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Tectonic & I put you on my tongue a thousand times

by Michael Theophilus Dom
30 April 2024



my seismic sibling 

in your tectonic tantrum 

have unearthed 





no more parent 

to my visions of liberty 

nor this cryptic urge 



done with 

embalmed or 

blended in pregnant lava 

where you bloom 

i know you 



crimson stain 

on my obsidian dreamscape 

a pyroclastic flash of 

hope or fear 



I put you on my tongue a thousand times 

As Matsuo once wisely said to do 

I put you on my tongue a thousand times 

And each time was familiar and new 


A thousand times, a thousand tastes, and you 

Were the same delight, same simple sublime 

So, I know what Matsuo said was true 


Each time the bitter-sweet, strong, tangy brew, 

Kande* tea or gin and tonic with lime, 

Saturates my senses in sassy revue 


Whenever some intangible ink is strewn, 

Some trace across that lithe and lovely frame, 

I must sample as Matsuo would do 


And swallow the breath that escapes from you 

Your voice is mine, my memory, your lines 

If words were women, they would surely sue 


What I cannot divulge, you have divined 

I put you on my tongue a thousand times 

As Matsuo once wisely said to do 

And each time is familiar and new 


*Kande (kan-deh) is kande kulung, the term used in Papua New Guinea for sugar from sugar cane, also meaning very sweet tea or coffee, but also used to refer to people (or the custom) of Finschhafen District in Morobe Province, who are renowned for their capacity of drinking copious amounts of sweet tea throughout the hot tropical day.

Illustration © Chela Yego 

About the Author

Michael Theophilus Dom

Michael Theophilus Dom is of Simbu origin and was born in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. He lives in Lae, Morobe Province and is an agriculture research scientist. He has published six collections of poetry, of which the most recent was 26 sonnets (2020, JDT Publishing). His poetry has been given glowing reviews by ‘first-wave’ […]