Monday, May 13, 2013

poem of the day 05.13.13

our crowd

my wife and i hop the first train that we see
that’ll get us back to vienna

we don’t even look because we’re so tired
from the loud hotel that cost us three days of sleep

the train is nice, roomy, with leather seats
air conditioning and big windows to take in the austrian landscape

it’s nothing like the hot, stifling glass box
that we’d taken to salzburg

we have to be on the wrong train, i tell my wife

and then i get nervous
because i hold the belief that any screw up
is a blight on the soul

unless there’s alcohol involved

but this is morning
and i’m at least three hours from the first drink

and the conductor is coming down the aisle checking tickets

i give him ours and he sighs
you don’t speak german, do you?

not a lick, i say, in the queen’s english

you are on a private train, he tells us as best that he can
either pay a new fare of get off at the next stop

he moves along saying this to at least half a dozen more people
as impatient as we were to get somewhere

and at the next stop we all do a slouching perp walk off the train

me, my wife, some lunatic old austrian
who keeps checking his bag and his phone

this group of old ladies who won’t quit laughing at their folly
and a pack of chinese tourists
on their way to vienna to snap more photos
but not see a goddamned thing

see, we aren’t the only ones who did this, my wife says
as we freeze on a platform in an unknown town
as the austrian rain falls around us

i know, i tell her, looking around

at the confused austrian yelling into his phone
at the pack of ladies who are still laughing at nothing
at the chinese tourists taking photos of their mistake

stuck on this platform in the land of mozart, klimt, and beethoven

surrounded by so much genius
but not an ounce of it here

we’ve finally found our crowd, i tell her

then i suck down the rest of my coffee
and settle in to wait with the other scholars.


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