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.

Thoughts

I thought I could write
And then the rusty fingers
Opened their vehement eyes
And laughed terribly

I thought I could love
And then the frozen heart
Spread their Christmas legs to genuflect
Against the darkening day

I thought I could achieve sanity
And then the madness of within
Stirred a lake full of quagmire
Shaking the Tannenbaum-like mind

I thought I could write
And today I read the stories and characters that I had made
Inside my head: a cuckoo sang
And winds rocked the logic’s pendulum
The whole day a fire burnt –
Without the wick, magic.

Fake

Fake is the new trend
Fake degrees, fake economy, fake leaders, fake nation
Fake people, fake relationships

Perhaps I should retire to the ritual of heliolatry
That I must cut off the inchoate world
From the feign souls

I no longer desire to dwell in the tohubohu of happiness
That emerges from the fake trees of malice and hatred

It is not the enemy that kills us
But own people that act as zeitgeber
To keep us away from the true light of happiness

It’s futile to hurl mine dolorous
Against the deaf walls of humanity

I am tired of this jamboree world
Where people feed upon each other
Zombie-like

This tongue cursed by alliaceous apples
Where benign people are nowhere to be found

My words just MacGuffin
To swear at the filth of the world.

The Fall

Have you seen a falcon chase the swirls in the sky?

The mind’s sky suddenly inhaled fauve colors

And bombs dropped on the son’s image,

I recalled my mother’s face—her rain-filled eyes

That hovered around us like a solar eclipse,

Shoving off any dark clutches,

She obviated the ancient madness that had haunted our family for long

And yet pieces of snakes crawled underneath the bed

And slithered nonstop,

The room was a picture perfect for rejection:

Stir the cup, throw away the tea;

The pot smashed like bloody mosquitoes,

Today I felt like a wounded soldier

Didn’t I deserve even a bit of venerating from the unknown?

Yes, this mind has gone wary of trophic thoughts,

The sky barely rumbles and Earth chokes staring at the f******* sky

Screaming: where’s the rain?

Forthwith droplets popped out of the heart

Bubbles-like

Criticizing me for eminently falling the second time

From the exact rooftop

And as I walked on the dusty roads, these eyes burning incessantly

From the cruel particles and dust of Kathmandu,

I did my best to forget the gaucherie mirage

I guess my face smelled like a quincunx moth

I guess my feet bore the brunt of madness and depression

I guess my hands failed to fake its perfections

At the end, I transformed into a botryoidal statue

People came running to watch, stare and touch me—

I felt nothing.

तिम्रो हाँसो

तिमी हासीदिए मेरो संसार हासीदिन्छ

तिमी रोईदिए मेरो संसार रोईदिन्छ

 

तिमी खुशीहुँदा मेरो संसार खुशी हुन्छ

तिमी टाडा जाँदा म आफैबाट टाडा जान्छु

 

तिमी रुंदा मेरो संसार रोईदिन्छ

तेसैले आजकल म तिम्रो हाँसोलाई एउटा बोत्तलमा राखी

संझनाको थाममा बाधेर म हेरिबस्छु

 

र कहिलेकाही तिम्रो हाँसोलाई म उडाईदिन्छु

र आकाशको चमकमा तिमीलाई देख्छु

अनि शान्त हुन्छु

तिमी हासीदिए मेरो संसार हासीदिन्छ

तिमी रोईदिए मेरो संसार रोईदिन्छ|

A Man’s worth

Late night when darkness has enveloped the weary eyes
And soul stoops low enough to dread the vagaries of life,
You ponder deeply on what you have gained and what you haven’t
A man’s ego after all drives him to the deepest, darkest pit of life
What does he wish to improve a ninnyhammer life?
To survive you toil
But you don’t toil to survive,
Late night I make sketches of an abstract painting
Where you and I are alive for eternity,
What is a man’s worth?
His valor, strength, prowess, wealth, health, or his heart?
How do you measure a man except attacking his abrasive ego?
To understand a man
You need to observe the ways of a tiger.
A hungry tiger will devour you in the darkest, silent night of life.
A tiger will study all your moves and then make the last move.

