Bordertown

I’m trying to make peace with the world
because It won’t make the initiative
so I’ve set out to seek
redemption and acceptance
and make the strange places new.
Yesterday I
was lying on a dirty cot,
no sheets,
noises through the plywood walls
at night
with a radio and the battery running low,
the bus had just arrived.
Somewhere
between here and there
in a bordertown hotel,
a makeshift place
of broken sheds
and bars and midnight coffee houses
in the Himalayan foothills.
And I
drink chai,
that’s tea with milk
in small cups
shaped from clay,
baked in manure
and made to throw away.
I remember
they littered the train tracks,
those, and the peanut husks
thrown from the windows
as the locomotive goes along.
Near Calcutta
the tea men
with their hot metal pots
shout “Cha, Cha!”
a cry that changes pitch
and tone
as the train moves
from town to town.
And yesterday I
was on the road
to Kathmandu
unsleeping in a grimy
bordertown hotel
betwixt India and Nepal
trying to catch the bus
because the trains don’t run
in the mountains.

Where the roads are thin
between mountain and oblivion
and the buses have no doors,
the spotter hanging watching
wheels and earth and sky
while the young Buddhist driver
negotiates the pass
secure that life is but
a bordertown
betwixt birth and death.

“The end”

Gerald Paul Bourgeois
Vantaa, Finland
bourgeois@bourgeoisie.ca
(Finland) 040 0724 337
“Bordertown”
58 lines
written: NS, Canada, 8 May, 1995

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