Saturday, July 17, 2010

Union Pacific #5

OK—I said I needed to write some poetry.  I did.  My good friend B.N. tells me that the Union Pacific poems are really all parts of one long poem; I think she’s right—actually, I think I thought that all along, but I needed to hear her say it anyway.  But I’ll keep posting them separately, as they come.  I’ve added the label “UP Poems” for those who’d like to read the earlier ones, tho I should note that “Union Pacific #1” has been significantly revised since either of its appearances on the blog.

Hope you enjoy this.

Union Pacific #5

Blue sky chrome clouds wind
                turbine’s jagged cursive in an east wind the
cast iron mesas there are no more
similes a relentlessly

blue sky a sky-blue postcard
              “wishing you were here”
chrome cloud thoughtballoons rolling a-
              above Elmore County’s

concrete overpass bridges & wooden trestles a
UP freight rolling rolling east along
                            rangeland & grazing
black angus cattle March 2010 (a

wooden trestle climbing down the Sierra
Nevada’s pine ridge granite tectonic
                            plates March 1996 a
Toyota van rolling east of course
toward Johnny Cash in Reno I
sat in the back a simulacrum without
words a pack of
              American Spirit smokes going up in

chrome cloud thoughtballoons
“wishing you were here”

(a wooden trestle south of Charlo’s
                            emerald wetlands & cattails
“where the buffalo roam” June 2010 a
flatbed truck hauling beeboxes
“wishing you were here”

I’m rolling across Utah’s stateline al-
ready too late to do anything about it (this
jagged cursive this implacable sky this
              cold-hearted freight this slate gray inter-
                            state this inescapable postcard


  1. I really like it. I like the style and random thoughts of the happenings as you travel and view the same things as the writer.

  2. The Best Kind Of Postcard To Send.

  3. Hi LD & Tony

    LD: Thanks--so glad you liked it!

    Tony: Existential travelogue in postcard form? Thanks!

  4. WON-derful. I'm glad you're writing, John. For some reason "turbine’s jagged cursive" reached out and grabbed me. I like the way it feels on the tongue.

  5. Hi Willow: Thanks! All those wind turbines I saw on my road trip have really stuck in my mind. I'm also glad to be writing, even if by fits & starts.

  6. blue sky a sky-blue postcard is a beautiful line. I also liked the recurring 'chrome clouds' and 'thoughtballoons', and the contrast between a person who is a simulacrum, all smoke and thought clouds, and all the sharp physical details of the surrounding world, like the "flatbed truck hauling beeboxes".

  7. There are such wonderful images conjured up by the juxtaposition of words such as chrome, cursive and, of course, the "sky blue postcard".

  8. Hi HKatz & Alan

    HKatz: Glad you liked it, & glad you got the contrast--thanks!

    Alan: I should know you'd like the postcard part! Thanks a lot.


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