If a man’s worth is measured by what he has,
Then there’s no thing called happiness and love.

A tiger has nothing and takes nothing in the end.

Forget Poetry

In the world of literature poetry is a subculture and a secondary art form to other genres, particularly fiction and non-fiction. The famous poet W.H. Auden has aptly put forward the thesis: “poetry makes nothing”.

The repetitive and common question that most poets face is as why they write poetry. The question per se augments negativity to this unpopular art. Yet the dichotomy of poetry is startling—it is widespread; non-commercially, and the traditional media shying away from it. If so, what’s the significance of poetry then?

Poetry is derived from the Medieval Latin word poetria and poet origins from the Latin word poetia. The history of poetry starts from as early as the first known civilizations the world. Critical writers and historians have stated that poetry, perhaps, predates literacy. The argument comes from the concept that poetry was used as a form to maintain the oral history of tradition, culture, religion and events to pass on to the next generation when language hadn’t developed to its full form to writing. The first significance of poetry is that it preserves the human civilization in the outset of emotions combined with unstructured logic and denies the celerity of a nation’s death. It is often argued that poetry bears no thought process and is merely a short-form of bubbling emotions. Several poets over the decades have argued against such statement and have defended on their own. Irrespective of the general view about poetry, the media and publishers too have played a role in belittling it. This behavior doesn’t augur well for the growth of English poetry in Nepal.Ariel_Faber_1965_second

On that preface I have a bad news for aspiring poets in Nepal. Especially those who write in English. It is almost impossible to get published and then make a living out of it. We just can’t blame the publishers for hesitating to publish the work of poetry. If you visit the websites of most traditional publishers in India and Nepal then you’ll know that most of them cater to fiction and non-fiction writers. The latest genres to sweep away the book industry are self-help, spirituality, urban romance, and cliché books. If publishers are to be blamed solely, then book readers are none to second to deserve the wrath of poets. Even published poets complain that their books rarely sell and barely few buy it. Only those who focus on a particular topic are likely to become famous in their lives or those who barge into the bandwagon of literary tricks perform well. Others wait till their death to get known like Sylvia Plath who won the Pulitzer Prize posthumously. Poetry, in short, is already declining in the western world. In Nepal, however, it is just emerging as a strong genre.

English Poetry in Nepal had its evolution back to the opening of schools to the public post-Rana era in the 1950s. While the figures of fiction writers are known to most people and the world; the poets, on the other hand, have been pushed to the shadows by the culture of groupism and syndicate writing in Nepal. It is unfortunate to say that most fiction writers in Nepal have nurtured the superior attitude towards poetry writers as they feel that anyone can write a poetry. A short form of writing, perhaps, in their own words cannot be termed as a proper writing. This attitude significantly resonates in the western world too. A young fiery poet soon realizes in the course of time that writing a poem would not guarantee a space for him in the ever-changing world. The problem with the commercialization of literature and writers; novelists and poets, who are trying to make a survival from it is significantly fading since the advent of new media and technology. Not everyone can become the next J. K. Rowling, Stephen King, T.S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath and several other bestseller writers. So why even write?

The existential question about why to write and how to consider a writing is bad or good is debatable. We have scores of writers who have self-published and became famous. Others have (self) published and never made it to the headlines. It is not just poets that suffer from the lethargic sale of books. Fiction writers too have to bear the brunt but they do little better than poets whose books are placed somewhere in the bookstore and rarely anyone comes to buy it. The representation and media coverage of poets too in Nepal is negligible. They are not only underrepresented but also not given spaces in so-called literature festivals in Nepal. This culture, unlike in west where all genres are promoted and respected, in Nepal has seriously undermined the contributions, significance and the future of Nepalese English poetry.

I hope this trend and attitude towards English poetry in Nepal changes over the years and that enough space is given to poets too. So that the future poets don’t have to feel that their writings are secondary and inferior to fiction writers and go to hiding to write, almost sub rosa, never to be known and failing to add richness to the English Literature of Nepal.

 
Twitter: @arunbudhathoki