pieces (20170501)

silent tracks this morning

but so much glass
glittering on the ground
were the wind to pick up
the air would cut me
to pieces

i follow the rails in shoes
with soles so thin
i feel every facet of every stone
trying to pierce my feet

though empty, i have seen the trains

not the romantic locomotives
with porters and bewatched conductors
crowded dining cars
mysterious liaisons
but industrial bulk behemoths
the color of rust
the odor of old burned oil
delivering invisibles
in closed cars

i walk the middle of the track
iron on either side

a shirtless jogger approaches
loping toward me
glistening in the sun
i imagine myself
in a coat hanging past the knee
a dusty, wide-brimmed hat
arm relaxed but ready
to draw at my side

another poet’s words
write themselves nearby
first in soot
then in blood:
inspired by beauty
betrayed by lust
abandon[ed] by greed
enslaved by guilt

the jogger turns
the wind rises
and i am cut to pieces

gratus sum (20160525)

by the train tracks

i am grateful for the rocks
i can feel through my soles
crunching under my feet
and the graffiti proclaiming
perry ruled, not rules
i wonder what happened to perry

i am grateful for the abundance
of trailer home parks here
in the middle of this
industrial zone
and remember that my
grandmother lived in one
not far from here
until alzheimer’s drove her
into a hospital bed
where she forgot how to live
while she waited to die

i am grateful for the cry
of the hunting hawk
as he soars over the drainage channel
and i know today he will eat
because there’s plenty of vermin

and i am grateful for the breeze
a latecomer to my walk
and to the clouds
that finally cover the sun
and prevent it from burning through my shirt
beating down on my back
like an accusation

Poem 20160407

i couldn’t wait to leave this town
by mule or bus or wagon train
and let the memories all fade
the bells though never seem to fade
i hear them ringing from the town
above the mournful clacking train
clack of wheel on iron–o, train,
the distance should recede, should fade
the hallmark past, the breathing town
the town is here, the train just fades

the secret keeper
Weekly Writing Prompt #31
(5) Words: | TOWN | TRAIN | FADE | HEAR | HALL |


National Poetry Month
NaPoWriMo Day 7

Poem 20150205

he pays for a single fare
and boards the train
his bag heavy on his back
and his bones heavy in his skin

across the track
another train
going the opposite direction
he sees her

from behind at first
as she waves goodbye to
someone on the platform
her arms raised
so that her shirt rides up
just enough
to reveal the smooth
white skin at the small of her back

he thinks about how
he moved automatically
to the windows not facing the platform
watching her wave
watching the skin disappear
and reappear

her car is empty enough, that,
when she turns,
she sees him staring at her

she rushes to the window near the track
toward him
and he thinks
she’s going to pull the shade
or yell
or shake her fist
(do people do that?)
but she smiles
and waves just as hard
as she did at the platform
and her shirt rises enough
to show her belly button
but he is transfixed by her smile
as the trains begin to move apart
and manages a small wave
and wonders where her train is going