matt martin

you arrive at the foot of mount kailash      a himalayan peak sacred among buddhists and jains and hindus and followers of bönpo      the latter is tibet’s indigenous faith      the summit’s snow-covered dome caps nearly vertical slopes      no one has achieved the top since the sage milarepa flew there on a sunbeam a thousand years ago       a spanish expedition in 2001 was cancelled after protests from religious leaders      to honour one’s faith one must circumambulate the mountain      a trek of three days      completing the circuit triggers a spiritual current      and voltage equals current times resistance      the greater the path’s resistance the greater the voltage      but you did not come here to walk the route      you’ve made a deal with tibet’s occupying chinese government      to build an orbital motorway round kailash      you observe the diggers and steam rollers and men at work      soon anyone able to afford a car will complete the pilgrimage in mere hours      and repeat the circuit again and again with ease      low resistance but high current still equating to high enough voltage for motorists      yet robbing pedestrians of the resistance they need to accumulate the same charge      now the road is complete      how will you circumnavigate the peak

     •    drive round it clockwise like hindus and buddhists
     •    drive widdershins like jains and adherents of bönpo