10 ways to view Phewa Lake

1. A flower blossoming
Imitating the raging Phewa
Slumbering like a failed ballerina
Suffering from zero ballon
2. Madness follows its edges
I do not ask for it
Rather, it inhere between
Two unturned stones.
3. An eagle soar
Hungry for love
Instead, chases fishes
4. Fishermen laugh
Mocking the gasping fishes
Flexing their existence
5. Its edges perfect
Like a despondent sound
Hungry for the next journey
6. A distant call
Love failing between the past
And future
A question mark.
7. A diamond ring
In the sky
Waiting for perfection
Lost in despair
8. A sad note
Letters printed everywhere
The last unknown song
Her eyes.
9. A desperate call
Madness lies somewhere else
True picture
Never lies
10. A sober man
Curses the beer
Strolling away
@ Arun Budhathoki

Drunk at Baneshwor

Between new and old Baneshwor
A thin line exists
That pushes me to the other side of the painting:
Splashing its contours, destroying what’s left;
Words screaming out from the Millennium zenith
I couldn’t even curse in French or language that I’d create on own
Suddenly smokes emerge
From the chambers of heart and soul
And boom—
Clouds of smoke,
Lights out
And my mind is on fire,
Can you sense what’s being done?
Speech sinking
Heart sinking
What shall I do this time to stay afloat?
Stitch images that no longer wish to remain stitched?
Da dum da dum da dum
That’s the sound of a heart breaking
Not into pieces
But into innumerable bubbles
And a child inside me pokes all of them
Go straight, turn left, turn right
Go up
Sit on a chair
Order 30ml whiskey with ice
And wait for dreams to come to you
But it never comes
A life inside lives
A mind inside minds
What can be undone?
A hush a silence
Four hands carrying a bloody revolving machine
Shaking like earthquake is inside you
Eyes sinking
Heart sinking
And the glass mock you too
Da dum da dum
What’s that sound?
Arun Budhathoki

Drunk at Basantapur

Three cups fail to balance
Sanity and drunkenness,
Spewing words of aggression and hatred
Cursing the Nepali Judas,
Did he shake hands with the Devil?
Three more glasses
The world comes in crashing
Three more glasses
The world comes in crashing
And the drinking never stops
Three more glasses
Three more sips
And the mouth stretches like the gulf
Between sanity and insanity
Between faithfulness and betrayal
And why wouldn’t these two drink to their madness?
Their faces blurred from the glowing mirror
Their memories almost erased
And the drinks keep coming
While I stare at the dead mannequins
Their rotting flesh
And I curse at them
As I march towards the future that I make on own
And hips wobble
Almost collapsing
Like the house of cards that we built
And ran away to not see it being torn down
In dreams
I throw away the bottles that I will never drink
I puke like I’ll never puke
I’d smell of alcohol like I’d never again
In dreams
I curse the rotting mannequins
And perform a mancraft on them
Stabbing their bleak future
Laughing hysterically
As they fall from the sky
Poached; raw,
Suits you well, bastards.
Arun Budhathoki

Ode to Antibiotics

You come to me
Like a slow death
Clapping your majestic hands—
Dum, dum…DUM DUM (the sound getting heavier)
Piercing through my slumbering mind and ears
How dreadful it is to drag your lost legs towards the horizon of madness?
Dum Dum DUM
What infertile trajectory can it perceive?
What insanity will it expose?
Throttling the mind’s twisted thoughts
It squeezes my body
Like you’d do to an innocent animal
But the question here is not about
Or Madness
Or indefinite quietness
Foolish man! That’s all I hear—
And the sheep in the fox’s skin yells at me—
Excuse my insolence, but you’d understand that poets are no real heroes
But you’d understand that poets are no real heroes or shiny stars
Who would sweep your feet away, to the shore of pleasure and pleasure and pleasure
The Mad Man Speaketh
Why would you write such nonsense?
This madness needs to stop. Do you intent to scream in a similar manner?
Who cares?
And I run run run
After the hellish immortality and mortality of pleasure and pain and pleasure and pain
My fingers rotting
Like the freaking clouds
Isn’t this supposed to be Spring?
And I poke poke poke
Making it spill its bloody blood
Ah! Here comes the foolish man
From above and side-by-side
What mockery do you spew at me?
Just because I run away
From your foolishness
Now try to unwrap what’s not yours
And let it go
Sometimes things can go easy
If you compete with yourself
I have no intention to send my unborn children’s pictures
To the foolish man
Let him rot away
So I run run run run
And dance to the tunes of DUM DUM DUM
(the sound getting heavier)
Ah this craziness
When I get silent
I’m thinking to attack
Not people, but words.
I’m wounded
By this bloody antibiotics.
 Arun Budhathoki

Why Digital Space matters

Human civilization till the advent of cyber technology had revolved around the idea of space in varied contexts. Space matters whether it’s physical, cultural, emotional, intellectual, digital…the list goes on. What I argue here is that since we live in the age of internet explosion, digital space is becoming an important issue. Moreover, digital space should be a right that anyone can exercise. That’s exactly what I’ve started to do now.

After returning from Pokhara city last week, west of Kathmandu, I had this terrible feeling of having too many Facebook friends. It never bothered me—I have been using the social site for a couple of years—and suddenly I had developed this phobia where I feel exposed to so-called Facebook friends with whom I had almost no interaction. They had become a regular online spectator, constantly scrutinizing my posts and photos, and even one school friend inquiring if I had a girlfriend or not. Social media, thus, has created a world of affirmation and confirmation where you must reveal everything. If you don’t, then, there’s some problem with you. Something grave has happened to you. Therefore, I decided I had to exercise my right to digital space—I started deleting my Facebook friends.

