October 20, 2021

Railroad Man



railroad man, I want to be a railroad man
throwing switches - swinging lanterns

hear the clickety-clack clickety-clack

up in the tower

“open track 5, open track 10”

7:35 to baltimore eastbound

7:55 to los angeles westbound

keep to the timetable

waive the red and green flags

boxcars squeaking and groaning 

bumping and grinding

engineer winding the wheel blowing the whistle

throwing in more coal - more speed

steam billowing white against the night

switchmen brakemen yard gang station masters

riding in an old caboose lights alit

loading cargo in the freight yard 

old rail side shacks with rusty old tools

used by rusty old men and shiny new men too late to the party

passengers fast asleep in the Pullman car

starting to snow; snowflakes wet kisses on the windshield 

while we in the cab are going over a stone arch bridge

over the mile high trestle in the mountains

across the viaduct crossing the gorge

tell the telegrapher to wire ahead that we’re on time



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