Nepali Times Asian Paints
Five poems by Wayne Amtzis and Purna Bahadur Vaidya


We share a cage, a cliff,
a country. A diminishing ground
draws us in as it sinks
and surrounds. Walls stand,
roofless, sky-lights for the damned
Blood runs dry. The stains,
a script (The literate overlook
this spine-broken book) where each village
fades, mist-drawn, West to East,
all land in between, tea-stained lines
torn from a map. Scratches
Scrawls. Mouth-curdled squawk
dies down to a dissenting
murmur, a curse hot in the ears,
ready to be heard. "Wounds won't heal,
this script cannot not be read"
It's never time

And so it adds up
Life subtracted from life
A hurried high kick, dead on
Your name, a child's name,
your child's face, a leg, an.
Killing foretells the necessary crime
Betrayal will do, or simply being there
Cinched bones snap
She who can't walk off, set free
"Hands full" has a hurricane in mind
"Start over" pretends just that
Moonlit stone lanterns, darkened,
lead the way. Far below,
hunched, haughty, the heedless hills
On their backs, dead weight,
discarded lives. In a gashed eye
a candle flickers

Drawn down deep
within the fist, what flame exists
cannot reach us. Charred, the ceiling,
the lived-in rooms
Charred, the palms, the healing bones
Land pocked with beauty
Body with pain

Wayne Amtzis Kathmandu 10/04


Reported daily:
Whereabouts unknown
Reported daily:
Consequences suffered
Reported daily:
Maimed and killed
Reported daily:
Intimidation and rape
Reported daily:
Forcible recruitment
Reported daily:
Severely beaten
Reported daily:
Do not Do not
Reported daily
Implement Implement
Reported daily:
Immediately cease
Reported daily:
Immediately halt
Reported daily:
Abide by Abide

Concurrently reported to
The committee to investigate
The committee to resurrect
The committee to punish
The committee for the end of days

Subsequently tabled
to the sub-committee for forced displacement
the sub-committee for loss of limbs
the sub-committee for vulnerability
the sub-committee for disappearance
the sub-committee for sleepless nights
the sub-committee for endless daze

Finally and ultimately
to be forwarded with recommendations
to the Committee For Daily Reports
Formerly known as the committee
For What's To Be Done

Wayne Amtzis Kathmandu February 05

Purna Bahadur Vaidya

Into a gully water flows,
scratching the wall-skin all around,
indifferently rippling
trapped tiger
caged bird
it shivers.
excited ripples,
trembling body,
slowly it thins
and flattens

Anxious, limited, bound,
fearful of desiccation-a revolutionary
enduring a life sentence
Free flying birds his heart ascend!
His very dream. a stream's ongoing force
But bound by rock hard limits
necessity stands. Water caught in a rift
curtailed by mountains and hills
cannot fly nor flow

A lump. Immovable flesh
Its time-borne current lost within
As pining birds peck at water,
aroused, trembling, and yet
again, sleep presses down
silence stills, he foregoes his goal

Finally from that dry hard enclave
there's nothing to attain
No free man's fate,
unless from the depths
an upheaval.
sends him forth

Translated by Wayne Amtzis with the author


A sudden mountain slams the brakes
A twenty-year siege comes down to
speeds up/ drags out
The hesitant never choose
Chaste walls chastened
close in. Weeds among the rubble
City in ruins. A dwarf species
pushes through. I, splinter.
the word gash festers
The wide-open, pinpointed,
a finger-touch away,
splattered kill. A mess of hacks,
guts stuffed back
Nothing here, so they leave
behind less
Far-flung failure intact,
quarry-faced future
long due, rent earth and landslides,
stacked tires
and sling shot stone
demark a grotesque range,
a battered divide
Between sever and seal,
shape and shatter, a fetish of talks
In dissonant halls,
voices cast out, bodies mauled
Ad(mired) in beauty,
your mountains, monuments;
your faces, defaced
Your vision a dredged pool of light
Your fortified refuge
a ravished valley. The relinquished
heart of the Mandala
Can't you see what is happening?
The sign ahead veers
The sharp sudden one step more
trips you up. You're the
thing to be had, the naught to be done in,
the zip to be zapped
That unguarded moment when we
could have. All around now,
closing in. Tongues thickened with deceit
Escape rutted with delay
There's no space left in the all-alone
Throats constrict. Walled-in,
walls fall. Everything's taken from you
Despair got you by/ Pain's all that's left
At the court of the deprived
and vanquished,
the un-judged deliver their verdict
No one suffers here (They insist)
No one will speak of this
(There's nothing to be spoken of)
Until you can speak
for yourself
(This they fear)

Wayne Amtzis Kathmandu March 05

Purna Bahadur Vaidya

For the tiniest refuge,
the waters move
Hastily running night and day
despite jungle and hills

Finding a place of rest
where its whole self
can stay, there it calmly abides,
its restless waves asleep

But, in my land, (harbored and held high
by mountains and icy peaks)
there is no place
to remain

Cruel hills and steep
cliffs pushing down, allow no rest,
banishing it to the lowlands

Forced out of its native realm
for a foreign land

So, rubbing earthly dust onto its chest,
it leaves its own place

exhausted in the ocean of sacrifice
for no end,
for nothing at all

Translated by
Wayne Amtzis with the author

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)