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86 ways I could use a knife (or, how I had seen a knife used, once).

by Niranjan


This poetry is part of the special series "Through the Light Holes" in collaboration with Myanmar Photo Archive.


86 ways I could use a knife (or, how I had seen a knife used, once).

Cutting apart

A clove

Of Ginger


Whittling it down

Discarding the skin

A mound


Knife

back-handed

Held to off


With thumb

Upon hilt (blade’s dull back)

No one had ever bled.


Using it-

He tried

To teach


Me

The way-

I forgot-


Instantly-

His name-

Tin Shwe-


A malli-

A coolie-

Chief-Cook’s son.


Died

of

an asshole


Bleeding-


Buckets.

The razor

Slit


Hands had cut

The turtling (protruding) rectum

Clean.


I had longed for

to see that man

to see him again.


Now,

I wonder

If he does.


My grandmother

Taught me

The full frontal


Push against

the hand

holding the clove


Evading

She often

bled.


Had

Nine

Children


Raised

Under

her


Hand.

I hope

to have seven more.


Just for

Just for more

Just for.


I want

for

more.


Where

Will

I find

The one

or ones

to have them?


I

will

not.


I have

Seen

A rusted blade


Cut Apart

A Dog’s

Balls.


Maybe

I should

Just


Put

It

Upon


Me

Where

It doesn’t bleed.


The dog

Was screeching

Why did we?


My grandfather

Promenaded

Through


The hospital

gardens

with his extra honey (his side moon)


Who was

his cousin too

While his wife


My grandmother

had

her fifth or sixth


Child

It might’ve been

A boy


That time-

They had

Always


Cherished

Their boys

But their


Daughters

helped/loved them

more.


My father

was the second

their first son.


I am

their first son’s

first son.


Their

first

grandson.


I am

also

Cherished


By them

All

But, I should be


(Wished

that

I would’ve been)


Bleeding

For

I had


Bled them


ill

They had

depended upon me.


Bled

And died

A worser


Ailment.

I am

Their suffrage.


While, my sisters

Had saved me

My Aunts had


Saved me

My grandmother

Had


Saved me

And saved me

And saved me.


I would not

Save me.

Nobody,


Should

Or could

Can I?


I can’t

Can I?

Why, try?


I had

Bled

one time


When

An Aluminum can’s

Flipped up cover


I had grabbed-

Or maybe

I wrongfully


A tribute

Again

It was her


The Old one

My grandma

Grabbed it from


My younger sibling

Sister

She was playful


(I love her)

She was

Cruel


My grandmother


Cut her

Index, up

A second mark


Once

It went through

A machine


Cleaver

Lost whole

The tip of


Her finger

With yellow turmeric

Held together


Till her death

Had altered

Sight tilted


To her right

Hand

To her all end.


I am

of

Her end.


An ever

Fast

Forwarding.


I try

And celebrate

Here


Their pain

more

And living.


I’m living

they are deceased

I am


Free

to be

what they weren’t?


But what they were

was not

the worst


We could ever

Become

But no


It is not

for me

for us.


I want

to have

sixteen children


Not for kids (sons or daughters)

or

For Lust


But Because

I want of ours

to be


And to be

as happily

As they live on


Happy

With a family

table


Long

No one


Cold

or left off

But all


Together

And one

And all.


To live alone

With someone(s)

And be (it) with them all


All the abilities

And possibilities

And needs with


And off in the world

A likeness

A-like


In the world

In our world

And have of it ours


Children (Brethren)

Of sixteen

minds, and shades and colors.

My grandmother had 13 (siblings)

Her mother had fifteen

Hers’ had 20.


I want with

for ours

the best living.


They had

Never

Except for my grandmother


And maybe hers’

Her mother

Completely suffered


Her husband

Died

When


She was

twelve

or nine


Or, maybe

It was

sixteen


I lied

She had

A son


Aba

Ne Win

Who died


At seventy-five

A naming-After

of the unfortunate


Kind

too late

to change it.


A name

sticks

he died as Aba Ne Win.


His father

was

A muslim.


An, Arakan

I believe

or, I’m


Lying

once

Again.


We are only

four

a lonely number.


My grandmother’s

Mother

had 3, including her, surviving out of fifteen


The war

Ate them

And, spit them back


As Spittle

Red

And little


And soulless

Beetle nut, juice chewed

Over, excess.


Ruby red:

(The Jap’s bayonet’s blade

Cut through a man’s guts

and the coils spilled, rolling ruby smears-red.


To the dirt

they are discarded

the food for vultures/crows and insects.


But a child’s broken

Umbilical

is kept


And kept,

As dried and cherished

My great uncle’s


Aba’s was

A king, he should’ve been

As suggested, by the strangeness of the coils


A holster, diagonally, crossed over

twice

but the mask, and the cord


Were lost, in a fire

he saved an old Chinese woman

whose feet had been bound. They had, cut her, off. Our photos too, gone.


A thin, slicing, of bamboo

Paper, dilute

the lips, the vulva, cut through


To bleed through

A child’s head

blue


Birthed.

I wonder,

of such now

Rogue old

treatments

my great, grandmother


suffered for

her

thirteen, children


Who would now, (or know)

who’d need to, or should be asked to

to suffer for, with, a surgical sword


A mother.

(No surprise,

If, the rogue old, methods

Still, at present, flowers. Especially now, they’ve fled, the gowns, or are captured, clowns.))


Her lips

Were then

My lips


Are now

Our lips

Are down.


The razor/scissors

to slice through

the baby’s sickle, sinew, pinkish-cord, of life


I,

just want

sixteen of mine


Out of

fifteen

twelve


Had died

Only

three


Survived

I want

All mine’s


Alive

Alive

Alive.


I want

All mine’s

Alive.


Out of thirteen

My grandmother’s

Only seven survive.


The war’s

a ravaging

of time’s.

The bayonet’s

Slide

our


Cut through

eye.

I am maligned.


The blade

cuts through

Our lives.


I’m waiting

for

mine.


I’m waiting

for

mine.


I’m waiting

For

Mine.


Mine

Mine

Mine


The blade

through

the knife.


Cut, through

My, Our

Life, lives.


All Her Children’s Survived.


23.6.2022



Sarasvati and her husband Muhammed.

About the poet:


Niranjan was born in Mandalay, Burma, and he is twenty one years old. He went to study at a Hong Kong University abroad, but promptly returned home after dropping out in his second year. He has only been published twice, once at a foreign quarterly press known as Wilderness House Review, and secondly for a poetry competition at the University mentioned above wherein he received the first-prize. He only wishes to be remembered under a good name.



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