Toodlin’

I rode it on a bet
through the rail-yard
crisscrossed like
tic-tac-toe,
past wondrous
steel sculptures
of wheels, cowcatchers and
smokestacks chugging
their lungs for motivation.

Skeleton steel dinosaurs
dip their heads, feeding
from grain cars
patiently waiting in line
with their offerings.
My articulated carrier
rolls past the bones
of the city and the
ramshackle track shacks
to the countryside
picketed with
telephone lines,
stitching a border
on the yellow-green
fields and blue skyline.

The boxcar’s open door
strobes the hammocks,
hills, horses and houses,
with flickering sunset,
distracting from the odor
of penned up sheep.
The hypnotic rumble
and clanging of the
rails and car hitches
lurching and gliding,
gliding and lurching,
provides rhythmic
solace and peace.

Hurtling through space
on the edge of the earth
at 70 miles an hour,
grants an immediate
demand for my complete
self awareness as I
climb the car’s sliding
door frame to the
roof of the car to
stand in the wind
as it rips at my hair,
face, chest and legs.
The racing pastel
panorama of the
dusk-drawn suburbs’
first lights, sparkling
on the horizon,
illustrate a vista
strewn with other
living beings.

Climbing down
from the boxcar
to the flatcar up
ahead, the darkening
skies showcase a
stellar canvas hung
with celestial crystals
suspended in transparent
indigo and cobalt.

Lying on my back on
the bed of the flatcar,
feeling the rhythmic
surge of the steel dragon
charging through the
darkening twilight,
I can’t help but notice
my immediate velocity
against the slow motion
heavenly bodies.

Especially with the blasting,
gusting, roaring, rattling
air shattering passage
of another steel dragon
in the opposite direction

Slightly shaken but not
stirred, I decide to sit
on the roof of the boxcar.
The wind tears my eyes
as I watch the hi-ways
streaming with headlights
while passing stockyards,
junkyards and backyards,
creek-beds, bay-shore marshes,
concrete aqua-ducts
and overpasses, as
darkness drowns the
twilight, city lights
begin to fill the horizon
causing a cautious
hesitation, a slowing down,
as if the surging dragon
is reluctant to enter the
steel bone yard on the
backside of the city.

Once again the crisscrossed
tic-tac-toe of the rail-yard,
patch-worked in shadows,
of dormant dragons brings
this rolling steel sculpture
to a hissing, screeching halt.
The darkness becomes
my ally as I climb down
to the crushed granite
hoping to avoid arrest
at the hands of the
yard guards.

embi 6/27/14

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