Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pepere's Rails

He helped shape the rails and
He blew the life into the red lights
That criss-crossed our hearts
With the iron ties of night
On switch box
Or rock bed
The number counted out
The fuel rigs
The cat-like cars
Stealthy in the woods
Watching with their
Feline surety
He redirected and braked
His long cigarette jiggled
On his bottom lip
The men in the yard
Brothers and cousins
Gathering next to the
Mile markers
With heavy burdensome wedges
Or crossbars
Singing their song
To the coyote sky
They would drag their asses
To the line
And squawk in French or
Boast in Polish
Rough hewn hands
A pillowcase filled with granite
The stock-still eerie far off wail
Of the Manchester line
Just now over the switch
Green lighted
She’s a derelict siren
Drawing nearer and
Pointing her beam between
The forlorn stars of
Simple evening
Her feet fitting through the
Curving steel
Like a graceful dancer
Attacking the diesel atmosphere
His baleful eyes
Gave no hint
At the raw hurt burning in
His legs and back
A gray lunchpail with
Mashed potato sandwiches
Four of ‘em for cryin’ out loud!
Made by his doll like mother
In the cramped kitchen pantry
She made Paul’s too
He’s just now out cold near the
Hands resting on his chest
Under the moon
Flaps of his boots
Ragged tongues
Panting at Orion
I’m not sure how he managed
Great bear of a man
That posturing under porch eaves
Suspenders and locks of hair
Rolling on his head
Pressed suits
Set against the dump fires of
Little Canada
The boiling black smoke
Arcing over the Merrimack
Arthur heaving dumbbells by the shrubs
Sleeves rolled up to the
Bulging biceps
Face contorted
The rails called them
Following lines like Boston & Maine
Out of the North Country
Across Vermont and down
New Hampshire
The Canadian express
Dropped her red boxes on flatcars
Lumber on the nape of
Forest necks
Bearded men with torn pants
Wrapped their mouths around the
Necks of futility
That grab bag of punch drunk weekends
Smelling like shit and whiskey
Broad women under broader hats
Berate the young ones at
The terminal
Some slick-headed kid
Hanging his poor head below his
Coat collar
Turned up to the bitter cold
I asked the Northern Line
To take care of my family
Huddled together
In the fourth car
A plague of suitcases
At our feet
I asked the Northern Line
To speed us home......2/13/01

1 comment:

Sean Murphy said...

This should be read several times in order to fully appreciate it. Once again, well done!