A Layer of the Beast.

You get out of the plane,

Get a first glimpse of India,

And India. Forgets. To welcome you.

You’re in the car now,

It’s hot and it’s stuffy,

And the view outside sends a chill up your neck.

Safety is naught for legs or for wheels,

Hazy comes the thread of your life.

But you’re dreaming of sleep; pure and unreal,

So you lay back and you close your eyes,

And you don’t care any more.

You wake up and you’re pulling your luggage,

It roars ever loud as it follows.

Look back they say!

The motorbike you avoid:

The knife to the thread of your life.

And look right and look left,

Be the iron in the crowd,

The one that stays still in the flow.

Pushed right in the hole, pushed left on the road,

Keep still the thread of your life.

A hole bites your leg,

Look down they repeat,

Fight the abyss of dust far below.

Look behind,

Look right,

Look left,

Look below,

Your brain is a mass of confusion.

And you realize, slowly, inevitably,

That you did not look in front!

They’ve left you, all alone,

To face the hoard of scowling faces,

But you know it can’t be done.

Slowly, you let go of the thread of your life,

It flies, it hovers, it’s devoured by the crowd,

Eaten, consumed by the chaos.

You’re gasping, a hand to your chest,

Sucking in air and sucking out memories,

There in your bed, out of India.

You remember that once, years ago,

There was something…

But it doesn’t stop the knowledge:

The knowledge that down that small flight of stairs,

India. Is biding. Its time.

Hunger brings even the mole out its earth,

Oblivious to the jaws snapping shut.

And you see what the crowd lets you see:

A shop licking dust,

A trader licking money,

A town sinking below the earth.

But they’re all just another layer,

Hiding it all.

At last comes the sight:

The haven with the food,

You ask then you wait,

And you can’t help but dreading what is in your plate.

You taste, a fire lights up in your head,

A fire of pleasure which leads the war,

And it finally wipes out the memories.

As time ebbs by, you make up your mind:

You must flee!

Escape whilst you still can,

Whilst the net is still in the air…

You decide on the train,

And the struggle leads on,

Pitting you versus India:

The lies of the people,

The wall to the place,

You fight on.

But finally your will is the strongest,

And the train is a village of joy.

Goodbye Delhi…

And when you’re there,

It’s Agra which smiles at you,

But you realize all too soon that this is another layer,

Hiding it all…

Days pass by seconds:

Wearing you down,

Biting your heart,

Numbing your brain,

Chewing your flesh till it screams.

You think to escape,

Hi to the Taj Mahal means bye to It,

But you don’t know how wrong you are…

India sends hassle,

Burns up your patience.

India sends heat,

Burns up your joy.

Until your eyes just look and enjoy,

Although they’re dripping with tears of Sun.

You’re weary, of a weariness like poison,

And you dream of sleep,

But India burns you at night,

Screams at you till you wake up,

Sleep is a luxury of high price.

You’re pleading for rest,

Don’t know where to go,

You’re lost in a forest of sweat.

But it just won’t stop,

It’ll gnaw your bone to the marrow,

Sending your face drooping down.

You would douse your face with tears,

But you know it would not drown India.

It has no pity.

It has no soul.

But somewhere inside you is a hope of new dawn:

Of earning the welcome of the beast.

One Response

  1. Loved it! You should read some St John Perse some day… Even though in french it seems similar. Thanks for the trip!

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