Two More Euro Poems


Many thanks to Bindweed, an online literary journal, for publishing the follow two poems — two more from my series about my travels through Europe in 1980.  That’s me in the middle, between Chino and Abel, with the eponymous Volkswagen van behind us.

Volkswagen Van

                                               “We never see him.”   —Louis XIV

Grand chateau, once royal court of France

  now packed with peasants on bus tours from Paris

    —and me curled up in a Volkswagen van


Where once purple kings and sycophants pranced

  dancing with stars on a moonlit terrace

    this grand chateau, this royal crown of France


Now hosts a daily deluge—trash cans

  full of coffee cups, littered souvenirs

    and me curled up in a Volkswagen van


When one past prince fell ill at romance

  too ashamed to be seen, too embarrassed

    he shunned the chateau, a sin across France


Like him, I’m alone, a grin with no glance

  never to know a stroll with an heiress

    only the hold of a Volkswagen van



Railway Deli

                       —Train to Venice, 1980

Parents packed with diaper bags; infants, kids

    stuffed like peppers in a carriage corridor


Uniformed soldiers smoking San Miguels

    strung-up salamis, olives in a jar


I close my itchy eyes, dream of first-class seats

    roomy leather arms, air-con breeze


I pop a Coca-Cola, pour bubbles over ice

    prop my tired feet, sip the countryside


But eyes blink open, burning from the stench

    thin tin can, narrow wooden bench



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