Falling in between two chairs

During summer my mother had brought home a hideous portrait of Prithivi Naryan Shah from alleys of Ason and hung it in our drawing-room. The portrait’s sharp bridged nose elongated further from the corner of its eyes brimmed sternness in abundance. Unmistakably the sternness flowed throughout its wave of jet black mustache descending thinner on the pointy ends, each side, upturned against the gravity, pointing towards the ceiling identical to its index finger. I had arrived late to the festivities after giving in to the constant pleading from both of my cousin brothers who were traveling the very next day away from being our brief guests.

Our small drawing-room had just been filling up, mostly with women in their muslin and ivy moss rustling outfits. One of my cousins had wandered off to oblivion to find drinks. I was left stuck with my other cousin Ashish and my sister’s classmate standing over an empty couch staring at the very same portrait with an air of critical analysis. Ashish, a nice-looking young man, with soft features had walked into the drawing-room with a boorish look in his face contrasting it with attentive striking measured steps, his posture giving away his involvement in the military. Such spontaneity of performative personality must have earned him a company immediately, I thought as I stood next to them with my head bent and my big feet spread apart. The girl’s dropped eyelids and timid smile justified the empty wine glass on her wandering fingers. When she murmured something unintelligible that even I couldn’t make out, Ashish inclined forward, lending his ears to the proximity of her lips, “Sorry! k bhannuvha?”

The girl giggled with mischief as she considered a reply unnecessary, perhaps she scraped off whatever she had said and rather corrected my cousin’s dialect, “It’s, k bhannu BHAKO” and further added, “Y’all western Nepalese bring weird accents.” To my surprise Ashish presented a sly smirk, “We also bring unification”, he lifted his chin to Prithvi’s portrait hanging sternly over our heads. “Unification and massive nose jobs”, the girl further corrected him with eye contact and a futile sip from her empty glass. Ashish gulping down his giggle smiled pleasantly, foreshadowing her blush he brushed the tip of her nose and replied, “The upturned finger is an allegory for freeing people from nose-picking” The girl threw her head back producing a giggle so evident that my neighbors must have heard it too. I was surprised at this sudden alacrity of Ashish that suddenly awakened a quite different version which was timid, languid under the devotion of his companion. As I felt abandoned out of a conversation I excused myself and retired from the sight of Prithivi Narayan Shah.

It was my elder sister’s birthday. We had the house by ourselves for the weekend and my sister decided to throw a small dinner party. The drawing-room was now politely chattering in separate but not segregated groups of ladies elegantly engulfed in ball gowns and little dresses hugging their bodies leaving barely any room for organs. Over the shaded patio, I found a few of my sister’s friends smoking, when they offered me one, I declined as politely as I could. I was still underage and I didn’t want to get myself into trouble.

Our domestic help Parvati didi poked her head out the patio signaled me to get inside the drawing-room, her unmoored barefoot, unkempt hair tied into a bun, and a frown requested “Babu mathi table set garnu paryo, aisyo na”, I followed her hurriedly fleeting slouched silhouette towards the kitchen. Adjoining two tables, a checkered cloth was spread and straightened throughout to create an illusion of a long table. It was a night of starless sky and the moon was stuck opaque with stubborn smolders of thick clouds that led the terrace to be engulfed into vacant nothingness. The balustrade of darkness facing the poplars trees on the front yard sunk into melancholic shadow and the asleep concrete establishments left quite a lot to imagination without requiring one to shut eyes. One could have imagined a lake inhabited by abandoned dingy boats to the shore and our terrace resting, over-looking through a cliffside while the stillness of the lake provided music to the night. However, the only thing that resigned from the gulf darkness was the churchy rise of a lighthouse from a nearby airport. It spun around its perpetual orbit like a ballerina tinted in the boredom of green and yellow rotating lights barely making its way to the spectator’s physical presence, making one realize it’s distance being further away than one expected it to be.

The dinner table was set up in the terrace, the air was damp and clogged, our clothes had gotten soggy and the waft of dry air that blessed us once in a while was of no help either. People slowly ascended towards the terrace, drunk, sober, in-between, barefoot suspending heels by the straps, holding away drunkenly to near ones, or simply the walls or along railings. The whiskey I had gulped downstairs was finally showing its full effect when the warm basmati waft surpassed my face like a linen shawl of steam on a blown-up naval field, an image of long-grained spread out on a fuller bowl ingrained in me while in the dark which led me to believe there weren’t enough candles lit for the food to be seen. “Khai didi khana nai dekhena”, I let Pavitra didi know. Upon the realization, she disappeared along with her unkempt hair perpetually flitting sideways, and her drained dupatta knotted to her abdomen with determination.

