Photographs of Trains


I suppose this is what is meant by big water.
The age of the environ begins in Israel,
compounded by century knowledge and bass.
The flutes, the children, and the sound.
Great hunger, great weakness, a great, thundering train.

This, then; what? An image of Stieg Larsson
and his African fear, ten years before
the invention of money and indentured psychopaths.
How much can you plumb out of a decade?
The body holds; I see you have lost your nose

brother, more cruel powder rot affecting you
alone – so transparently unfair that wounds are
not universal, that being trampled does not
necessitate some alien invasion or spaceship abuse;
that instead, more likely, it comes just from normal feet

in normal shoes, with normal leather soles
which romp and tremble over the turf
looking sickly in the morning light – wan
in the disfiguring and bright train light.
Bulbs affect me; so does loneliness, strife, boredom..

Maybe I think we let ourselves loose? Maybe no?
So relieved for one shining decade to freely strive
with joined hands, together acknowledging
and accepting that greed is Margaret Thatcher.
Money troubles. The rumbling of transatlantic planes.

Rust and tumble. Occasional human flesh disasters.
You cannot pay me anything to sleep. Still, so thrives punk
as some disguised mod sits down in disguise in some
disguised compartment of disguised and incredible
wealth. What would Sid Vicious think of anything at all?

Transatlantic forever, flying with the wind in our eyes.
Can’t see, can’t think, can’t fuck, can’t cheat,
can’t marry, can’t love, can’t go to church.
You are forbidden to go to church and henceforth
banned from this church. I will stay here alone

under the windows, the woodwork, in the kingdom.
One exception – Christmastime. There must be peace
on earth but Goldman looms regardless in the cavern.
Step back, step back, and take an ice cream.
There is time still remaining between now and midnight

tomorrow. If you told me that I was a totally unacceptable man
I would start crying so hard
that my face would fall off.
I can’t bear your chastisement.
It makes me feel fraudulent and unwell.

Just give it a minute here. What I wouldn’t give to live,
laugh, wonder and sing in arms again – any arms,
as long as there are a lot of them. The money masterpiece;
power is a cell graph of untoward proportions.
What is the exchange rate now – is it rising or, perhaps,

is it falling gently down upon my head like money snow.
Particles. I’m a hard living motherfucker ready for war.
Lies inside greater disguise – most degrees
are held close inside the heart until the heart
begins to rot. Most teeth do good work all their lives.

I weigh up a hardy soul-selling. Not something worth
overthought, just one more decision to make – flip
a wine gum. I have tricked myself again – if the choice
included crawling backwards through time and emerging
from a shoebox in the closet of a big banking man

then I would hardly have to think; just dive
into the box and pull the lid over my head and
rip into my skull through my ears and offer
remorselessly
what lives there in the dark. The click clock knock

of cocks on skin; an induction day and,
separately,
a welcoming.
Line graphs stares at me from other walls
waiting for something to watch from the ground.

I long for my shoebox kingdom but the choice is now.
No great 80s landscape painting of counter-culture
currency killers operating on another level. Just the tock
ticking of tiny spreadsheet boxes and the welcome
arrival of deep, strong kisses in the warm evening.

Pull your breast into my mouth and cry on me.
I am a rat, a rat, no more than that – just as
I’ve said before. Sleep is a machine which
takes the guts right out of you to nasty jazz.
I always wake up sweating; wake up cold.

Scared of the coming of the rust; scared of the rev rev
train which poot poots towards me angrily. Why
must you stop, draw so haughtily to such a place
just as I am, and where I wait? Speed past or better yet
crash into stone and metal and stone, and take me

with you into the rubble paste – not in a plane
this time, just the obvious endpoint to a life
lived only in hope of rest. I’ve got a dream.
It’s where you swoop down and carry me
to work and show me that it was never real

and then you kiss my weeping eyes and let me know
that I am safe and warm and safe, and have been brave,
and did so well and don’t deserve – one bit – to feel
any kind of creeping shame or any kind of guilt about it.
That anyone would have; and that nobody minds.

