Monsoon Rain

The constant pouring monsoon rain
The heat of the mountain underneath
In the middle of the Himalayas
in the high air,
every day
before I walked up that steep hill
before I saw all that rain,
rushing in streams down the mountain,
and there was just the green, the grey and red –
the red of the Tibetan monks in their robes –
the red that did it and their friendly faces,
I would invite them and they would come,
right before dark,
knocking on my door.
They slipped into my simple room
while monkeys were banging on the metal windows,
inexperienced hands,
and my 24-year-old body so ready,
so glowing,
so understanding
so wanting to show,
being like that mountain
and everything underneath
waiting for that rain to come –
a long season of rain,
for seven weeks
I forgot their names,
But I didn’t forget that incredible desire
burning in them,
deep voices singing in the background
and the bells of the stupa rang
and the murmuring sang throughout the town,
and rats caught at night were spread out
in a different place
because they could not be killed.
I remember the hard lips
lips that had never kissed
hands that had never walked
the path on my leg,
that had never even touched
the warmth of a woman.
They all were so young
forced to be a monk for the family –
but there I was –
the sound, the heat,
the red robes draped all around them –
our nakedness,
the coming so quick,
the embarrassment after
each one of them
and then I would show the other path,
as if we took another door
the hands now softening
the melting,
all without words.
No other language
my lips now speaking on their skin
the hardness waiting,
the smell of their sweat of fear –
fear of every sound,
every sound that could mean the end
but the monsoon rain never stopped.

Philip Brautigam
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