previously I had never conceived
      of all day waiting in Bombay
sleeping in a cold early morning at the station
      I arrive at five
the floor covered with many sleeping people
      some barely in rags
      some groups with shiny new bags
I wait and watch patiently
      stumbling in a daze
for the foreign tourist ticket window
      to open at nine o'clock
I tried to check my backpack
      to walk around the block
but they would not accept it at the cloak room
because it had no lock and so many rips
so I sat, then walked in many short trips
to the equally crowded outside world
      so bright and sunny
and so many beautiful sentient beings
      asking for money
so I meandered back inside
      and up the smooth station stairs
to the Vegetarian Refreshment Room
      for a masala dosa and instant coffee
then I found the second class waiting room
      where I laid on a couch, very sleepy, for hours
as groups of excited young Indians
      traveling together arrived and took showers
they refold and repacked, played cards,
      and read papers
but spoke to no one --
      not even my closest neighbors
as evening approached I again became hungry
so back I went to the veg. refreshment room
      for a rice and veg. thali
it was too spicy and cold
      and the fried bread was too rubbery
but worst of all -- I gave him a fifty
      and he gave me change for a twenty
so I sat and I wandered
      and I sat and I wandered
over and over the bustling cement beehive
      I pondered
so many sentient beings on the eternal move
try to stay calm -- stay in their groove
finally it was midnight and time for
      the 24 hours Banaras train
at that point Mumbai station made me realize
      life is suffering
      all is pain
but one thing I saw through
      the dirty train's hissing steam       
I had a peaceful top-bunk sleeper
      and perchance to dream

                                                                  fr. Welcome to Freaksville                                    


Shiv Mirabito is a Tantric Buddhist-Hindi yogi, anthropologist, archivist, artist, photographer, publisher & poet who began writing as a teenager while living at Allen Ginsberg's Cherry Valley poetry commune. He now divides his time between Woodstock, India & Nepal. His imprint, Shivastan Publishing, craftprints chapbooks & broadsides on handmade paper in Kathmandu.