Fragments of a Day
After Dilip Chitre
A jaundiced sun rises from behind the skyscrapers,
illuminating the undulating shadows of the lost city
ravaged by the seismic shakes and tremors of time.
I have long lost my sense of home;
I have wanted to pack my bags in the dead of the night,
and flee from this country and its syndrome.
Failing every time, I crawl out of the night terrors—the air in the room
is heavy with grey ghosts of thousand broken visions and revisions.
Mustering up a little courage, I totter to the toilet
with a self-help book to contemplate my daily goals and action plans.
I drink bitter coffee, eat yesterday’s leftover bread, read a poem or two,
listen to the crackling noises on radio, the humdrum news—
I daydream some plans and plots, seductions and rape,
terror and horror, torture and murder.
I walk out of the hovel, buy morning’s English papers,
cover my naked mind with the cosmopolitan events,
wait endlessly for the already crowded Mahanagar Yatayat,
commute to work, inhale the smell of a dozen armpits, a dozen foul mouths.
The Kathmandu dust is in my mouth; it tastes like truth.
At the Jayabageswori stop I light a clove cigarette,
ignore the tea stalls, restaurants, grocery stores, antique shops,
and like a glorious Indra riding his Airavata to the center
of the battlefield, I enter my workplace to shape Nepal’s destiny.
I carry the certificate from the dingy, dirty, old, retired
alma-fucking-mater of a university in my head.
With its help, I write worthless emails, fill up wasted memos,
proofread the abortive proposals.
During my coffee break I plan masterpieces of evasion.
The bosses bite me; their voices hover about my soul;
their emails scurry around my philosophy of life.
I want to fight back—my vajra is blunt and broken.
The woman who serves me a plate of oily fried rice smiles—
her smile crawls over my metaphysics and metaphors.
I itch. I bitch. I become horny.
I want to grab her, kiss her cherry mouth, seduce her
into a wild night of lust. Like Devendra, I want to be what I cannot be—
a boozer and whore hound—I am infested with morality.
At dusk I carry my triumphant impotence back home,
along with a litter of life in a plastic bag—a pack of cigarettes,
a mini bottle of vodka, a plate of buff momos, half a plate of pork chops—
a packet of condom that will go unused.
I throw away my soggy shirt and dirty pants, toss away
the mud-caked sandals. I eat momos, smoke, drink a little, watch porn,
think about man’s alienation from the outer world,
and write a depressed status with Nepanglish hashtags,
still waving the mental flag of rheumatic patriotism
in the occipital lobe of my mind.
I clutch the bedsheet with one hand, with the other the slippery erection.
Lapsing into a fainting fit—the little death—I squirm out of my body.
I cherish the soft swell of the pillow, its flowery spread.
“You are mine, my precious,” I say, and close my eyes,
trying to contain the newfound tranquility within.
I will now go to sleep, listening to Rafi or Narayan Gopal,
or any melancholic concerto. I will dream of angels running wild
and unclothed through Amaravati; of danavs entering narrow passes
to suckle on their breasts, to feast on their cool nakedness.
Airavata: a mythological white elephant who carries the Hindu God Indra
Amaravati: the capital of Indraloka in Mount Sumeru
Danavas: demons in Hindu mythology
Devendra: the King of Gods in Hinduism aka Indra
Indra: the King of Gods in Hinduism, also the God of the heavens, lightning, thunderstorms, rains and river flows
Nepanglish: the standardizing variety of English spoken by native-Nepali speakers
Vajra: Indra’s weapon, a lightning thunderbolt
Poetry by Bibek
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Written on 2018-08-21 at 14:29
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