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Hanging Balls – you be the judge

Baka
Author Baka Bina asks you to review his short story. I'm here to tell the judges it's a rattling good yarn, absolutely splendid - KJ

BAKA BINA

PORT MORESBY - I had submitted this story to the Commonwealth Writers Prize for 2020. Three stories from Australia and New Zealand were on the short list. None of the Pacific islands entries made it.

Like Thomas Hukahu has said, we in Papua New Guinea tell stories but not in the same way that first language English speakers wants them told, or how they want to hear them.

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The Man in the Mirror

MirrorMICHAEL DOM

One day when I opened my mouth to speak
I heard a language I did not understand
I went to the bathroom to take a peek
At my reflection in the sky-roofed mirror and
To my relief the face was my very own
So I said, "Oh it's you,
I thought for a moment you were gone"
And mirror-me smirked back through
The thin looking-glass veneer
"Yes, it's me, you know I'm no voice in your head"
So I replied with a sardonic sneer
"That's ok, come on out, I won't tell till I'm dead"
Then mirror-me smiled and looked back eye-to-eye
When he said, "Back to work boy", his lips moved, not mine.


Midnight vigil of the buai buyers

Buai tradeISO YAWI

LAE - With the clock displaying all zeros representing midnight in digital time, the buai buyers were anticipating the arrival of three 75-horsepower dinghies carrying 200 plus bags of buai at the shore next to Voco Point.

It was the third day of the coronavirus state of emergency lockdown and police officers were patrolling the four corners of Lae city looking for buai sellers and crowds of people they could disperse.

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A Pandemic Far Worse Than Covid-19

MaskWARDLEY BARRY

A man searched for someone to confide in,
to discuss the things he has heard and seen.
But all his neighbours had their gates closed and
beside the road he cannot find a friend.

This road, once the heart of daily routine,
has been left barren by Covid-19.
He dragged his suitcase along the pavement.
There was no buai. He cannot pay rent.

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ANZAC

Anzac Cove Gallipoli landing 1915  painted by Paula Benson for Manjimup RSL
Anzac Cove landing, Gallipoli, 1915,  painted by Paula Benson for Manjimup RSL, Western Australia

KEVIN SEARLE

If you have read the poem
Of the Anzac on the wall
Then he like many others
In our mind stands proud and tall

They left their home and country
And from loved ones they did go
To heed the call from o’er the sea
In a land they did not know

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George & I

SigimetRAYMOND SIGIMET

DAGUA - Today, it’s just George and I. Well, it’s been just the two of us since Thursday, that’s like five days ago.

It's been five days since missus and the girls left for Wewak because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Everyone is talking about the coronavirus thing and how it came from China after someone there decided to make bat soup, got infected with bat virus and eventually infected the whole wide world.

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A million ideas & millions gone

Simon Davidson h&s
Simon Davidson - "Then rumour seeped and spread around/Of influence applied to siphon millions/Floating swollen sums to bloated cronies"

SIMON DAVIDSON

This man was minted as a lawyer
Understanding of human rights,
Rising to prominence in politics.

With fancy partisan rhetoric;
He wooed the city’s grand elite,
To secure their political mandate.

He trumpeted to the ill-starred mass
The gullible people of suburb and slum,
The nation too, through incurious media

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Cry Me a River #3

PanBAKA BINA

PORT MORESBY - I walked in and looked at the corner where I spent last night. The couch cushions were still on the floor where I had left them in the morning. Not tidied up.

The filthy sheet was still stuck in the window pane where I’d tried to shut out the early morning chill.

I read something into that. The message was clear. I was persona non grata in my own home.

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Cry Me a River #1

Checkout ChickBAKA BINA

PORT MORESBY - I smiled at the petite cashier and she smiled back at me.

I collected my goodies and saw the cashier still wearing that beautiful smile for me. I smiled back with a glint in my eyes.

But it was over for me. I swallowed my pride and turned away from this kaksi.

I needed to get my ego adjusted over a flour ball and Coke so was halfway into it with one eye on the phone's FB page.

The messenger icon showed someone had in-boxed me.

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Wanpela dei tasol insait long Covid-19 lockdown

MaketMICHAEL DOM

English translation follows

Sampela taim mi save tingting planti tumas 
Long wanem as tru bilong ol kainkain bikpela hevi
I bagarapim sindaun bilong yumi ol man meri
Kuru bilong mi i kamap ston, na het bilong mi pen
Na sampela nait mi painim hat long silip

Long apinun mi bin wokabaut igo long strit maket 
Mi hamamas long lukim ol wanwan mama salim  banana na kumu
Wanwan man meri tu ol i raun painim kaikai
Mipela tok halo long ai tasol na igo bek gen long haus
Grisim kumu long kokonas em i kamap swit moa iet

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Am I A Whore Now

WhoreWARDLEY D I BARRY

Many young women are becoming victims of revenge porn. In Papua New Guinea, one nude photo is enough to turn you into a whore or porn star. The stigma sticks and it can be a traumatising experience for the women. I hope this poem can help people understand and sympathise with victims. More importantly, I hope victims know that there are people who see their worth - WDIB

Am I a whore now for loving you?
Am I a bitch, too, for trusting you?