When Ashish and the girl gradually climbed stairs with hand in hand and with such affection that one would mistake them for couple, or one wouldn’t even have guessed that they were mere strangers till this morning. I sat almost at the middle of the table while Ashish sat across me and the girl sat right next to me. Perhaps, they pitied me for abandoning me earlier.

I couldn’t look straight into her eyes, I stole glances in the pretense of cutting down my meat when she asked me, “Why don’t you go ahead and make friends with Sheetal over there”

I curtly shook my head, without lifting it, no.

“Why?”

“Its fast feelings”, I mumbled

She tilted her head more forward to hear me out properly.

“Fast feelings”, I repeated

“Fast feelings like?”

I sighed, “Fast feelings like the portrait down the drawing-room. The temperature will mold its colors and it will fade away to indifference”

She gaped her mouth to say something then closed it again. Few moments later she proceeded,

“But it happens to all the portraits, both originals and counterfeits”

I remained silent, barging the cut further to meat without any intention of eating. I realized Ashish was also watching me with such contempt and air of concern. Like yearlong parents taking their kids into therapy, I was suddenly being interrogated. When I made sure I wasn’t speaking further, Ashish got up to get drink. As we watched him disappear down the stairs.

I looked up at the girl for the first time, the flames were dancing around her lifeless forehead, shadows emanating her shapely maiden face, “I don’t want to sound rude, but he will be gone by tomorrow and he won’t return for a couple of years from the base camp”, I sounded like someone who spoke of great revelation.

She shrugged with an eye roll like one does to old news.

I further added, “I’d wish to have friends that never have to leave”

“Well, you can’t look for long volumes on a book of short stories”, she caressed my cheek with deep maternal care and left to look after Ashish.

This put me in silence, and I couldn’t utter another word, not because I was speechless but I couldn’t have comprehended the longing and desire for something that I wasn’t quite sure of. When I returned with a drunken stroll back to the patio, I accepted the first offer to smoke. Dragging smoke out of my lungs, I looked into the drawing-room through glass windows, inaudible shrills of laughter while taking photographs. Female companions, unlike the male, brought glamour and unquestionable combust of fragrant femininity which at times translates to aesthetic beauty rarely unable to set one in an amiable mood.

Oh, what a thing to be a woman I wondered, to twirl around, laughing with head thrown back, covering their smiles cupped with palms, getting animated with every emotion from the moans of displeasure to the delicate touch of affections, providing extremity to every human emotion. While the men stood there tirelessly helpless, admiring the bustling beauty, glitters and confetti of female fragrance enticing something within them, without for it having a vulgar motive but rather simply hypnosis as same as city lights, skyscrapers or nature provides you with. My two cousins suffering from a similar state, fascinated by the mysteries of sight of women with such stylish hair-dos and poised mannerisms. The mesmerized and perhaps shy men didn’t take a step forward to girls. It was much later when one of the girls dragged them by the cufflinks, the men grinned from ear to ear with polite resistance. It seemed their will to be photographed was overpowered by their own hesitance.

Soon the exchange of ardent darting glances of desire, with dropped eyelids had led one of my cousins to lose his shirt and accidentally exchange glasses with some girl, while everyone blushed the night away drinking from each other’s glasses. I remained oblivious to such experiences. As I couldn’t figure out if I was more envious of women’s presence and ability to demand such attention or the men’s ability to desire momentarily, oblivious if the moment is coming or going.

The arching exchange in silence between these two distinct groups felt more like a sport abundant of reactions and anticipation for one’s next move. With every long drawn-out inhale I felt like an exile that belonged neither here nor there.

I could hear a faint silvery ambulance pealing in some distant extent somewhere as if the dampness in the air had carried the limpid sound to this certain party where the night was full of youth. It both reminded me of the limit of the time frame and the freedom of the night. What a night! I sighed as I took another puff I proceeded to sit further down in one of the chairs lined up, and like a sudden shock, I felt my heart in my stomach flailing and falling, my cigarette out of my mouth, elbows hurt. I had fallen in between chairs, slipped into vacant. Neither here nor there.

a poetry collection : growing pains

Nobody’s listening

After school , hanging out with the boys felt like nothing but a drag . As a result , I found a way to sneak out when the lot walked off to get chiya churot . My refuge was a chiya shop . Old , dusty , stuck in a corner , a quaint little place where you could skip the storefront and get right to the first floor through a narrow rounded metal staircase . The room, though not big , could sit a decent crowd . It mostly was just me , sitting on a wooden bench of an old table among other benches and tables . The original paint of the wood bench faded out . Little blotches of white paint that could have been from the time of painting the walls all across its length . Like early stars from a striking dusk . It must have been a while ago that these paint drops fell on the bench . Nameless elbows , nails , cups , buttons , tea spills and what not had shaped the uneven stars . Some cut in half , some shred to pieces , some erased altogether and some quite intact but barely .

