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Wayne's photos and poems in this issue

Winter 2002


“Distress” was previously published in Collages & Bricollages, and all poems are from Two Sisters: the poetry of Benju Sharma and Manju Kanchuli.


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Benju Sharma

Benju Sharma


Translated by Wayne Amtzis with the author

For years a picture
hung on the wall of my room
Frayed, done in by insects and rats,
recognizable only by those
who had seen it when..
An effaced semblance demanding to be
This picture
worshipped by my grandmother
this picture
hung with pride by my mother
Today, I look at it askance
How long must I turn towards it?
What solace am I to find there?
Now, I want
this picture smeared with red, effaced
Let flame reach the far corners
I place a lit match
in its midst Done with, done away,
in its midst


Translated by Wayne Amtzis with Manju Kanchuli

Stumbling at every step
where will I finally arrive?
Destinations — some
scoured by bombs lie like open wounds;
destinations — some
burn, caught within a forest
fire's encircling flames
destinations — some
with an iron lock are bolted shut
Even that aspiration of ultimate arrival
strung in a peaceful sky, in dream,
is consumed by flames
All my possible destinations ignite
— like mind — spreading — burning

In search of peace
with white dove in hand
I wanted to go out
and walk arm in arm with the others
Screams and running shouts
a rapid burst of gunshots
these eyes choking
throat itching
mind whirling
brain dazed
full of bloodshed and the stirring
call of the conch —
why does chaos reign out there?

My mind, under construction, borne on
by the pinnacle's daring, invents the dream of the future
Up steep slopes paced by breath
enchanted by what will unfold
weaving knitting hatching in eyes
catching hold of the bright crags of the Himalaya
Small goats together
teasing, playing,
reaching the threshold of fortune
Suddenly falling
like this installation under construction
shattered into pieces

Now with what apparatus
shall I take out my eyes that once drew you in?
With what instrument shall I simulate
blood flowing touching and moving the heart?
In which cemetery shall I put,
compressed and buried,
the congested memories of my brain?
In which court shall I stand
begging for justice?
Indeed it was that which couldn't take root in your mind
nor seep into your eyes
Within the petition — without the respondent —
how long shall I attend the court
locked into the petition?

You are always and ever silent
You're obtuse. Unresponsive
Nothing can touch or turn you
Between you and me I couldn't make adamancy melt
I am melting with the glacier
flowing — flowing without particular aim
moving on without destination
This flowing may not reach you
Without banks and steps down
I am flowing with the sandy shore
This suffering of the flow
this painful sigh
couldn't cross onto the riverside
the dry heart of sand

Ripe fruit — in wounds
ripening the mind, vomiting red blood
supporting the nearly burst heart
with the palm and saving it
Counting the minutes on this peaceful path
how long shall I wait?
Boiling within this torment
I have suddenly fallen
into this solitary dreary desert
Into the heat of this fire
seared, roasted, grilled,
with unquenchable thirst
being a fish of the suffering sand
From the dream of the pond
the pond in the eye oozes
Gulping tears back
how long can I quench my thirst?

This Moment, I Am Thinking

Translated by Wayne Amtzis with Manju Kanchuli

I, today this moment
having freed myself from the busy day
centered in myself,
I am thinking of myself
I think of
being burdened
by the vacuity of empty sacks of rice
I think of
emptied kerosene tins
and exhausted cannister's of sugar
I now this moment
I think of
your eyes glaring in the afternoon
your mind
turned in another direction
Now I
all day with palms bowed in greeting,
I think of competing
in the marathon of serving and flattery
Again this very moment
I think of my child's school fees
notebook, pen, book
and tuition
At this very moment
I also listen to my mother
crying for her ailments
This moment
I also think of my daughter
no longer a young woman, unmarried
I think of many things
In one moment,
I think of a multiplicity of things
Sometimes I think of country,
sometimes of declining
values and morals
I think of society polluted,
I think only complexity, chaos, problems
I, in this one moment thinking of these things,
I think myself a migraine
Hunger, disease, love, money, affection, country
always thinking
Now, to close down my brain, heart, eyes
intelligence, feelings, sympathy and stomach
I beg this country for a lock
I am begging for a lock. To throw away the key!

Translations by
Wayne Amtzis Wayne Amtzis