Luna Ranjit

मेरो जिब्रो एउटा उपनिवेश जहाँ मलाई पूर्वजहरुसँग जोड्ने मेरो मुटुको भाषालाई विस्थापित गरेर आधिपत्य जमायो बाँच्नको लागि चाहिने भाषाले हाम्रा कथाहरु दबाउँदै हाम्रा स्मृतिका पानाहरु मेटाउँदै आगन्तुक शब्दका आवाजले जरा गाडे मेरो बाल मस्तिस्कमा अनि, लज्जित बनायो आदेश अनुसार बटारिन नमान्ने जिब्रोले गलत, अप्रासंगिक शब्द फुत्किने डरले मुटुमा रातदिन राज गर्‍यो तैपनि मेरो जिब्रोको एक कुनामा प्रतिरोधको आगो बलिरह्यो हार नमानी मां भाय् बोलिरह्यो जेल परेका कवि, निर्वासित लेखकहरुको सम्मानमा हाम्रो भूत, भविष्य, वर्तमान उत्खनन गरिरह्यो र संरक्षण गरिरह्यो हाम्रा बाखं, हाम्रा लुमन्ति

मेरो जिब्रो एउटा उपनिवेश
जहाँ
मलाई पूर्वजहरुसँग जोड्ने
मेरो मुटुको भाषालाई
विस्थापित गरेर
आधिपत्य जमायो
बाँच्नको लागि चाहिने भाषाले
हाम्रा कथाहरु दबाउँदै
हाम्रा स्मृतिका पानाहरु मेटाउँदै

आगन्तुक शब्दका आवाजले
जरा गाडे मेरो बाल मस्तिस्कमा
अनि, लज्जित बनायो
आदेश अनुसार बटारिन नमान्ने जिब्रोले
गलत, अप्रासंगिक शब्द फुत्किने डरले
मुटुमा रातदिन राज गर्‍यो

तैपनि मेरो जिब्रोको एक कुनामा
प्रतिरोधको आगो बलिरह्यो
हार नमानी मां भाय् बोलिरह्यो
जेल परेका कवि,
निर्वासित लेखकहरुको सम्मानमा
हाम्रो भूत, भविष्य, वर्तमान
उत्खनन गरिरह्यो
र संरक्षण गरिरह्यो
हाम्रा बाखं, हाम्रा लुमन्ति

First published in Kantipur Koseli, November 2020

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photo by author

Every year,
monsoon winds arrive, soaking
the dusty, parched valley floor
faraway, hills tumble down to meet the river
outside, the galli becomes a rivulet
inside, the family of three start
their annual rain dance of
carefully choreographed steps
with pots and pans and old paint cans
placing them here, there, everywhere
moving them, again and again
to catch the heavenfall
in drops and drips before
they hit the mud floor, before
the room becomes river
soaking clothes and curtains
and books galore

Next year,
next year will be different
we say,
waiting for a few sheets of corrugated steel
yet another year

(Included in the Bronx Memoir Project Volume V — 2021, published by Bronx Council on the Arts)

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Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash

Rush back from school in the afternoon.
Throw bookbag to a corner. Eat a snack.

Sit cross legged on the floor across from Mother.
Fold old magazines into rectangles, big and small.

Brush over homemade rice glue on the sides. Fold.
Voila! Paper bags to hold sugar, beans, eggs, more.

Stack the bags neatly into piles of ten, twenty, fifty.
Tomorrow, Aji will sell them to local shops, paisas apiece.

Today, take pride in turning waste paper into money.
Open the bookbag and finish homework.

Repeat again tomorrow afternoon.
Never ever speak about it in school.

Now, we have names — recycled, upcycled, green whatnot.
Then, there was just one — survival.

(Included in the Bronx Memoir Project Volume V — 2021, published by Bronx Council on the Arts)

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Looking towards south-west of Kathmandu valley

Looking down from the perch in Swayambhu
where tourists jostle with the locals for the view,
you see a multi-headed hydra
sprinting towards layers of
emerald hills guarding Kathmandu valley and the jagged
diamond peaks beyond, gobbling up
gold green fields along the way, guzzling
aquamarine ponds and lakes, spitting out
silver slivers of asphalt that crisscross
rivers’ and rivulets’ natural paths across the valley floor, belching
thick plumes of fumes that hang over the houses
that look like pieces of legos placed haphazardly
by an impatient child.

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Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash

“Modernize!” They told us when we were young
Don’t wallow in old wives’ tales, antiquated norms
Don’t use what you have in gardens, in your own homes
“Buy. Buy. Buy.” They said and we all went along

After we lost our elders’ knowledge, our grandparents’ way
They are teaching us the value of sage smudge spray
In branded boxes, they’re selling back to us our own histories
Charcoal powder, turmeric lattes, even squatty potties

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Luna Ranjit

Luna Ranjit

organizer at heart. strategy consultant by trade. mostly prose with occasional forays into poetry. https://tinyletter.com/LunaRanjit