Whatever had happened , the wood showed all it’s wear . Nothing was new about it expect the occasional first time visitor it sat . I looked slanted at it , like you would an old man sleeping on steps of a closed store . With tears welling in my eyes , I left for home .

.

.

Sleep paralysis

I see my father’s furrowed brows

wrinkled neatly from weight of work.

Ruins of fatigue crush my chest,

A knee chokes down my neck to rest.

Even the slam on the door wont awake,

Struggling shiver that my body makes-

Generations of men whisper me of grit,

Magnified pallid fingers and decay of teeth.

I try to pull away my curls from the hold,

The recipe for grown man is told.

.

.

dish scrubber (Complaint letter)

To,

The Manager,

Neverland, Neverland

15th April, 2021

Subject : thick green scrubber pads

Respected manager,

My hands were dipped in sink, I somehow did the impossible. I lost my dish scrubber.

 I tried looking under the soap, over the nasty soaked dishes, even checked down the drain pipes. Who would have possibly misplaced it, I wondered. I stood over the kitchen counter, palms on my hip, scratching my head. It wasn’t a key or pen to be misplaced, it was a fucking useless scrub.

With my final attempts of investigating the case, I finally decided to run downstairs. I pulled out my last-left twenty rupees, crashed my toes into flip flops, heavy steps echoing through out the stairs, to buy some scrubber. The one I had lost was a slim, slender green pad. It had the freshness of a dewy grass, and was textured to roughness, but once soaked into water it transformed itself to a gentle ardent languidness. The soaked scrubber glided and scratched through the stubborn curry on the walls and bottom of the pan. A bumpy swipe of palms over smooth china.

When I returned from shop my enthusiasm was somewhat dwindled down to spiral, and with me I had brought a green pad, but a pretty thick one instead. I had no other option. I soaked the scrubber into the water for awhile, but it stayed pretty adamant to being rigid, all though wet. This left me frustrated a little, to give it a try I smeared some gray dish soap but instead a thick spread over it’s green texture the scrubber picked up barely any soap. Now, this disappointed me to the heavens, and I procured a sound, “tsk”

However, the largest turn off was when I picked it up to scrub a spread metallic back of a pan. The first swipe across the metal produced screech so unpleasant, a shrill that made my teeth uncomfortable, like  metal had been crafted in between the tiny alleyways of gums, even slightly touching it. The shrill travelled echoing though the bouncy walls inside of my pink cheeks, setting my teeth on edge.

After that I stared at my dishes and slumped on a plastic chair, while writing this.

 I cant do this anymore.

Yours truly,

lalahang

.

.

I fucking envy my cats

On a windy evening, after work I hasten myself into my wooden door, though not quick enough as I had brought a swirl of gritty dust  along with me, my scarf finds rest hooked on the metal stand near window pane. The world outside looked cold, little eddies of wind was blowing mercilessly in spirals with the occasional thunders that shook the house. My barefoot felt the presence of leaping warmth when I entered my room with a click of knob, silently. Billu had been curled up right in front of a beaming heater, with her nose between her paws. When I gave her supper for the night she punctured the red juicy meat with her canine, licked on the fat, savoring the taste. After slurping simmered white milk as a palate cleanser, she yawned and licked to extreme, then curled up into regular breathing. As I watched her thick fur rise and fall. I found myself slumped on my work desk –

Flailing, failing, falling

hands in the air,

wide eyes as big as the mouth,

32 teeth and a cavity,

a sucky sucky sucker

Cant get things done

Mr. Olympian fucker,

If I could ring a maid, I would;

A dire need for succor,

Grades, revisions, filing taxes,

Midst of a scupper

 Re-new, re-invest, re-insure,

  a time chart for lover,

for every fucking transaction,

Two boxes shutter

One column each

of deficit stutter

with surplus supper

now, that my friend is where-

I mostly suffer.

.

.

Growing pains

A tired return from humble river banks,

Icky sand between foot’s reach

from climbing the sand fort,

a treasure for itch.

.

White, blanket and a smile

bleak sweetness of a mango tart

 I dare not move from warm silhouette

It’s cold half inch apart

.

