Riding the Midnight Express to Tangier by Roger Camp

Riding the Midnight Express to Tangier

Roger Camp

                 for William Wertz


We boarded the train in Rabat

     a classic lst class compartment

with wooden seats

                           plush to ourselves.


My fevered body no match

     for the burning North African desert

on a desperate run

                              to Spain,


seeking medicine for dysentery.

     Tremulous with chills, brain fogged,

our unscheduled stop

                                 in the sandy void


birthing a hallucination.

     The moonlit white robes,

a shimmering mirage of Bedouins

                                                      flooding the train


streaming to our seats. My disordered mind

       invented a headline, Two Travelers Murdered.

Waving his woven Peruvian bag

                                                    that held camera and film


Bill weaved a web of brilliant threads

     swathing the cabin in swirls of color

a delusional texture so dense

                                              it scattered the intruders.


As the train entered Tangier

     we witnessed the conductor

collecting copper coins from the nomads,

                                                                  the desert stop


a simple bribe

     benefiting both tribes.

About the Author

Roger Camp lives in Seal Beach, CA, where he muses over his orchids, walks the pier, plays blues piano, and spends afternoons reading under an Angel’s Trumpet with a charm of hummingbirds. When he’s not at home, he’s photographing in the Old World. His work has appeared in SpillwaySlantNorth American ReviewPankSouthern Poetry Review, and Nimrod.