A 15 year long writer’s block (from nineteen till thirty four)

A very curious teenager, not beauty queen material

No good at holding a fake smile longer than two seconds

No good at delivering a statement on how to save the world

In under three minutes, smiling widely, with every pause

No good at anything remotely desirably beauty queenish

Like walking on a pair of high stiletto heels, strutting my ass

Woke up in the mornings, wrote poems. By hand

No computer and digital devices we had back then

A four letter word featured in one poem as a teenager


Strange word choice for a sixteen year old, don’t you think?

Other words


In a sentence?

Crucible of void

And then something about my mother’s potted marigolds

Standing in a glistening row like in a factory assembly line

Poems I wrote plenty. About landscapes and people

In Mustang and Solu Khumbu, Terai and Kathmandu

About Amala with her toothy smile in her buckwheat fields

About Anita, and Saroj, bonded laborer and angelic street kid

Had the Oxford English dictionary under my pillow like a bible

Woke up almost every morning, buzzing with words inside me

Waiting to get out. Scribbling furiously. Erasing violently.

Pencil lead twisting this way and that. Eraser in pieces.

Turning into words. Into the crucible of void.

Then somewhere in between, somewhere, I lost the words

Somewhere on train rides between New Haven and New York

Somewhere between the crumpled sheets of introspection, projection

Analysis, curiosity, openness, lovers gained and lovers lost

Somewhere between too many American thankyous and sorrys

I felt edges of the void creeping in until it completely enveloped me

Then the twin towers fell, it was like in the movies, and I was in an airport

The cheeriness of 1999 America and ‘how are you’s?’ replaced by the void

Coming back to America from summer holiday in Kathmandu, home

Father’s best of best whiskey laughs, mother says ‘khana ramro khanu’

‘Ani time ma khanu’. Eat good food – and eat it on time. Advice I ignore.

The Maoists have landed in Kathmandu. Less whiskey laughs. Less food.

Or was it more whiskey laughs and more food? I’ve got it all mixed up now.

The world seems more cold and sinister than during my disco dancing days

A house with no laughter, only tears. Orange alert. Red alert. Alert. Alert.

I take out my notebook and pencil from my ‘jhola’. Nothing. Sitting in an airport.

In transit. Between two worlds, third world and first world, divided by land and water

And accents and various curious uses of the English language

But open in the sky

Nothing. Not even a letter to an artist lover. To explain my lack of self expression.

Not knowing where to start. Not having the words. Where and how to begin?

I write in my blank, empty black and red notebook two words.

Writer’s Block.

I didn’t know it would last

Fifteen years. But it did.

The void took over.

I lost my voice.

I lost the words.

I lost my third world English.

I lost my world.

I don’t know how it happened

Maybe it started in year 1

I am sitting in an English class at my big name university

Professor whose name I don’t remember says

Suggests, I take an English for beginners class

But I’ve known words like void and crucible

Since I was sixteen, I wanna say. But quiet, I stay

Big name university professor knows better

I must be a beginner of the English language

I watch my liberated ‘native English’ friends in college

Perform poetry in dark spaces. Underground.

And I think ‘very cool, but I can never be like them’

I go to New York, Bowery poetry reading slams, and lurk in the back

I am only trying to look cool, in my second hand laced petticoats

I wear over my trousers, and my big fur collared vintage suede coat

But they’re actually cool. This is just not my space.

So I just observe.

Where are you from?

Kathmandu, Nepal.

Oh your English is not bad

And that accent….I can’t place it

I am watching your eyebrows




I want to f*&k you

My third world English

Picked and brewed in Darjeeling

You know

Where your tea comes from

Words like void and crucible

Hand-picked from all the millions

Of word combination possibilities

For some curious, unexplainable reason


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