| Ples Singsing
Brothers, sisters and colleagues
Highlands, coastal, islands, swamps
In 22 provinces and 180 dialects
As a matter of national interest
We stand upright in unity
We showcase our national colours
180 rhythms of love of unity
Mountains to shining coast and islands
Unity’s spread drawing hearts as one
Continue reading "We Stand In Unity" »
Paul Wii and friend
FICTION –The boy sat there under the perum tree, dusk’s fading light casting a grey shadow across a landscape now silent.
Marcus Yalgomia cried tears of pain, misery and heartache, it was if the floodgates of the gods had been thrown open.
There was no way he could hold back the tears. And there was no one around to see him cry.
Continue reading "The story of Marcus, the firewood man" »
Woke up each day to warmth of mother’s breath
To bed each night with sweet milk from her breast
Those were the days of innocent childhood
Days before I understood pain in my heart
Days when I saw Heaven in mother’s eyes
Days when I thought home is where she is
But turns out it takes two to build a home
Continue reading "To a father who never came home" »
The Earth is getting warmer
Sea levels are rising
It’s happening now, as you read this
And it will continue as we continue
to argue, “by how much”
For the future of humanity
it’s a question of survival
Continue reading "God Rested On Sunday" »
| Ples Singsing
Patterning the water
Bouncing off the surface
Rolling to the shallows
Doorway to a safer place
Giving cooling shade
Sulka spirit of place
Continue reading "Malan" »
Mister, you pledged roads tomorrow
We’ve been awaiting them for years
With tired mountain bags and legs
Mister, you pledged us bridges
But nothing happened at all
Except logs placed by village men
Continue reading "Mister, Minister, Honourable Pledger" »
Nightfall on the University of Technology campus, Lae (Elizha Maino)
FICTION - When I first entered university, I came with huge expectations to the University of Technology.
All that was in my mind was keeping my eyes on the books, attending lectures, passing the examinations and graduating with high grades.
That’s what I intended to do. It was in my mind and it was in my heart.
Continue reading "The Scientist" »
| Ples Singsing
I’ve battled you most of my life
In health, I am winning
But damn you give me so much strife
When your death zone I’m entering
Warmth leaves my body
Like a soul unmooring from its host
The flashes you give are hot yet chilly
I feel half human, half ghost.
Hot or cold, I cannot tell
In the night and in the day
I’m freezing my ass off in hell
No time for work or play
Continue reading "Malarial Death Games" »
Fallen Leaf (Simon Pentanu)
Mountains may fall,
Hills may be no more
Oceans may evaporate,
but the seas keep rising.
A man he quickly comes and goes,
A woman she always lasts and stays.
We will always bear,
be born and die,
but keep multiplying unabated.
Continue reading "A thought for all eventualities" »
| Ples Singsing
Forty five years
not as colony.
We are free from colonial rulers.
Continue reading "Independence Poetry" »
Whose God are you?
My father knows Mavoyati,
And he wasn't a Jew.
Whose God are you
To force on me a value
That defies my ancestry?
Whose God are you?
My father knows Mavoyati.
What is this holiness you sell?
My dance is not wicked.
My song is not a spell.
What is this holiness you sell,
That calls me a rebel
When I summon the dead?
What is this holiness you sell?
My dance is not wicked.
Continue reading "Three triolets for Yahweh" »
| Kurumbi Wone
Civilised man, you make me sick with your corona and vaccine.
You keep inventing and stockpiling dangerous weapons that threaten all life on this planet.
You brought deadly ideas that divide the brotherhood amongst humanity.
You poison me with your chemicalised food and drinks.
Civilised man, you came to destroy and pillage my home.
Civilised man, you pollute waterholes and streams that give life to all sentient beings.
Civilised man, your prison walls get bigger.
Your religious doctrine divides humanity;
Your wars have sacrificed millions of innocent children of humanity.
Civilised man, your economic system has enslaved humankind.
Civilised man, your social system alienates human families into vulnerable individuals;
Your materialistic values erase the original human values;
Your education system indoctrinates innocent children to support the broken system.
Civilised man, you sell the daughters of humankind and profit from their torments and misfortunes.
