This Hour and What Is Alive

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Walking from one room to another—

Almost crying in each one,

 

Opening and closing the doors,

Leaving memories adrift in the stale air,

 

Days pass and I wait,

Drinking the last dregs of watery coffee,

 

Inside the shabby, threadbare hovel

With cracked floors, the lumpy undulations,

 

With holes as big as my fist puncturing every wall,

Exposing my life to the brawl and bitterness outside,

 

Below the reed matting of the roof,

Sagging—almost touching my head,

 

In front of the single-burner gas stove,

Broken cups, ceramic plates, a knife, a fork, a spoon,

 

In front of water stored in a plastic bucket—

A thin film of moss floating above,

 

In front of a table, a chair, and a wooden stool

With cracks visible from every angle—

 

The blotches of coffee stains gawking,

The repairs made with wire and string, mocking—

 

In front of the oil painting of a girl,

Gifted by my long-lost lover,

 

Her arms are folded, a long-lashed

Lingering grief hangs from her face.

 

With an ironic half-smile turning up

The corners of my mouth,

 

I want to lean in and

Kiss her cold lips.

 

 

Twitter @bibek_writes

Two Poems on Love

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1.
It all starts with a quick, impulsive kiss
The soft press of her lips, swollen with sweetness.

Dissolving flesh to flesh, floating free,
Adrift in inexpressible kindness,
In undisguised vulnerability, in gentle loveliness,
He then plunges into a lapse of ecstasy.

Like a swan on a ripple-less lake—
His hardness strikes her softness,
His dryness kisses her wetness.

Lying down, he puts his arm around her waist,
His face next to the swell of her breast.
Rolling on the top, his weight on his palms,
He moves into the perfect paradoxical palace
Of hot resistance, of damp surrender—
A sanctuary of passion and peace.

Everything falls away—
Thoughts, ideas, anxiety,
Ego, ambition, poetry.

A subterranean spasm courses his body,
Leaving him drained of everything
But peace.

2.
Tired and sore, she wants the ache.
Atop him, opening like a soft, wild mushroom,
Silently poking her face up
Through the dead leaves on the ground,
Opening under the sheltering wings of the night,
She wants to split into two.

But she doesn’t want to see his face—
Red and furious, he’s always blowing up too quick,
Crying a hoarse, unearthly cry, twisting his face
In a paroxysm of saintly mortification.

She wants to clutch his face, choke it
With a rampant motion of her hands,
Siphoning all the ecstasy from his body
Into her secret flowering.

On days like these, when she collapses,
The Zen-like whooshing of her breathing
Is like wailing in the eerie quiet
Of this pit of gray light.

Her chest heaves, her body quivers,
Leaving her drained of everything
But peace.

Twitter @bibek_writes

The Last Goodbye

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Under the street lamp

Her large, soft-brown eyes

Sparkle like jewels of desire,

Her face shines in the warm, yellow light.

Her lips widen in a half-smile—

My heart, a beggar, begins

To plead and hope.

 

She waves goodbye and turns away.

I watch her walk. Her dark silhouette melts,

Becoming a part of the night itself.

 

Every night when the night rubs itself

Against the windowpanes,

I lie on bed—wrecked at my heart—

Among the heaps of broken dreams.

Music plays on a radio somewhere—

It is an unbearably sweet soprano

With happy, boasting tenor of a duet.

Closing my eyes, I paint her from darkness

With light and colors of memory.

 

Every time she walks away,

In my dreams,

I can never obey the impulse

To hold her in my arms

And kiss her lips.

All that remains in front of me is

Her fading silhouette waving goodbye.

 

Twitter @bibek_writes

Karma

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Tonight I hear the wind   
That is your voice.

In the Valley of Gods
The gods themselves are nervous.
They fear the red glass of wine.

The night is paused on
The television screens.

The silence of you eating alone
In an old photograph is deafening.  

Someone screeches—
A panic attack of harmonics.
Is it your own heartbeat?

There is pain in you that seeks its way out
Through the crevice of your heart.

You know this is going to be over.
But it takes time.

The overhead yellow light is on.
You are by yourself at the dinner table.  

Pick up the pen.
Bleed poetry.

Twitter @bibek_writes

The Gift

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“We should not have been bestowed

with the gift of thinking,” my friend once said.

 

I am in a state of uncertainty.

 

Last spring you said I had a gift.

Had you forgotten the fact

that I could not lay bricks like you?

Nor can I say, “hello” to every passing stranger.

 

See, right now, I am trying to take my head

in my hands, swivel it, and write a line or two

that may bring the best of you.

 

Is this my gift?

 

I eat without speaking, hunched over my plate

in a crowded restaurant.

I prefer solitude and cannot talk about weather

to the man who’s sitting next to me.

 

Unlike you I cannot smoke.

Not the clove cigarettes of all the things.

 

I think what I am doing is merely my job.

It is enough to crack my heart open.

 

On a soft October night we stayed up late,

drinking rum outside your house.

Do you remember that you said

you were happy for me, that I was a poet,

and it was a good thing? Were you drunk,

or had you been dreaming?

 

Now, as I am trying to bring you

the memories of the paper,

I marvel at what you had said,

And say to myself, “Is this my gift?”

 

Twitter @bibek_writes

The Young Men Left Us

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The young men left us.

 

They took everything with them—

Money, warm April breezes, youth,

The scent of parijats, and above all, love.

 

The young men left us, 

And went to work as migrant laborers

In distant sultry lands,

Far away from the touch of Heaven and Hell.

 

All that remains, here in the hills,

Are the dusty poplars, the winding lanes,

The cottages with broken eaves,

The decaying walls, roofs of rusting tin,

And reticent villagers crippled

By the constant hammering of heavy memories.

 

“Where’s your son?”

 

Don’t you ask that question!

 

The answer is obvious.

 

It is a feeble pointing

With a languid index finger

Toward the dusty gravel lane,

And a cold look with yellow eyes. 

 

Twitter @bibek_writes

Voyaging Along

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Mist, a blanket of death, is rising.

 

With sunken eyes I look around,

seeing nothing but damp darkness.

 

The night’s dank dew clings

to blades of grass.

 

The cold wind chills the marrow—

an invisible stiffness grabs from behind.

 

A crescent moon rises up

from distant hills

 

like the face of a corpse,

surrounded by dim, starry candles.

 

Beside the gnarled tree of ancient wisdom,

under leaves dripping with oily water,

 

under the wake of an earthquake,

I stand quiet and mute.

 

Longing for dawn, I move

in a new way to a new space.

 

Leaving dead petals back

with heavy memories of the Past,

 

I move on, searching for a place,

where suffering meets its end.

 

Stepping over black twigs and a dead fly,

with all my soul, with all my bleak thoughts

 

of death and decay,

I move on, searching for a place,

 

where misery meets its end—

and shrinks like raisin in the sun.

 

 

Twitter @bibek_writes