Monday, March 8, 2010

Union Pacific

19 degrees & trains rumbling into the siding at Rawlins—bright sun & cold that takes your breath away—Laramie in a gray blue luminous shadow under the sunrise—the red rock outcroppings & scrub pines & cell towers ay 8,000 feet—a faux log cabin convenience store advertising Native American gift items & free WiFi—Cheyenne a clammy pool of freezing fog—the skateboard shop two doors down from the cowboy apparel store—the old Union Pacific depot pale in the gray air—Our Lady of Peace Shrine at Pine Bluffs on a washboard & rutted red dirt road between Interstate 80 & a junk yard—the UP freights running across the Wyoming snows & the Nebraska grassland—snow geese scintillating & undulant flock spiraling & swooping over the truck stops—the longhorn cattle—the appalling feedlots rising in mounds of mud & manure & the reek saturates the car for miles—locusts & sleepy towns & the bustle of Lincoln exiting I-80 for 4-lane state route 2 heading for Iowa—& a Burlington Northern freight chugging under an overpass—& Syracuse, NE, 640 miles later, a ton with cobblestone streets downtown, 3 bars (one open, one closed, one out-of-business) & two convenience stores—tomorrow, Iowa, Missouri & into Illinois—

Pic shows a Union Pacific waycar in Pine Bluffs, WY; UP freight trains have been the guiding spirit of the trip so far...

Please stop by Alcools for my translation of Apollinaire's "Le Pont Mirabeau" ("Mirabeau Bridge”)


  1. You're giving us a good feel for the places you're passing through.
    I especially liked:
    washboard & rutted red dirt road, now geese scintillating & undulant flock spiraling & swooping over the truck stops, and the description of the three bars downtown.

  2. I agree with HKatz! I'm really enjoying reading about your trip, and knowing that your friends are reading about it too. In some inexplicable way, this makes me miss you less. All the Animals say hi and Tazman adds: Drive on, old fellow.

  3. We need to get this one on the Poetry Bus/Train!

  4. Boy, this brings back memories--some old, some not. I've done the drive across Wyoming/Nebraska probably half a dozen times for different reasons. I was distressed when I learned my parents would be moving to the Lincoln area, because I knew that meant I would be driving past those @#$* feedlots again. And more than once.

    I'm grateful for your observations, though--Nebraska is more than just sad, muddy cattle and boredom, which is something I'll need to keep in mind the next time I cross the plains myself.

  5. "Passin' graves that have no name, freight yards full of old black men
    And the graveyards of rusted automobiles..."

    There is nothing in the world like a good road trip. My best have been across the open plains.

  6. Hi Jen: Isn't that a great song! I've been thinking a lot about trains & open spaces! Always happy to see you stop by.


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