Old Bag


I don’t go for the hardshelled, two-clasp kind.
My bag is soft-skinned, made to stretch:
a small grab handle, compression straps;
guarded by zips with hundreds of teeth.
All my stuff and portable needs –
it just gulps them down and doesn't complain.

Wayfarer of the travelling world.
Airport handlers give it a hard time:
down the chute, then the once-over.
It comes out scuffed, bashed, torn;
often violated (for security purposes)
with a sticker pasted over its mouth.

Yet shrugs it off. Lifer, it handles
the internment with dignity,
and its freedom with quiet glee –
Heading for exit, bouncing, big,
it nearly rips my arm out of its socket.
So glad to be mine again. Liar.

Because when I get to this night's room,
it empties whatever I've packed inside.
And – not to devalue socks and books, gifts,
and bags within bags – but it’s all just stuff;
not to scratch out New York, Bangkok, and Rome -
but anyone's bag can let go of this.

No location, no owner, no choices.
Some things never fit, though I unpack and pack.
And now? The porters all look shifty to me,
and from up on a shelf, the zip just grins.
Places to go? I fumble through guide-books –
fantastic…honest. All way out of date.


From: Travels in the Middle Land, Dhamma Moon, 2013.


Posted: Tue 17 Nov, 2009