Inside out

Some poems and reflections on life


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Jaipur 1991

Recollection of a conversation at a backpacker’s hotel in Jaipur in 1991.  Delhi to Agra to Jaipur is ‘tourist central’ in India, which bring with it large numbers of people constantly approaching and selling to tourists. This can be an overwhelming experience for the traveler (to say the least). It is where the clash between tourist and local can be felt the hardest. It wasn’t just being confronted by the poor and the lame begging on the streets. The really frustrated part were well educated young men seeking to make an easy living from scamming tourists.

I have traveled twice to India and developed a huge respect for the people and country. This poem gives voice to just one view of the experience of being a traveler in one part of the country.

“I am prey to be taken …
I am bait in a trap …
A wallet to be scammed.

“I thought I knew
this place I can’t stay
I thought I knew
these people don’t make sense
I thought I knew
but nothing is right”

“I am prey to be taken …
I am bait in a trap …
A wallet to be scammed.

“Every time I
walk out the door they call me
Every time I
go down the street they sell me
Every time I
see a face I second guess

“I am prey to be taken …
I am bait in a trap …
A wallet to be scammed.

“I no longer
trust
I want
to be safe
I want
a holiday”

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Hitching up to the train again

It has been over a year since I last contributed to the Monday Poetry Train. I have written this piece on the theme of rejoining the train. It includes some memories of India Rail journies that came as I wrote it. Please do add on your own “thought carriages” in the comments.

Hitching up to the train again;
a gypsy carriage, bright flowers adorn the sides
a dog sits on the back porch, watching the world fly by
inside, a quiet old man contemplates the word.

Hitching up to the train again;
putting time aside each day
to write, to rite, to right the wrong,
no wrong time to write.

Hitching up to the train again;
to see where it will go
into what new lands of imagination
will this journey take us?

Hitching up to the train again;
2nd class sleeper, crammed to overflowing
a man sells massages for 10 rupees
skinny white guy gets pummelled to everyones’ amusement.

Hitching up to the train again;
heat penetrates the carriage from every side
stiffling all conversation and activity
the oven is on the outside.

Hitching up to the train again;
1st class sleeper
family ignores the foreign presence
girl begs for money at the window, left over meal highlights her day.

Come on and hitch up to the train again!
Lets go along for the ride
Leave the comfort of this go-nowhere-fast life
And see what is around the corner.