20220627

On a night bus

Ewan White





On a night bus between cities,

the overhead lights turned out,

 

a stillness of strangers resting side by side

in their seats.

 

Long after midnight, in the outer darkness,

along the sides of the highway

 

the mangled tree-tops of autumn pass

in a grotesque parade of shapes

 

against a half-moon haze.

While watching a procession-

 

of collapsing monsters our ancestors

would have called gods,  

 

I receive the confirming phone call

that you have died.

 

Most are asleep on this bus from the back

I can hear the sleep-fighting voices

 

of talking children through the silencing

of their mothers.

 

In front a lit-up electronic devise is reflecting

off a window

 

double-imaging the trees on the ceiling.

 

(2)

 

I think of you and your outrageous life-

with its odd mixture of the high and low brow.

 

Your piano playing of Beethoven and Brahms,

your respectful mimicking

 

of Dinu Lipati’s recording of Bach’s Joy of Man’s Desiring  

during his remission from cancer.

 

Your rendering of Bach as a subtle question and answering,

and how you would obsess on the disembodied bliss of static time in art.

 

Your ghost held back from the self-conscious rush to death we all face,

where there for brief moments is no time at all.

 

Against this, there were the hardened strippers you would date.

Bringing them into the church to drink wine

 

and play the organ after the Montreal bars closed. 

Your comment that this urge against the sacrosanct

 

is in all of us to smash past an image to get to what is behind it

to find only other persona. You said you had grown tired of this.

 

Your weeklong bush walks of a hundred  miles.

Your interpretation of Colville’s painting, Dog and Bridge,

 

the frozen instant of the dog crossing a bridge

where brooding imminence is created

 

by the carefully constructed geometrical design

drawing our line of sight to the German Sheppard, centre right

 

intensifying our sense of impending violence.  

You spoke of the storms of sorrow that would come back on you-

 

the ordained demons of darkness hovering near you,

an aching loneliness, that could only be taken away by impersonal art.

 

Passing into a town, the opposing traffic charges toward the bus

in a sudden heart-pounding rush of blood.

 

I block the headlights, covering one eye,

losing myself in the central yellow line on the road. 

 

After a time, I look up, waking into a changed landscape

to the sound of  Mozart’s Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

 

in the voices of small children from the back of the bus,

through their mother’s gentle words about sleep.

 

 


 

Ewan Whyte is a writer and translator. He has written for the Globe & Mail and The Literary Review of Canada. He is the author of two books of essays: Desire Lines: Essays on Art Poetry & Culture, Shifting Paradigms: Essays on Art & Culture, and Entrainment, a book of poetry, as well as a translation of the rude ancient Roman poet Catullus.

20220620

FAITH

 

Jessica Lee McMillan

 

 

brace earth for disbelief.
this room you forgot
why you went, or when
you laughed last or read
a scale undismayed
that you were any stones
at all. forgot bones you bury,
carry you. now erode
at edges, more lines at eye
than iris. your weathering
is a pivot, a readable frame.
when you whittle
to abjection,
you have found
the wilding of faith.
when you stop to see
red globes link to blood,
words mend to phrase
in immanent patterns,
you may feel bewildered
anyway. you stray off
and make it to the petals
of a daisy. to days
of making chains.
you look close enough
and become its bee,
bumbling in squeals
of children caught
in fuzzy swath of yellow
black in a motion
minute without premise
of next. faith is in
the matter-less gap,
it tracks
from day to night,
lonesome as the end
of a train, bracing
for landscape,
rocks and silence.

 

 

Most people in high school thought Jessica Lee McMillan used psychedelics, but really, she was learning to become a poet. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Blank Spaces, Pocket Lint (gnurr), The South Shore Review, Antilang, Tiny Spoon, Pinhole Poetry, Dream Pop Journal, Willows Wept Review, SORTES, Lover's Eye Press, Red Alder Review and others. She writes from New Westminster, British Columbia.

20220530

home

Toast Wong




i want a fresh pack of cigs, scratch tickets, a full tank of gas, cheap thrills at the petro-can. i want to dance in the spotlight under these yellow x's, a captive audience of closed storefronts. i want the night to stay over. i want her to fall asleep on my chest so that i can feel the crest and trough of her breath. i want to run my hands through the sky, shake out all the starstuff, count all the wishes i made on what falls out. i want to close my eyes. i want to stay in motion forever, like a shark or a toddler learning to ride without training wheels. i want to know what it feels like to drive south on the northbound gardener. i want lake ontario to take me in her arms, fall into her like the bluffs will, one day. i want to breathe water. i want it to taste like air. i want it to feel like home.

