Sunday, October 2, 2011

Train of Fools

Claude Monet - Train in the Snow
Train of Fools

aboard the
train of fools
every car a loaded die
every porter's got the snake eye
avoids your hand clamp
pallor, skin damp
jacket too tight
rackety clatter
through the night
smoking car reflex dome
an iron sight takes the range
on your home
it's strange
and sensation
mutually exclusive states
distinct fates
(Can you live in San Berdoo 
and Peru ?)
Traps within traps
hot breath 
of the engine claps
chuffing hot coal scale
(or the  sweet exhale
of murmured praise  
so strong
so hot so soft so sweet)
land on your feet
You want a raise?
Put some 
Which is it 
you think you’re
here for, babe
the work
or the pay?

October 2011

Optional musical accompaniment(and props for title)

Or, alternatively:

thank god he doesn't try to dance in this video...

Image: Train in the Snow, Claude Monet, 1875 Oil on canvas
via wikmedia commons


  1. Maybe this is the exhaustion speaking but the house wins, there wouldn't be any casinos if the odds didn't favor the house. Yet we all hope to be the one that beats the odds even if we know how to calculate the math. Worse yet we get lured into a heck of a lot of work, pain, and frustration in exchange for praise or pay. These 'Traps within traps' that get us both ways and expose our foolishness to the whole world. Who are these people? I don't know. Yes I'm a fool (and a tired one at that - maybe in the morning it will look like the fast track to my un-fevered dream :). I'll leave you cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean paste, coffee, hazelnuts, frothed milk, and butter cookies (since there was no mention of a food car and I wouldn't want you to go hungry).

  2. A train of fools sure has strange bedfellows as occupants. At least they are well stacked with booze in the caboose! Excellent write, Joy!


  3. whew...vampid pace to this one...fools in the engine running out of control...the pay of course goes right back in the pot for living expenses and back to theone that gave it to us in the first place so it must be the work we love...great cadence in this hedge...

  4. that train would I want to get on... and who does not. Perfectly captured!

  5. Since this one rides the rails straight to Hell (or, alternately, Washington), immobility in motion gives this an iron inevitability. No stops, no alternate tracks, no jumping from the caboose. You have the infernal chug-a-lug down perfect in the cadences here, the sense of futility, the awful fatedness of it. I have nightmares like this where the only way out is up from sleep. May your morning's cuppa Joe fade the sound of this bugaboo choo-choo from your ears. - Brendan

  6. Thanks all. Not at all sure where this one came from, but it wanted out, so here it is.

    @Anna: Cookies and all of the above sound wonderful. Yes, there'd be no casinos if the rubes could win(except for the occasional priming that keeps the cash pump going.)I think your exhausted brain has taken a really clear look at what I have to admit is a dream visitation in that glossolalia of the interior which does not explain itself as it descends.
    Can't live without the pay, but it's the work that counts.

  7. @Brendan: There's something else folded into this besides Hell, I think, which makes it the nightmare you describe--some sweetness in the back of a freight car that has to be found. Maybe someday I'll have a better clue about it.

  8. I LOVE the way this reads, Hedge! The rhythms and pacing . . . just perfect.

  9. just had a conversation with my kids recently about work and payment. told them we should always try to do what we love because this is what we're good at - if we can earn money - fine - but that shouldn't be the first goal. great pace in this hedge

  10. ,,, So if you have a juicy caboosey, it pays to play. Hmmmm. - B.

  11. Thanks, MZ. Glad you liked.

    @Claudia: Thanks for reading.Yes, the only way to get thru life without hauling a freight train of neuroses around with you and dumping them indiscriminately on everyone is to do what you love as much as you can.Kids need to hear that stuff. Hope your workshop went well.

    @B: You slay me--dare I say anything about a one track mind?(Not that I wasn't going there with that line--I think its quite possible I was. I run a lot on that old narrow gauge myself...)

  12. I love the way this reads more than MZ loves the way this reads. :-P

    I especially love the parentheticals.

    I don't know, dear Witch, I read this a little differently than I think others did. To me, it says you can't serve two masters, even if the two masters are two sides of the same one. Hmm, I could get serious and pay a practical price, or I could just lay back and dig the clickety clack. What goes on in that caboose, anyway? One thing i do know...a fool can resist anything except temptation.

  13. And...


  14. I'm trying to imagine the conductor with the snake eyes and it is DARN CREEPY!!!!

  15. Oh you are something else. Each car a die, what a mind you have, and poet’s clear eye. This chugs along like a train on its rackety tracks, I’d love to hear you read it. The rhymes and slaps make me know I’ve been knocked around, and your poem makes me almost happy to answer the pay.

  16. This sounded like a train in my brain as I read it. Absolutely wonderful. WooWoooo!


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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