Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Motorcycle Man Returns

Modified Royal Enfield Bulelt 350, 22 November 2015. Photo by Kottakkalnet. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.


The Motorcycle Man Returns

What was that song? Ghost riders on the
Storm? You are not really here—it’s a
Phantom of you, your Enfield riding up
Snorting foamy with the heat of the road and
You come in with those motorcycle clothes
Greasy and full of road stench and
Remind me that had I not been here I
Would have been somewhere else. I ask
If you brought some of those
Mothers and you say yes a
Medicine jar full, a lid, and I
Warn that there is a Kraut next
Door—a kind of joke, just as the
Bricks are since there is only a thin
Cloth separating room from room and
Nothing can be said without this entire
Refugee camp of two knowing, but it’s
OK because he is a spiritual
Tourist drinking ayurvedic drugs for detox
Even as at dinner he has his
Cigarettes with beer and is
Exhausted and oblivious to our
Cannabis smoke under the
Shelter of the starry Indian sky
It is as if you have been away for
Only a brave swim at night among
Noctilucae brave feet rising and
Falling the clumsy sands of
Stairs to and from the beach
Fireworks or gunfire upsetting the
Worrisome dogs and where have you been
Across Tamil Nadu and Kerala by bike and
Back and by train from Coimbatore to Pune and
Back and now again by bike to Varkala you are
Back but there are only those slow hits and
Coughs to get off as if we have scarcely
Moved not across whole subcontinents and a
Million mutually incomprehensible tongues
Spoken by people of thousands of interwoven
Villages. I stop only to tell you the
German is a seeker whom I asked
Why believe in anything, who is as
Sure of his sight as a bat is sure of
Echoes and can find his
Mosquitoes in burning coils in the night, who
Says he is a sculptor full of vision
Because once upon a time his entire
Race was purged of myopic men like me, who
Spent his first five days in
India at an ashram for a
Hug from a fifty- or sixty-year-old
Woman (she ages a decade with every
Telling) who has hugged more than
Two million people—they count the
Embraces like so many hamburgers sold.
So with Orion reaching to hold his
Prey at the zenith and Sirius burning
Blue hot holes through the palms, the
German sleeps off his guru’s tampering with his
Electrolytes and you are not really here.