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“Fallen Leaves” out now

Fallen Leaves my latest poetry collection is out now in paperback. You can get it at Amazon. The ebook will follow shortly.

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Description

Rajapakse uses poetry to look at the conflict that raged in the tiny island nation of Sri Lanka for close to three decades. People from all walks of life, ethnic, religious and age groups suffered. The Tamil terrorists disrupted life and property all over the country for three decades, while for a few years in the late 1980s a Marxist guerilla group caused chaos. The JVP was wiped out in a few years. The Tamil terrorists however took much longer.

These poems are a reflection of the time. They take on voices of people from across the divide and speak of the incredible loss the people all suffered.

They are dark yet thought provoking. They speak of a moment in history when people lived amidst a sense of helplessness and fear of terror.
It is dedicated to “all those we lost along the way.”
Blurb

She tried to recall the

day he walked out, the day she

last saw him and the exact moment

she heard his voice on the phone assuring her

all was well. And then

 

no more.

 

What happened? What went wrong?

She would never know. There was no

one left to respond, and those that were there

didn’t dare speak up as the reasons for

what took place didn’t make sense

so they kept quiet and hoped in time

she would understand.

 

Introduction

For close to thirty years the tiny island nation of Sri Lanka was embroiled in conflict.

In the early 1980s the Tamil terrorists – the LTTE – took to war to demand a separate homeland in the north of the country, despite a considerable number of Tamils living in the south. They began intensifying their demands by causing damage in all parts of the country. LTTE women suicide bombers blew themselves up in crowded public places in the mainly Sinhala dominated south, while explosive packed trucks rammed into building destroying lives and infrastructure.  As a response to and protest against the LTTE, the Marxist JVP guerillas created unrest in the south. People who didn’t listen to the JVPs diktats were kidnapped or killed. Those suspected of being JVP members were hauled off by the armed forces and taken in for questioning. No one was safe. Everyday brought fresh news of death or disappearance while bodies burnt on the sides of roads.

The government responded by hounding the JVP and ending their reign of terror within a few years. But not before thousands of young men and women were sacrificed. The LTTE, however, could not be eliminated so easily. They continued to wage war for close to three decades. Attacks on civilians took place so regularly that violence became more common than peace.

And where there was conflict there was devastation. People’s lives changed so drastically that no one ever though they would live to see a day when they could walk the streets unafraid. But that day finally did become a reality in 2009 when the LTTE’s guns were silenced, although it was at a cost to all citizens.

Fallen Leaves is both a look at the past years and a tribute to those fallen heroes, friends and family that never made it. They take on the voices of people from across the divide and speak of the incredible loss everyone suffered. It is also a reminder that guns don’t solve problems, but creates more hardships for everyone.

Part I focuses on the JVP years while Part II looks at the LTTE conflict.

 

Featured

Why We Are in Iraq – April 11, 2019

My poem “Somewhere in the Middle East After One War Ended that’s in Chant of a Million Women (2017) is published in Why We Are in Iraq today.

 

Litro

This is Home is a short story I wrote last year about a Palestinian woman stuck in the middle of the conflict. Check it out here.

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Channels

My poem titled “The Capital” is included in “Channels” Volume 19. Channels is an annual publication that features contemporary Sri Lankan Writing and is published by the English Writers’ Cooperative (EWC) Sri Lanka. It’s not available online and I’m posting the poem here.

The Capital

 I

Colombo clicks her heels

tonight as music throbs in hidden

spaces. Lights blink

as they guide the way along lush

avenues, winding, trees

bending in acknowledgement.

The breezes blow cool

and calm across waters cleared,

now winking as the lights reflections

spread out across the lakes, canals

and waterways free to flow

as they wish. Old world charm sprawls

while modernity rises

from the earth. Brick by brick

the future beckons. The city smiles

at the wonders ahead.

II

The avenue of independence

has lost her soul. Torn

down by the puppets of the people.

A debauched brain ordered the change.

The earth shudders as trees

crash to the ground,

the birds scatter, their nests

lost in the dust of development,

progress, the need to renew.

The dogs rounded up and sent off

to die. Boiled, gassed. That’s their fate.

There’s no place for the likes

of them in this city

brand spanking new. Not for the likes

of canine, avian; the crows

or strays. The beggars

they kill, their heads smashed with rocks

no better than dogs and left to rot

on pavements. The blood stains on

concrete blocks licked up by

scavengers. The city mourns

and wonders what lies ahead.

© 2013 Shirani Rajapakse