dVerse Poetics: Trains

All aboard!  Today Bjorn is the conductor for our Poetics prompt of Trains at dVerse Poets Pub.  Come join us for train tales and travels.  I haven’t been on a train in a few years but when I lived on Long Island and in Philadelphia, I was a regular on commuter trains to and from my destination.  And even further back in time, before the routes and owners changed, traveled on the Orient Express from Paris to Venice and from Paris to Budapest.  Get your ticket punched and join us on our Train Poetry Journey.  http://dversepoets.com/2016/04/05/poetics-wheels-of-steel/

public domain image

public domain image

The Haunted Platform
every morning – same time –
onto the train to my assigned seat.
we all have our seats where we always go –
same seat every day.
the two men behind me smelling
of coffee and CKOne and Hermes Terre
in front of me the blonde woman
who piles her laptop and brief bags into the seat
beside her so no one will be beside her.
I do the same thing, I always settle
in and pull out my tablet and read the paper online
while drinking from my travel mug of coffee.
on the way home –
same people same seats
eyes all closed or on their laptops
finishing tasks or a head start on new.
the smell of bourbon replaces the morning smell of coffee.
in the morning stopping at the various platforms
car fills up.
in the evening stopping at platforms
car empties.
at the platform where the train never stops
there used to be a sign hanging announcing the stop.
last year the sign was hanging by one hook
swinging fitfully in the wind: MAYF ELD
the sign fell earlier this year face down and
now soiled by weather and mud.
a bench is on the platform broken at down at one end
and the back bent at that end.
Yesterday a man(?) was lying on the bench
back presented to the track –
cold rain and snow swirled and as the train
blew past the platform where the trains never stop
faded dirtied ancient newspaper pages and trash
blew up in the air and then settled back into their place.
this morning the man(?) is still there covered with snow.
one of the men says behind me:
hey, that guy is still there and his companion
(I can imagine him looking up owlishly from his laptop)
says “hunh?”
on the way home with the train windows flashing like
yellow strobes in the darkness
I see broken images of the man(?) clicking past –
still there, covered with more snow.
at home, late at night, I awaken and shiver with cold.
across the few miles I hear the sound of the train
roaring past on the tracks and it’s horn as it
approaches an intersection.
I wonder if the man(?) is still there in the darkness.
a chill I cannot control causes me to break out
in a sweat and in the darkness
I press myself closer against my sleeping husband.
I wonder if the man(?) is still there in the darkness
covered with deepening snow.

19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carol J Forrester
    Apr 05, 2016 @ 15:23:29

    I like the reality in this. You’ve captured so much in one poem.


  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Apr 05, 2016 @ 15:25:03

    Oh this turned from something quite common into a real nightmare… that man(?)… forgotten, and left… Love the details of the commuters. Usually on commuter trains there are too many people to have your own seat.


  3. whimsygizmo
    Apr 05, 2016 @ 15:56:06

    Ooooo. Chilling. And wonderfully so.


  4. Sanaa Rizvi
    Apr 05, 2016 @ 17:30:44

    This is beautifully haunting ❤ ❤


  5. Victoria C. Slotto
    Apr 05, 2016 @ 18:02:00

    So full of details and quite eerie. A ghost…or a corpse. I think I would call 911.


  6. The Literary Doc
    Apr 05, 2016 @ 18:18:09

    Wow… this is wonderful. So full of so many images and undertones. I love that motif of the man, out there, somewhere. Great job.


  7. ShirleyB
    Apr 05, 2016 @ 18:35:58

    I agree, the detail of the travelers had me sitting right there with them. Hauntingly sombre.


  8. Grace
    Apr 05, 2016 @ 19:23:17

    I ride the train everyday so I can relate to the same pattern of seats & doing stuff ~ But indeed, that man out there, is a mystery, maybe he is dead already & no one moved him ??? Nice ending Toni ~


  9. Bodhirose
    Apr 05, 2016 @ 23:25:36

    I like how your repetition of the man (?) became more urgent and spooky up until the end, Toni, and I like your description of the various people and their daily routines on the train. I could picture them in my mind. Thanks for the great train story!


  10. http://vivinfrance.wordpress.com
    Apr 06, 2016 @ 05:32:24

    Great story poem. You wouldn’t get away with bagging two seats in Europe. The trains are all well used, specially commuter routes.


    • kanzensakura
      Apr 07, 2016 @ 15:39:41

      Over here, there are plenty of seats on the busy trains because they run so frequently. And when it is obvious someone wants to be alone, one simply wanders to the next car to find a seat. I road that train for a year and no one ever asked to sit with me – they simply moved on and respected the space. if someone needed a space, I would have complied but glad no one asked. I don’t like public transportation at the best of times!


  11. abarn003
    Apr 06, 2016 @ 09:48:08

    Very haunting. What makes it so chilling is the redundancy and repetitiveness of life that can cause us to become blind to our surroundings. That’s what made this so haunting and startling to me, wondering how long the man (?) had been there and how long he might stay. Great work.


    • kanzensakura
      Apr 07, 2016 @ 15:36:58

      Thank you. When I lived on Long Island, there was this abandoned platform. The man stayed like that for two days and then was gone. I never knew what happened to him. I had asked the car conductor about calling the authorities – he didn’t have time…I called the police and was told if it wasn’t an emergency, they’d get to it when they could. I never forgot that passing scene.


  12. Bryan Ens
    Apr 07, 2016 @ 08:33:23

    A sad tale. Love your descriptions of the station “where trains never stop”


  13. lynn__
    Apr 07, 2016 @ 09:42:09

    Everyday scene turns creepy…I kept hoping someone would stop to check his pulse.


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