sometimes I want to fly across from Kashmir to Kanyakumari on the wings of didactic, my India, you have given me: Indus Valley and the Mauryas and the Mughals and Natya Shastra and Taj Mahal and Sardar Vallabhai Patel and Mahatma Gandhi and Bhagat Singh and the economic reforms and Ratan Tata and Narayan Moorthy and Azim Premji and statistics of Sachin Tendulkar and Mallika Sherawat and Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and ourselves that you haven’t (Would you call it imagined history? Jaundiced...?) But I’m shackled here by my prejudices of your chicanery Not long ago I saw you coming out of the shrines when countries were made, when the Britishers went back to their cold storage, though not before giving me a language I can talk to you, your banned language I had not learn from the part of the world I belong, my India, it’s your part I hope you know it But I despise your political class, the classes of several things that you have We go to the election booth so that you can give us goats and monkeys And I marvel at your tigers and peacocks and lions; your nuclear power; your million-million strong workforce; and the fine fabrics of your economy that excites, that drapes the uninspiring landscapes where naked animals pry on the dusty roads—some defeating themselves with sweat-soaked suicide notes, some killing themselves with guns made in Zedong Though rootless and identitiless that my natives have also become, that worry you not, we worry very truly you will not save us from the Chinese;

19


I’m not sure anymore, my India, but I do write your name on my bank account on my driving license, on forms of this and that, and on my passport.

and your poverty more sordid than the popular item songs that bother me not, please do bother half of your children are whining hungrily And you do see there are praying people who howls for the United Nations; seemingly saying it’s your world—some who wants more of your power there to show that the pillars of Ashoka are as powerful as the Christ the Redeemer and some who wants direct mandate from there for their grievances, who complains: better the devil you know than the devil you don’t; for your south and north block, there the things are too licit to be true. And I laugh secretly, as if an organisation is more stronger than you, my India!

26

great expectations

The sudden outburst of the winter sky The surprising news from a land afar The sad breaking of a guitar string So expected is this unexpected Seemingly history repeats itself.

You are shining and you are incredible I have seen your goddesses on a pedestal but the lordly people It is better if things are left unsaid but my mortal heart can bear not When the folks suffer from high libido, low opportunity syndrome Attacking raping killing! And population is exploding though your guardians are pulling down the cinemas with kissing scenes, no fucking scenes yet No hard feelings but every movies are musicals, and reality shows shown all of them were popular in America ten years ago While on your other side people are sleeping outside on the road in front of the malls But I still relish your history, your gardens of different cultures Sociological multiculturalism where we are more akin to outsiders

One day Out of the blue The earth splits open to eject its essence Deeply agitated as the storm And slowly it sinks in, Leaving no traces of its madness The rage, it had feigned.

And money makes the world go round and you have herded our land dealers in circles. And you say jobless people are fueling national feelings. And you still feed the politicos with promises as hard as glasses and money you have borrowed from the World Bank. I worry for your debts but you see me and my folks are wretched: bloods we perspire, the rattle of machine guns our lullaby and pity we are geography-challenged, we are placed near your opposition by unknown circumstances but I believe we are placed near one of the paradises Now I will write an anti-Paki song for you as a token of appreciation But are you really helping us with more jobless people from your heartland donning the uniform of military men to enter my neighbourhood? We already have so many of them donning the uniform of land dealers Or are we with you to make a powerful nation? Or you are with us to build diplomacy and make defence deals?

Eternal quest it has become now, Robbing itself of its unexpected happiness.

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27

serenity in disguise of an unknown entity

I feel angry I feel love I feel hate Yet I feel so attached.

It’s hard to know the sanity of agony, This thought that thunderstruck threateningly. Of Man incautious of him to two-timing man; He is rational is capaciously inane. It is when for an aurora of peace mortals clamoured, Though in an obscure quiddity, the ambience is shrouded. Paucity of Humanity and Rationality, Repose has hid in a canopy of Insanity Yet Hope transcends all our concern within reason, Unfailingly the allurement of Revolution.

Of memories that hold me dear Ever and always. And my possessiveness Of memories that I cherish Kill me Ever and always.

28

29

a trip down memory lane

rage against the machine

Tonight I can see heaven, with nothing to hide the views, so amazingly After all these moments when the sky was clouded with dull colours only The distinct show, shows me the tedious life so distinctly.

The images drift away Each day, slowly and painfully and happily The clock ticks every second Every minute, every hour, every day And the weeks and the months and the years Slowly and painfully and happily Of those moments so dear Slipping back to my mind Whilst I fail to recapture.

I long for a life that is filled with stars To stand out from the crowd, to have an identity and to excel For these things accentuates the purpose of existence Add more meaning to this life, shackled by routine things. I can see the views so clear, yet the road seems so far The ways are under a magnification glass of a mechanised life It pains me to spend the days in recluse For I’m alone in the crowd - no mundane thing can uplift me.

Hold back... Yet how much could I...? Remember... Yet how much could I...?

Yet I could hear the sound from inside my body It is screaming - I feel the intensity It is ironic how the cry of the distant place, seems so real.

