“Policing the tongue” by Samikchhya Bhusal2 min read

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Illustration by Arty Guava

when my poems come in english, i wonder
maybe i could dance in these. big mistakes
white english has a way to police the foreign tongue
every sentence a battleground. prove your knowledge
when english is the currency, i am always begging
forgiveness. sorry about the missed comma & that misplaced article

when i sit to write about my mother tongue
i have a list of words that am yet to use: home, comfort, belonging
but i just cannot stop saying wreckage. damage. violence.
Year 1962, Article 4
The National language of Nepal is Nepali language in the Devanagari script

X gets ridiculed by school bullies. she rolled her tongue
at an angle the ruling class didn’t like
i am sure my people are just like other
elites. they don’t like to be named, they destroy
truth.  language thieves. oppressor caste
this poem won’t survive unless i name this
what else do you call those who force a language

this history. too violent. i want to burn it off my tongue
as if ashes were enough
as if this note was enough
as if a reckoning was enough
i am from two failed languages
& i carry no answers
except to search & carve my own
language of love, so beautiful
we will confuse it. for freedom


Samikchhya Bhusal writes to create places of home and hope. She grew up in Kathmandu and currently lives in Los Angeles.

Lay Hoon aka Arty Guava is an Illustrator and Graphic Designer based in Vancouver. She grew up in Malaysia and spent most of her adult life in Singapore before moving to Canada. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Bioengineering but chose to make a career switch after about 1 year of working in the field. Art and Design have always been her calling. She is passionate about culture, people, and nature and how these themes interact with each other. Her work is available at artyguava.com/illustration

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