The senate race in Ohio is of great interest
to the patriot in me. I have been petitioning both men
with letters of a stranger sort. For one thing
they are addressed to only me; and for another they
are just ripped pages from my disappearing diary.

The pages call for an end to suffering or else
at least for an end to mine; a relief from torture
given gratefully for my great service to the mines.
I would do anything for a gentle retirement fund
with an activation age of 23 and lots of luck.

What I am asking is; well okay, what it isn’t is whether
to sell myself because I am already
mostly gone, wind-blown and disappearing
now thanks to a bad attitude and too much
fear. Instead I want to know just how

to live afterwards; how easy it is to bear
being barely nearly never here; and how
hard it would be to rise to face the day without
turning face or asking for release or attacking the sun
or never quite managing to be on time for the train.

Please; some strategies or perhaps just vitamins
to control the rising fear of absolutely never
being happy or loved, of never stepping
anywhere near anything except a great
precipice, money and rocks both visible below;

please offer some guidance in this time my lord (I pray)
and very quickly build me a rudimentary elevator.
I’m frightened of everything which disappears
entirely; quietly envious of sleeping on the streets
but not enough to not feel guilty for never,

absolutely never, being close to doing it. The closest
is hay, and even that I escaped from in a billion dollar
taxi ride without even a hangover, just the images of grass
and wet normandy beaches which grasped so well
a world without money is still a world full of pain;

but then, victory was never the most British thing –
nor, for that matter, great self-improvement or
enlightened thought. Perhaps the efficient German
who lives so well in me will come to hold my hand
and teach me how to make fire in the caves or –

and this maybe more likely – perhaps he,
like everyone, like my son and my father,
and my friendly ghost, is already well gone from here,
off making children’s art in some orphanage or mental hospital,
already shaking his head in disbelief at how nasty

the old place looks, covered in weeds and lots of dust,
and spiders. It’s true that I have a sense of how things
are meant to be; a sense of truth, beauty, and how to
be happy; but these senses pale into pools evaporating
when I try to put them into words, or live my life striving

for any of it to be manifest and real, and not to hurt.
Maybe I’ll do a beautiful job without money in a tent, or married
to some wealthy noblewomen with a bucket on her head,
or at least to some patron of the arts who sees in me a splendour
which he wants to nourish, or frame, or encourage, or squander.

Back to basics; me, no monkeyboy; you, a bad bloody fellow.
Offer me a job and I’ll kick your teeth in, hang from your neck
and scream things I really mean – I don’t want anything except
a warm place to call mine, some peace and quiet, a friend
or ten, coffee and beer taps, maybe a servant, maybe

some shoes, a tanned leather belt, a pet moose,
a pet dog, rabbit, cat, and armchair – a sense of
artistic fulfilment, a Christmas wreath, a cherry
blossom, an oak grandfather clock which wakes
me perfectly on time with chiming, a little gold bell,

an artful noose, a watermelon and a bag of gruel;
colourful socks and business suits, a cheerful neighbour
with a tidy lawn and a pond and a goose, and a stocked fridge
full of all the things I like to eat; and an underground
pool and helicopter; and also to not be a terrible monster

who needs these things, but to have them anyway.
To be happy without them but shrug and say
‘I guess it’s a combination of luck and hard work’ –
what an envy I’ll be, my friends and family all
clustered round, congratulating me on my genius

house and my genius life and my genius wife;
and I’ll smile and say ‘that, my dears, is life’.
And 12 hours later, the party disbanded, I’ll go
to the train tracks and lay down and wait
for the rolling steel and the release and the weight

and the shrill sound of tortured, terrified brakes.
I don’t have an answer; heaven can wait; but bury
me in a large mausoleum if possible. Of course
it’s running late – but what happens once will
never end; everything always comes around again.

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