I feel happy I feel sad I feel proud I feel embarrassed

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30

primitive delight

31

Among the bushes, Lies the serpent On its back we crawl Like a snake we slid The earth descends upon the sky The pinnacle among the clouds The bitter breeze keeps calling, Comforts of the mundane life, When the soul was lost in the distance.

to my father’s soul

Within a mental thunder storm Struck a moment I never thought I would From the distant unknown place My father bid us goodbye The invisible prespondent force of nature engulfs me And you left us And I cry everytime I think of you. The thunder ceased but the thoughts recur Of old times’ sake and of hopes shattered. The air is dark and uncomfortable I can see as the clear blue sky Of days and moments that had gone by. And the views change into black Which I know not how to escape Of gloominess and heartbreak.

Nature’s wealth abound in the hills; The narrow roads, twisting and turns Mount’s unremembered splendours Beside deep gorges scaling down, Taking the heart into the depth.

It is hard to imagine The times are gone It is even harder to forget The moments, which had consumed itself. May his soul delve into eternity The lifeless body that I disdain so much All of us are gonna die some day This fucking life No fucking rhymes Nor fucking reason Goodbye, my dear father With tears, and nothing else.

22


two: haiku haiyo—the unintentional sacrilege of an art form

32

delhi depression

35

akoiba taibangpal

how do you ignore? the traffic is so heavy, wish i have a wing.

angaobani ei paide sensu, nongmeisu punsi nongdamba

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36

weathering blues

khunai-gi khol ao

the sun’s song so warm keeps me away frm freezing yet winter’s so fine.

eibu hatpinu eibu kapthokpiganu eidi michamni

34

37

flying high

go high in ur life what do you got to lose, guys? enjoy and have fun.

chahi niphu-taret yeikhaiba

enesi torro chahina niphu-taret masakna zorro.

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38

master, master

41

punsigi khongchat wari

show me the light of peace, love and brotherhood you can take my life.

chatli, soom chatli youde eigi panthoongfam punsigi lambi

39

42

.

the flag that fails

colours of my land like the rainbow it delights yet it never flies.

40

haiku taiyonnaraba

taiyonnaraba taibangpal asida ei kangaonare hey

confession of a nihilist

why do we exist? they say the gods and big bang i say it’s all lies.

24


t h r e e :

43

a n o u b a

y a w o l — ­ m a n i p u r i

s e i r e n g

eigi eegi leibak eigi eegi leibak eigi eegi leibak eigi eegi leibak

eigi eegi leibak haana semba konna loiba haana yeikhai thingaiba konna hatok sunaba

haana eigi thamoibu thugaibiba konna eigi pukningbu otpiba eigi eegi leibak haana segaiba konna loisinba.

haana saagi lamchat chatpa konna hatok sunaba haana choukri tanaba konna hatok sunaba

44

haana senja-thumja touba konna hatok sunaba haana yengthinaba konna hatok sunaba

numitki mangalta ngairiba lamlanba

Famli eina chaoraba sorok asigi chidaisida Inglaba numidang gi nungsitsinasu na yeirari fijol fajana thonba ngamdraba hakchang asida Sandhyada takhhiba nongdunasu saruta ngairaba unsase pura chothanbire Inglaba hakchang seeda sagatnaba tasinduna famjabani Nokpiraganu eingonda amuk tolaba jibani haiduna Nangna eingonda amuk utpiranu minungsi Leitare eingonda apamba amata Eina ningjabadi numidang asina loikhraga thoklakpa anouba numitki mangalta fangjabani.

haana utsinadaba konna hatok sunaba haana miwa taba konna hatok sunaba haana thee-yoong haanjinaba konna hatok sunaba

25


45

tera kakcheng

We came from the land of Pakhangba The dragon of the land Or was he the king of the dragon? No matter what —he was the ruler.

Batonbu asuk yamna namnabra, Eina amuk khummi, Koti ahoom amasu watli Adubu masak ka maming ga khangdabana touraroi.

Now we are our own masters We kill for the dreamland For anything we will block the newsstand So what if we don’t have a leader now? We can make those people-elect Run for their money We have guns We have bombs And we are the authority.

Eina ejei: Nanaida pinabire maktraba thoujal Ekaikhumnaraba oja mayamna lengbiraktuna Nanaina katchariba jagoi asi mityeng tabiyu Lafoi katchage Yubi katchage Tairen mana khikchage Katchage mapu gi mafamda jagoi amatangsu Lengbirak-u, chaalaba nanai, ei.

Unfortunate it was that day, In the jungle where we have made our home Where we sing our songs of freedom, Our chief was killed Not by khurak-kee ee Not by the Indian bullet That the Shingnaba poet wanted so earnestly But our rebel hero, His soul be ever pure as a new Rs 500-note He was killed, bitten by a tera kakcheng.

Eina pelladuna, thoujal fangladuna Mapu mabungo mabemma makhoida Makhoigidamak sinjakhi jagoi thouram ama. Thourangkhi, hotnajakhi yamna kanna Yaifaraba numit adugi damak.

