Bourgeois Christ

Not the son of gods but the son of a poor man,
Not a holy messiah but a saviour of the spirit.
To the Christ who whipped the money-men,
The Christ who stood against his oppressors,
Was betrayed, tortured and dried in the sun.
The working class hero whom all the bourgeoisie love –
They now sit in church, praying to the one they scorned.
Christ is not so easy, I tell you.

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God Of Smaller Spaces

God does not exist in your church, pastor. He does not live there anymore. He hasn’t lived there in decades. God now lives in a small house in Nongpoh. It is the house of a prostitute named Riia. God comes to her, pastor, he nurtures her, takes care of her baby boy. He is not idle ritual nor empty prayers here. He is welcomed with open arms. He wants no alms as gate-fee nor does he need offering of bread and wine. He thrives here on a measly diet, fed by a hope in desperation. 

God was also with Andy when friends and family turned. He was the only one there when the nurse told him the news. God moves along his bloodstream with the AIDS virus He does not visit only once a year or only when someone dies. God is his pillion rider who enjoys a sharp wind and on warm days, a cold beer. God lives for those 100 km per hour bursts of speed.

This can’t be God, that these people worship, can it? It must be a smaller deity – not comfortable in grottoes and holy places – more comfortable being out in the open in open hearts, more alive in those who live.

Wad Iu Blei

wad iu blei, phin shem ha bri

wad iu blei, ha pung dohthli

wad iu blei, ha jingthiang ka ngap

wad iu blei, ha hali ba dap

wad iu blei, ha ka shor kotkudi

wad iu blei, ha u shyiap ba ni

wad iu blei, ha iing nongrep

wad iu blei, ha sngi ba sep

wad iu blei, ha por synrai

wad iu blei, ha jingbang u pai

wad iu blei, ha jingphuhsyep

wad iu blei, shwa jingtyllep

shem iu blei, ha slakhyndew

shem iu blei, shem iu brew.

Nailpolish

Bengali boys of Laban used to have nail polish on their fingers –

Almost always red or a bright pink – now they feel shy I think.

Now, boys must be big and strong and say they head something:

Whether battalion, business or bureaucracy.

 

Once, the Khasi boys from Mawlai also painted their pinkies.

Almost everyone had an amulet those days –

Some a bullet on a chain and others a sacred gem –

Boys could be big but gentle.

 

They did not have to be angry – just young men.

Aunts would gather around and tell the boys how good-looking

They were or how tall they’d grown since they last met,

And once boys allowed themselves to be flattered by this.

 

Maybe once, boys weren’t defined

By other boys but by women.