“distrust friendly gentleman” by Jason S Polley

Photo by JSP. 6:40 am. Late July 2010. McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India.

distrust friendly gentleman who says Sit relax and Put
………….pack uptop and then appears outside your train
………….window and tells you to open it wide for its Very
………….hot humid
and you talk about canada and germany and his Germany
………….girlfriend and the Six languages he knows and his
………….Bad english intonation and his 86 graduation and
………….he says thrice Light you have
and you dont so the unsmiling family man in the seat
………….beside grudgingly passes out his butt through
………….black barred window
and conversation continues as friendly gentleman walks
………….back fading into justpostdusk trainstation
………….platform darkblackness
and you bring him back lightning alive by quoting the
………….conversation with returned mineral water in hand
………….biscuits in other denton who then suggests a
………….game of chess to Burn some time
and he reaches above for the board in his pack as you
………….stand and look above eyes emptying and thank
………….the god of the hour after touching glasses patting
………….moneybelt
and you miss your journal and novels for they were
………….sleeping in your pack which is now running on
………….the back of conniving conspiring disappeared
………….friendly language gentlemans accomplices
………….unseen longgone quickcrafty hands
eyes desperate frantic to find starving search follows as
………….train tells you look up and down absence echoing
………….it wont be found

you ask frowning cigarettebutt familyman about
………….houdinied pack
and his eyes go wide as search party grows by one to
………….three and he leads you off the train owleyed head
………….fumblingstumbling incredulous
and his eyes grow glowing his hand raises index finger
………….shooting and his mouth follows
Run runrun Go go Gonow trying to keep up with his legs
………….and the canter conveys coloured hope ahead and
………….you exhale instinct alone and familiar green and
………….purple on grey platform in black night in front of
………….red train and mouth pops as the friendly language
………….gentlemans unseen before accomplice quick
………….pivots eyes stopping mouth waiting
you wonder loud What are you doing times three and
………….unsmiling family man pants out questions index
………….triggering target as the friendly language
………….gentlemans thieving accomplice stumbles on
………….truth and drops pack down drastic and then points
………….and hesitates the way to the locomotive almost
………….holy buddhist bodhgaya bound and steps into one
………….cars side and shoots through the other and his
………….walking lead becomes a sailing slippery getaway
………….down the steelline
you stunnedrelievedsaved by the regained weight down
………….spine adrenaline adapting
and unsmiling family man wails Polizei Polizei Polizei
………….to invisible beige uniforms that wont be german
and youre dumbfounded dumb and the
………….inevitableincredible india crowd congregates and
………….coagulates round you and frowning family man
………….and hindi oriya fastlow english explanation
………….replays that would amazeenchant maybe
………….startlestifle the chronicling fingers thumbs ears of
………….faulkner and clemens
and sweaty shiver shaking burden and big glee in bloated
………….loaded mind
and all you want to do is hug the unsmiling family man
………….who never liked the friendly language germany
………….girlfriend bad english intonation 86 graduation
………….ungentleman from the getgo as quakingquivering
………….body delivers him pale thinning deadwhite right
………….for third time
and he threepeats You verylucky and leading pulls
………….you past constantlycurious crowd back to car as
………….you try to hide your smile from the eye wanderingwondering
………….denton
and you place your biggerburdennow bag on hook
………….knowing there are light bulbs watching and surer
………….plots pondered and This is india

and the comfort of five minutes previous stakes you breaks
………….you makes you

[First published in refrain, pp. 43-45.]

:::::

jspJason S Polley is Associate Professor at the Department of English Language and Literature. [Click here to read all entries by JSP.]

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