(Sketch by Laurence Fuller)

Only memories remain afloat
Sparkling like a bottle of fizzy drink
Popping out dew drops
On the blades of grass.

Deluged by the images of the past –
Like vagrant waters – I see –
Disheveled hair like feathers
Encumbered with ice and snow –
Earlobes thick like freshly cooked selroti
Eyes that seem to have caught sparkles,
Out of an illuminating diyo

Sometimes squeaking like a mouse
And sometimes cloaked in silence,
But oftentimes as nimble as a deer,
Clad in bright red sweater
And a hand-knitted woolen topi,
You swarm in and out of the house
Like a solitary bee
Murmuring and humming,
As if remembering something
Carrying a slowly growing darkness inside
Yet glowing like the distant moon.

Walking from breakfast to madness,
Speeding through the antiseptic tunnel of time,
Leaning above the plastic sky of life,
You and I,
Stand in broken lines
At the frozen gates of death and youth.


Crows on a telephone wire


I sit on the porch
and look at the orange evening,
unfolding like a collage of memories.

My mother summons all her courage,
out of the past, the frail nostalgia,
and disdains the people she has to work for.

It’s been two weeks of complaining,
but she doesn’t forget to bring me
another cup of tea.

I sit here reading an old copy of Woolf
at the varnished table.

Inside the book – I weigh my life
against the yellowing pages.

My head is finally getting clear of voices.
It is after a long, long time.

Stealing the taste of country green,
the earth smells of jacarandas.

I look up and see –
crows on a telephone wire
gazing like an old mystic,
flashing in empty eye sockets.

In the back of my brain,
there’s an eerie quietness,
shining like crows on a telephone wire.

If not for you


If not for you, I’ll be a broken tree
Dozing in the middle of a desert
Repenting for what I’ve become
Waiting for rain, or even lightning to strike.

If not for you, I’ll be a hopeless wanderer
Scuttling to the higher grounds
Full of ash heaps of dead dreams
Terrified by the extraordinary ebbing of the Koshi River.

If not for you, maybe I’ll drift away from the shore
Like a paper boat, waving and rolling
Striking against the hungry tides, a boat
Made from the remains of the very ash heaps.

If not for you, because of all that helpless wandering
Maybe I’ll be a pebble lying on the hospital bed
The nurses will tend me, water me,
and sometimes kick me in my face,
And bring me the flowers
that carry the scent of anesthesia.

If not for you, I wonder what I’ll become
Out of the endless possibilities
Maybe an absolute nothingness
But I know this for sure:

If not for you, not a word
would have dripped out of my pen.
And I wonder what I would have become, then?

Sleeping Woman


(A tribute to Haruki Murakami)

Up in the hill,
Beside the pipal tree,
Beneath its longevity,
There’s a little hut,
Where a woman sleeps,
Day in and day out.

A young woman of hundred,
Her face, as hard as granite
Shines silver gray
as if scrubbed repeatedly
With a sandpaper, by dexterous hands.
She looks like an alabaster statue
With fine boughs of pipal
Branching from the top of her head,
Which sneaks out of the gable window,
Defiant and aggressive.

The little flowers in the pipal tree
Are full of pollen grains
And the bees have a business to do.
One by one, they carry the pollen
From the flowers and fly into the hut
Where they drop the grains
With their adept, tiny legs
Like bombs from night vision helicopters.

She’s been sleeping since her birth
Since the flowers first started
To bloom in the pipal tree
And since the bees came from the distant villages
Dancing in the air with their hairy little bodies
Like solitary nomads,
Drifting from one place to another.

The bees lulled her into a deep slumber.
And the flowers are just too many.
She’ll keep sleeping as long as the pipal tree
Stands upright on that ground
And as long as the bees keep dancing in the air.



It is one of those days when

Everything seems blocked,

Everything seems crushed,

Everything seems so slow and heavy,

You don’t even want to wish for a change.


You lie down lazily on your bed,

Look out of the window,

Watch the clouds change into

Objects of your desire,

While the wind softly blows

Trembling your heart like a leaf.


You keep waiting

With a cup of coffee in your hand—

Waiting, waiting, waiting,

Till the coffee cools and thickens,

Now you don’t even want to take a sip.


It is one of those days when

You look into your breast-pocket,

Find out you can’t even afford to smoke.


Arms behind your head,

Legs crossing and uncrossing,

Every now and then,

You look inside—the wanly lit room

You look outside—the dawn turning into daylight

And keep waiting.


It is one of those days when

Everything seems blocked,

Everything seems disturbed,

Everything seems unforeseen, unwanted, unloved,

Everything seems so un-everything.


All you can do,

All you want to do, is wait.


Twitter @bibek_writes