Blue train

I’m on the train again, thinking
about the three kings, B.B., Albert and Freddy,
and how B.B. King is considered
the king of kings, although
Hendrix is more in the style of Albert.
Still, Jimi had the cheekiness
and some of the holler and reply of B.B.
Not that B.B. invented the holler
and reply. That goes way, way back…

There is a bad smell and a hissing sound.
When I look up I see a man with a silver face.
He is holding a plastic bag
that he is filling with paint from a can.
There’s a wide circle of empty seats –
just a Chinese girl and I sit nearby;
everyone else is huddled up each end.

The guy is staring at me, like he wants
some kind of a reaction.
I look down, but a weird humour takes me.
When the Chinese girl notices me,
I smile and shake my head.
But she does not smile back.
I can’t decide what her stony face means,
whether she is trying to tell me
that there is nothing funny about this,
or whether her lack of expression
is a cultural thing. Either way,
I feel shabby now – like I’ve shown this guy,
this sad person, a lack of respect.
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.
I guess humour is my defence.

I think about Tiananmen Square.
I think of Jimi Hendrix, and how he looked
not so young before he died.
Still this guy is staring at me
with his glazed eyes and silver-blue face,
sucking paint like there’s no tomorrow.
Well maybe there is no tomorrow.

Sometimes the best I can do is the pension,
anti-depressants and self-restraint,
and to forgive myself for these visitations
of a humour that exists only to serve
its own blue world.

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