July 6, 2022

Engineer




he supposedly quit the shirt and tie brigade
for his dream job as a train engineer

to climb in the saddle of the iron horse

working for Chessie Systems or Santa Fe

or I don’t even know what train companies 

are even around anymore (Grand Trunk, Grand Funk,

Burlington Northern???) I think now

they’re all a mishmash of former identities 

a corporate goulash of ghosts —

there aren’t many trains running anymore 

at least where I live


I say I live cause it doesn’t feel like home

it’s just a place to lay my head down each night

a soft pillow in a hard world

last freight train I saw had some generic name on it I didn’t recognize 

it was pulling some tanker cars

and they were like good chinese communists 

back in the fifties — all dressed alike

in dark gray uniforms with nothing much 

to distinguish them from each other 


don’t know if he became an engineer or not

we didn’t keep in touch but I wish we would have 

he was one of the few sane people 

in that asylum 

good old workplace/chew ‘em up meat grinder 

maybe it was just a pipe dream 

hatched out of some hashish 

but I like to think he’s riding the rails now

happy as a bug in a rug

across amber plains and sea to shining sea