December 27, 2016
The year wanes, eroded like my patience today. How many times can you be reminded to take your passport, tag your bags, get to the train station on time, get up by 8 or you’ll miss all to see in the city and eat your spinach, all in three waking hours?
Yes, she means well. She needs antidepressants. Or I do. Life gives us both anxiety, but she panics unceasingly whereas I do less often. Her fear outpaces mine by leagues. “Can we breathe more in 2017?” I asked her son that moments ago.
The daughters plugged in and tuned out almost immediately upon finding our seats, an ordeal of considerable magnitude as we had to walk over the seatless encampment of refugees between cars, the one we circled going up and down levels, forward and back aisles, squeezing through the narrow corridors of human passage to find our way through the maze.
How hard could it be? Cabin number and seat number. It took ten minutes of mind boggling math and engineering to finally land at the last quad of seats in back of coche 15.
A child’s English words catch my attention. The adults respond in French. Flocks of birds circle sporadic homes peppering the rural landscape whizzing by. The TGV doesn’t bullet the way it usually does, like when we flashed by kilometers from Paris to Narbonne 15 years ago. Perhaps after our stop in Perpignan, the train will pick up speed, dashing us to Barcelona.
Mayhem in the morning, it felt like
a kind of dismemberment of the mind from the neck down.
Nothing a silent session of steep stretching would not cure.
Sometimes sleep affects the whole day that way,
with a whisper of promise, something more like
a train ride through a New Mexico sweep of pronghorn elk.
That trip through the beltways and tracts of the country,
the clacking wheels syncing the spin of my mad days,
in orange rinds left on the porch swing as evidence of hollow thirst.
The train traveled far today so the whistle sounds faint
tired, perhaps, of the snow-muffled shrill of un-restraint.
A cool stove lay undisturbed, cool iron clean, all the day
while the ground leaked, forming my father’s bed a lake.
Two daughters slept and awoke to buy birthday boy gifts,
then flew home the helicopter, remote, controlled, adrift.
A husband fished for answers in a plumber’s busy way
only for rejection’s sake he pleaded dearly for his case.
For tomorrow can right itself in rhythmic steel drumming
and pulse below a calm repose in boredom’s humming.
For neither burst of pipe nor creativity’s pace may shatter
the week end’s closing call to the summer’s opening gala.
The hours longer and shorter still when poetry awakes
in bed the daylight long with trains, pipes, snow, skates.
An inspired screen tortured hard frozen bits slow falling
while thunderous trains traveled ever on, never stalling.
Words dry up, writing sours, turned to poetical blather
time to gather up my wits and return to other matters.
(and so ended my poetry half marathon)