On the fork where the Patan roads meet
Before walking to the bridge which lies over a comatose Bagmati, where the roads sleep broken and muddy,
crawling with indifferent slime, where the roads twist and turn like a woman in shimmering pain, whispering desperate groans that don’t make it to Kathmandu Post or Nepali Times,
he stood like a sage weeping tears of deaths and dimes screaming in pain at his own desperate prophecy. Near the feet of an unknown martyr, standing in a rumpled garden,
scattered by dust and fumes of reluctant dinosaurs pretending to be buses from Patan Dhoka,
the shops stand lined up like well-mannered deaf and dumb kids waiting for their school bus in the pale winter sun.
The shops sleep or lazily wink on holidays,
the seedy shadowy street tea shop where mobikes and men come to rest and drink beer and lime, chatting with girls lazing or resting on the brawny arms of souped up two stroke machines,
next to the shop which sell sad pizzas in the dark, for customers haunted by fast food come-ons.
And there in serene gloom sits a bookshop for unknown Pilgrims waiting for unwary men with time to slaughter and kill,
hoarding books on the dead and the dying as white tourist fingers lay obscene hands on coffee book Kamasutra,
and people in grimy shorts who search, with the vacant sockets of their tired vacation-fed eyes, looking for mystics and rishis on the pavements and walls of Patan.
They have come to search for the East in paperback book covers of ancient travelogues and ritual sex,
books wrapped in careful but dusty plastic covers,lying close to incense and candles in earth mother jars.
And there, I found as I was told I would, I found my brother I had come to kill, as he stood in a naked corner of the roads rolling down to the Bagmati,
he stood rolling a cigarette with his cold, bare hands waiting for the smoke to fill the hills and the alley of his own mind.
The cracked road bends and forks in the limpid darkness as men chisel arcane songs in a voice choking with sleep and wine.
Frozen into a hump in the middle of a haphazard signboard, frozen while humping a paid lover, making dead love in midnight sloughs,making mud and babies in dark mountain nights,
cleaning the dirt from charity-calmed shoes as half-fed peasants in saris of red and gold drift off in no general direction at all, hearing and seeing nothing at all.
No one heard anything. No.
Not even the lovely girls who walk home without fear wearing winter jeans and sweaters,
chattering like swift birds in a mid-air swing,
defying the Himalayan stare resting on their young shoulders covered in young hair and shine, as they walk home near the roofs and walls of peeling faculty pillars of confused concrete.
Girls who dream of far away lands, lands which don’t swallow dreams like of those who stay home to watch their decrepit families die wrapped in splendid, serene, helpless stares.
Go away, far away.
Where the blue and white marshmallow hills
Don’t make a constant din of the dead and the dying.
And yet I saw all this before the assassin came, his face wreathed in hope and prayers, long before the night was ripped open with the sharp cleaver of dawn, spilling the red rose guts all over, just before it dripped into a red day in the red streets, as early Newar prayers chanted their song in solitary temples wishing the chill a gentle beloved welcome.
And so you too have come Bangali babu come as you promised?
We don’t really need you,you know.
Ah yes, ah yes. That part I heard first.
Oh, yes, I am the truthful fat Bangali liar, always weasel-like, always looking for a friendly face or a hand-out, always so glad to be Huree, C.I.E and a full member of the Royal Asiatic Society, friend of the Maestro and close to the Dalai Lama’s camp, trusted by a man who shoots cocaine and writes his name in bullets and violin on any empty wall…
Sala bainchot Bangali. Bat nai sunta. Khali rusgoola khata and kehta, Tagore, Kehta Amartya Sen, kehta Satyajit Ray, Subhash Bose, Khali kehta, kehta, kehta…Bol, bol, aur kiya kiya kehta? Kam dhundta? Sala naukri ko shadi kiya? Sabka piche parta? Kiya? Bol?
It’s all right sir. We are Bangalis. We can’t mind being disliked. We just want to go home and fart pleasantly with our wives.
And he stood there near the monument to the dead,
his hands full of liquid dust, tears like fire dripping from his shaded eyes, as his wrist rested from the familiar joy of a knife pushed deep into a belly as it becomes death inside the wind-swept tents of desire, where fools hide, sleep and dream of past incarnations in wretched but rain washed hills.
He had come to Patan to kill,
He had come to look for his lover.
Sure man, why not? It’s so cold, so sublime, all this death and blood.
Out here there’s no hunger and no brine soaked lips to caress the neck of the dead lover, the mouth open, hostess to rude flies, Mixing memories of salt, venom and corpses. Of making love to death. As footsteps stalked the fog-clad night.