It was a few years ago when I had almost 5, 000 social friends on Facebook. No one knows why 5, 000 is the limit for friends on Facebook. Even 500 social friends trouble me. That’s the size of a village or a town. Just imagine if you had 500 friends in reality—would you be able to cope with them? Unfortunately, digital space is a foreign idea to South Asians at least. It is not in our culture to give ‘space’ to our family, friends and even neighbors. We openly proclaim that it is our civil right to exercise the power to not give ‘space’ to other people. This is evident in stories of women and even men complaining about ‘intrusion’ by others. What fascinates me is that cultural intrusion is not only acceptable but constantly imposed in South Asian culture. Now that physical intrusion has translated into digital intrusion. Let’s not forget it’s the same people, from the status quo culture, who do not believe in giving space to others are now stalking on you digitally. I also had to change my privacy settings because I have come to know that strangers, friends, colleagues and unknown people search me on social sites and Google. This is not a paranoia because I have enough evidence to prove that people intrude my digital space with their arrière-pensée online attitude.

First, let me give you an example of my experience with a previous employer. My colleague, who was a junior, had the audacity to search everything about me ‘online’ and then repeatedly annoy me with bizarre questions. I had to intervene by saying that he had no right to intrude my digital space. Second, my so-called friends have regularly bugged me about my relationship status. Just because I don’t post couple photos don’t mean my sexual orientation is obscure. I wonder how difficult is for Nepali women compared to me. Do we need to expose our real relationships in the digital space to receive the confirmation that we are sexually approved by others? This is baffling in the sense that we live in a society that is full of secret and unknown closets. Why don’t people reveal their closets on online media too? They won’t. People will hate me. So, the part where one tries to conceal their real relationships is judged to be ‘different’. I feel bad for LGBT, minority, Muslim, and other communities who face unusual and aggressive intrusion compared to me. Who regulates digital space? Third, digital space is occupied by so-called online police. They are everywhere. Yes, scrutinizing our posts, shares, likes and even inactivity. This attitude is now ingrained, sadly, in people who were friends in the past. You haven’t met them for long nor interact with each other so the digital connection becomes limited to ‘what you post, that’s what I see.’ My mere existence is confirmed by digital presence. Therefore, I am saying goodbye to a lot of Facebook friends. I just need digital space and it doesn’t mean I will never talk to them when I meet them in the physical world.

I am done being exposed digitally and intruded for no reason. Digital space is not a matter of choice but it’s a right that should be enshrined in the laws of a nation. Studies have confirmed that we can only have 150 friends but even that number is high especially for thinkers and writers who are treated as ‘different’ from others. Digital space is important for women and minority groups who face intrusion on a regular basis. Digital space is important for sanity. If we want to change the culture of intrusion, we must step up to regulate digital space. The question is who will do that. I suddenly feel Orwell’s spirit possessing me.


And Icarus falls again

Facing the door
He runs towards the window
Staring at the polluted sky
His heart choking
A big bang
Remains scattered on the floor
The Icarus falls again
Not from the sun’s heat
But from its own heartbeats.
I couldn’t sleep till 5 a.m.
But then I was roaming the dark, silent streets of Thamel—
Icarus falls again—
Staring at the dark souls—
Running towards the broken edges of this city
And Icarus falls again
Between midnight and 5 a.m.
The time when the sun begins to poke this soul
I can feel the winds growling outside my heart
I close the door.
They throw tantrums. I plug my ears with earphones.
I shut my ears and become a lotus-eater.
I shut my eyes, and the world drops dead.
Boom. And the Icarus falls again.
From dream.
From sleep.
From chaos.
From the deep pangs of darkness and drunkenness.
From the tremors of loneliness.
And the Icarus falls again—
Waiting for Spring and Summer
To forget its fall.
I can’t wait until 5 a.m. today
I shut my ears, and the world drops dead.
— Arun Budhathoki.

Salary Man

I am waiting for a week
For that email
With in-body instructions
That I have been hired

Hopes stay still
Telluric smell
Fingers underground
Undertaker missing

Everyone asks me
If I got hired
What’s this clishmaclaver?

Few weeks back
A palm reader saw my hands
And told bad days are to remain
For five months more

I wonder at the end of the day
I’d just become a milquetoast

If I don’t get those two jobs
Will I become a jocular of this valley?

Who knows?
Fugacious madness!

City of dust

This is the city of dust
When it rains
When it doesn’t rain
When the road is pitched
When the road isn’t pitched
I’ve become a raconteur
This city’s madness tires to winkle me
Out of the old man’s sanity,
What is left to discuss the anomalies?
This city has a foul tactile
A feeling you can’t get anywhere else
This city soon will parlay my inability
To distinguish between dust and fresh air.
— Arun Budhathoki.

The Other Door

I couldn’t open it—an imaginary door,
It was the door; open space ab ovo,
These hands tied, ribbon-clad;
A mind can only go far
Where the winter slumbers,
The door and I are same—
Simpatico, scattered stars
The other door
I couldn’t open it—an imaginary door,
A key lost somewhere
A doorknob broken,
Eternal knock.
I couldn’t walk any further.