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The Art of Catching Trains

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I came through the clothesline maze

of childhood

in basketball shoes.

Up from the cracked cement of sidewalks.

Long hair blowing in the breeze

from barber-college haircuts.

I moved into the country

knowing love better than long division.




Tricking out with women twice my age

we acted out our own French postcards.

Dr. Jekyll in the schoolyard.

Mr. Hyde behind the barn.




After school the trians,

Their whistles known by heart.

Pennies flattened on a rail

and dresser drawers with matchbooks

from every northern town--

thrown by unknown travelers

who never waved back.




I knew the U.P. right of way so well

that gandy dancers called me toe-head

till they learned my name

and engineers would sometimes whistle

down the scale

on seeing my arm raised.


Baseball's just a sissy game

to anyone who's waved at passing trains.




You learn from hobos

the art of catching trains.

Locomotives slow at trestles

and whistle stops

to hook the mail.




Diving through an open boxcar

you lie there till your breath comes back.

Then standing in the doorway you're the king

as crowns of hills and towns go by

and nighttime eats the summer up

and spits the stars across the sky.




How did I come to know

so many lonesome cities

with only pennies in my pockets?

I smiled a lot

and rode a lot of trains

and got to know conductors

and railroad bulls by name.

From Alamo to Naples is a ride

that took me nearly twenty years.

But here I am,

my cardboard suitcase traded in for leather.


Rod McKuen

"Lonesome Cities"






[This message has been edited by bobobi11 (edited 09-08-2001).]

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Originally posted by T.T Boy:

nice post. good photography.


Thanks, however honesty makes me admit that these photos are all shamelessly stolen. I just liked this poem and wanted to have photos to go with it.

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Guest Bare

That really cheered me up, thanks a lot...that was dope

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nice....that second photo is breathtaking (im not being sacastic, that the only word i could describe it with)



brick, brick ,brick...thats how i be up against your girlfriends ass...

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I just got off the phone with my sister who was telling me she was going to frat parties at college. Needless to say the idea of my sister off getting drunk around a bunch of meatheads got me a little tense. Looking at your thread relaxed me and gave me a cheery feeling.

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very unique.. i think thast how u spell it.. i enjoyed......






And he said... "Im goin to stab you in your temple".

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Guest Pilau Hands

i want to be in the first two places


one of these days, weeks, months, years, i want to get up to new england where fall is Autumn.

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Part Two


Now a traveler

under the gray-black winter sky

moving down the mountain by torchlight,

I've come to find a gathering of eagles.

Not for the sake of mingling

with the great birds,

but just to justify

a thousand streets walked end to end.

Ten thousands evenings spent listening

to the small sounds of the night

in station after station.




Not every town in Switzerland

has a golden Gondelbahn,

but there are other ways to climb the hills and reach the lonesome cities

of the world.




Riding friendly bodies

you can inch your way to Heaven

let alone the far side of the room

and who'd deny that brushing elbows

in certain street

has not produced for every man

at least one vision of Atlantis.


For me old habits don't break easily

I wait for trains.




Sometimes I feel I've always been

just passing through.

On my way away, or toward.

Shouting allelulias in an unseen choir

or whispering fados down beneath my breath

waiting for an echo

not an answer.

Everbody has the answers

or they'll make them up

for you.


Just once I'd like to hear

a brand new question.




What about the trains you ride

do they go fast or slow

would I recognize your face

clacking past the poplar trees

if I were stationed on some hill?


If I did I'd know you

by the look of nothing in your eyes

the kindred look that travelers have

the one that says a tentative hello.




If while riding down the rails

you see a boy in overalls

along the railroad right of way

wave as you go by.

Signal with a frown

you too are going down

the same road.


Small boys need encouragement

the freight trains in their minds

will only take them just so far

Be kind

for small boys need to grow.



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Guest circus freak

what is all this hippie bullshit! fr8s are good for one thing and one thing only; that is to be a rollin canvas!!!



walls are good but metal rolls

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Guest wakassOATH


nice pictures dude

where my cottage is in the contry, theres a hotel and the rooms are old box cars ive never been in one but the gift shop is pretty cool it has tons of memorbilla of old train shit quite nice




i like touching girls

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well, you know. i honestly dont care if the whole thing is stolen. its a great post. id like to see more posts like this.

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