We Missed Sophie’s Train; Night Train

A couple nights before the last spectacular SPIN (videos coming soon), I saw Sophie Malleret.  We talked about trains and life and love and art.  She said in French accent, “Martha, I may have a poem for you on trains.”  Well, we didn’t have room for it last week, but considering it’s rhythmic, physical, train like quality,  I thought I share over the wires.

Come ride on the tracks of this tale chant, tale train, train tale.  Watch.  Devour.  Discover.  Uncover the night train.

Night Train, Budapest-Bucharest, 1994  –Sophie Malleret 

Chapter 1

Bombastic delight Curfew
Train packed to roof
Your hair turned white/
Three months ago/All of sudden Three months ago
Your hair turned all white
Same as your dad/At twenty five
Head full of white hair Silver fox/White fox/Silver white fox
Train station Packed Budapest Midnight
Cross boarder
More people coming in/Boarding
——We change trains ——–
Transylvania/We get on train/On other train/Boarding other train
—–More packed/Crowded
Crowds of people trying to get on train/Getting on train———
Your back pocket
Overflowing with passport Visa Traveller checks
What was the sound of wind/Mountains/Stars
What was the engine saying
When we got on/When we got on train
———People pushing
People everywhere Pushing
People everywhere Everywhere around us Pushing——–
Hard to breathe
Must not lose each other I think
Must not lose each other

Men Women Children Dogs
Thousands of bags Suitcases Boxes Tumbling down from baskets above heads
Jewellery clinging Bracelets Rings Earrings Necklaces Heavy
Heavy necklaces Weighing tons
Everyone around us sounds like a hardware store
——We’re getting on———

You touch/Feel your back pocket/Hand on back pocket
It’s gone
Passport Visa Traveller checks
Gone All Gone
Little thief into the night
Soft touch You didn’t feel anything Soft touch You didn’t feel anything
Artistry of stealing Robbing Taking on crowded train
Bodies rubbing against one another
Hand here and there Grabbing dumb tourist
You asked for it
Wallet in your back pocket

Chapter 2

You asked for it
Like you were offering them It/All of it /Were offering it to them/All of it
Gypsys Tziganes Roms Troubadours
—20th century’s wayfarers
Just like you and me/Like you and me/Like us—-
All around us
Languages and tongues I/We don’t understand
Dark eyes Dark eyes piercing/Piercing dark eyes
We get on/ We get on train
I have tickets in my hand
We go sit in car
You look scared
Your eyes searching Pleading Begging for my yes
Car is full/Cars full
Two seats Empty /Finally two empty seats
You’re next to the window
I’m in the middle Facing you On other side
—-Some one offers to move Change seats
I come sit next to you —–
We don’t dare to get out Talk Get up Doze Sleep Eat Drink
Dare to do nothing Nothing at all
Man passes by From one car to next
With water sandwiches and things
We don’t buy anything
All I have is loads of cash in bag around my waist
Loads Loads of cash
Need to take whole lot to get one bill out
To buy bottle of water and candy bars
And they would see
They would see Loads of cash
It’d be the End of us
You and me Ending on this train On this train to nowhere
No where good No where close No Where
So we buy nothing Nothing at all
I think I doze off Did I Doze off Did I
I feel some one coming close Coming close Coming close to me
Kneeling Leaning Bending forward Toward me
My ears My lips My neck —–Trembling Shaking
Chills Delicious Goose bumps Traveling up my spine——
His hands
Slowly ever slowly
Circling around my ankle/From my ankle Up leg To My knee
A kiss on my knee Is that a kiss Is that a kiss
Along my thigh Along my Along thigh Along thigh/Along My Thigh Thigh Thigh

Chapter 3

Further up Up Up
Up my skirt
A noise Sharp Sharp noise on train Break/We break
Engine stops Moving no more
I look down Look down on my lap
My jeans Ink stain Stain of ink On my right thigh In front
Opposite to the one in the back On my back pocket Right side On my bottom
Where my heart touches your memory
Where your memory turns into cloud
Did I dream that
Did I dream that
My dress My skirt My pants melting within each other Shape of hand
Shape of Hard Erect Strong
Dark outside No light Starlight Moonlight
Your eyes Kissing across On seat across On other bench Across
They’re all staring at me
Did I talk in my sleep Talk Talk Talk up a storm
I still feel his hands on my chest/On my breast Inside of me/Inside me
Riding Riding me
Last of gypsy Last of gypsy man Who could ever play music like a king
——Train starts again ——
I get up Open window
Air Fresh air coming from outside
You say no word You move not You look not
Man Sitting Next to me Comes stand by my side At window
Says something in Hungarian Some language I don’t understand /Whispers something in my ear
Something in Hungarian Some language I don’t understand
Viszontlátásra I whisper Viszontlátásra I whisper in his ear

——–His breath on my breath
His hand on my skin————-
My skin Bare
Summer night Heat Damp Humid heat
Sweat pearls/Pearls of sweat Suspended
Dancing in the air/dark
Hands of man
Strong Big hands of man
Smile of devil
Devilish smile
He smells of jasmine Green river Sunday night
Orange vase with freshly cut flowers

Chapter 4

He pulls a knife from inside his mouth
Holds it between his lips His teeth His wanting me
Knife shiny I see my face in the blade My face in blade/Face in blade
My agony Heavy
Heavy breathing
Can’t take it no more
Blade dances in twilight
I look happy I look happy in his blade
Gypsy behind plays guitar Flamenco style
——Train to Bucharest takes me/Swings me back to Seville——-
Where ghost gives me horse/his horse/some horse
Wild horses on train singing along with gypsy
Song of gypsy man
He takes my hand
Grabs my neck
Plays banjo with my hair
His sideburns Blowing sideways to
Breathless I explode
His kiss on my mouth
Kiss in my mouth
Knife coming up my skirt Up Along beyond
Song of gypsy man
Takes my hand
Pulls me to corner
Away from crowd
Away way from crowd
Chicken Turkey Goose laying their head on me
Stain on my pants Colours of sunset
Of letter he’s never going to write Send to me
Of body I will not love See Remember
Knife flies to today Twenty years later
I catch it with my teeth/Bare teeth
Smell of jasmine Green river Sunrise
Vintage trolley Debunked
On road Desert Attentive rodeo
My words His hands Shivering Still Shivering inside my flesh/Inside flesh
The love we didn’t love
On the day I was born
My desire Swimming upstream to song of gypsy man
Viszontlátásra I whisper into his ear Viszontlátásra
Song of gypsy man/Song Song of gypsy man