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.
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.