Tuesday, August 23, 1994

THE SONG OF PASSING TRAINS


THE SONG OF PASSING TRAINS
           Before there was language
              the dream invented itself again and again
             giving us the binding thread.

Each night trains rumble and growl 
down the Feather River Canyon
like snorting bulls, or fiery dragons.
They do not want taming, but a virgin lap will do.
Real train lights, like moveable stars, 
                                 pulse through my dreams;
my neighbor Sonny and Elvis are jammin’ after hours,
riding the long groundswell and percussion of trains
to the harmonica singing of wheels and tracks
resonating like the mouths of finest crystal;
their curved song reverberates off slate walls.

I dream we clipped the talons of captive eagles,
showed them to the children, 
                   were responsible for their hunger,
the talons making small, dark crescent moons on the floor.
Sometimes the trains are like falling houses
coming barreling down the tracks,
leaving me alone with the eagles and children
(having swallowed the abortant too late)
while the men ride into the west making sweet music.

Too much moonlight on the canyon walls.
It begins with trout and bullfrogs punctuating the darkness.
Then, the deep rumble and moan, thrum and pulse
and the extraordinary singing of wheels—
as if shy angels only practiced with each passing train.
The river answers, slumbering gold in the deeper pools.
What survives are the angry red eyes of trains
dragging us into the well of night.

Each train wails along the canyon walls
of Las Plumas del Oro, stitching them like a shroud.
I stand on the rivershore, the unceasing faith of tides
pulls blood through my body, making love
to the song of passing trains.

8/23/94
Twain, CA


Before there was language
the dream invented itself again and again
giving us the binding thread.
Each night the trains rumble down the canyon
Las Plumas del Oro, the feathers of gold
An occasional fish and bullfrogs punctuate the night.
Real train lights, like moveable stars
push through the darkness of my dreams
and I watch Sonny and Elvis jammin
coming and going over and over again
the long groundswell percussion of pulsing train
and singing wheels, the harmonica
while I stands transfixed in this place
like the orbit of stars
I can only speculate about the other woman
since the train doesn’t stop
it pulls my elastic heart through that tunnel
during that nightly descent with no more awareness
than pushing the air through time and space.
I dreamed we clipped the talons of captive eagles
showed them to the children
but then we were responsible for their hunger
the talons making small, dark crescent moons on the floor
Another train would come barreling down the tracks
with you on it, leaving me here with the crippled eagle
and the children (having swallowed the herbal abortant) too late
while you rode into the west with her
Sometimes the trains were like crumbling houses—moonlight on the canyon,
deep rumble and moan, the pulsing thrum and pulse
then the extraordinary singing of wheels
as if shy angels only practiced with each passing train
the curve of tracks resonating like fine crystal
The river answered with slumbering gold beneath the rocks in the deeper pools
but all that survived us was the red tail lights of the train
like angry eyes dragged into the well of the night
the resonating wheels on the bend of tracks
like the wailing song of your harmonica
fragmenting into raw notes
With each passing train your song came and went
doppleganging the canyon walls
I stood on the rivershore thinking of the unceasing faith of tides
pulling the trains through my body
making love to the song of passing trains

8/23/94
Twain, CA

No comments: