In the end,
we all come back
of our missing pieces
– It taunts us every day.
Our bedroom mirrors
Take peace from us.
That there is another world
-Inside of us
We are still looking.
Never quite seen.
Across foreign lands.
– We are hidden,
In distant lands,
Between what you want to see
And what we let you see.
We see what we remember,
But we forget too.
So I carry a bilas bilum
And she wears a meri blouse.
Seeking approval from the mirror
Before we head to the day:
Maski, yu wait meri pinis.
Maski, yu wait man pinis.
Our bedroom mirrors
Are missing pieces.
Reflecting what’s missing
Inside of us.
It takes the peace from us,
Leaving us anxious
– Hans Lee
Where I wrote this….
I watch dusk descending
before a mountainous silhouette
casting shadow upon shadows-
a reprieve from summer sweat.
A city flickers on.
In tune – a deft chorus.
Homes light up. Car lights on.
Street lights up. Guide lights on.
the rust-stained sky,
glimmer into the evening
under a sea full of stars.
Or more like cane fields alit
Emanating too much heat.
Twinkling ambers into the dark-
nest-ling the now auburn sky.
But this is the wrong time of the year
in the city in the Far North.
Am feeling soo hot
Like I need water.
I am Aquarius in January
Though unable to bear
85 per cent
Another southbound traveler’s passing nod.
As if warned:
“Avoid the summers in the north”.
These are memories of a city in the Far North.
And I am fanning
temp’l and brow.
Awaiting an evening concert.
No sudden moves.
a broken met’ronome
The rhythm to a
cacophonous evening choir in the bushes.
Flying fox screaches
to-ambient mosquito hums
interject cicada cries
to cane toad drums.
A slither in the grass
sounds a curlew panic.
A flutter in the branches
Takes off into the darkness.
The soundtrack of
summer nights flickering
from my verandah.
And it is still hot.
This is the city in the Far North.
Waiting for the winds to change,
for long summers to end.
For days below 25 degrees.
For palms to bristle
in the breeze.
To cool the space
between temp’l and brow.
To give me reason to rise
from the sway of my hammock.
But for right now,
It is early evening.
It is the mid of summer
It is the city in the Far North.
-by Hans Lee
Light of the world
She, the light of the world.
He watched her rise and set.
They met at church as most do.
And then again on bus rides to school.
Then at markets. Then in shops.
On Facebook. Through text. Over phone calls.
Rising together till she fell.
But she refused his advances one day.
So he stained her cloak with fear one night.
Her sun never rose there after.
As she lived by the fear of light.
She burned her cloak, to hide the stains
When his family paid the five hundred kina.
Forgive and forget, her Pastor prayed
God punishes because we are all sinners.
And he sniffed at some white stuff.
Thought he was the right stuff.
And clenched at his heart one day.
– Myocardial Infarction
The coroners transcription.
Was all that was needed to say.
That’s when they came for her.
In the thick of her fear,
Extinguishing her light from the world.
The lawyers, the police.
The accountants, the priests.
They chanted our ancestors words.
You, the girl who witched his heart.
The doctor said “you broke his heart”.
You deserve to die, the witches way,
The girl who lived, by fear of light.
I wrote this poem with a lot of hate and disgust at a part of Papua New Guinean society that I can’t reconcile with who we are as a modern nation. For all we strive to be – holding on to our culture and customs and celebrating it – we are also still held back by the fear and deeply entrenched superstition that we harbour in the undertow of our conversations. I don’t mind being controversial here because someone has to be.
Something is seriously munted as shit if superstition is being treated as grounds for a criminal offence. Continue reading “#44 Poem: Sorcery Related Violence in PNG”
I meet a strange land in the stillness of the night:
I find my bones longing for the damp, cold, chill.
The kind that lasts through grey endless months of dreaded wet weather.
– where long white clouds give way to dark grey skies.
I find my heart warm to endless summer days,
The kind that lasts a whole day.
– where long white clouds adorn blue skies.
Silly moments harbour memories.
I miss wet socks
I miss damp jumpers
I miss sitting in the warmth of coffee shops
I miss having something in common with the other half of the city
– The city.
I miss the city.
Drifting into the still chimes after midnight,
I find myself reciting Dave Dobbyn
Yes tonight I am feeling you under the state a strange land,
And I hear the voice of a woman with her hands trembling
Nau mai rā
@ Hans Lee
There was a village in a time before the moon entered the skies where trial fighting, magic and the daily life coexisted.
I want to end this year with a look back on my writings and musings throughout the year, marking the first year that I spent understanding how best to ‘tell ones story’, as it is often the hardest thing to do.
Though I have tries exploring different forms of writing, I have enjoyed the voice of poetry as a medium for story telling so here are some of the poems from this year.
Performing Sex Poetry
Continue reading “#40 My Poetry in 2017: Caffeinated Sex, PNG and Cairns”
Into the day
To find where I belonged,
Leaving time and space before me,
Feet after feet
– A growing distance.
I was drawn into eyes,
Shimmering beneath blistering sunsets.
Each time wondering,
Whether sunrise would bring me back over the horizon.
And I held my breath.
In belief that dawns beauty
Would steal my breath away.
– Each time,
It almost did.
But each time,
I found my feet,
And caught my breath,
Each and every time
– Grasping on tight
To that part of me;
Still wrestling wild,
For a missing
Part of me.
It came in cups of smiles
On plates of tears,
That asked me to stay.
I almost did,
But each time,
I caught my breath,
And found my feet,
Each and every time
– Searching for the next step.
Only this time,
I stepped back.
And saw me standing there,
In the shadow of a silhouette,
who had lost its way.
And so I turned,
To find my feet,
Leading me home,
To where I never left.
We all go through life looking for our place in the universe.
Some of us find it in the voice of those we come to love. Some, in the pearly eyes of little treasures. Some, at the breaking of an endless dawn. I found it in death.
This is a piece I recently got cross-published on the blog mylandmycountry. It is about Papua New Guinean’s celebrating all that is good about our country.
Media attention awarded to Bugandi Secondary School of late, has tainted the name of this pillar of education within the Lae City community. I do not want to dwell on the events that have garnered such infamy, but it would be fair to say, there exists a sense of bitter distrust from the part of the greater Lae community.
But the nature of trust is that
it can also be earned back because bad does not necessarily mean ‘there is an absence of good’. At least that was my experience with the Bugandi Secondary School students on Friday, 6th October. An incident transpired during that day that showed hope and goodness that often goes unacknowledged about that institution.
I am not at liberty to fully disclose the details of the incident, least to say it was a hit and run and I, along with the students were first witnesses. I’ll add though that it was the quick thinking on behalf of the Bugandi students that led to the survival of the victim; the emergency ward named ‘Mr Friday Unknown’.
In a show of spirited heroism, the young men from Bugandi Secondary School gathered the seemingly lifeless pile of aged bones and soft tissue onto my ute. Without time to spare we rushed the Mr Friday Unknown to the accident and emergency ward at ANGAU Memorial Hospital.
There is always a moment of sho
ck that follows accidents so gruesome as that that reminds us humanity is nothing but skin and bones. It is the spirit that connects us to each other.
Seeing the spirit the Bugandi students showed to save a life gives me faith enough to say that the school is raising integral community members and citizens of Papua New Guinea. That lesson cannot
be overlooked. That lesson is more important then any piece of information that can be found in textbooks.
But this is not an isolated event. This act of selflessness is evidently engrained in these students. Almost a month before this incident a head on collision between two vehicles on Jawani Street (next to Bugandi) was witnessed by Bugandi Secondary School students who were unwilling first respondents to the scene, doing what they could to save the lives.
The description of the incident is not important here, but the character
demonstrated by the students is, again, testament to their strength and value as members of the greater Lae City
I would like then to commend the teachers and for their commitment towards their students. For believing in the goodness in your students. To the Principle, Mr Tony Gaul and your leadership team, it takes real courage and strength to believe in your mission with limited resources and the clout of negative media – for that I applaud you and your team.
Bugandi Secondary School has quite the journey ahead of it yet I believe that in the not too distant future, the institution will give the great city of Lae reasons to look upon it with the endearing fondness that it deserves..