Nicotine

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I started smoking at four,
At thirty-two I had lung cancer.
The same year
Mama had died of alcoholism.

Now and then, I coughed
Blobs of yellow phlegm
Sometimes, even blood.

The doctor said
I only had a few months more,
Told me to put things in order.

I came home,
Took off my jeans,
Unbuttoned the peacock blue shirt,
Sat on the edge of my bed
In my underwear, and lit a cig.

With sweet smell of
Nicotine covering my face,
I thought about my will.

Children I had none,
I never saw my father,
I doubt if I even had one.
But I had a wife, I think I had one,
Who left me a year after our marriage,
And ran away with a taxi driver.

I don’t know where she is,
Or what she does.
I wonder if she found
The man of her dreams,
I heard she ran away twice,
My god,
She must be an awfully good runner.

I pulled out a briefcase
From under the table,
Opened it, took out an old photograph,
Taken by a film camera, probably a Yasuda.

A portly kid in khaki shorts
and bare chest stared back at me,
squatting, the underpants visible,
and smiling.

Caressing the blunt edges of it,
I felt, I, too, had a childhood,
Or at least a sense of it.
But now, I was going to die—
I’ve got to be prepared.

So, I lit another cig and took a deep drag.
Then and there I knew what I was going to do—
Sixty cigs a day—that’s my will,
And a ticket to heaven
By the end of this month.

Twitter @bibek_writes

Waiting

A poem from a year ago!

writing till the end

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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,

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I long to go away

lone walker

I long to go away
From this city,
Leaving the streets and houses
Calcified and mauled
Like ancient cemeteries.

I long to drift away
Like soft autumn wind
Blowing the ghosts
That hang in the air.

As I am walking away
A leaf falls on my hand.

Distant mountains wallow
Over the fallen foliage.

A ghost falls
From the sky,
Paralyzed, electrocuted,
In this city
Of sadness.

Darkness swirls.
Silence descends.

My thoughts deepen.
I am a lonely wanderer,
Lost, walking through time,
Laden with grief.

I am unable to compose
A verse
Of life.

Sad.

I am the saddest person alive
In this city.

Twitter @bibek_writes

No one is here

Lonely_Night_by_DehCavalieri (1)

No one is here.

 

Rain falls

On the tile roofs

Of lonely nights.

 

An old owl hoots,

The sound echoes

Through the silent streets.

 

At this ungodly hour

Wet voices meet,

Rain soaked and puffed.

 

I sleep in my small

Suburban room.

 

The rush of the downpour—

Voices and their wasted alchemy—

Poises an equilibrium against

A floating stillness.

 

Shadows mingle.

 

This concrete city sleeps

In a Lethean stupor.

 

No one is here.

 

Rain falls.

 

An old owl hoots,

The sound echoes

Through the silent streets.

 

 

Twitter @bibek_writes

Oranges for My Mother

orange_medicine

For the fifth time she asks,
“Do you really love me?”

 

I’m beginning to feel my answer,
“Yes, mother,” is somewhat wrong.
Maybe the truth is something else,
maybe she is helping me to confess
my relationship with her.

 

I am at the writing desk,
scribbling a few lines, crossing them out,
adding a word here and there.

 

She watches me intently.
I ask her if she is happy here.
She asks why I care.

 

That evening, before bed,
she locks the front door.
While she sleeps,
I unlock it and go out.

 

She wakes up the next morning,
comes up to me,
“What I do, no one likes,” she says.
I nod. She nods.

 

Are we agreeing?

 

My bald guru once said
that I am too demanding,
that I am too ambitious,
that I should learn to say “yes”
to life as it comes to me.

 

I was up all night, talking
to myself, staring vacantly
at the yellow lamplight.

 

In the morning, I serve her
a cup of coffee and oranges.
I want her to be as happy
as she was in the past.
I want to tell her about
the dull ache in my heart.
I want her to make it go away
with a loving embrace.
I want the present to be as good
as the past, we once shared.

 

I peel an orange for her, separate the carpels,
remove the pith and the transparent skin.
She eats a piece and looks up.
I ask her why she’s crying.
She asks why I care.

 

Twitter @bibek_writes