Train Rattled [Free Verse]

It's like sticking one's head
out the window of the southbound
night train.

A rushing thunder fills the ears --
almost deafening --
and that's before
the passing northbound train
shears past,

letting wail the whistle
in one long blow.

And (now) one is deaf,
but the cyclone eddies 
shake one's flesh
rattle through one's bones 
so hard that one can 
whole body hear:
one's entire skeleton 
vibrating like those tiny
inner ear bones. 

It was dark before the
scintillant streams of strobing light
burned a void into one's picture place.

There's no smelling a thing
in that crossfire hurricane,

but one can taste big gulps
of train exhaust --
exhaust with a 
cotton candy consistency 
but foul tasting
to the last bite.

And then it is quiet
and dark
and peaceful,

and it's not clear whether
one is alive or dead,

and it's not clear whether 
one cares whether
 one is alive or dead.

DAILY PHOTO: Scenes from the Shimla – Kalka Train

Taken in June of 2015 on the Shimla – Kalka Toy Train

station editorial comments

passing engine

open air

postal elephant

a curious passenger

reminded me of the aqueducts

DAILY PHOTO: Rail Through Mountains

Taken in July of 2011 in the Peruvian Andes

Taken in July of 2011 in the Peruvian Andes

As I recall, these mountains sat near the Willkanuta Mountains. Anyway, they lie somewhere along the road between Cuzco and Puno in the Peruvian Andes.

POEM: Do They Really Sleep?

Are these sleepy  little villages and hamlets really tucked into bed by eleven?

When my train rolls by and there is nothing on display to my bleary eye

except vacant roads, dark shadows, and the dim glow of night-lights.

Cars are still; people are absent; time is frozen but for the wind-blown hedges.

But do these villages go to sleep, or do they just turn off the lights

and do those things which should not be subjected to the light?