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Uphill & down along the Black Cat Track

Map of the Black Cat Track and surrounding landmarks
Map of the Black Cat Track and surrounding landmarks

MOSES ANDRIAS
| 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.

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This cannot be what God conceived

Jenelyn Kennedy
Jenelyn Kennedy. "Tell me, Jenelyn, why must love grieve today? / Is there no mercy to grant us reprieve today?

MICHAEL DOM

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.

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The times they are a’changin'

PNG-Supreme-CourtDANIEL KUMBON

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.

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After the rebellion, sweet peace - & Uluru

UluruDANIEL KUMBON

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.

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The Old Man comes to the rescue

Daniel Kumbon and grandson Clinton  Kundiawa  2021
Daniel Kumbon and grandson Clinton.  Kundiawa,  2021

DANIEL KUMBON

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.

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Mama Tang (Mother Tongue)

Clothes1MICHAEL DOM

Mama tang
The hook
Long hangamapim
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.
Go ahead
Have your swim
When you're done
Bai yu painim 
Narapela trasis 
Long karamapim ass
Bilong yu na sem
Olsem na
In what language 
Will you excuse yourself
And the sem pipia
Taim kastam emi lus


On the verge of destruction

RebelsDANIEL KUMBON

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.

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a butterfly brooch

John-apel-18ky-large-enamel-and-diamond-butterfly-broochMICHAEL DOM

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


The bonds that become stronger

WeddingDANIEL KUMBON

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.

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Delisa & the young rape victim

SettlementDANIEL KUMBON

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.

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The marriage proposal

MumuDANIEL KUMBON

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.

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Bookshop

BookshopRICHARD HAUSER

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.

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The poet who collects things in a sack

Richard hauser
Richard Hauser - amongst many other attributes, an urban hunter

KEITH JACKSON

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.

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The Old Man decides upon a new life

Old manDANIEL KUMBON

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’.

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The Old Man ponders his lonely life

Sunset
As the sun set over the low hills of Port Moresby, the Old Man would go to the veranda to read

DANIEL KUMBON
| Edited extracts

FICTION - While the Old Man embraced the notion that he was like the Albatross, committed to one partner for life, he was finding it hard to cope with the agony of acute depression.

He had been so dependent on Rosemary. She had provided him with all the love a man could ever need. He felt her loss immensely. It was a burden too heavy to bear on his own. Perhaps he shouldn’t have loved her too much.

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Dobasi Wandkii

DOBASIKOIVI REX BIWA

Beauty is the word for you, no other can do
I found you somewhere, now I don’t know how,
Your smile, it just made that moment explode
I failed in my choice of the right words for you
Doo dobasi wandkii, oh!

Long lasting nights, full with fragrant dreams
Your countenance lighting my imagination
Your voice feels as gentle as the sweetest of petals
I goose bump all over at the sense of your touch
Ape do dobasi wandkii maa!

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Mud Woman

Mud Woman (Karen K Redding)STEPHANIE ALOIS

She smells of Goroka coffee
in the perfume she wears each morning
What a beautiful way to start a day
Made of strawberry and honey
It’s difficult to resist her charms
Hooked on her explosive personality

A taste of wine in her presence
Spending more time with her
Leads to loving her even more
It’s difficult not to laugh at her jokes
Or her wicked sense of humour
She’ll get you thinking, she never cries

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The Perpetual Tears of Hela

Tears of HelaKOIVI R BIWA

Once no cries were heard nor bitter tears shed,
This time when ancients and babes mingled calm,
Love and respect were their constant companions,
When no one stood bewildered by enmity or anger

But it happened that the tuneful war cries sounded,
Heard, known, accepted by all far and near,
Wigmen danced fluidly to the beat of the kundu,
Warrior elegance betrayed the combat ahead

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They’re blowin’ smoke up our arses

BlowinMICHAEL DOM

Yesterday was International Poetry Day and Papua New Guinea’s unofficial poet laureate, Michael Dom, hauled out his trusted, rusted, almost busted Olivetti typewriter to do justice to the occasion with a salute to Bob Dylan’s renowned 1962 protest song, 'Blowin’ in the Wind' - KJ

How many books may a Maserati buy
Before it rusts in a shed
How many crooks make a government bad
Before it gets through our heads
Yes, and how many times may a prime minister lie
Before we know he's a thief
Those politicians are blowin’ smoke up our arses
They're blowin’ smoke right up our arses

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