Postcard From India
the only difference here from night
as life goes on all hours
the nights are cooler.
Town is self described – Industrial
with endless slums of palm leaf shanty rooms
darkened from years of dust and smoke
spectrum reduced to shades of black and tan.
Streets are infested by a seething anthill mass
of human form
each making desperate attempts
to maintain life
they start out early
wheelwrights, potters, weavers, fortune tellers
rickshaws, cows and business men in shabby brown suits
Labor stops at noon
the sun directly overhead
equator’s shimmering, deadly heat.
the people slow
a starving dog finds a convenient place to die
he will be taken care of in the night
by other starving dogs
nothing is wasted here.
the pace picks up again
returning with the early evening shadows
night is merciful
life seems more possible
another day survived
tomorrow much the same
more endless hours on sun baked earth
the only possible escape
beyond the reach of man.
Stone monoliths extend
into the sky
grasping for sovereigns of the universe
gigantean sculptured pyramid
gods and demons
pose at entrances to temple labyrinths
better than a hundred priests inside
one is expected to leave coins.
Pilgrims walk barefoot across stones worn smooth
by ancestors, their fathers, father’s, fathers
deities in every corner
some are crumbling and ignored
almost forgotten in these modern times
divinities and devils find their last abode in Trichy.
Land of fortune tellers, jungles, ancient asmaras
spells and curses
white men feel oppressed here
out of touch
within this distant world.