Civilised man, you roam around the planet and steal from everyone to build your psychopathic projects towards a self-deluded suicidal path;
You invent laws and justice systems to defend your crimes;
You rewrite history books to legitimise your current state of madness and use it to manipulate future agendas;
You manufacture, control, and disseminate information to manipulate my perception of reality.
Civilised man, you drive all other lives on this planet to extinction in the name of development and progress.
The fate of all life on this planet is at risk because of your soulless project towards progress;
Your reckless and savage civilising mission is causing my extinction.
Continue reading "Let me tell you, Civilised man" »
| Ples Singsing
Hey, Style Mangi!
You come in your flashy car
On my dusty, bumpy road,
You tok, VOTE ME!
I build sealed roads,
But all I see after election,
You drive the Japanese 5 door,
While I lek faia the red karanas.
Continue reading "Hey, Style Mangi!" »
Fight against ruining the Sepik
Stop harm in the Sepik
PanAust, 1/15 James Street in Fortitude Valley
Pukpuk LV handbags along every alley
Another Burlington Arcade so trendy and chic
The Sepik – A South Pacific Amazon
Once pristine but no longer unique
Continue reading "Old FARTS and Little SH*TS" »
Map of the Black Cat Track and surrounding landmarks
| Ples Singsing
LAE – Morobe, November 2018, a blend of everything Papua New Guinean, from the cool mountainous ridges that step from the majestic highlands to the endless plains of the Markham and onwards to the shoreline of the Huon Peninsula.
A walk around Eriku and a visit to Lae Market remains no exception to this, fruits and vegetables of variety, faces and languages of throughout the country, all in chaotic-harmony of economic exchange.
Continue reading "Uphill & down along the Black Cat Track" »
Jenelyn Kennedy. "Tell me, Jenelyn, why must love grieve today? / Is there no mercy to grant us reprieve today?
Jenelyn Kennedy. Born, 18 March 2001. Gagged, chained, beaten & tortured by her husband for six days, 18-23 June 2020. Died of head injuries & bruised internal organs caused by blunt force, 23 June 2020, aged 19.
LAE - This is a poem I did not want to share. I am doing so because Jenelyn's story haunts me.
Just nineteen when she died, she was the same age as my baby girl. She was the mother of two infant children.
Continue reading "This cannot be what God conceived" »
FICTION - Ambassador Akali Wakane – The Old Man – had long been a respected figure in Papua New Guinea but now he had become an instant hero, a household name in every settlement in Port Moresby and throughout the country.
Talk of his Supreme Court victory in the Old Dairy Farm land appeal had travelled fast, and around the streets and villages he had become known as ‘Rabinhat’- the man who took from the rich man and gave to the poor man.
Continue reading "The times they are a’changin'" »
FICTION – As the crowd dispersed, The Old Man met with Fredric Farapo and his people in the middle of Independence Drive and Simon Kerowa drove the Governor Bird back to his accommodation at the Ela Beach Hotel.
The Old Man, Kerowa, Farapo and some compatriots who had planned the peaceful outcome would join him for dinner that evening.
Continue reading "After the rebellion, sweet peace - & Uluru" »
FICTION – The three-vehicle convoy slowly wended its way through the crush of angry demonstrators, their bodies painted in black charcoal and burnt car tyres mixed with oil.
Some beat the sides of the cars, but the white flags did their job of displaying peaceful intent.
Continue reading "The Old Man averts a bloodbath" »
FICTION – It had been a hectic early morning but now Delisa was safely seated in an Air Niugini Boeing 737 cruising over the Bismarck Sea towards Brisbane.
Delisa could not enjoy the flight. Nor could she take the refreshments served by the cabin crew. She did not feel like food while there was trouble at home.
Continue reading "Confrontation at Ground Zero" »
| An Illumination in English and Tok Pisin
You stand at the door
Belonging to God and pray
What for don’t you knock
Perhaps it is that
He’s too great a being
For you to rap on his door
Continue reading "Standing Stupidly" »
Daniel Kumbon and grandson Clinton. Kundiawa, 2021
FICTION - For millennia, land has been the lifeblood and spiritual amalgam of the Melanesian people.
Land. Much more than a possession to be traded. An ancestral bequest to the people, uniting the past with the future.
Brutal tribal wars were fought over the ownership of land. Countless numbers of people – both warriors and the innocent – lost their lives over land.