46

Ngairammu haiba yadaba matamna lakkhi Chaoraba lai lampak aduda tillakhi Lai mayam: akanba lai, masak fajabi, Angouba, amubi, awangba, atheeba, Mamai seet nanba, mamai pandaba lai kaya kaya Lapna yengbada khoi mahum goom mankhi Asomdana eina kanna loisilli Khamen chatpa feijom, Ley-son phurit Namthang khuthat fiban chanba.

feijom jagoi

Koti kunthrahoomdoi, Baaton namba nupa aduna Mamit mana yoong-khatlaga hangak-khi Mapukning da maka lamliba adudi ukhi

Sekmai gi machin do anirak ahoomlak yotli Wangkhatlaga semba laibung aduda kakhatli Houna esei tharakkhi chaoraba maayek lisingmuk adudagi 26


Flock together, yet separate we are In these alien wires of different made And us, belonging to different backgrounds Of lilac, yellow, maroon, green, pink, of different shades

Eina thekpa houwee khut, khong amuk kaowee Amuk thek-e, amuk kaowee Ras leela yenglubei, Sankirtan yenglubei khangladuna tanthasing Amuk thek-e, amuk kaowee Pelladuna lai mayam aduna waa-waa laorak khi Taibangpal pumba lai-nin na ninkhi.

47

Sel mapei mapei tharak khi Pelladuna eina louthuklui Mollaba eigi phurit Sabadi lepte jagoi, amuk thek-e amuk kaowee Khanghoudana langsillak-khi Amangba gi laina amangba matum-matum Sabadi lepte jagoi, amuk thek-e amuk kaowee

huranbagi heijrang

Ei heijrangni Huranba amagi heijrang ni ei. Eibu loukhat-piduna Yepsinbire huranba asina Magi segaigadarouba yetki pikhao manung aduda Eihakpu.

Vishnu Puran Bhagvat Puran Geeta Govinda Thengnarure sengna mamut taana tambirakpanina Adubu mapu makhoigi mafamda Eina apenba nungaiba henmankhiduna Feijom dusu louthuklui Adudagi eina niksillui, eina khapchillui Eina chongsillui, eina haijillui Adudagi eina uba fangjakhi Feijom thokpagi laina akhak-araoga loinana laorakhi Mahadevna mamit uisinduina raga loukhi, Sarasati na hang-goina yenglak-khi Adubu apenba-ngaobana henkhiduna Fi thongdrabasu hakchangdunadi laiyam adubu Pelhallage matagum niksilli Nungaihallage matagum khapchilli Haraohallage matagum chongsilli

Eidi soiinabani Kaknabani lennabani Touwigumbasung ethou touningdare Houjikti. Toururabadi ethou Aloogi nupa asisu loiba tare Magi unsa faoba lenbiba tare soiibiba tare Nungaite. Eidi heijrangni Huranba asigi heijrang ni eidi. Ubidre Chatli adubu eibu pubiduna Lambi kaya kaya, mahakna chatli leppa leitana Eidi ude.

Mapung fakhi eigi jagoigi thouram Amukkasu Pelladuna lai mayam aduna waa-waa laorak khi Taibangpal pumba lai-nin na ninkhi.

27


Tapthakhi Thanglamba khongthang Hangat-haanda chatkhi mahakna koirok koina Mafam amada.

Khottatli Lenthatli mahakna uppu adubu Thabak yangsilli yaosilli akhoisu ethou amagum Mateng pangsilli.

Faklang manli Funn laona mahakna chongkhatkhi Upsinsduna machu hongba ngamba numitchoom goom sit-sittuna amuk chatli Kadaibu oiragaba?

Leirammi Sel kaya sana lupa kaya firol kaya Hui angaoba mankhi huranba adu ngeihaktang Makha chathei. Huralli Yamlaba sel sana lupa singduna hapchinkhi Lenthatkhi segaikhi furit khangrao finungfi singduna Machu machuni.

Eidi heijrangni Huranba asigi heijrang ni eidi. Sattokpikhi Futt laona eihakpu Mamlaba kaa amagi manungda Leiramkhi akhoi.

Eihakti heijrangni Huranba asigi heijrang ni eihak. Adubu Thabak loiraga ngeihak leiraga Ei amasoong eigi marupsingbu langthok pirammi Nungsi khangdana.

Marupsing Eigi ee manaba khulai khara Mahakna louthorakkhi oiromgi pikhaodagi Thabak houwi.

Khongbanduda Yet-oi khangdakhei akhoi tahoukhi Kang-khoi chaiduna leingak leitraba mapu pandaba Kangleipakki kangdroomsing-gum.

Yengngi Suktoklaga amuk cheplaga amuk Touruiba thabak asinadi laigi thabak nattabanina Mahakna yengngi.

Huranba! Huranba nangda siro! Huranba nangda khudi thiduna siro! Pellage akhoi.

Eidi heijrangni Huranba asigi heijrang ni eidi.

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points of refereence some of the graphics that i had created for the poems

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For the New year: an old year diary A screenshot of one of the pages of my blog http://kapilarambam.blogspot.com/ 30

Songs of Desires  

An anthology of poetry by Kapil Arambam

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