In Kathmandu, if you’re having tooth pain, you can nail a coin to the root knot of a special tree to request the analgesic intercession of the gods.
Elsewhere, I’d recommend a dentist.
Among the brick rubble, down a side street from the temples encased in spiky, cuboid scaffolds, next to a bulging wall bolstered by beams knocked in at a slant, someone painted this graffiti of Heath Ledger’s Joker.
I stare at the maniacal face and can’t help but wonder whether someone painted it in the seven years between Ledger’s portrayal and the 2015 earthquake that broke Bhaktapur, or whether it’s a commentary on disruptive forces.
tight warren of streets, alleys, and stupa-laden courtyards
— a junky’s labyrinth
low portals force a bow to the ever-watching Buddha
how’s someone, hot-wired and strung out —
slipping the sacred geometries —
kink their way through this dusty burg
without clocking a noggin on bricks
— blocks of brown, dried blood brown
how do lost self-medicating masses find themselves
where it’s so easy to be lost