The Title Is Smudged

Poems by Nimal Dunuhinga

December 2014

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

Just pebbles?


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.









Earth cries



“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

Damned politics!

He wrote poems

against the injustice,

poverty, exploitation

ugliness, rudeness

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

face again.










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
very narrow
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."

Title. Double click me.