Sunday, December 6, 2020

I am a Mizo & 90s Baby - Kim Miller

Foreword:  When I started this blog in November 2007, it was tough finding Mizo writers in English to feature. Every time I was tipped off that so and so wrote poetry (or prose bits), I'd call them on the phone to ask if I could publish their writings and most times they would decline, some even squealing in embarrassment to say that they did do a bit of writing but it wasn't anything great and that they wrote just for themselves and would die of mortification to see it published for all the world to read. Since then, there has been a wonderful welcome change. I'm not sure when the tide began to turn, perhaps with the advent of Lang Leav and her ilk and the popularity of Instagram but young people today are not just writing poetry but publishing them - if not in print, then on blogs or on social media.  Over the next few posts, I hope to feature a number of promising young Mizo writers in English all happily under 26. Happy days ahead!


I Am a Mizo

I am a Mizo
Born and raised in these green hills
Played in the sand after church
Collected marbles for the thrills
Wooden swords clash on till dusk
I am perfectly happy here
Said my prayers and palms joined hence
Words flow by innocence of nature
Culture neatly cushions my existence
A loudspeaker announces my duty
My identity stands firm in the people
The strong, standing code of the community.

I am a Mizo
One ancestor roamed the missionaries’ land
A diluted burden of genetical gripe
The other welcomed them into the clan
Clad in the warmth of my traditional clothes
I obediently speak my people’s language
“But never speak the white man’s tongue,” they guffawed
While we go to his church for marriage
Lest they laugh and make fun of my oddities
I head up the hill for the gatherings
We shouted and called and listened to a voice
A voice to control all our policies.

I am a Mizo
My religion is European
My accent is American
And my culture is Korean
The TV speaks of life never envisioned
Books read stories of the great beyond
My mind twirls around in curious bigotry
The fate of a stagnant life prolonged
Bathed in the aroma of the Sunday pork
The commanding bells ring through the city
The selfless inclination of an ancient passing
Now flow in the blood by decree.

I am a Mizo
But I went far far away
Went to the mainland for education
Surrounded by souls my people hate
In the South I stopped rolling my r’s
Away from the safety of the ILP
“I hate our outdated palette,” my roommate declared
To Starbucks for a cup of coffee
So I stand firm for the truth of the moment
An individual through the reason of senses
If my core beliefs and identity ever collide
I shall see the world through my lenses.

I am a Mizo
As Mizo as can be.

 

90s Baby

 

I was born; the year Cobain passed,

When FRIENDS graced the television screens of Americans

Crawled and wailed when Tupac left a legacy,

And too busy weeping to see the Lion King.

Opened mom’s drawer, her Backstreet Boys cassettes she hid

Ripped the tape apart, the plastic plaything

Yet received a generous visit from Santa.

My innocent eyes watched the news, a channel reports an accident

Two twin towers hit by two planes

Then continued playing, parents watched in shock

At least that’s what they told me anyway

Mom and Dad were my solace, tucked between them in bed

For all the Archie comics I read, the worn out Tinkle magazines

Were three G.I Joes without limbs, and dusty SEGA cartridges

I dreamt of nothing, closed my eyes then became morning

While the world moved on with its everlasting dread.

I knew not of my purpose, my existence

And so Mondays were joyful, weekends were magical

Impressed all my classmates with my eraser collection

And my extensive knowledge of Dexter and DeeDee’s anatomy

Kicked a plastic ball on the field till it rolls out to oblivion

 Traversed through the grass for its whereabouts

One friend decided to call it quits, so we stopped playing

All for a good two days.

That one Firehouse song kept playing, a recluse for everyone

But soon, Boney M will replace all playlists in households

Yet life went on, Eddie Guerrero’s funeral proved it

But this time, my parents didn’t say anything.

There’s something that sparks joy in me

 In the past of which I mostly dwell

Before Spotify and Netflix, and all streaming services

Trampled all our inconveniences to dust

Where someone could show off their mp3 collection

Thousands of songs proudly displayed on Winamp

Downloaded from shady websites of malware

With internet data to sell kidneys for

My Nokia gleefully tuned its ring, the notification

To the latest SMS pack for my weekend

Texted my crush, with butchered words and bracket emojis

Then off to play my games copied from the privileged

I thought of a new creative name for my Facebook

While I aimed to have a thousand friends displayed

But I had to stop playing all my songs at once

Since the Illumati claimed literally all the celebrities

Twenty six years later, I live on with this memory

Not a long time indeed, yet I’ve said my goodbyes

We all come and go like tumbleweeds on the sand

To create a generation of memories and cringy dance fads

We had to work for everything, but so did the past

The future too will create its own set of dilemmas

As I live today while Gen Z lost me with their humor

Were times when boomers got lost to the world we lived in.




Kim Miller : Besides being one of a lamentably few Mizo males writing in English, Kima also writes very articulate prose.  He holds a postgraduate degree in English literature, was a Project Fellow at Mizoram University, taught English for a few months at T. Romana College and currently attends coaching classes. He enjoys writing, playing the guitar and reading. He also maintains a blog, albeit rather sporadically, at https://kimmiller116.wordpress.com. We hope to see a lot more writing from him in the future.