Saturday, 5 September 2015

Watching Keleti

Straight off the overnight train from Brasov,
we were negotiating in the left-luggage office
over notes we’d got from the cashpoint –
simply too big a denomination.
Destinations casually flick-flacked down
the announcement boards. Underground,
there were arguments at the ticket windows
and a gathering of new arrivals, about
to be addressed by their seasonal hosts.
We ordered bacon and eggs in the canteen,
under high ceilings painted with cupids
by Austro-Hungarian imperial regimes.

Tonight, on TV, where day-glo wristbands
of festival-goers were just so much background,
tired teenagers hanging their heads in the aftermath,
squatting on the steps of Keleti Station,
a reporter’s grasping at the drama of the situation.
It depends which passport you have in your pocket.
It didn’t seem to matter at the time. It does now.

 Tom Phillips 2015