Then a striking pain outlines from a growing bone,

dear mother’s muslin rustle as I scream

No ointment rubs off the pain inside

Nor the warmth of heavy dreams

.

 the cold is now braced by darkness,

Along roaches and few mice

my puke swaddles from throat,

Flecks of peas on  rice

.

.

diary entry of a grocery clerk

Dear diary,

Few moments ago I was stooping on a cold, gritty concrete steps of the  shop i work in.  An ethereal coolness, usually a shadowed concrete leaves to one’s barefoot in contrast to a terrace on a bright sunny day, still circles around through my paper thin trousers as I am still stooping but in a completely different vehicle; an old mooda. It is built out of twisted binds of a rounded, netted seat and has a face of an old discolored tree trunk.  Then there is an old creaky, stubborn, worn out counter rack whose doors and drawers are as weak as decayed tooth, standing at the opening of steps it carries miscellaneous sweets, with no clear identity, jumbled then mixed, a sure melting pot thing! Brimmed to jars which are beaten up by time with dents and ditches over its plastic body, to further explain there is also a stacked mountain of buns and bakeries suffocated, drenched in sweat, wrapped inside a lucid soft plastic wrap. The plastic wrap occasionally shines cheaply in response to the bright tube light glowing right above my head.

As I sit down to write this entry, I am time and again interrupted by some customer who wants to know if I sell cooking gas, or some kid who wants a candy, so and so. In a moment of waking, my departure from my initial stoop bothers me. I sigh pretty much like the swallow and their small home adjacent to the tube light, their four kids arranged like a well rounded bouquet of flowers, shut eyes and a continuous chirping opening up to the insides of it’s elastic pink soft turrets. However, I momentarily forget the misery and start off, “K chaiyo hola hajur lai”, not because I am thrilled with the arrival of customer, it’s just that I get occupied much like the baby swallow’s mouth full of worms.

If I was an outsider spectator, sitting in a balcony across street, I would be watching down through the balcony railing providing a perspective of a muddy gravelled road run over by noisy yellow dozer, gradual steps leading into a dingy rusted shutter raised enough to see the arms of the grocery clerk when he is near to counter. People like an audience to circus circles around the poor clerk, as they ask for things, ask for prices, some pointing fingers, some thrusting cash, oblivious to the hurried clerk inside the counter, who fumbles in urgency to give the goods and return the changes, sometimes stuffed in polythene, sometimes not, and when one forgets his changes he pokes his head out of his counter to shout after them, “SUNNUNA HAJUR KO PAISA CHUTYO!!” very much like the parent swallow who in as much urgency nibbles over the nest, feeding the children from turret to turret, and with a baneful distaste fly away only to return back with the worm of benignity as if it has forgotten it has to leave with in a matter of seconds.

As I happen to write this down I have stood up so many fucking times, so pardon me for the sparse patches of inconsistency through out this entry. It’s 7:49 pm, I cannot wait to go home and leave this place at 9 pm with a thunderous sound of a closing shutter and clank of gaunt locks and keys. I shall return early in the morning with benignity full of mourning from a leisure childhood failing to ignite like a decanted cindery.

Yours truly,

a

.

.

Mr. Spaceship wait for me

Never thought I’ll reach 20

 and its about time,

 Time to take all my posters down

.

 Mr. Spaceship wait for me

.

Before dawn I shall leave,

step out, closing behind a door

A tear will whisker away to north

.

 Mr. Spaceship wait for me

.

The sky will bleed  of shimmering gossamer,  

Suspending above the town

A luminous torch rummaging around

.

Mr. Spaceship wait for me

.

Blinding tire screeches on bright asphalt

Smoke of melted plastic and rubber

“Humans!”, I scoff.

.

Mr. Spaceship wait for me

.

Then I’ll wave my hands to the light,

Mr. SPACESHIP! WAIT FOR ME

Then I’ll wave my white handkerchief,

Mr. SPACESHIP! WAIT FOR ME

.

Mr. Spaceship wait for me

For I am going home

Bleh bleh bleh

As I sit down to write this on a blank paper my inability to come up with a name and a designated address attached to it becomes more and more evident. I usually prefer to have one, either for my shampoo thoughts or for my radical plans to change the world imagined while my hands are dipped into foamy sink of last dinner’s dishes. For the shake of rebuttal I shrug myself, perhaps these could be letters. Then I think, Letters to no one sounds about right. One might argue though, what’s the use of it, if it’s meant for no one. I personally do not argue with the notion of questioning one’s existence without any listener.

However, the idea of writing for no one is a subject of intrigue to a person like me who carries a good amount of skepticism towards it’s absurdity.