 

 

 

 

 

Toast Wong: I am an activist, engineer and butch idiot living in Toronto, Ontario, writing about diaspora and gender, divorce and science. My work has previously been published in Untethered, which is how I heard about Train. I like themes of the science of motion, geography, and passing by/through/across bodies of water, and I'd like to think that those are the things that people like about trains as well.

20220502

I have found you nine times before, maybe ten And I’ll find you again (Emily St. Mandel, Station 11)

Nava Fader

 

 

dear honeysuckle dear wind that shook
the rafters dear rafters 

dear tumult dear
you don’t know what you’ve got 

dear absence of quiet
sound of quiet’s terrible 

wingspan swan song
stays for a good long time 

I did not ask you
things 

elbowed from feather your lightest
touch 

fuck you and you
love spring eternal and all 

that get the joke
waiting the worst 

of it. Niagara
falls for one

last time un-
remarked upon 

dear quiet
of absence dear 

one wished
for and away 

shoofly
pie the chickens 

come home to 

 

 


Nava Fader attended SUNY Buffalo’s Poetics Programs, writing her thesis on Adrienne Rich. She has two full-length collections and several chapbooks out in the world. Much/some/a bit of her poems are pilfered from other poets (Garcia Lorca, Sylvia Plath, Rimbaud, Michael Basinski, JH Prynne) as well as the internet at large, particularly Wikipedia. She views poetry-making as a cobbling together….and a curating and reusing of what is already around on paper and online and in the mouths of (insert noun here).

20220404

I don't want to die but I've got no choice

 

 

Gale Acuff

 

 

but I can choose to live forever when
I go and if I choose the good is what
they say at church and Sunday School although
they've got no evidence, no one's returned
from being dead as far as I know but
they say Jesus did, it's in the Bible
if I want proof and so on but I don't
believe even though they say that faith is
the evidence of things not seen and all
that but still I'm skeptical--that's a good
word for someone only ten years old but
I don't use it around them, I keep my
good sense to myself, I wonder for how
long—until I'm dead, let’s say. Then we'll see. 

 

 

 

Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Reed, Journal of Black Mountain College Studies, The Font Chiron Review, Poem, Adirondack Review, Florida Review, Slant, Arkansas Review, South Dakota Review, Roanoke Review and many other journals in over a dozen countries. He has authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel, The Weight of the World, and The Story of My Lives.

Gale has taught university English courses in the US, China, and Palestine.

 

20220314

Train #19 After

Eugene Stevenson

 

 

During the year
he was away, 

railroad
management 

renamed
Train #13, 

changed
the number, 

to Train #19,
after it 

struck & killed
a little girl 

at a grade crossing
in the rain.

 

 

 

Eugene Stevenson, the son of immigrants, the father of expatriates, lives in the mountains of western North Carolina. Author of The Population of Dreams (Finishing Line Press 2022), he is a Pushcart Prize nominee whose poems have appeared in After Hours Journal, Angel City Review, The Hudson Review, Loch Raven Review, San Pedro River Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, & Volney Road Review among others. In the distant past, he worked at the Erie-Lackawanna, New York Central, Penn Central, and Rock Island Railroads.

20220307

Apocryphal

David Barrick

 




 

An eclipse isn’t due for another ten months, yet here’s one right now. Gauzy shadow like pantyhose pulled over a face—the schoolyard tinted sepia. A gremlin is tinkering with the firmament, preaches the lunch monitor. Do not look out that window, she says, rapping knuckle after knuckle with a ruler. You’ll be struck blind. Compliant, the student body chews the cud of cold cut sandwiches. On the sly, I tilt my arithmetic tablet, and behind it, fashion a pinhole camera from my milk carton. I point it upwards and out. A colicky pinprick of sun appears between my hands—toy solar flares licking dust mite sprites. No one else can see this diorama, its fragile catechesis.            

 

 

 

David Barrick is author of the poetry collection Nightlight (Palimpsest Press, 2022), as well as the chapbooks Incubation Chamber (Anstruther Press, 2019) and Two Dreams: Stratford and The Copyist (The Alfred Gustav Press, 2022). His poems have been published in The FiddleheadThe Malahat ReviewPrairie FireEVENT, and other literary journals. He lives and teaches in London, Ontario, where is Managing Director of Antler River Poetry (formerly Poetry London).

