A Star for Breakfast

by Homen Thangjam

In a land not so far away....
Err, well, in my land of birth
Where nine hills form a levee around a valley
Every morning rulers have
Human beings for breakfast
Wear around their necks skulls
To ward off evil spirits as necklaces
Absurdity is the reigning reason
Weeping wails are laughter

Death shadows are dances
Laments are hymns
Elegies are lullabies
Prisoners are freemen

Peasants till the land with bare hands
Blood waters the crops
And we harvest sorrow in the month of Poinu.
I met my old friend last night Dirty old friend!
In a house of the prostitutes, while
Bargaining over a nipple ring and
A pair of size? 48 brassieres

We drank to our health, talked about
Epidemic, earthquake, flood, drought and
The breakfast rulers have, nearly choked
On our drinks as we recalled how

The Southern Chief nearly choked
On toes of the foetus in the womb as he
Gorged the mother, promised
Not to miss the live telecast of
The next breakfast, we'll
Sing standing up staccato
For amusement, as usual
Notes of national anthem as they eat, ruefully I expressed how much

I envied their meals
My friend lowered his voice, lest
The walls heard his newfound secret, said
He picked up a star the previous night, from
The lane of empty desire in
The barren street of hope

Kept it under his pillow and slept, had
The star for breakfast in the morning.

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