Oranges for My Mother


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


The Schoolyard


We were in the schoolyard, the girl and I,    

whose name and face I don’t remember.


We played during lunchtime, throwing 

a softball made of old socks at each other’s faces. 


The ball delighted us with every touch, with every hit, 

and we whirled ‘round and ‘round, hungry for each other’s faces.


Light as dust on a flea’s wings, 

we sauntered all around the yard.


Later, in seventh grade, we were playing,

I went to the edge of the schoolyard.


You raised your hand to throw the ball, but were 

too afraid to do so. I waved goodbye, and 


you stood mute, with tears welling up in your eyes. 

That was the last time I saw you. 


The years have plunged, and the heart has plunged 

into an empty, windswept place, without the sun, 


or the moon, or the stars, or the softball. Only 

a peculiar light of thought spins in the darkness.  


From the blurry freaks of cold memories, 

all I can remember is the softball on your hand. 


Girl, whose name and face I don’t remember, 

throw that softball at my face once again. 


The house is empty, the couch is old, the people 

I once loved are all gone. The clock has stopped. 


I am aware of nothing but my own loneliness.

Throw that softball at my face, and break 


this stillness of my life with a soft touch.  

Twitter @bibek_writes

Life Out of Rubble


A dusty wind raps the broken windows.


From the ruins of this ancient city

Brothel houses like rubble rise.


Frayed little whores walk

In and out of the decrepit houses,

Muttering hatred under their breath.


Lewd love, polluted joys, happy screams

Fill the dark streets, where life once again,

Erects his head, undisturbed by the damage,

Or the deathly dirge.


Bedazzled through and through

By seeing a woman, barefoot, and

Wearing a slip that does not cover her thighs,

Life makes haste.


She lies face up on the bed,

Wearing only her red-flowered panties,

While he comes up to her,

Whispers warm words into her ear,

And takes her into his frail arms,

Riding like a defeated knight

On the top of her, splashing

In the onion soup of her filly’s thighs.


He goes to the dirty relics of teashops,

And wipes the lambent grogginess

From his face with unsold books of verse.

Placing a cup of sweet tea in his shaky hand,

He seduces his mind to joy,


And his heart to delight.


While death moans and rumbles,

Warning him the best he could,

Yet shuddering with the ache

Of life’s constant growing,

Knowing this cycle

Could go on and on



Twitter @bibek_writes

Earthquake 2015


This house that once sheltered my life crumbles.

Broken down, my soul in tatters, screech—

Like my shattered dreams of the past, billowing

In the dusty, wrinkled brownness of the land.


These walls that once sheltered me in solitude,

Now lie fallen down in heaps.

Inside them I had lived a life

At the grasp of lonely youth,

Away from the jelly-fish-like world,

Finding happiness more profound

Than wandering over the mountains.


Quick like the evening wind, you arrived

With a shrill one-note wail

Of an ancient song of tectonics,

Echoing through the sleepy Saturday afternoon,

And turned my life into rubble—just like that.


Twitter @bibek_writes

A Poet in His Early Twenties

vladimir mayakovsy

Walking aimlessly in rubber sandals,

White baggy faded jeans, shirt tucked inside,

He stops at the curbstone and marvels

At the drifting clouds.


Carrying Kierkegaard’s, Fear and Trembling, 

And Nietzsche’s, The Gay Science, he goes

From café to café, the books clenched,

Bulging like biceps.


Reading a page here and there

Without understanding a word,

He sighs and wonders at the dead

Autumn branch outside the window.

Succumbing himself to long bouts of silence,

He broods, searching for metaphors.


Fame and immortality stand at his doorstep,

A lichen-encrusted bust breathes in his cupboard,

Staring at him with the eyes of an old heron

Through the swirl of dingy, foul air.


Bohemian lifestyle gently taps on his shoulders,

The rented room, like rotten eggs, stinks.

He lets his hair grow, he ignores his razor.


Thin and pimply, sweaty palms, breath sour

From smoking too many Camels,

He haunts the streets searching for his own face.


The fire in his eyes is unsettling.

The storm in his heart is raging.


He imagines himself in a reading,

Long cigarette holder held in styled affectation,

Surrounded by dewy-eyed college girls,

Marveling at their sleek black dresses

And protruding asses.


Smoking and drinking, drinking and smoking,

He zonks-out on the couch.

Kierkegaard falls on his chest,

Nietzsche slips from his palm—


Yet deep inside he’s happy and content

Because he knows that he’s a poet,

And right now he’s too exhausted to give a damn

To what I have to say.


Twitter @bibek_writes