Continue reading "The Old Man comes to the rescue" »
Your items of bilas
Is not missed
Until it's not there
At the pool showers
Na your bilas
Emi silip long floa
And gets trod on
By other swimmers
Disregarded, made to look
Olsem pipia. Ragged.
Have your swim
When you're done
Bai yu painim
Long karamapim ass
Bilong yu na sem
In what language
Will you excuse yourself
And the sem pipia
Taim kastam emi lus
An extract from Daniel’s forthcoming book, The Old Man’s Dilemma, a novel about modern Papua New Guinea, its issues, its stresses and its journey to a place unknown
FICTION – A cold tremor like an electrical current shot down The Old Man’s spine. The reports he was receiving about an insurrection were ominous.
He feared that Papua New Guinea was heading for a period of extreme violence and instability.
Continue reading "On the verge of destruction" »
a butterfly brooch
at some stage a blue present
the pin pricked my thumb
sweet sweat stains, your blouse, your hair
familiar to my big nose
An extract from Put Me On Your Tongue, a new
collection of Michael Dom poetry coming soon
FICTION - The Old Man said he would drop Delisa at the hospital and get her at a quarter to twelve to go for lunch at Ribito Grill and Restaurant.
“You’ll meet the remarkable young man who saved my life,” he said. “I wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for him. I had passed out.”
Continue reading "Hearts, fine food and revolution" »
Your face unwrinkles
You are imponderable
In your vast silence
In your deep, dark blue embrace
Who dares breach your salty keep?
Your face wrinkles up
You are implacable
In your looming rage
In your deep, dark blue embrace
Who dares test your briny breath?
Continue reading "Ocean" »
FICTION – It was a few days after The Old Man returned from Japheth and Nathan’s wedding in Lae that a strange number appeared on his mobile phone.
Unknown callers worried The Old Man. Too often he had received disturbing news that left half-eaten food cold on the table.
Continue reading "Mending the hurts of the past" »
FICTION - Delisa broke the news of her pregnancy to Japheth, sounding anxious as she spoke to her mother about her duties in the maternity ward of the over-stretched general hospital.
Japheth assured her everything would be fine. She didn’t have to worry. Delisa was strong and healthy. She was a sensible young woman. And she was married to a clever man.
Continue reading "The bonds that become stronger" »
FICTION - Japheth remembered that morning when The Old Man and his wantok from Bumbu Oil Palm Plantation breakfasted in her new house.
Japheth had welcomed the wantok and served him breakfast, seeming to recognise him but avoiding eye contact.
Continue reading "An old relationship re-ignites" »
FICTION – It was an urgent call from Japheth that alerted Delisa and The Old Man to the problem. Calls from other relatives in Bumbu village soon followed.
Japheth’s former husband had just been chased away from the vicinity of the new house.
Continue reading "Japheth and a tale of two men" »
FICTION - The Old Man knew only too well that people throughout Papua New Guinea desperately needed basic services like health and education.
He had done what he could through his charity for disadvantaged children, but it seemed no person could meet the problems were tearing apart urban settlements and just about every village in the country.
Continue reading "Delisa & the young rape victim" »
FICTION - Last night, peeping through the window, the Moon saw The Old Man and Delisa kiss for the first time.
And on this next morning, the soft gold rays of the early sun flooded the bedroom through that same window to herald the first day of their new life together.
Continue reading "Good morning Delisa, meet Port Moresby" »
FICTION - Koko’s grandmother held the strange object up to the light.
“It’s as though water has been turned into stone and this thing has been made from it,” she said, placing it back into Koko’s outstretched hands.
“You say the white man gave it to you?”
Continue reading "The pickled onion jar" »
She was quite a nerd while in her childhood
Celebrated party girl, a beauty, in her teens
Sometimes you can glimpse the image from those days
Sheltering sad thoughts that lie deep below
But you’ll never know the depths of that love
Or the invisible residue of pain now it’s lost
Continue reading "Life of a well-known Stranger" »
Bougainville traditional mona
SIMON PENTANU MP
KIETA - Canoes, not unlike boats, come in different sizes and varying shapes and different abilities to manoeuvre.
The ones most common in Bougainville today are outrigger canoes. Also still in use is the mona which has a colourful history and folklore but its use has been on the decline.
