Archive for February, 2011

Rewalsar Lake

Watching U2 plug their latest album

            on Asian MTV.

                                Shades and skullcups and cigarettes

sun-tiered    colour’d    rooftops

                           under cloudless sky

                                             framed in rough-plank chai-stall doorway.

Bright too the eyes of old Tibetans passing


and round, prayer wheels in hand.

I take another glass of chai.

The world, so old, too new, so suddenly


Enacting quick-focus zoom in-and-out

                Identity-crisis montage edited by chance

                                                  (less synchronicity?)

–          Bollywood boys in black do L.A. rip-off

                                                     gun-toting and mad,

                                  Miss India at 7-1, AIDS rife in Bengal –

                             Auss-ie crick-et Auss-ie crick-et !

(small boys teach me the mantra)

Tibetan eyes smiling in the sun,

exile eyes out of rubble of

Lhasa, 1959.

The kid changes the channel –

                                               Mumbai romantic purelands.

How many units will U2 move

                            here in the northern mountains?

There’s only one e-mail joint in town.

The sign says Padmasambhava spent sometime here.

                      only one Westerner here to

spend     some           time.

Getting lost on the way

                              to the lotus born’s cave.

The path was unmarked

                       followed goat-trails, under the weird old trees

Himalayan cactus.

Found old Rinpoche,

                       ‘just passing through’ he said,

                                    showed me the inner sanctum

                                butter-candle burning low –


You come out

                     and you realize it never had a beginning.

The TV has been spinning

                                                         through dust-clouds

                                          for millennia.

Cymbals clashing midday

                                         high electric sun on the lake

–          saints all lived here    Hindu Buddhist Sikh

honoured this murky water as

                                                   blesst –

                            wandering how long      how far,

Seeing the world             without a lens      through the eyes of emptiness:

             little girl prostrating the length of the lake

mangy dog         eats old shit

                      guys arguing on corners           slip away

          ecstatic singer who starts long before dawn,

it’s sundown and he’s still going

                     young mother who washes her face from

                                                              pitcher of sacred water.

Himalayan cactus dies hard

                             under heat of countless suns

                 granite ranges


                                            in place of these eyes

                          paradisal snow high up

                                                            meets the clouds

echoes water-glint of terraced farm-holdings

                                                            old woman with cows,

              long languor of sunset over those masses

                                                                   of impossible


                                                                                   and light.

The Rinpoche had asked me

                                                    “Where are you from”?

Didn’t know to tell him

I don’t know.

Rewalsar slow-fades              imageless

                                        In falling light the lake


                           to the dark places.

Tso Pema, Himachal Pradesh, November 2000

Tibetan mani mantra audio: Mani mantra

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