justice

you take the train from
Germany into Paris
and you know when you’ve
crossed the border:
the train stops and these
French soldiers jump
on.
two of them run into
our compartment
they seem very angry as
we flash our passports
but they seem
more interested in the
black American soldier
who is sitting
across from us.
they speak to him
rapidly
one of them grabs him
by the coat
while the other
rips down his suitcase
from overhead
opens it
dumps the contents
on the floor.

then they
pull
the American solider
up
indicate
for him to
put his things
back
into his suitcase
which
he does
then they yank him
out of the compartment
take him away.

the train sits a
while
then goes
into motion.
soon we are at
full speed.

“that was terrible,”
says Linda,
“I wonder what he
did?”

“he was looking
up
your legs,”
I tell her.

“that’s nonsense,”
she says.

“I like the French,”
I say
opening up
two little bottles of
red wine
for us
as the little villages,
the landscape
limbers by.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1982
Source
Original manuscript