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Displaced in Kathmandu

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Image result for buddhist prayer flags monastery kathmandu war

Our dinner, boiled to death root vegetables, we swallow in silence as night closes-in on the school. The co-opted Buddhist monastery housing us empties its porcelain thrones into the walled garden’s weedy rear yard. Village women wash: the floors, the pots, the laundry from first light to deep dark. The water runs downhill. War does not stop the drudgery. Where the women sleep is unknown to us. The owners’ are small men; they rule the house with a heavy hand. They teach the techniques of shamanic healing and Thai Massage.

the Green Tara
hangs upon the room's wall:
geraniums on the ledge

The drowse of Friday evening evaporates in a burst of gunfire. Behind the high walls surrounding the school, the sounds of violence escalate. Through open, screen-less, windows sirens sound, the sky lights up and red, yellow, blue, and white prayer flags hang lifelessly from the eaves to the locked gate. Sleep hides, as I do, beneath the covers. 

insecticide smolders:
temple bells sound

The monks, long gone, leave remnants of themselves on the incense coated plaster. Peace sought here was not found. Poverty necessitated the building’s sale. Here on a side street in walking distance from the American embassy, a school for westerner’s storm cellars. The desire to learn Eastern Healing techniques and a common language, English, binds us together: American, French, Spanish, and South African captures of the internet, pilgrims. We come, healers all, undaunted by the Civil War, to Kathmandu, Nepal.
Monday, the riots end on cue. Tourists, again, meander the dust clouded streets, skirting the alley’s begging children. Tea is served in the burgeoning shops. Butchers swat flies from hanging haunches of meat, rare bird vendors walk the street with baskets of exotic birds. And, brazen Westerners stride bare armed, sari-less exposed, and rude, at least until next Friday night—they own the world.

First Published by Mulberry Fork 2016

Copyright © | Year Posted 2017

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Date: 8/29/2018 9:02:00 PM
Sounds like a fascinating adventure! You haven't posted anything recently - would like to see more! Peace & Love Matthew Anish
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Date: 7/25/2017 6:19:00 PM
Debbie, beautiful, great example for your contest, loved it !
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Debbie Guzzi
Date: 7/25/2017 10:06:00 PM
Thanks, Dearheart that means a lot coming from you. So glad you are feeling better!
Date: 7/24/2017 11:31:00 PM
This is wonderful Debbie! I would love to visit Nepal. I feel a strong connection to the land and its people. : )
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Debbie Guzzi
Date: 7/25/2017 10:07:00 PM
It's a very special place, Connie - spirit is strong there! Thanks for the read :)
Date: 7/24/2017 6:53:00 PM
I know so little of the culture in this region of the world, but your Haibun gives a wee bit of a glimpse. Your writing is always so interesting, Debbie.
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Debbie Guzzi
Date: 7/24/2017 7:07:00 PM
Thank you, Lin!
Date: 7/24/2017 4:59:00 PM
I like the abruptness of this very much. It could indeed be expanded into an essay because I would like to see more of your journey and depictions of locals and their struggles. I am guessing you are-or have been-a missionary. But do I also sense some resentment towards what you see as American Imperialism? I had much more to write, but since I ran out of characters I thought I best to stop here.
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Debbie Guzzi
Date: 7/24/2017 7:07:00 PM
I'm a massage therapist & energetic healer. I went to Nepal to learn Thai massage [the schools in Chang Mai were not responsive to my queries & the school in Nepal was.] I'm a writer Dale [I've a bachelors degree in fine arts so I am doubly observant. There was no political statement meant to be derived from this piece. Haibun by its nature is meant to capture only a small snippet of time.
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Dale Gregory Cozart
Date: 7/24/2017 6:55:00 PM
Now that I have the chance to finish my thoughts I think 'resentment' wasn't the right word. But I couldn't help some sense of futility on your part that in spite of the efforts of many foreign nations and even money sent from the U.S. not much had changed for folks on the ground in terms of quality of life. I think this contributes to the overall sense of irony in the scene you depict. You might also be a journalist, not a missionary. Thanks.