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The Prayer

PrayerJACK KLOMES

Dedicated to those young Papua New Guinea men who will leave their homes, tough it out with friends and relatives as they hunt for a job. May you have experiences that will warm your soul and give you encouragement to succeed

MADANG - It was a beautiful day. Remember the benches under the marmar trees that lined the road? Remember sitting and looking at the greenish sugar fields and the blue mountains away in the distance, the white clouds building up around them.

Serene, almost dreamlike, as in a painting. Yes, the small township of Ramu Sugar. Gusap Downs, as it is officially known.

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Contemplating

ContemplationMARIE-ROSE SAU

There are moments in time when I wonder
if I am ever really true to myself
That’s when I look at the skies, the clouds,
the touch of the wind, the sun kissed rays
The feel of the leaves, the sound of the birds,
tasting feelings that swirl all around
Nature is the lover’s muse, if I may say so
Offering feelings so raw and explicit
Yes, wonderful and frightening
Testing, making me falter in awe
Craving and yearning with burning desire
to see more and feel more and want more
Yet, when rain falls and thunder claps and lightning strikes,
we quiver and shy away

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An actor seeks the primitive

Zac efron
Zac Efron

GREGORY BABLIS

PORT MORESBY - Riding in an old dugout canoe with a single outboard motor, Efrongawi is jokingly cautioned by his guide to keep his limbs and phalange’s well inside the confines of the vessel lest the crocodiles snap at him.

Keeping his head in the game and his limbs in the canoe, Efrongawi asks the fixer how long he has been giving tours along the Sepik River.

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Kisim bek kantri

TribalDENNIS K BELAS
| Tok Pisin poetry followed by a free translation

Mama karim bebi nogat inap marasin
Pikinini lusim skul mekim raskol pasin
Mama laik go maket rot kondisen aut
Pablik Sevent laik wok pawa black aut

Olsem wanem nau kantri blong mi PNG?
Planti  kainkain hevi nogat sevis deliveri
Graun blong yumi oil, gas na silver gol pulap
Why ol pikinini hangere taim ol memba bel solap?

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The Road Forgotten

The road
Construction workers on the Hagus to Haku section of the Buka ringroad in Bougainville that was neglected for many years until prime minister James Marape visited Bougainville recently and allocated funds to renew it

DENNIS K BELAS

The road forgotten had been found
Gone are those pot holes rest in peace
Find your place among those souls
We shall weep nor whine no more

For though we complained
We know it was not your fault,
Through good and bad times
You still took us through

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Our land so dear

Dennis
Dennis Belas - "And whilst we wait in hope and sorrow/We cannot avoid but more want to borrow/There’s nothing more to save our land/The endless trap just seems to grow"

DENNIS K BELAS

You come from nowhere to our land
And think that we don’t understand?
We are not blind we just cannot bow
For you to steal our gold and sand

Don’t tell my people we don’t know
You make promises nothing to show
You rob our land and nothing more
Leaving behind all these dirty flow

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Give back PNG

Child
"All those riches we can't take back today / So better to stop giving them away"

MICHAEL DOM

There was a young leader named Marape
Who served in O'Neill's bagarapment
But when push came to shove
And he had had more than enough
He took back PNG without foment

If the aim now is to keep taking back
I don't know why we are being so slack
Because Beijing doesn't care
And Canberra won't dare
Tell us how to be Christian, rich and Black

And where are those God fearing leaders
Who bowed and scraped for the APEC bleeders?
Seems Jehovah is least on their minds
When they sign for more logging, more mines
They keep selling us all down the river

Spur
"But Marape says take back PNG / And then hands out all the car keys"

Since the last PM taunted our laws
And sold everything behind closed doors
All those riches we can't take back today
So better to stop giving them away
And treating our people like paupers

But Marape says take back PNG
And then hands out all the car keys
For Flying Spurs and Maseratis
Look instead at what he will do
If his words and promises are empty

Warriors long taim bipo
"Ask with sincerity, who really are we? / And how is it we keep our Black history?"

Now when we say take back PNG
And cheer Independence with glee
There are difficult things we must do
Ask with sincerity, who really are we?
And how is it we keep our Black history?

Stop taking and give back PNG.