TENZIN TSUNDUE


Tenzin Tsundue had momentary global celebrity in January 2002 when he scaled 14
floors of a Mumbai hotel to greet Zhu Rongji—then premier of the People's
Republic of China—with a 'Free Tibet' banner and a Tibetan national flag. He writes
a poetry of protest that centre on Tibet's struggle to break free from Chinese control.






Horizon

From home you have reached
the Horizon here.
From here to another
here you go.

From there to the next
next to the next
horizon to horizon
every step is a horizon.

Count the steps
and keep the number.

Pick the white pebbles
and the funny strange leaves.
Mark the curves
and cliffs around
for you may need
to come home again.






The Tibetan in Mumbai

The Tibetan in Mumbai
is not a foreigner.

He is a cook
at a Chinese takeaway.
They think he is Chinese
run away from Beijing.

He sells sweaters in summer
in the shade of the Parel Bridge.
They think he is some retired Bahadur.

The Tibetan in Mumbai
abuses in Bambaya Hindi,
with a slight Tibetan accent
and during vocabulary emergencies
he naturally runs into Tibetan.
That's when the Parsis laugh.

The Tibetan in Mumbai
likes to flip through the MID-DAY,
loves FM, but doesn't expect
a Tibetan song.

He catches the bus at a signal,
jumps into a running train,
walks into a long dark gully
and nestles in his kholi.

He gets angry
when they laugh at him
'ching-chong-ping-pong.'

The Tibetan in Mumbai
is now tired,
wants some sleep and a dream.
On the 11pm Virar Fast,
he goes to the Himalayas.
The 8.05am Fast Local
brings him back to Churchgate
into the Metro: a New Empire.


Note:
Mid-Day - a popular Mumbai daily newspaper
Kholi - Mumbai slang for a shack







Refugee

When I was born
my mother said
you are a refugee.
Our tent on the roadside
smoked in the snow.

On your forehead
between your eyebrows
there is an R embossed
my teacher said.

I scratched and scrubbed,
on my forehead I found
a brash of red pain.
I have three tongues
the one that sings
is my mother tongue.
The R on my forehead
between my English and Hindi
the Tibetan tongue reads:

RANGZEN

Freedom means Rangzen.






Terrorist

I am a terrorist.
I like to kill.

I have horns,
two fangs
and a dragonfly tail.

Chased away from my home,
hiding from fear,
saving my life,
doors slammed on my face,

justice constantly denied,
patience is tested
on television, battered
in front of the silent majority
pushed against the wall,
from that dead end
I have returned.

I am the humiliation
you gulped down
with flattened nose.

I am the shame
you buried in darkness.

I am a terrorist
shoot me down.

Cowardice and fear
I left behind
in the valley
among the meowly cats
and lapping dogs.

I am single,
I have nothing—
to lose.

I am a bullet
I do not think

from the tin shell
I leap for that thrilling
2-second life
and die with the dead.

I am the life
you left behind.



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