Outside the Café


Seven in the morning, in the quadrangle,

I see her—sun-brown, dumpling thick,

Swaying to the zumba music

In her loose, flowing pants and baggy tee,

Lost yet not so lost among twenty other women.


Reckless, never trained, a wound clock,

She moves slowly, seamlessly—

Dancing on and off the beat, shifting

Her weight from one foot to another, waving

Her arms, twisting her body, moving

Into an unknowable and unsayable form.


Oblivious to my staring,

She keeps on dancing.


Like grapes in wild yeast,

Her soft movements soak my heart.

I find myself in her arms, in her body;

I find myself oozing from the aching agony

Of my vile past.


The espresso I cannot drink,

The half-eaten croissant, the raspberry jam,

These things I cannot enjoy now,

I cannot smile the smile I was meant to smile,

I cannot live the life I was meant to live—

How can I be quiet when I see a renewed life

Flash before my eyes?


There’s no time for such contemplation.

I shut off the kindle, knowing words will fail

To charm me, like the strained flirtations,

A couple of apathetic romances,

The mistakes, the heartaches.


Wishing for lonely moors to wander

Away from the lit-up screens of horror,  

Her soft, firm, swaying body invites me

To an endless possibilities

And many more chances

To relive the life,

To do things right this time.


Ah, I am but a beautiful loser,

I couldn’t give myself the bountiful, the beautiful.

I take pleasure in watching the swinging of arms,

The thrumming of legs, the elegance of a dancing body.

Bibek Adhikari

Poetry by Bibek
Read 215 times
Written on 2018-06-28 at 13:56

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Thank you, Praveen, for your overtly critical comment. You are a careful and close reader; you find the flaws easily—we all need readers like you.

Yes, everything’s slow, but isn’t that the whole purpose of poetry, to slow things down? Each movement, each moment is indeed slowed down because I wanted to capture the moments, each to each.

And about repeating the word “beautiful” twice, there’s a reason why. The meaning of the two words are not same. The meaning has been defamiliarized, so to speak. A bit of Russian Formalism is applied here.

I like your cavil on changing “elegance of her dancing body” to “elegance of a dancing body.”

Thank you once again for critically reading the poem.


First off, let me start by saying this poem is slow, even when showing so many movements. Well crafted but lacking passion. Before you arrive to the final verse, at least show that you were smacked right down just before with it and didn't all along know about it, or if you did, maybe you forgot for just a moment.

"beautiful loser", really, you're going with that? Also, the use of "beautiful" twice in consecutive lines is a big no. Also while we're at the matter of reputations here, the second "I find myself" is completely unnecessary. Personally I would prefer "elegance of a dancing body" than ".. her.." Gives your indifferent routine of watching them or their likes, a subtle emphasis. Or if your motive is actually to

Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
This is a gem, Bibek. It's loaded with more arresting images and phrases than I can count.

Thomas DeFreitas The PoetBay support member heart!
You had me at "dumpling-thick"! Seriously, a fine poem throughout. I must reread!