I’m with creatures of the wing. Winged creatures. What are these beings? From the fruit-fly floating dead in my glass of ara last night to the ones dancing in the lawn right now. They are all here. In small sizes. I was told last night moths shine their little eyes a glowing ember red. If you look carefully. Like a drunk I know who has got the same raging red shine when he’s had one too many. Takes me back to a time when we had gone to Paro to usher in the Bhutanese New Year- Losar. And a mutual mate had put those red eyes into context. Like the moth’s. Saying, “Don’t he remind you of a thirsty vampire having a bad, bad night?”
He did. As did the moth. But the moth was different. He aroused curiosity. And wonder. Of the kind that makes me share solidarity with the winged. Even fruit, and houseflies. Those little buzzards. They can be good company. In small numbers it must be said. These guys man! They start the bloody day singing! Jamming! Breaking into tunes. Songs. Choruses. Are they taking the piss? Unbeknownst to us of the legged, limbed variety? Trying to limber on?
Here butterflies take the floor. They have panache. These butterflies. Nectar. Ambrosia. Better than the sweet sugary stuff we binge on. Ah! But to be a butterfly! Maybe a meal for the birds but man there’s a hundred bad ways a man can die. And die every day. And night.
The bullets. The shrapnel. The knives. The rope. The dungeons. The torture. The mayhem. The betrayal. The angst. The suicide. The murder.
A butterfly dies a beautiful death.
A bird of prey swoops in.
And puckered by a sharp pair of beaks; she’s gone.
Becoming another winged creature of flight.
A bird is a beautiful being.
It maybe chained to the skies; but it sings. Spreads its wings, and until it dies, it flies.
Ani Choying Drolma jumpstarts the day
Melting my hardened heart
When I can’t take it anymore
I switch over to Lightnin’ Hopkins
Riding the blues
And over to Robert Johnson
The devil himself
So they said
Now smoking a cigarette on the porch
With a rosary around my neck
I sit and wonder
‘What the heck?’
It’s a bluesman and a nun
Doing what they’re good at
And doing it with a lotta fun
Softening the chest
And making it heave without a gun
A nun and a bluesman
Mellowing the breast
Tender by tender turn
They make old turtles gasp and run
I’m back at the park. Tarayana Park. Its Pedestrian Day. So I walked. I wore a Gho- a Pantsey. Checkered black and ironed-rust on white. Good fabric. A gift from the Bro-in-Law. For boots I got a wicked pair. Midnight black. Another gift from a brother. From another mother. Matter of fact he gifted me two. The dingo rests. I look at these boots and the song rings in my head. These boots were made for walking.
Thus dressed I strolled. First to the capital temple- Changangkha. Where Dharma plays the host in saffron-yellow and ruby-red. And Karma comes to visit in varied colors. In quite a haste. Carrying yet more gifts. Offerings made. Presented. Prayer wheels spin. Rosaries counted. And selfies finish the take.
We walked down the hill. Towards town. The main streets are empty. The fringes are traffic-ky. She heads off to a birthday-bash. Where I hope nobody gets beaten. I walk Norzin Lam. It’s bereft of cars. Kids stray the streets. Playing football. Running amok. Having fun. Childish. Pure. Innocent.
I hop in at Ambient Café. Get an Americano to-go. I walk some more. I buy a packet of Wills. Clandestine. Smoke sheepishly at the corner of Junction Bookstore. The guilt pleasurable. Then I spill the coffee on the Pantsey. Panic. I look for water. There’s a dumped bottle. It’s got half a fill. I pour it over the stains. Roll it into a knot. Squeeze it with a fist.
Now I look like I peed into my Gho.
Then I walk some more. The downtown street leading towards VAST Gallery is also empty. What a spacious delight. To be walking right in the middle of the road. The cars plying the Vegetable Market Road looks rude. Sounds rude. Almost beastly. But what’s that? Someone’s dropped some money on the road. I pick it up. Look around. There’s no-one. Must be mine now. It’s enough for a 150/- phone voucher. I pray the one who lost it multiplies his good merits. And drops some more.
There’s my table at the park. But there’s a lonesome girl playing with her phone. Two more on the other side. And a couple down the stone-steps leading to the Wangchhu. I walk down to the river. Haltingly. And wash the coffee-stains some more. Man I’m already getting attached. I think. And shudder at the thought.
I come back up. The table’s empty. The girls on the other bench are also gone. The place is all mine. Now the road to my right hounds with wheels. And the river to my left roars in peace.
I put on Bob Dylan.
The thing is this: the person I love still lives in my head. She's the one laughing over me as I lay dead. Forgetting she’s also dying. But I’d like to ask, "What happened to you?" You see, I was always around offering a hug and a help. But I guess you grew. Whether up or down you grew. The past is a throwaway. Which you threw. And now it’s a tad too late. Let's rephrase that and wipe clean the black slate. And in milk white overtures chalk down the words-
‘It’s Too Late’
Love shouldn't transform into hate. Apathy. Or an indifferent gate. But it does. And dies a thousand little deaths. Before the final break. There are no retakes.
Because now it’s too late. Let's not blame associated Karmas or Dharmas. Or the bent hooks. Not even those wriggling worms with which we bait. Not even fate. Shit happens. There are no rehearsals. Not on this floor. No tap-dances inside this door. No tango. Not in this shake. No ripples upon this lake. You take it on the chin or throw it in the bin.
I chose the former. It’s no sin.
You’ve made your choice. So have I. You’re now fired from my head.That's why I say it’s now too late.