Monsoon Blues

by Homen Thangjam

A traveler I met in a dhaba, pathetic
Wore around his neck a rainbow, illusory
By the side of a ghost highway, forbidden
From an ancient land, raped

Of its tea, oil and timber, dwindling
On a quest to steal, peculate
Thunder from the mountains, burning
Lightning from the skies, churning
And heal the land, dripping.

Billowed smokes in gasps
Downed his drinks in gulps
Stroked his beard in grabs
Spoke he in grunts
Bloodshot eyes twinkling

Of the strange time he lives in, wherein
Frogs are afraid of the rain
Dark clouds are the devil’s incarnates
And he sleeps with his plants.
He’s a traveler, ghostlike
Heavy body on feet, fleet
Has seen or so told me, by God

The Mandap of the Govindaji Temple, towering
The walls of CM Bungalow, intense
In Kangleipak a land, bleeding
Replicated the two in exactness, indeed
Around his paddy field, green
A dome and a levee against the rain, flooding.
At the stroke of midnight
Alert he left the dhaba, saying
River, land and mankind are in tears, wet
Mountains and the skies, cannot
Hold the thunder and lightning, long
Hummed a ballad as he walked by, fading
Of orgies with his plants, wild
A love song, ethereal
To comfort cries of misery, pathetic.

Dedicated to the stranger in the dhaba on NH 39 from the Brahmaputra Valley who wore a rainbow around his neck, which brightened the dark monsoon night.

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