20220221

Three Ghost Trains at Niobrara


Jeff Burt

 

/
I have had too much grace.
Common wisdom says it cannot be so,
but I have had too much luck,
                     just too much of too much. 

I am like a clay side to a mountain
saturated by rain:  I slip then slide,
                     changing good boundaries. 

I am like a river that has leapt its banks
and gone to ruin orchards of friendships,
                     pastures of providence, valleys of love. 

I am like a spur of a train track rusting
under bird-less skies that ends in field of wild grass,
                     abandoned boxcars, spikes.

 

//
Workmanlike. Lower Missouri, river of commerce,
pack mule, wide and polluted, flat, churning below,
                     ever churning. 

Downstream the channels deepen, pace quickens,
the wild and rampant dominates beneath
                               yet never breaks into rapids. 

I respect no levee, rise to overcome impedance,
stem the flow of contributories,
                     make loved ones back away. 

Like the trestle that no one sees and thinks train,
I am graffiti, a spot for dispossessing,
                     in search of missing steam. 

                                      

///

I went down to the river near sunset.  One heron
split the sky and the last I saw of it
                     was blurred shadow in still backwater. 

I went down to the river because it was late
because the trestle was close and the train would go by,
                               and the smoke would wrestle white 

and black and seem almost cheerful.
I went down to the river looking for the scented word,
                               the petals of apology, of praise, 

for the shape of a common dialect, but a single twig dangled
in the water and drew me off into storms.  When I left the river
                               I passed the bridge but did not cross. 

I took the train tracks in the twilight and stumbled
toward home and as I passed the last house saw my self
                               in the dark window of ignorance.

 

 

                                        

 

Jeff Burt lives in California with his wife amid the redwoods and two-lane roads wide enough for one car. He grew up in Wisconsin, Texas, and Nebraska, and the landscape of the American Midwest still populates his vision.. He has work in Rabid Oak, Red Wolf Journal, Williwaw Journal, and Heartwood. He was the featured 2015 summer issue poet of Clerestory, and won the 2017 Cold Mountain Review narrative poetry prize.

20220214

How do Trucks Burn?

Monty Reid

Ottawa, Feb 6, 2022
(with apologies to Randolph Harris)

  

1.   Electrical Short - Engine compartment
 common cause       usually under   
 and combustible components       include
other locations       it won’t stop
around metal components      rubbing and start
any nearby combustibles      a fire from another source
or was merely a result 

 

2.  Arson
about somebody
lack of       or lack of
 an unpopulated area        accelerate the fire
but rarely in the engine compartment       the evidence is gone
however      remains also
samples taken from properly       the debris can distinguish
because it ignites more easily       arson is suspected
before the gasoline evaporates.

 

3    Trailer Fires
truck fires don’t usually       which should be obvious
which can fail      an axle should be obvious
to ignite residual grease       the normal question is 
for the adjacent wheels        innocent bearings should look good
brakes can        compare these
consider the possibility of a flat tire.

 

4     Fluid Leaks
Diesel fuel, hydraulic oil, antifreeze, power steering fluid, butane, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid, and engine oil are all
mainly because gasoline       diesel fuel has to be
most trucks have the fuels       are somewhat separated.
however, fuel leaks can        the turbo runs hot
with its housing       during the fire
It should be determined.

 

5     Exhaust Systems
a driver changed a tire
 and strapped the old torn up tire
 to the back of his cab

the torn rubber flapped
against the vertical exhaust pipe
caught on fire and burned
the entire tractor and trailer.

 

 

Monty Reid is an Ottawa poet. He likes trains, he likes trucks, but is furious about the Ottawa occupation.

20220207

Desperate flight in thunderstorms

DS Maolalai

 

 

 

wild mornings. I wake up
and lawsuits like crows in my inbox
to the company – alas! and I am not a bird
at desperate flight in thunderstorms. I make
a cup of coffee; I offer
michelle coffee. some peach
comes through the window, a delicious
soapish pink.

 

 

 

DS Maolalai has been nominated nine times for Best of the Net and seven times for the Pushcart Prize. He has released two collections, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden (Encircle Press, 2016) and Sad Havoc Among the Birds (Turas Press, 2019). His third collection, Noble Rot is scheduled for release in April 2022.

20220124

Silence

Kenneth M Cale









Kenneth M Cale lives in Oregon. His chapbooks include Greater Vegas Bleeds into the Dreams of My Cryogenic Slumber (Steel Incisors, 2022) and Midnight Double Feature (Sweat Drenched Press, 2020). You can find him on Twitter: @kmcale81