is an online magazine of the literary arts.
19 April 2007 | Vol. 7, No. 1
Freight Train Blues
I'm stopped by the slow guillotine of the grade
Crossing—three diesels dragging gear north to Fort Drum
Not just tanks, & Fighting Bradleys, & armored cars
But oil transports, hospital trucks, even grain hoppers:
Everything we need to fight the long war in a foreign land.
Around me now curious drivers & their children
Craning happy as lambs, as though this were a circus train—
Mobile cannons, MB3 rocket launchers, field generators—
As on my radio Little Walter sings I ain't broke
But I'm bad bent / Everybody loves a dead president—
Bulldozers, backhoes, pile drivers, hydraulic augurs—
I let my cigarette burn to the butt, diners pause
Mid-fork, a kid deftly flicks up his skateboard to gawk
And, in this sun, snowbanks shrink like lips on a corpse.
About the author:
Martin Walls is a Witter Bynner fellow of the Library of Congress. His second collection of poems, Commonwealth, is available through March Street Press. Individual poems have appeared in the Gettysburg Review, FIELD, Boulevard, Epoch, TriQuarterly, Commonweal, The Nation, and elsewhere. In 2007, Walls will judge the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. He is assistant editor of Making Music and International Musician magazines, both published in Syracuse, New York.