June 5, 2022

Train Horns




train horns always sound angry except when they sound lonesome
on rainy nights when they’re riding a lonely stretch of track

and they cry out in anguish 

in the georgia, indiana, or wherever darkness

and you’re laying in bed under comforting covers 

and the sound is hauntingly far away

echoing off sides of mountains, hills

creeping over trestles

meandering across the meanderer

wonder where it’s going//freight or passenger?

carrying cars, coal, lumber, sugar?

or people riding the rails in no hurry comfort

going from point a to point b

via points c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, and a lot of others

too numerous to name, too forgotten to remember 

through little towns where the highlight of the day

is watching the train pass through

past roadside markets, and dilapidated barns 

with painted on advertisements falling down


and cows --

cows just staring or paying no attention

innocent animals who like jazz

and boys who have run half a mile when they hear the train coming

standing within a few feet of the rails

catching the glorious aroma of creosote 

watching the boxcars, the tankers, and flatbeds parade by in all their glory

boys who someday want to go somewhere

away from the farm and square dances

farmers tans and international harvesters

to the jazz supper clubs and sophistication of big city girls

not knowing how good they’ve got it now