Climbing a Himalaya in Trainers


Hashish to hashish,

monk to monkey,

Sherpa Tenzing was no flunkey,

but I wish he was here to offer me a rope

and a yak burger. They’re

splendiferous creatures, I’ve seen them

in the town shuffling past internet cafés

like kerb-crawling armoured cars in sweaters, but

Christ, they make me hungry.


A camera swings across

a freckled cleavage.

Above it, a smile hello

like a birthday banner,


framed photographs and normality,

disappears into the clouds forever.


On the roof of the world, in the

abyss of my life,

damp-faced, cloud-cloaked,


I can only make out the bottom half

of mighty Machhapuchhre, Shiva’s fish-tail

behind which Chinese guns

wait and wait for their moment,

so I trudge back down the mountain

with no health insurance

in the white trainers I’d found

in Gay Wayne next door’s dustbin,

back to the Maoist-postered town

where Gurkhas hold hands

and teenagers taunt cows

(is this their sacrilegious rebellion?),

where bearded apes and bald holy men

bound around temples

and tourists ease their stomach pains

with strong-smelling, paranoia-triggering cigarettes.






From “Disoccidented” by Alfie Shoyger:


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Some flashbacks for me. Very fine write. I won’t return easily…

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