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On police brutality & police theft in Papua New Guinea

Kasen no renga - memories of Mosbi


Awoken at night;
Stray winds bring dirty smells that
rain washes away.

Daylight is breaking
Over the Waigani Swamps;
Red hills and gum trees.

White curtains billow
Bang! Swoosh, bang!  Two doors slam shut;
Enter lahara!

Shaking tree branches;
Shaggy old dogs snap awake
Barking in the wind.

Air drowned in humming,
Petrol fumes and dying grass;
For twenty kina.

Red lines march then swarm
Each host six-hundreds of arms;
Mango season wars.

A desert road runs
Along borders of three worlds;
‘Savannah City’.

Hot vapours dancing
On baked red earth and burnt grass;
Gnarled old gum trees bloom.

Kunai grass waving
Across Hohola’s hillsides;
Smoke and dust rising

Kunai ashes lay
Sprinkled across Waigani;
Near Haus Tambaran.

A fat clown on strings
Waddles down office hallways;
In parliament.

POM Siti’s blood flows
Along a tarred artery
Called Waigani Drive.

Morata buses
Hissing air-breaks through the crowds;
Breakfast on the run.

Ancient sweat and grime
Soaked into the wooden seats
At Gordon’s bus stop.

Buses cram sidewalks
Spilling people like garbage
Onto filthy streets.

Forty-four gallon
Drums and overflowing sewage;
Clogging drains and roads.

Twenty-five seated,
Crew and me in the doorway;
Best view on the bus.

Laurabada waves,
Racing buses down Two Mile;
Koki is ablaze.

Crowne  Plaza towers
In a cirrus-striped blue sky;
Pine trees on the beach.

No one’s there at dawn:
Gasping in the chill sea breeze,
Whistling through pinecones.

Leave only foot prints;
Night camping at Ela  Beach
In warm, dry sand dunes.

Last week’s groceries,
Entangled in seaweed, strewn
Across marbled sands.

Betel stained pavements,
Walls, posts, grass, leaves, shirt-sleeves;
Like new-age street art.

Tanubada melts
Frostily down my parched throat;
One-way bus fare home.

Of Papua New Guinea:
My alma mater.

Where cool grey pillars
House young minds in a smelter –
Where leaders are forged

A grey cockatoo
Stands on a turn pike, waiting;
Enter or exit.

Serried marmar trees
Stand still, where men read law;
And there poets walk.

On a long green field
Where sweat and blood is mingled;
History rises.

A tiny kingdom
Nestled on Morata Hill;
Where Fourth Street ends.

Grey concrete brick walls,
Spiked rooftops of Fort Banner
Survey the campus.

Tin roofs clattering
With the sound of scrabbling feet;
Boys play at being king.

Colours, flags, war-cries –
Touch footy at Fuka  Park,
The Mumuts homeground.

Here parakeets race
Airways of marmar lined streets;
Wagtails dance on roofs.

Those streets were made for
Quiet strolls or morning runs
With a dog on heel.

Pathways I have walked
Through childhood and adulthood;
Renew what I’ve known.


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Michael Dom

Harbour lights sparkling,
Ashes dancing in pink skies;
Over Tatana.


Michael Dom

Keith, regarding Luke's haiku; that was written sitting in Scoozi restaurant, on Rundle Street Adelaide.

And for the record the above haiku are more correctly 'kasen no renga'.

Michael Dom

Hi Luke, thank you for your comment.

It's always very special to have a new person comment on my poetry.

And you make a keen observation. That is what poetry does too, as in haiku.

This one is for you:

Luke's dream of Touaguba Hills

Night dreams of bone dry
Chalky yellow afternoons:
Touaguba Hills

Children are playing
As flames raze the leeward side:
Mosbi memero

Luke Johnson

I read your poem before drifting off to sleep last night and then I dreamt of a bone dry and chalky yellow afternoon in Moresby, thirty six years ago, when there was a grass fire as I played with childhood friends along one side of Touaguba Hill.

Michael Dom

I've been doing a little background reading and actually some of these stanzas are senryu, another Japanese form.

Michael Dom

David, I'm glad to share that with you.

Jeff, those mangoes were worth fighting for!

Haiku, which takes only single verses, is challenging to write, but it is such a doable form. It can be relaxing. Check it out on wiki how.

Jeff Febi

Michael I can smell the grass as they lie dying and covered with fumes from the lawn mower.

And the Kurakum army...I had many an encounter with them on the mango tree infront of the Admin block at UPNG.

Those were the days when I survived on mango and Snax biscuits whilst researching over the holiday period...ehe.

Great job.

David Kitchnoge

Thanks Michael - I learnt something about poetry today.

Michael Dom

Thanks Steven. Understandably it does sound like too much reading. But a useful approach is to take each verse on its own.

Haikai no renga is not the same as a sonnet. Here verses are connected by the theme not the structure.

Each verse has its own life, that they reside together is the emotion of the work, this reflects the reality of life.

We have so many experiences and thoughts happening even in the span of one day but what do we feel on the whole? And how do we respond?

Steven Ilave (Snr)

Thanks Michael for this. Memories I identify with. Just a bit long-winded for for me though. A lot crammed into the one poem.

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