48hrs – Chengdu, Sichuan to Shanghai, China

Chengdu, Sichuan to Shanghai, China by train

Chengdu (the most densely populated and relatively poor economical region) to Shanghai (the commercial hub of opportunities) via Xian. The end of Chinese new year festivities. 48 hours by train hard seat.

Not a good idea!

48hrs on a train.
Incredible distance, spanning varied terrain.
West to North, North to East.
Mongol deserts and snowy piste.
Square box sleep, my impersonal space.
Invisible walled prison, stuck in my place.
48hrs penned in this train.
Scant consolation past the window frame.
Heads on hands, hands on knees.
The carriage full of thousands of Chinese.
After two hours they lock all the doors.
Under my feet children spread out on the floor.
48hrs on this hellish train.
Counting the miles, going insane.
None can get on, full to the brim.
Through the window comes bags followed by a limb.
A lifeless puppet shelved for two days.
On this hard wooden seat were so many lay.
48hrs on the fucking train.
Pinching myself, life starting to drain.
But we’re the lucky ones, who have a seat of sorts.
Others lean, crouch, slump, squat, their faces fraught.
I haven’t moved now for over a day.
Two angry men, a short squashed fray.
48hrs cramped on a train.
Boredom, discomfort trickling out my brain.
Locked in dementia, locked in my seat.
Throw in some livestock and the mayhems complete.
Dreams of kicking skeletal legs in a Herbie Hancock song.
‘Only’ twelve hours more, hold on, not long.
48hrs in this cursed train.
Sleep merging with wake, riddled with pain.
The outskirts of Shanghai draw nearer.
“women zai na’li, Shanghai dow le.”
Consummate relief “We’re here”, joy, glory, elation.
Pressing the body to move with some hesitation.
48hrs have past on the train.
On my life I can say –
Never again!

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