My Beautiful City

Sibu Dhakal

I have nothing to say to those
who can’t help recounting
the beauty of my city,
since their eyes have never fallen into
the roadside containers,
reeking of fetuses,
that would have been facepage coverage
in their magazine.

Slight ugliness comes out
of the shut closets, for you,
to spray to the dwellers with
its civilized configuration,
and the street children
fill the air in plastics and condoms
scattered hither and yon.

The smile of the visitors is like a black cloud
over the yearning mountains;
hence, sympathy is not enough
to reach the hungry stomachs, every year,
to the community, forced to sell their organs for living,
these things are reflected
when the onlookers search for their own pictures in the filthy lake.

The streets are cleaned by rinsing
with municipal water
while the spilled milk
remains unlapped by the street cats,
that the empty stomachs of famished children still long for.

In this city where unsafe life-drops, unsustainable life,
invisible mirrors, unchangeable clothes, impassable roads,
unattainable soil, money without mind—
are all on display for sale and purchase.

Why are patients, then, not scared when
doctors use scissors for surgery?
Wherein diuretics and insulins sell
more than aspirants and antibiotics,
and so are beverages over gasoline.
Guests here are none but jackpots.
The business of banknotes forgery
under the table is larger than
the business of transparency.

Santa Claus appears at shopping malls
with no benefactions, but transactions.

The clocktower strikes hunger and despair
the city halls are filled with pain and plight
the overpasses shower with tears
on my painters, beneath, who limn
colours of artificial majesty on natural beauty
and auction the images in the galleries
at the downtown.

You say, thus, this city is embellished with an amalgam of colours
but, I ask: Are you as happy as your glasses shine?

Call it an ephialtes or so,
the unemployed fly out of the airport and,
land patients and coffins instead.
Upon planning to exploit the poor,
some dignitaries fall asleep while sipping
whiskey in quiet whispering
whereas, others die of starvation.
The brutal think tank,
which advocates the tendency of
slaughterhouse workers to cut off their own necks with a knife
in the lure of kissing the lips of a prostitute,
plunges into darkness;
and is approved with a new roadmap
to redecorate the queen of the night.

(Dhakal is a teacher based in Pokhara.)