Friday, 25 July 2008

The Train Says Larkhall

The train says Larkhall
and I, trusting, go inside.
it could be going anywhere
Auschwitz even, first class ticket
and I'm a poet, businessman, political doodler
artist, social entrepreneur, meditation guide
(and philosopher I'd say)

Shut up Jew the ticket inspector would reply.

But I'm not a Jew I'd respond in panic
and the cock would crow three times
i'm a Catholic, well was.
do you know what a scientific secular buddhist is?

Shut up Jew he repeated and I swallowed hard.

I had just bought Szymborska's and Milosz's
Collected Poems
but showing them to the guard,
i mean ticket collector
would only increase his suspicion

in desperation i fiddled about with my wallet.
damn. not even a business card.
then i remember i had bought a return ticket.

i showed it to the guard.
Glasgow Central / Queen Street to Hamilton Central.

That's fine then Sir he said.
it's three stops time.

The old man opposite me looks sad
bewildered even.
i feel guilty about my good fortune.

Finally I get off at Hamilton Central.
i look back at the train
it has turned into cattle trucks
in the distance beyond the shopping centre
car park
are the gates of Birkenau
the place where the Enlightenment fell apart
and science gasped at its own wickedness.

24 September 2007

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