Not Floating but Exploding

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A sheaf of paper drops like a Raku bowl
From the edge of the table.

The light plays the trick, reflecting,
Momentarily blinding
With million images and mirages.

The paper drops and explodes,
The fragments go on and on—
Like rumination.

I was a child once, then young,
Now an exploding piece of paper,
Waving through the furious air.

Rumination won’t stop.
No, not even with the corked bottles,
Or the bright multicolored pills.

I used to hide under the covers,
Or in the closet with my own clothes.
It was of no use.

This pain, this rumination would
Wake me up from my dreams,
Leaving me lethargic for rest of the day.

The juniper outside, the dull furniture inside,
They are of no use—
They do not listen to me rant.

The paper flies away,
Away from a lifeless body of mine,
Across the ethereal void of time.

I am just an object in this space
Without any aura,
Or any meaning attached.

Twitter @bibek_writes

Melancholy Eggs for Breakfast

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The time for melancholy
Has just started.

I think over breakfast, slicing
The poached egg into two.
Melancholy is all yolky—
Easy to digest and remember.
I wonder how it is often
Confused with creativity.

I dab the brown bread
With a lump of peanut butter—
Smooth as sadness—
And take a greedy bite.

“Is it the only way for artists?”
My friend had once asked.

I rant of things in retrospect,
Scribble lethargic lines of divine despair,
Unable to keep my mouth shut,
Or my pen down.

I once wrote a hate-poem
About a friend,
Now she’s no longer my friend.

I’ll never forget what her eyes looked
As she read the poem—
Marble-heavy, burning with loathing.

Sometimes silence is golden.
And gold is the solid quantity
To measure anyone’s success.

I finish my coffee.
I eat the last bite of the poached egg.
It’s poetic whether I want it
to be or not to be.

Twitter @bibek_writes

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

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

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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

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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

 

Life Out of Rubble

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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

Forever.

 

Twitter @bibek_writes