Continue reading "I have been this way before" »
FICTION – As soon as Delisa returned from the college with her belongings she went straight to Japheth’s new house to pack properly.
She decided to leave most of her possessions behind and pack just her clothes, a few personal items and educational certificates.
Continue reading "The Old Man begins a new life" »
FICTION - Delisa woke with a start. It was The Old Man calling. “Good morning, Delisa, how was last night?” he teased.
“It was really good until you spoilt it for me.”
“How?” The Old Man feigned surprise.
Continue reading "Interlude: ‘Kaime, embame kanda’" »
FICTION – The ceremony over and the photographs taken, The Old Man and Delisa decided to skip the refreshments for the new nursing graduates and drive straight from Lae to Bumbu village where a big mumu was sizzling amidst hot stones.
The family trooped to the three vehicles. Delisa sat in the backseat while, as protocol dictated, her aunt’s husband sat in the front seat with The Old Man.
Continue reading "The marriage proposal" »
With skin like burnished copper parchment
this slim Eurasian lady seems in charge.
She emerges from the shadows of the shelves
and the pages of a spy yarn, now at large.
Her manner firm, attesting ownership,
insisting that I do it by the book
and sterilise my suspect Covid hands
lest I taint her tidy tomes as I look.
Continue reading "Bookshop" »
FICTION - Early on the morning of the graduation, The Old Man drove from Lae International Hotel to Bumbu village to finalise arrangements for the festivities.
He had asked Japheth to call Delisa to pass on the message that he and Japheth, together with her siblings, would come to the graduation.
Continue reading "The Old Man and the graduate" »
FICTION – When Delisa read the text message from The Old Man, she was stunned.
‘I have to come to your graduation as this is the fruit of my efforts and your own commitment to your studies,’ the crucial line had said. The Old Man would be there. He would come to her graduation.
Continue reading "The meeting of the tribes" »
FICTION - The Old Man was glad, the nursing college graduation was only two weeks away and the three new houses had been completed in record time.
The house built for Japheth had three bedrooms, and was fully furnished. It had power and water connected complete with Tuffa storage tanks.
Continue reading "The Old Man readies for the next chapter" »
FICTION - The Old Man had never imagined his life would end up like this when he and Rosemary agreed to help Delisa.
But now he had decided to marry this young woman, just a girl to him, late in life when the sun was setting.
Continue reading "A declaration of distant love" »
Richard Hauser - amongst many other attributes, an urban hunter
NOOSA - It is only recently that I have been introduced to the poetry of Richard Hauser; it's poetry that I admire a great deal.
So much so that I felt compelled to share his writing, especially with those many poets of Papua New Guinea who frequently appear in these columns.
Continue reading "The poet who collects things in a sack" »
FICTION - Delisa was convinced the Old Man would accept her into his now empty life if he knew the real story behind her father.
Her father was not dead, as had been her original invention. She felt it was time to tell the whole truth.
She wanted to avoid disharmony and embarrassment later when they lived together. For Delisa it was ‘when’, not ‘if’.
Continue reading "The Old Man decides upon a new life" »
FICTION - I heard the knocking and a call around six just as I was preparing notes for tomorrow’s sermon.
I knew it was Pita, the son of the parish chairman, Mathias. Occasionally he’s one of the minstrels at my Sunday mass.
The way he was rapping on the porch railing and calling out, I figured something must be up.
Continue reading "The Sunday sermon" »
FICTION - It was just two weeks before the Grade 10 national exams and everyone was freaking out, especially those like me who weren’t prepared.
Some students collected as many notes as possible and left school three weeks before the exams to study at home.
Continue reading "The ginger bread man" »
FICTION - I was looking through patient admission records before my evening ten o'clock ward rounds when a vehicle roared into sight.
Its emergency blinkers flashed brightly on the single cabin utility and the engine overrevved as it screeched to a halt.
Continue reading "The mystery of the bloodless forearm" »
So I’ve said nothing, nothing at all
about our Celest. Maybe you heard?
My sister’s such a disappointment.
She goes off to school each day
in hope of a future bright and bold,
Then comes home full of complaint
about clothes, stationery, friends, money.
Continue reading "My Sister Celest" »