March 3, 2021

Bhuwan Thapaliya – Seven Poems from Kathmandu

Bhuwan Thapaliya – Seven Poems from Kathmandu
I’m sick of not seeing you 
 
He poured himself 
a glass of her thoughts 
 
two years after she won 
a scholarship to heaven 
 
to pursue her PhD 
in life after death 
 
and sat down beside 
her antique gramophone 
 
with his senses 
straining in the dark. 
 
“I’m sick 
of not seeing you, 
 
I’m seeing only 
the back of an African Wild Elephant 
and the wide open jaws of the vultures. 
 
Helpless days of confinement, 
a stultifying inertia 
and no knowledge of what comes next. 
 
“Where are your 
eyes in the sky, Grand Ma?” he sighed. 
 
Where are the bald eagles? 
Where are the rhododendrons? 
Where? Where? Where? 
 
He stammered and cried. 

 
 
What type of poem am I? 
 
“What type of poem am I?” 
I am as formless as the clouds, 
and as elegiac as the silence, 
in the itinerary of the noise. 
 
I am not a classic 
written by the author, God. 
The rhythms of my verses are supplied 
by the parable of their tears. 
 
I am not in me, 
though I abide within myself. 
I am but a color, 
whose colors have worn away. 
 
Maybe I was written as 
an ethical effect of modern art. 
Or maybe I was not written 
but just replicated from the lives of others. 
 
I wish I could read the critics’ minds. 
Is it true that a poem cannot read anyone? 
I loathe the way they recite me, 
pretending to understand me. 
 
Maybe I am 
the monologue of my rhymes. 
Or maybe I am 
the narrative of my own life. 
 
 
However much they hate me, 
I am that poetry they can’t write. 
I am the phantom of the world 
crawling, with a rose in the hand 
in the boulevard of the thorns. 
 
However much they praise me, 
I am only a drop of verse 
drawn up by time 
to become the formless clouds 
in the wilderness of the literary sky. 
 
O Poet! O my maker! 
What type of poem am I? 
O strangers! O my readers! 
What sort of poem am I? 
 
I wish I could read myself 
and discern my spirit. 
Is it true that a poem 
cannot read a poem? 
 
“Am I a poem?” 
or am I just a rhymed hoax? 
 
This cyclic curiosity goes on eternally. 
I am lost in a synthesis between 
the dualism of my readers 
and the monism of my maker. 
 
No one knows what it is like to be a poem. 
No one knows how vague its core is. 
There is nothing as genuine as me. 
There is nothing as deceptive as me. 
 
 
 
Carry me to the garden 
 
Carry me to the garden, not with your 
arms but with your heart, fondle me 
not with your lips but with your soul, 
undress me not, but peel me naked, and 
make love to me, beneath the lusty sky 
in the full moon night, under the silhouette 
of the twinkling stars, and not in the caged 
confines of the wall, for I yearn to have 
an orgasm right beneath the heaven’s eye 
and stir the heart of the deities with 
lascivious indulgence of an earthly love 
that is here today but will be gone tomorrow. 

 
 
My father’s old coat 

Dust on my father’s old coat  
dances as thoughts 
on a frying pan 
and his tattered hope 
as his clothes flutter forlorn  
on a half-broken clothesline.  
 
He is down 
and almost out, in Kathmandu.  
Yet he prowls, he prowls evermore, 
through the streets  
looking for his fate  
in the pothole paths of the city,  
trodden by the twisted neck  
of the continuous misfortune  
where men are snaring  
the faith of men  
in the altar of  
the sunken whore’s destitute. 
 
Back then, the hills  
around his heart were thickly wooded 
but now, the wild trees have gone.  
Deforestation of hope,  
and the drought of dreams  
have formed a vicious circle - 
now the hills are all barren brown.  
 
Yet the old man prowls  
on and on.  
And often on hands and knees, 
he scours the ground 
collecting every fossil   
of his elapsed smiles.  
Purely nostalgic, whimsy, 
or a maggot munching  
a Pipal leaf? No one knows.   
 
I often watch him 
breast the wave 
with cerulean thoughts  
in my head.  
He looks jaded, 
but in the city of his eyes 
there are poems within poems. 
 
I’ve read pretty much  
everything  
I could lay my eyes on.  
The verses in his eyes  
play themselves out 
before my eyes  
as a writer’s bad dream  
– ritualistic slaughter  
of language and vocabularies.  
 


Alterations 
 
The rhododendrons we see before us  
may not be the same for you and me. 
They may look vibrant  
in a host of colors to both of us 
but their fragrance may not be the same. 
They may soothe you 
but they may choke my senses completely. 
 
The freedom we sense. 
It may be sublime to both of us 
but its essence may not be. 
It may liberate you 
but it may restrain me furthermore. 
 
The road we see before us. 
It may be mysterious to both of us 
but its journey may not be. 
It may lead you to the domain of the light  
but it may land me in the domicile of the darkness. 
 
The deity we worship together. 
It may be holy to both of us 
but its authenticity may not be. 
It may be a gem to you forever 
but it may metamorphosis 
into a stone one day to me. 
 
The love we have for us. 
It may be intrinsic to both of us 
but its molecules may not be. 
It may be The Everest to you  
but it may be a meager hill to me. 
 
And most notably 
our orgasm may not be the same. 
It may be stimulating to you 
but it may be monotonous to me. 
 
But no matter what  
there will always be  
the bond of understanding 
between us. 
 
And it will forever convey 
the power of our love  
as the sprouting leaves of grass  
that have the power to move rocks. 
 


