Locomotive, set at odds with us, like a dead god.
A god who always been dyin’, dyin' down the track.
God—oh strange God—not trying to revive husks
of shucked corn—stillborn on cobs in Missouri fields
where buried effigies and pedigrees remind us —
expect a resurrection. We dream you, like the No. 16 Engine,
might just be slow in arriving. That, somewhere,
you still out there—chuggin’, chuggin’
down the River Runner Line,
down to Kansas City—Dyin', dyin',
we been dying’ like dust devils—
we been kickin' up muck, n' the shit that get stuck
to you—too hot, sticky, shine'n with sweat—
‘Till that oil sheen becomes a mud pie,
with marshmallow eyes and smiles slide
down your face, dropping off into rich earth.
Dismemberment—the name given to coordinates
we do not possess—the place where infinite excess
touches absolute lack—hear the heart-hungry whistle.
Hierophant of cabooses—who will come to pass by
only in the later and last days. Conductor—paid spokesperson
and prophet—we remember your lumbering voice—
flooding like incandescent light, a soft white pouring from fixtures,
squeezing itself between door hinges and dining cars,
until—like a luminous moth, a cocoon-question that splits shell
and emerges as statement—all aboard who's commin' aboard.
I don't think, for example, Im’outta my mind.
‘Cause, you see, the Missouri runs north and south.
So, you see, we're either going north or south.
My brother, Short, liked his train rides.
He tell me everything, he tell me this train
goes straight through to saint Louis,
just follows the old Missouri where
dismemberment is a mud pie in June
it feel like drying, cracking mud
—it just like the tracks—
crossing the entirety of you.
You see, I never rode the train before.
I only got close to the startling metal body
that once. Then, I watched the stars change.
The stars are a bridge over the water.
Crossing the Missouri,
I’m a bridge
crossing the water
I'm just right
I'm fine, it's this road,
It's just this road!
Don't ya see?!
Don't ya see that little town
with houses scattered everywhere—
there, they have tractors they don't use.
I give thanks to the dead.
Hell, I’d like to thank all the dead people
who are not here
for not making it
because so many of the dead,
they’re always here
at the table
like a mother’s breast.
To await the guest,
I wear shadow
on my face.
The face I’ve made
for the dead, I’ve made
The deer in the woods is a buck.
In the woods at dusk, nothing is visible.
The woods are a sometimes father.
At times, a father can become invisible.
But the spiced smell of his Copenhagen longcut
always dribbles over the balcony railings,
whenever he’s decided he’s on the hunt,
whenever deer gather around the wicker furniture
spread across the lawn like fortifications—
darts across porches
silently shooing the deer
before they become casualty—
before the father,
who wants to be left alone,
begins the killing of things
to end his loneliness,
to release the solitary feeling of death
which sometimes finds him
on the balcony, at dusk
when the flask has gone empty in his hand.