I have never written anything with indifference to a certain imagined audience, which ranges from private friends to the stranger on a bus.

Even the files in the pickled space of my old worn out computer, which when I die of uncertain causes someday, is for the police who might find it.

In such instances I think of Annie frank, my fifth grade self’s first impression of her book was, my god she has awful dark circles but as time progressed and I started getting deeper into her mundane life of not being able to flush her poo in a silent hideout away from the sun. When she was writing her entries or jotting down thoughts, I wonder if she had an audience in her mind.

a poetry collection : saturdays on reddit

Saturdays on r/nepal 

 

Circle of Gerrit Dou
 (Dutch, 1613–1675)
Woman watering plants in a window niche

My boot drags loudly over tired asphalt inclining downwards, barging into a silence siesta nuzzling then stretching itself on sun dried expanse of a deep blue sky. My cap constantly commits impotency along serendipitous ruffle of a thin layer over unshaven legs inexhaustibly swaying in the dance led by a puffed chest breeze of Saturday. A late breakfast and an early lunch – Saturday’s blessing softens my ability to stay awake under dragonflies and squinty eyes. A delicate enactment waning behind wind-fluttered houses grows evident as I lance closer to a house at the end of the street. The house, having nothing to do with a twisted sprout of a gaunt trunk hopeful for young muna leaves on its premise, sits in silence towering over a hunched back and trembling palms quenching plentiful through a coiled plastic pipe tunneling water. With a soft smile the water pours, like a sudden cupped palm borrowing splash from mountain rivers, over a sun reddened, sweat chapped skin, neither poured over soil nor over the roots beneath it but over rough trunks as tired as palms itself, all wrinkled by the patient time unaware of its passing.   

An act of kindness the asphalt below me craves for. 

.

Sriman hang  

summer breeze, 

skirt hung over a lawn  

first dance of green sprouts 

giggles of smoky lamb 

frisbee’s jump. 

little feet’s catch, 

crawls and cruises 

brewing babbles under nostrils of 

inexhaustible daydream 

from wooden floors, 

kneeling a sweet sore; 

drawers full of sun-dried clothes, 

folded to expand- 

a vast horizon 

where sky meets the land. 

.

a bath  (in my feelings more than drake, so yeah)

conditioner’s back label; 

an adept teacher instructs to- 

Rub, rest, rinse,  

baptize the head under a hurried tap 

memories sprouting fiber roots, 

limbs running through curly waft. 

Big lump on the throat, 

 a name erases with each wipe, 

each splash, glittering orbs, 

a single teardrop hit the floor. 

.

Then it shall- 

travel through the bathroom’s navel,  

drains, pipes, and rivers  

Right into a vast expansion of ocean. 

And I shall- 

after passing of time, run into my tears 

 in a packet of salt tore open to season.  

.

Clickbait  

A man reading the newspaper on the train

On an evening sinking down the hill – 

Drunkenly sprawling a dust bowl  

A car slows over a speed bump, 

head lights illuminate a general store,  

.

Then a bar,  

then few houses,  

and  

a gawking ghost 

.

Brief glimpse- 

A yanked tie, floaty eye’s drib  

A feeble palm’s firm grip 

.

The newspaper title reads – 

“ कृष्ण प्रसाद भट्टराई मालेमा !”

.

.

While sunbathing in inland revenue department 

Wingbeats bursts into its element  

when honks and engine visits, 

Across streets in-between times. 

rest of time, it’s just gossip  

Hum and hoot nibbling in unit. 

.

Mr. Bag man, a lanky shoulder,  

pot belly pounces legs, 

Travels with handful determination, 

Nostrils full of incense. 

 But there’s a little room, 

for seeds in palm cupped in frown, 

Maybe littler,  

for his weary wife in her wombed gown 

.

But that’s not the plot,  

The poem should have been rather about- 

.

A feathery waft from a dam burst 

Casting net of sooty wings 

drawn out by a frivolous honk, 

Beaks of half nibbled seeds 

.

.

Bloody valentine 

stephen mackey

Ashim paces slothily back and forth in between his half open kitchen door and its balcony with drag of fuzzy slippers over candle- lit marble floor. The naked electric pole over the end of street had been needing attention for its sparks of thin ignite flickered thorough out the evening identical to mosquito-buzz fated to martyrdom as the flailing palms splashes into the jiggle of arms somewhere, ringing an echo-spiral into result of entire tole being engulfed into darkness of an unfortunate night with dim stars. 

