Poem -Space Cake, Amsterdam – Yuyutsu Sharma

“Don’t panic,” they said, 

remain cool like your Krishna, 

meditate maybe like Buddha, 

uttering ‘Om Mani Padme,’ jewel in the lotus, 

or lie down and relax 

like Vishnu on the python-bed 

to float on the ocean’s currents, 

buoyant on the invisible thread 

of your breath in slow motion… 
Millions of cats prowled around me. 

Smoke from shared sex 

and hashish joints stung my eyes. 

Unsettling tongue 

of an awkward fire fed my stomach. 

I skidded queasily towards 

towards the formidable edge, 

unknown ominous frontiers of human life… 
They laughed a secret laugh 

behind my back – “Isn’t it crazy that 

this man from Kathmandu should get stoned 

from a piece of space cake in Amsterdam?” 
“Don’t be serious, laugh, 

celebrate the flame of life!” a woman’s voice said. 

“Hold my hand; I can imagine 

you are alone on this trail. 

I’v been there once,” she whispered. 

Her tongue curled like a dry leaf in my ear 

and crackled “How much did you take, 

just a piece? I took thirty-eight grams once, 

It can be crazy if you don’t know it’s coming. 

Just don’t worry too much. 

Don’t lose your control over things. 

You can kiss me if you like, 

You can pat my back, 

tickle my belly or stroke my breasts 

for a while, if it comforts you. 

Sometimes it can be heavenly, 

this licking the rim of the forbidden frontiers of human life. 
“That’s what he wants, that’s exactly 

what he’s looking for,” a voice leered far off. 

“But I have to go ultimately, 

I’ve a man waiting at home for me.” 
“Maybe read a poem of yours,” 

someone said. My heart raced wild 

and I heard some-girls gossip in the next room— 

What if he gets sick in Europe? 

Don’t we get sick in Asia? 

“Just take it easy,” another voice echoed 

“You won’t go psychotic. Remember one thing, 

whatever happens, you can always make a comeback.”

Faces of my dear ones veered past my face. 

I felt delicate thread of my life 

slipping through my fingers 

“Hey man, it’s fine. Don’t worry too much.” 

My host shouted. “Drink lots of water.” 

Drink black tea or coffee,” a guest suggested. 

“Or take lots of orange juice.” 

“Maybe sing your favorite song,” a woman said. 

“Or recite one of your Hindu mantras.” 

“Maybe stick your finger into your throat” 

another voice came sheepishly, “And throw up. 

You probably haven’t digested everything yet.” 
Questions came like wind slaps. 

“Can you tell me what they call boredom 

in your mother tongue? Do you remember 

your email account and password? 

Discuss your children, if you have any. 

Shall I bring my little daughter before you? 

Maybe you’d feel better then, 

seeing her brilliant eyes.” 
I imagined a child’s face and clung to it, 

like a penitent would hold onto 

a sacred cow’s tail in his afterlife, 

and slept on it, all through the river of blood… 
Hours passed by 

and then I heard someone say— 

What if he had freaked out? 

What if Death had stalked our house tonight? 
Hearing these words, I woke up 

knowing I’d come back, stepped on 

the familiar shores of life 

where Death’s feared, a distant distrustful thing. 

My drowse burst like a glacial that cracks 

from rumble of a seed of fire 

that explodes somewhere in earth’s deep sleep.

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