We are 

I am not 
in you 
you are 
not in me. 
We are 
as diverse 
as the stars 
in the sky; 
we are 
not us 
we are 
total strangers. 
 
You live 
in the colour 
of the rainbow 
and wear 
the linings 
of the cloud 
whereas I live 
in the silhouette 
of the tyranny 
and wear 
the costume 
of disparity. 
 
You sleep 
in the crescent bed 
of the moon 
and drink 
the pristine 
morning dew 
whereas I sleep 
in the circular 
bed of adversity 
and drink 
my own sweat 
in the severe heat of the noon. 
 
You play 
with the 
rings of Saturn 
and caress 
the countenance 
of the sun 
whereas I play 
hide and seek 
with death 
and caress 
the wounded hub 
of my dreams. 
 
You breathe in 
the divine gust 
and think 
like the cadence 
of heaven 
whereas I breathe 
the twister 
of belligerence 
and think 
like  
a stagnant pond. 
 
You shine 
like the moon 
in the full moon night 
and soar 
like the free bird 
in the itinerary of the sky 
whereas I am 
shrouded by the 
misery of life 
and soar only to fall again 
like the ashes 
into the air. 
 
You bequest 
fragrance 
to the rose 
and unending 
persistence 
to the river 
whereas I steal 
the heady smell 
from the rose 
and curse 
the river 
for drowning my hope. 
 


Suppression, I accept not  
 
I came into this world 
not like the river  
but like a drop of water 
and will soon evaporate. 
Though, I am only a drop of water  
in the majestic ocean of nature, 
I yearn to create 
a vigorous ripple of freedom,  
in the eternity of the water. 
 
I am a man of eternal freedom, 
and suppression I accept not. 
I will not accept it. 
The living God within me 
urges me to be free, and to 
march on the road of freedom  
sans any dread. 
 
My heart, like Einstein,  
thinks in another dimension 
unknown and unknowable 
even to my own mind. 
And like Goethe,  
looks at things in a different manner, 
different than those thinkers 
bestowed with pristine minds. 
 
Freedom, the gift of God,  
is the inherent right 
of every individual 
in this compressed world. 
I will fight till the end 
to free the masses 
from the grip of suppression 
and ignite the lamp of freedom. 
 
I will free the masses  
or die in the attempt 
but I will never live to see 
the naked dance of repression. 
I am not afraid of those suppressors 
nor am I afraid of the death 
that they are planning for me; 
they can kill me but not freedom forever. 
 
My blood boils whenever I see the strong ones 
pulverising the lean, and my heart cries 
whenever I see the starving pauper 
in the abattoir of the prosperous butcher. 
 
For me 
a red rose is a red rose 
it is not white  
just because they call it white 
to disguise the ignorant. 
 
They can conquer the Everest 
but not my spirit. 
They can stagnate the river 
but not my impetus. 
They can take my sight away 
but not my vision of freedom. 
They can cut my tongue into pieces 
but not my voice of freedom. 
They can stab me 
with the dagger of despotism 
but not impede the blood of freedom. 
 
I know the road to freedom  
is blocked with obstacles 
but obstacles cause no despair 
if they are encountered with hope. 
 
We must act now  
and not merely just look away 
when our freedom 
is threatened from within. 
It is better to perish without freedom 
than to have and yearn for freedom 
but not the valour to harvest it. 
 
Don’t be a coward. 
 
Be prepared to receive bullets to your chest. 
In the struggle of freedom, tolerance 
of suppression is an offence. 
 
Stand up . . . stand up. 
 
Gather your courage. Come out 
into the field; let’s march hand in 
hand together, right beneath the 
nose of the suppressors, for the 
emancipation of our freedom. 
 
The ocean is composed of drops 
of water, and all drops possess 
equal potentials, but only, when 
they mix with other drops,  
they form a powerful bond. 
 
 
Listen, my oppressed brothers 
listen, my trodden sisters 
listen . . . listen 
to the natural desire 
of your ceaseless soul. 
 
Do not fear 
trust your soul 
and march ahead 
with a resolute heart 
for the better tomorrow. 
 
And scatter 
the seeds of freedom. 
Where does it go? 
It does not matter 
scatter it more with hope. 
 
Welcome the freedom 
welcome it today 
and enjoy it evermore 
but do not use your freedom 
to suppress the people’s soul 
to suppress the people’s soul. 

***

Bhuwan Thapaliya

Bhuwan Thapaliya is a poet writing in English from Kathmandu, Nepal. He works as an economist and is the author of four poetry collections.  

His books include Safa Tempo: Poems New and Selected(Nirala Publication, New Delhi), Our Nepal, Our Pride (Cyberwit.net) narrative verses of love, peace, and human understanding, Rhythm of the Heart (Lulu Publication) and Verses from the Himalayas

His poems and articles have been widely published in journals and periodicals such as Kritya, Foundling Review, FOLLY, The Journal of Expressive Writing, Trouvaille Review, Pendemics Literary Journal, Pandemic Magazine, The PoetLitehouse, Valiant Scribe, Strong Verse, Jerry Jazz Musician, Taj Mahal Review,  Poetry Life and Times, VOICES (Education Project), Longfellow Literary Project, Poets Against the War, Mahmag.org (Magazine of arts and humanities), InnerVisions by Jay,  The Sound of Poetry Review and many others. 

Thapaliya has read his poetry and attended seminars in venues around the world, including South Korea, India, the United States, Thailand, Cambodia, and Nepal. 

Bhuwan Thapaliya
#bhuwan thapaliya#freedom#nepal#poetry
1 comment
  • Anonymous says:

    I think these poems are wonderful, with an original light voice and idiosyncratic stances. Thanks

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