 A throb of tiredness in the calves travel thumping through and through over femur then ripples its own self into a sigh thrown out by Ashim with his half-yanked collar of a shiny fabric that momentarily cuffs out of engulfing darkness waning itself whenever Ashim turns back to shelf for his forgotten besar or forgotten rules of the trained palms, which shouldn’t be a spoon away from salting the curry. Slapping his palms onto the forehead that pre-echoed the frowns of the entire day squinting to the airy riverside crematorium as flaming body’s fumes seeped aimless waters mistaken for tears. In a deafening spiral thrown from candles and speakers of Bipul Chettri’s song, a disruption due to the ear’s successive catch of a sound muffled out of emergence in between the sarangis makes the temples jump like alerted young men. Muffing the song down Ashim puts halt to the rustle for a careful listen, nothing is heard but silence and just when he begins to disprove the analysis with mistake, a sharp groan and then a clear moan thrills itself through the drums of ear as terror blooms in the retina, horror of sensation seeping in like water, flash of memories runs flickers of an old woman in her balcony across Ashim’s kitchen, ridden to a sun-flashed bed, uncombed hair, paper dry dimly lit lips. The images of very same woman are then instilled, snarling for help towards the door knob, a black tooth, flashing stormy marble eyes, blood dripping out her mouth, ball of black slime that smelt of filth and the fumes of her burning bodyfat, dripping into the woods stacked over in the riverside crematorium during day. Ashim completely pauses the phone as he listens to an un-sequenced muffle getting more and more evident as it unveils itself in between the time frames of passing seconds, with small sprouts of hairs saluting throughout the neck, Ashim’s face twitches with terror, the words of his cousin instilled in him about dead floating around after it’s death and touching souls to ripple shivers in the livings. Another sharp shrill and Ashim jumps to lock his kitchen door and slams the window SHUT!! Cold marble’s chilling touch and Ashim’s shuttered eyes surrendering to the fear, babbling back and forth, a hanuman chalisa.  

Little did Ashim know about his loud newlywed tenants celebrating Valentines on the day of his neighbor’s funeral.  

Poetry collection : Love stains like water

The man met

This is about a man met. I was selling stories by the hour. Day in and no day out. By nature, I fall asleep quick. By no obligation, I stay awake the never dark times of night. And that’s when I work. Like a cobbler fixing an old shoe. Stitches in and out all over the edges where the sole meets the body of the old soft shoe. Beaten by time alone. The swing before sleep brought fine peace and on good days laughter seeped from my fingers. It wasn’t all futile like some would like to believe. It was easy work and the pay was honorable. I wonder when I’ll no longer have the will or the care to do the stitching.

Especially, the parts that require restitching cause of some lousy tear nearby on the join. This isn’t about me or the shoe but the man whom I met.

– Zeeshan

A sad case before the bench – Thomas Protheroe 

.

.

I am sick. Aren’t I?

If I  shall  measure the difference between a lover and a sufferer,

Will I measure it in meters or miles?

For that I shall run forth and forth,

From kiss on the cheek to slam on the door.

I shall cross fishless rivers,

of spiral screams and escaped moans.

I shall run bare foot to bald mountains,

A birdless denuded whore.

Then I shall catch my breath with admirable swell of chest,

Love stains like water like sweat,

So this shall pass by too,

I am sick for suffering but more sick for loving you.

.

.

sad

exhausts lung with pretty mouth;

offers me candy and whisky,

my sweet-eyed school girl.

.

candy and whisky don’t make me happy,

for they fatten and redden me.

i attempt a sly decline-

.

then a tight dress bares fine-boned thin shoulders,

wet lips part to ask,

what makes you happy?

corners of my droopy mouth murmurs,

things that make me sad.

.

.

Nightfall

3 a.m. starts to get troublesome,

when a sudden hunger commingles.

.

Jerking me out of sleep,

just enough to keep my eyes shut.

.

The hunger is a kind one,

but it replaces my tongue with a rubber,

Feeble licks on a dry salty lips,

taste of your mouth it offers;

.

like shadows flitting behind closed doors,

Never-stopping visions of fingers stuffed,

Gapes and yelps, a mouth opens;

to yawn.

.

In company of beaming kettle

about to throw a whistle long.

My night robe is a testament,

love stains like water like cum.

.

.

The man met (reprise)

Moon’s soft linen shawl veils the night.

Wind whines away a brown parchment,

Under a gaunt flickering lamp post .

There rests a cobbler and his tools.

.

From a slate-gray yard of rotten shingles,

through an oak tree and baseball cracked pane,

the man met peeps across the street.

.

The cobbler hammers then awls the shoe,

Stitches In and out with tendrils of spider webs.

