From a Train Window


Thoughts on departures and emerging trains,

the depot excitement of a bustling platform,

everyone clutching belongings

but nothing uniform

in this mad dash for the silver lining

Sunset Limited at last opening

under an art deco clock,

to carve and unlock

a new town out of morning tracks.

The lightness of leaving,

perhaps for good,

new memories to incubate

in the womb of this current

that whisks you away

through mountains that only rise

to separate you from that former self,

know there will be another platform

on which to take a stand.


From a train window

no victory or end is sustained for long.

It begins again within myriad turns,

inherently vulnerable, the sheer humanity

crammed into all that machinery.

Mere specks in time,

vagrant in the slow crawl

movement by design.

Pathologically it accelerates

from depots of glass

through canyons of concrete

to open spaces at last,

a distortion of distance.

Panoramic horizon lines

too gargantuan to define

the steam from your recess

reflecting the nature of impermenance.

Train windows

transient channels

the flashing panels

of faces and landscapes,

who shares your compartment

on the ride that never ends?

If ever our tracks cross,

I may never see you again.

A feeling of melancholy ties the loose ends,

lost in blurry reflections.

Shrill yells punctuate the in-between,

you’re either coming home

or being pulled away from its seams.

Trains consuming tracks

as the journey comes back around,

the distance dances,

improvising on transient canvasses,

once uniformly blank

now painted marsh grown purple heather,

better to forget what you left behind.

Wisps of black smoke uncoil

to leave no trace on this twisted line.


Another train brings me closer

to another thought I should let go of.

Heavy luggage in familiar compartments

burden to reveal that I have gone nowhere

but back around to the same question.

A direction without landmarks

disguised under the skies,

the fogged up vacant eyes

seeking to find a center

to a journey always within.


The train holds up a mirror

to confront you with choices,

how to perceive the reflection

upon the glass of these shifting questions?

Passing the unfamiliar landscape

smeared across windows of dying dreams.

Derailed in forests far from the roads,

they tread in a blur of unseen shapes

surrendering to the speed of light

over corrugated iron.

There’s no dark like the dark from a train,

as it combs the countryside

as cold as cold can go.

There’s no map for your eyes from a train window,

as the sun sets over towns like Wyanet.

Stalks go red and rusted pickups go nowhere,

in forgotten yards where their tires are swings.

Better to forget the rubber and gypsy by rail,

that way sleepy towns get momentarily injected

with locomotive speed and power directed westward.

It sets fire to their hair,

puts joy into the voices I won’t hear

over the rumble of the train.

Fields position against the horizon,

scarecrows crucified in the lava lamp sky

soon darkening in contorted sleep.

Dismayed to awake,

twisted into a pretzel shape

to realize I still have two more days.

Blink and they’re gone the way of debris,

the way strange towns recede,

the way of trackside whistles whining,

“Time is winning.”

When will it be morning over sunflowered fields?

So real, the moving landscape.

Surreil, that darkened place up ahead

that the distance is fed into.

The unknown that pushes against the side of the tracks

that break but do not diminish

the continuity of its impact.

When you think these tracks can go no further,

they usually do,

carrying you through tunnels,

through the continental divide,

until ultimately terminating

in the Antioch yards,

the place where cars go to die.






8 thoughts on “From a Train Window

  1. Interesting that this poem wavers from stark visual orientation to suggestions of the melancholy of passing time, inches upon inches of existence undiscovered. Fleeting television tube constructs of chicken coops and blurred neon. I went to Florida on a train. Night falls,
    the fantasy dissolves. Bad coffee.

  2. nicktakis2012 says:

    reminds me of the trains from and powerful like your prose

  3. heffegavel says:

    Another train brings me closer to another thought I should let go of …. great line it captures the melancholy of recollection that the road can bring and also suggests you may be headed somewhere you wish you weren’t which is often the case for many on those rails … well done my friend

    • domtakis says:

      There’s often something melancholy I find in between. Pulling away from somewhere, all you leave behind and the embracing of the unknown up ahead. Trains are some of the best places to get into that headspace. Thanks for your comment, glad you enjoyed.

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