This November Still Sticks

A few years back there was

this tough old heavy set

Amtrak cop who found himself

in a snotty literary in-bred

coffee house in the middle

of nowhere one November

Saturday night.

The cop liked to write

about some of the things he

had seen in his life and had

a few of his books with him

and put them on a table

in the back of the room for sale.

Some scrawny weathered looking

stranger approached him and asked if

he could put some of his poetry

on the table and share the space.

Cop eyed him warily.



Why not.

During the reading he turned

to this woman next to him

while the guy was up in front of the room

and remarked,

“He’s pretty funny isn’t he”

And she smiled back at him in a raven whisper.

Outside that mild Fall night

leaves descended like midnight feathers

in the street lamp shrouded avenue.

Later he looked out the big glass window

and saw the guy who was reading before

and the woman he had spoken to.

They stood inches apart

smoking face to face

in embrace

cascading leaves tucking themselves

into the folds of their garments.

And he thought what music are those two hearing?

Certainly some composition

secret and profane

a very, very old song.

They looked like they belonged

in each other’s arms

and been there

for a very long time.

There was this autumn

midnight halo surrounding

them standing on the sidewalk.

Nothing or anyone else out there

touched the stranger and that

woman in his arms.

Now the tough old Amtrak cop

had seen enough wrong combinations

in his line of work.


in his line of work

was what it was all about.

What looked right.

What didn’t fit.

Nobody could appear to be so happy

with each other.

Something didn’t add up here.

These two just appear

out of the thin night air

and hover out there

like apparitions



in love.

And they weren’t kids either.

They both looked like

they had both been around

but not from here

and not always with each other….


That’s the part that puzzled him somewhat.

And he shaking his head and despite

himself allowing slight grin thought,

“I just know there

is one hell of a train wreck

 somewhere in there… 

But as for that moment of impact

between them right now was

a slow motion derailment

a bum in the yards

with a hard luck story

a glimmer of moon

on the silent empty rails

teenagers drinking

wine in a box car

A lost drunk

praying for salvation and ten bucks

a row of green eyed

open yard signals

while on a siding

a yard goat pulled

a long heavy freight

somewhere else


The old tough Amtrak cop

had witnessed endless

arresting images

of lost souls in

the 2 AM limbo of the switch yard.

But these two ?

All he could do right now

was file it under advisement

and figure they probably

would turn up again

somehow in his life

as in the distance

a long lost Diesel Horn spoke

telling him there was a story there.                                                        6/10

One response

  1. proppjones

    Hey bucko- Riding the rails of memory myself these days- Found the hypnotic rhythm of the rails + the softly fading light peeking through the blurring branches and fluorescent clouds soothing and assuring.


    November 22, 2021 at 5:58 am

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