Then he dips his palms into his heart,

Glistening and dripping, he smears the shoe dark.

.

Moonlight slime-shines shoes black,

The man met knows of things,

Pretty girls can’t.

.

.

Love stains like water

If love stains like water,

I have a huge patch of regret!

For I always forget my umbrella,

 I am drenched, soaking wet.

.

When the sun cometh,

I shall haste under it’s arm

Cheeks resting on sun dried clothes,

I shall be dry and warm

.

AAAA – CHOO !!

.

.

I’ll make you leave me

I went to the butcher’s this evening,

He tore apart chicken in a slice,

and spun small talks out of a recipe.

He had suggested me one-

two days earlier,

The chicken to boil,

before to roast.

I had lied through my teeth,

I WILL DEFINITELY TRY.

Did you like my recipe?

raised eyebrows.

I unveiled out-

Things I didn’t do.

Smile fell,  a frown danced.

His butcher’s knife hit the slab

THUD – THUD

silence seeped through.

.

.

From Times of Sweet Peril 

Cross country 
Journey to the end of boundaries 
My little man 
the thrills , O the thrilles 
Wings , wide , wild 
The sky is balanced on poles 
two ends , sun and rain 
My drenching , getting wet 
Across plains of infinite rainbow . 
 .
Infinite thrills that please 
Amuse , Enter , Tainted 
Unripe joys of flight 
What petty cruelty beats a pulse ? 
Of escape and luxury 
Queens , Tuchas on cushions 
Gilded floors of horse shit 
Know nothing , nothing of flowers 
Fruits and lakes and green grass slopes 
My little precious big man 
Strong chest against the turmoil 
Strong legs against the flow 
the view on the way to the edge 
always , to no signs of end . 

.

Pressed by time and fate 
Lucky bastards with sight 
And I know of all things I know 
The limited little man 
Twisted predicament of falling 
No control that flying gifts 
The glitch in realness of full things 
I know , my limited man 
What can fill the endless ,insatiable ? 
Slow drop to no ground . 
I know of things turning sour 
No longer edible the sweetness inherent 
Limited , the strings of hearty justice 
 .
What shall then be of it ? 
No end as such , no stop midway 
What then , which way ? 
O the thrills ,my eyes are open 
The high wind of arrival 
The eternal waiting at the edge 
My spell-sell-shell bound , bloom in gloom man , 
My half ass laugh ass man 
Here , I know of things I don’t 
The infinite man offering his hand . 

.

The cover art is by Gyula Szabo

art by : Jan Steen, Joseph Feely, Vincent Van Gogh, Gyula Szabo, Jean-Honore Fragonard


The day it snowed in Kathmandu

I was in second grade; a gawky little kid. My frail pants belted in such a way that it could be seen it was put away hastily by a hurried mother with tangle of hair knotted up and twisted into a crown, whose uncombed strands fell off temples as uncountable as abstract creases on shirt while tucked in pants almost creating pleats that rose from dorsum, when tied up with a strong grip of a clinking metal buckle. Such hastiness came with care and nurture, and even though the words hadn’t come to me yet, it was quite different from the knotted, careless, frivolous tightening of the belts done by cold fingers of invalid, faceless kaam garne aunties from school, who took temporary forms of permanent petty services.

 I had seen Kamala outside of school too, but her huge hips had taken chunky shapes of different colorful tones rather than the bland checkered maid-uniform. She was introduced to me as my mother’s friend and wife of someone which felt altogether as a different person, perhaps meeting two different incarnation vesselled by same physical entity left me terribly confused and equally baffled. When a classmate of mine, Abhishek, had addressed one of the maids as mamu hajur, it further  awakened my consciousness and left me in a difficult spot of whether I shall call Kamala as Kamala aunty rather than just “kaam garne aunty”.

As a result, at final hours of school when school maids did rounds up to fix our clothes, I started hiding under desks to avoid conversations  with Kamala, I liked her very much, her dyed hair and redden lips echoed my mother’s face in certain occasions, she wasn’t mean or evil of any sorts but the sudden clipping of belts either under the hip or above the waist but never on the sweet spot of right in-between, where my mother did, extremely disappointed me. Even  on exceptional days if she had managed to do so, it lacked the longevity of thought that one puts in, a reassuring effect that makes sure the pant doesn’t slack off from all the running around I did. However, on a particular day, a brilliant idea presented itself to me that I shall avoid any extreme physical activity to keep my shirt tucked, and crisp till the end of the day, for Kamala wouldn’t have to relocate the positioning of my belts then.  

