Europe, Summer 1997

we count first on our fingers
in bundles of five,
the places we have seen
the people we would visit
then we count from memory
the houses whose doors are yellow
standing out against rusted drainpipes
taking a second moment before
becoming grey in the passing view.

We watched the compounding skyline
which began as rooftops but became high-rises;
a wooden rendering of our own jourey,
which began on foot and boarded the railcar.
You, looking at me from behind our father’s glasses,
offer up a sigh of relief–we are moving now.
Moving on to something else.
We were young but I remember a sense of longing
an emptiness only time can fill,
following the footpaths of cobbled alleys
knowing a home-land in a place I’d never been.

–ECW

Poem 62 Revised

They came by car and coach through hills
To wind up mossy rumor tills
Stare helpless as they—tooth and tale
Scuttled after me,
Well calibrated raw religion
Word murmurs true train trance
Hiccup wheels on rails resounding
—Like a word that you heard in a dream—
Would be-could be-should be
Grow your nonsense thick and leafy
Pack layer layer layer ‘till
No more jealousy just green,
Truth a coal car clatter, perhaps in the grass by the way.
—ECW

Poem 6 Revised

A day trip to Boston; Admission letter in the Mail

I don’t want to be on the train
But don’t fancy the station either
So I’m waiting–
–Waiting on the train
To take me to key-swipe comforts
Travel sized shampoos in
A room that isn’t mine, where I won’t linger
I’m waiting, waiting on the train.

What does it matter: travel
When we move time feels stationary
In the station, boundaries blur,
Faces of mismatched destinations,
Shifting in and out of peripheral
One by one a cattle call,
Time accommodates the footdrag masses.
But I’m waiting waiting, waiting, on the train.

I’m not moving forward, not without
The train, steaming–exhausted
From rhythm-wheel journeys. Static
Waiting on: railcars, acceptance letters,
inspiration, divine intervention.
Feet are for pacing; Be Patient
She hisses, like water on coal
So I’m waiting waiting waiting, waiting on the train.
–ECW

 

Poem 6 EditedPoem 6 Original

Poem 6

A day trip to Boston; Admissions letter in the Mail
I don’t want to be on the train
But I don’t fancy the station either
So I’m waiting
Waiting on the train
To take me to temporary bedsheets
Travel sized shampoos
A room that isn’t mine where I won’t linger
I’m waiting, waiting on the train.
What does it matter: moving
When we move it feels stationary
In the station the bodies blur
Too quick to memorize
Shifting in and out of peripheral
In and out of reality? Who’s to say.
Time accommodates the scuttling masses
But I’m waiting waiting, waiting on the train.
I’m not moving forward, not without
The train, steaming—exhausted
From rhythm-wheel journeys. Paralyzed,
Waiting on: railcars, acceptance letters,
inspiration, divine intervention.
Feet are for pacing; Be Patient
She hisses, like water on coal,
But I’m waiting waiting waiting, waiting on the train