Friday, August 27, 2010

Lounge Car: Charlie

I bought a Volkswagen after my tour in Germany,
top speed of maybe 75. Just enough to keep up

with the autobahn.
The trains don't even chug
anymore, just sway. I say the most polished surface

in the world might be the top of the rails, which reminds
me of the bumper of that old Beetle
which reminds me

of the absence of cow-catchers on trains today,
which didn't catch cows so much as split them in half.

It must have been the chill of the water that did it, holding
out his left hand that looks like a fractured cup, that one

long fissure in the brown earthen mug that refuses
to part, fingers at permanent grasp around the palmed scar.

They don't give you a purple heart for washing dishes
but they do send you home with your gun and hope

you finish the job
––the war, some vendetta of the mind
against the flesh––yourself. He chuckles like the train wheels.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lounge Car: Becky

The second time she ran away she ended up
in North Dakota, and works a quilt beside me
as we hurtle through the badlands.

The only time I ever followed my grandfather
down to the river, I first met a bear that was eating
out of his palm.
T-T-T-T-T go the telephone poles,

T-T-T-T-T go the shadows at a slant. He told me
sometimes friends shouldn't meet one-another.

The bowed grass and the flatlands convince me

that the bales of hay have rolled themselves.
The machines are all show. On the third night
the tree is tied with skulls at compass points.

The men, they cut, here
––she pokes my chest, left
and here, right, and dance until the horns break
through the skin.
Think about the forces

between passing trains, whether a bird flown
in between would feel the pull of east and west
and split, wing from wing, or if a balance

is struck between the points, and this bird (a starling,
probably, swooping over fresh cut grass beside the tracks)
could nest in the stillness of a storm that's all eyes.