I strolled gaily towards school; marching my boyhood, chin up and humming, I refrained myself from kicking back balls rolled over my feet, dodged the power rangers role play before class, steered myself away when a boy charged forth my direction, and walked downstairs like the girl from Princess diaries without skipping the steps. My classroom despite being decorated with all the colorful origamis, the folded birds and it’s beaks had a  sense of estrangement to it. The arrangement of neighboring buildings happened to be taller than ours which deprived us of sun rays, and the weather never stayed in the favor either. The chilly winds left us with shivering ears and trembling jaws, so the windows were seldom left open, leaving behind inexhaustible smell of ferns and mosses. Either Kamala or grade teacher would turn the heat up before classes, it left an aglow dimly bright, from an outside spectacle the windows sparkled of warm flames with tinted mimicry of fireplace. After lunch, the windows only looked cozier;  it’s estrange beauty being directly proportionate to the grayness of sky on the particular day.  A full lunch had made me sit unusually upright and aware of my swelling abdomen each time I inhaled, expecting the belt to burst open for itself with a higher inhale, just like I had seen in the minute maid’s commercials. But I remained careful not to raise hands too quickly, or high five anyone, for my tucked shirt could slip out of the belts.

 As soon as the teacher’s head was turned, a murmur would erupt itself from a rather brash girl Sanju, who was notorious for spreading lice amongst the peers, her runny nose inhaled back elongated mucus like a serpent sneaking from Queen’s nostrils in Sishsir and Basanta’s story. She had a bare tone voice, a frizzy onion shaped bun, perky eyebrows, and an evil smirk with lines on forehead always suggesting mischief;  it never failed to remind me of Little My (Sanomaia) from the show Moomin. She had passed the notes around that it was snowing outside. The murmur was now accompanied by the thumps of staffs on a marble floor, Kamala poked her head inside the classroom and my teacher followed along. The kids were assigned a classwork and a class captain, with his ruler scale splatting the table once in a while followed up by shhh’s, and noting names of naughty students feverishly on the back of his note copy. Sanju being on the top of the list ran over the windows with a chair and stood on her toes to stick her hands out of the ventilator into the luscious fog . The classroom only had a couple of french windows, everyone had clustered around it, pushing and pulling over the window view. I looked down over my perfectly tucked, belted pants and shook my head, channeling an authoritative figure  refusing myself to go with the crowd. Abhishek pulled my palms screaming, “aija hid naaa, hiu paryo”, with all my might I tried not move but stood up slowly like an old man, arguing with myself over the permutation of watching the snowfall without complete disregard to my uniform. Few boys had started to bring chairs to stand over the crowds.

“WOW! The ground is filled with snow”, One would exclaim.

Another would scream, “THE SKY IS FALLING WITH SNOW, LOOK! LOOK!”

As I proceeded for a chair too, Sanju bluffed out loud about feeling snow in her upturned palms, I stood over the chair as she popped something inside her mouth through enclosed palms, exclaiming it was snow. I squinted my eyes to look outside the window but all I could see was a foggy day and no snow. Perhaps, I might have been late, I thought. All the other kids below me were rejoicing, hurraying along Sanju.

 Over what?

Snow? Eating snow? I thought.

The joy of others suddenly felt like mockery endorsed for me, and with a frown in my head, I stood there like a traveller who had missed his train just by split seconds.

Later that evening my sister Sus and I ran back to our elder sister who at the time had graduated school and stayed home. As soon as we got home Sus twirled round, almost expanding her blue frock into balloon as she sat down in an animated way retelling the story I had already heard in between the giggles with her friends, from school to home. Sus and the entire grade were allowed out in the grounds for being higher grade. Our elder sister giggled along tucking her hair behind, she as well had an interesting account to share, she was preparing tea for our father and from our closed windows of  kitchen she had seen shreds of cotton  falling off from sky, so she wrapped herself in her white shawl and spun around the garden like Kajol and Aamir did in Fanaa. The glimpse of ribbons, black hair and merry faces suddenly felt incriminating as much as the cold belts poking my skin. I slumped down into sofa trying to unbuckle my belt. It had missed a belt loop and the cold metal was touching my navel through an undone shirt’s button as Kamala had decided to fix or rather unfix my clothes regardless.

I decided to get out of the room unsure of where to go. The feeling of recurring mockery from the joy of others suffused my body with shame, blanching my ability to think. I suddenly stopped in the corridor when the muscles of my stomach tightened, my vision blurred out of waters, a deep quivering breath followed by such loud whimpering noises and wet cheeks. I fell onto the breasts of my mother, sobbing. I couldn’t lift my face, but only press it into soft woolen sweater.