October

hello october

The sweet smell of parijat and jasmine

Floats through the evening air.

The air is calm, the stars of Kathmandu

Are quiet in their places.

 

Escaping the mangrove swamps of grief,

I travel through a dreamlike Savannah.

This way nostalgia, that way nostalgia.

I look at both sides.

 

Bewitched by the images welling up

From poems read long ago, from films,

From my own memory, I stroll upon

These rediscovered trails, marked

By the forgotten footprints of childhood.

 

With a heart in a fever of crepuscular delight,

Away from the wasteland of my sleepless nights,

I walk, finding unhurried delight

In the spirit of things, realizing

I am only a heart, beating and drumming,

Imposed upon this evening.

 

Wandering, like an Odysseus looking

For his long-lost island, with all my yearnings,

I recite love poems into the wind

In a tone that brooks ecstasy,

Hoping that the happy wind will clear

My moth-eaten spirit.

 

The sweet smell of parijat and jasmine

Floats through the evening air.

The air is calm, the stars of Kathmandu

Are quiet in their places.

 

The tremor of October shakes and tears my heart.

I forget tomorrow, the old man.

I forget the life inside the high windows,

The fluttering curtains,

The walls—

I forget them all, I forget them all.

 

Ah, this must be what I wanted to do,

Walking in the evening along dusty trails,

Crying with joy until dusk.

 

 

Twitter @bibek_writes

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A Perfect Poem

poem

My lifelong dream of a perfect poem

Is the deepest sleep of my life

In a nameless woman’s arms.

 

The moon seeps inside

Through shuttered windows,

Through cracks in walls,

Pouring over us,

Revealing her body

In its silent eloquence—

 

Hills and mountains,

Silver chalices of desire,

Flaming like fire.

 

My life runs up and down,

Across the contours of spiral paths,

Along valleys and ridges.

 

Night invades my heart,

Its stillness sharp and swift as an arrow.

 

I listen

For her soft breathing,

That soothing music

Floating through air.

 

My lifelong dream of a perfect poem

Is the music resonating—

Tranquil, levitating, up, up in the hills—

As I lie sleeping in her arms.

 

Twitter @bibek_writes

Coffee

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The flat music of flame
And bubbling water—
Notes merge into melody.

This isn’t opera,
Only a dingy kitchen
With a single burner stove.

Water flows over grounds—
Steeping and stirring.

Reddish brown infusion
Soon to be drunk in gulps.

A strainer, a cup, a spoon of sugar—
The poet’s morning tools.

“It is the break of dawn.”
Awaken, pour, sip, gulp.

It’s time.

 

Twitter @bibek_writes

 

At Basantapur

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In the courtyard of Basantapur

We sit down on the concrete stairs,

Watching the afternoon crowd

Mill around in the sunshine.

 

The clouds hang low on earth,

Almost touching the tallest pagodas.

The warm sun is going westwards

In the warm, azure sky.

 

The intricate wood carvings,

And the history, with its erotic figures

On the wooden struts,

Stare at us.

 

A mischievous smile flutters on your face.

You hold your breath.

For a moment, you let your eyes rest on me.

 

In all the beauty of this square,

Have you forgotten

That I am less than nothing?

 

Twitter @bibek_writes

Thamel

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‘Thamel is a commercial neighborhood in Kathmandu. It has been the center of the tourist industry for over four decades, starting from the hippie days when many artists came to Nepal and spent weeks in Thamel.’

 

After Claude McKay’s poem, On Broadway

 

Hundred young and careless feet

Scuttle across the brick pavement,

Stopping at the brash windowpanes,

Below the dazzling, screaming signs.

The happy crowd with their hearts,

Glowing in the bright fantastic lights,

Bask in the rays of love and lust.

Only my heart, my heart is not here.

 

Bare desire, twined with passion,

Prancing with barefaced fashion,

From pubs to discos to brothel houses

They wander, under the rainbow lights

They squander—the decrepit desires

Of love and lust, crumbling into dust.

Bedazzled, I stand and stare,

Only my heart, my heart is not here.

 

Twitter @bibek_writes