The Title Is Smudged
Poems by Nimal Dunuhinga
punitive autumnal school
Among the peeled walls in the belfry hall
I was stuck in my old school.
Nobody was found in the classroom.
The blackboard seemed full of unanswerable questions.
Summer and winter were almost over and I was waiting and waiting.
I showed my neglected homework book to the literature teacher.
But she has already transferred to the school of life.
The flamboyant trees were still laden with fruits and flowers but I was stranded
In a circle of illiteracy
with my scribbling and lost identity.
Her comely face and eager eyes,
Though it’s an invitation I purposely avoided and changed my direction
As she belongs to someone innocent
Who paints his life with gloomy colours?
Journey on my bike
"Tens of thousands who could never afford to own,
feed and stable a horse, had by this bright invention enjoyed
the swiftness of motion which is perhaps
the most fascinating feature of material life."
- Frances Willard, How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle
When I ride my poor bike
Along the rich roads
Sometimes I stop and check
Sorry those are not gems
On the hills I am scared
that my weak heart stops
even from the steepness
I am excited as there are no brakes
on my life!
Lovely girls like Angels
by the roadside
But now I realize
they're just mileposts
which give us our journey's length
Earth knows a thousand stories of human sorrow
What a pity?
Candle is burning very fast
and my eyes are sleepy.
Night crawls like a tortoise.
Hidden thoughts won't come out.
How can I say the whole world is sleeping?
Some eagerly counting notes,
quarrel and divide the earth,
sing melodies and elegies,
grumble for their shares and et cetera,
What a ridiculous life is this?
We sing and dance
on our own grave.
“Political prisoners describe extreme physical and emotional torture, distortion of language, truth, meaning and reality
- sham killings
- begin repeatedly taken to the point of death or threatened with death
- being forced to witness abusive acts on others
- being forced to make impossible "choices"
- boundaries smashed i.e. by the use of forced nakedness, shame, embarrassment
- hoaxes, 'set ups', testing and tricks
- being forced to hurt others
Ritual abuse survivors often describe much the same things.”
- Laurie Matthew, Who Dares Wins
You took my son long ago
He wrote poems
against the injustice,
and a lot more!
You took him
on a journey
and he never
What a ridiculous thing
when everybody questions you
you say I do not know but
you killed and buried him in the Earth?
Blood is thicker than water
Remember the days we shared a slice of bread
Dipped in a chicken gravy bowl.
Unfortunately the bones found wings and flew away.
Remember the days we shared a tiny bed with bugs.
A winter; we were stranded in Portugal
No heater; the CHEAP ROOM rented in the upper Lisbon Railway station
Still I hear those mysterious train hoots of our hard times.
Hardly I breathe now and sadness hugs me secretly.
But you are no more, my loving brother!
You are my intimate friend and I think of you deeply
While waiting at a solitary station till my crawling train comes.
(To my deceased younger brother, Rohan! Once we traveled together
in Europe under the same tattered sky without aim. I never forget
your precious soup that you made from thrown-away rotten tomatoes.)
Let bygones be bygones
My pillow of dreams whispered in the middle of the night.
Do not sleep and write your love story.
My companion must have sniffed something of my whereabouts.
Why do I come late to bed nowadays?
Yes, I cannot hide anything from my contemporary.
This was just a beginning with a lass.
She must be in her teens.
I had totally forgotten my age until the very first day when she called me uncle.
I was disgusted.
Truly I felt a contrast and a contravention to this theory of love.
Our random visits to lonely parks and we exchanged books and chats
nothing beyond that.
She gave me a birthday gift,
Ken Kesey's new edition, 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest,'
and I gave her a second hand book of Kafka's 'The Castle'.
I was very cautious with my new name uncle
and life goes on like a fairy tale without obstacles.*
*Dedication to an unknown lass whom I met only once in my lifetime.
I Slept With A Virgin Beggar-Maid
How, like a moth, the simple maid
still plays around the flame!
- John Gay, The Beggar's Opera
It's a Starry night and I was a bit drunk.
I saw the runaway Rabbit from the Moon
And it's drowning in the milky way.
The poor queen; her ramshackle castle on the pavement,
She quietly sleeps and I count her ribs.
The broken-plastered Crown shines in the darkness.
Her flimsy nightdress transparent and it's very comfortable,
I rest on the soft pillow of her warm bosom.
Her skinny breast full of compassion and the prominent dark nipples
Like sharp blades tickle my haunted soul.
I touched her soft-spoken heart with my wounded index finger
But she was fast asleep after her strenuous beggary.
I heard the ruling King's gossip who was disguised as a lunatic
And trespassed on our premises.
I woke up to the siren of a city ambulance and realized it was a dream.
My beloved wife groaned aside of me and I tried to imagine her smiling
In reality, I would never get the opportunity to see her saintly
And she hugs me a thousand times to ease my pain?
In the land of invisible women; the Arab Spring gave Yemen's women
a public voice and a visible face, but the revolution has faded without
changing anything for millions who were married too young and shut
away in mud huts for rest of their lives.
-Janine Di Giovanni
Sticky are the secret kisses
Her wisdom tooth
pierced my lips,
She offers tissues
to wipe away the tears.
It's really amazing her tattoo
a barbed wire fence
just above her buttocks
And she hugs me a thousand times
to ease my pain?
“April is the cruelest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.”
-T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land
A heavy book
“Who are you to judge the life I live?
I know I'm not perfect
—and I don't live to be—
but before you start pointing fingers...
make sure your hands are clean!”
- Bob Marley
I sit on the threshold
and read the poem
you have written
on the mist;
"The distance between us is
but when I speak to you
from my heart
I feel that
you are far away
and I look through the mist
You sit on the threshold
and read a heavy book?
The title is smudged
but still readable
and it's 'Life.'
All Poems Copyright 2014 by Nimal Dunuhinga All rights reserved
Nimal Dunuhinga was a seaman for 15 years. Originally from Sri Lanka, he currently resides in the United States with his wife. They are in the process of seeking political asylum.
Nimal is a freelance writer.
His brother Lalith taught him "to read and write as well as many other things..."
He says: "All my loved ones have supplied me with the ingredients to enrich this life's bitter-cake. I am not a scholar, just a sailor, but I learned a few things from the school of life.
I found that man does not belong to anybody, any race, or to any religion. He is an independant and non-descript mammal."
"The heaviest burden he carries is his brain."
"My conclusion? I guess that most of my poems -their concepts- are based on the essence of Buddhist philosophy. My personal belief is that the Buddha was the greatest poet on the planet."
"I am always grateful and admire him."