Tuesday, March 2, 2010

all aboard

peering through prickly
scrub brush, we tremble
in anticipation, even before
the rumbling sound begins
to shake the ground...

small pebbles hopping,
the iron horse rounds
the bend belching smoke
signals to the stars, unaware
of what is coming...

some small voice whispers
doubts on the hairs of my neck,
torn between flagging the train
before its too late and
awe at what we are doing...

who derails a train?

her raw energy pulls
at my cheeks, my breath
catching in my chest
in that last moment, ears
peeled and eyes pinched tight...

she rolls on into the night,
leaving our coin gathering
moonlight in her tracks, and
i am not sure if i am
disappointed or relieved...

or scared of what other
lies we believed.

Note: If you did not grow up by railroad tracks, you may have never heard that you can derail a train by putting a coin on the tracks. I can tell you from experience it is false. Though sometimes I wonder what we would have done if it had. Or what we were even thinking in trying it. We were young once...

92 comments:

powdergirl said...

Yep, I tried it too, but I don't think I believed the myth about one little penny taking out the big Iron Horse. I just wanted to see how flat it would get.

You on the other hand.... if intent is taken into consideration....

Well, you just go to your room, young man, and think about what you were thinking of doing : D

I remember being a very skeptical child at the best of times.

Wings said...

We had a different "truth" as kids. We would put a coin on the track and we believed it would be changed by the train into another coin. Yeah, we were gullible. And yeah, the older kids were probably swapping them out to trick us. But we believed it for it a long time.

Beth said...

I have fond memories of flattening out coins on a railway. Always love your descriptive writing!

Tom said...

i had a friend who'd stand on the train trestle as the train whizzed by. It scared me half to death just being a few yards away. Man, fast, noisy and powerful, trains are frightening beasts!

Felicitas said...

Incredible imagery! This piece is like a slice in time - I could completely see/feel myself there.

Cop Mama said...

We did this too! My crazy brothers and I.
When I stayed with my mom and step dad, we lived in the country but only about 50 yards from the tracks.
The trains roared and rumbled our trailer house all hours of the day!

Excellent details! It brought back memories!

Magpie said...

"some small voice whispers
doubts on the hairs of my neck,"
absolutely wonderful...even if you were once a little hellian. :-)

Little Ms Blogger said...

I grew up taking my dad to the train station daily, but never ever heard about the coin trick.

I think I'd do it to get the flat coin.

-Brian said...

Nice piece yourself brother! Thanks for the comment!

THE BEATY said...

yeah I've heard that myth doesn't work... not that i'd know or anything...

Susan said...

No worries about that happening, but it is funny how what we believe as children seems so real and scary. Awesome piece.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

Matty said...

I remember that we would put sticks and rocks on the tracks. Yeah, that didn't work either. Thank goodness.

tour and travel said...

Nice article,
Keep posting stuff like this i really like it. Thx.

Pastor Sharon said...

I used to leave coins on the railroad tracks. I remember thinking what would happen if it derailed? But it didn't stop me. . . i remember being a kid once.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
♥ Braja said...

Never heard that. But you little rascals.....:)

Kulio said...

Thanks for the memories! Tried it at the KOA in St. Petersburg, Florida. Where were my parents? :-)

Chhaya said...

I am so glad its just a myth!

btw, putting those coins on the railtracks makes them kind of magnetic :D

PS: u r so awesome! how do u manage to find stories and poems in such simple moments? :)

ishabellemanalo said...

i would have loved to have had the same adventure as you had.:)

Lisa said...

Oh, just sounds like a woman...trying to derail things and getting a man to do it for her.

After I moved away from Austin, 11/12 years, I lived near RR tracks. I am back in Austin and I so miss the sounds of the trains...one of the most soothing sounds to me.

jaymiethorne said...

You have made me long for the sound of a train passing in the night. Sweetest of lullabyes.

She Writes said...

I did grow up near tracks and have put many a coin on the tracks. Love the flattened out remainder after a train.

Bernie said...

I too put many a coin on railway tracks.....thank heaven they didn't cause a crash, we spent so many hours playing on those tracks.

I still live close enough to the tracks to hear the train whistle every night at 10pm, brings memories of my dad who retired from the railway after 35 years of service.......great memories Brain, thank you......:-) Hugs

Gillian said...

When we first arrived in SA we lived right next to a train track. It look me forever to get used to the *clack-clack clack-clack* of the midnight trains. Our entire house used to shake

louisey said...

When I was a small child on holday near Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, we would put coins down on tracks to make them bigger and flatter because we thought we could buy more sweeties with bigger coins.

Lovely post

Mary LA

dusty said...

big crazy motives write on time

large crazy motives wohing down the line

huge crazy motives number oneless than a hundred

left the en and jin near zzzzzz with a worried mine

Ronda Laveen said...

Yes, I grew up by the tracks. They meander all around River City. I don't ever remember trying to derail the train with coin, but, hopping the caboose was considered a date. Even three counties over.

Baino said...

Evil little buggers . . boys near where I used to live put detonators on the tracks. They didn't derail the trains either but they made a mighty bang! I played it safe and sat on the overbridge collecting numbers and getting covererd in soot . . yep, they were steam trains in them thar days!

Lorenzo said...

"We were young once ..."

And young once again when I read your blog. Beautiful, Brian. The coin gathering moonlight on the track. I'm taking that image back with me.

Have you kept any of those coins? Moonlight and all?

Sh@KiR@ CK said...

Me got an award for you!

come over to http://justmeshakirack.blogspot.com/2010/03/awesome-gifts-from-crackerjacks.html

hugs
shakira

mo.stoneskin said...

You bad bad boy. Hope you didn't get caught in the prickly scrub brush.

Protege said...

I love trains! I am completely fascinated by them and the trains in Europe are one of a kind.;)
How awesome that you lived next to a track as a child. A fun recollection of a childhood mischief.;)
xo
Zuzana

järnebrand said...

Yeah, I believed in the coin thing too when I was little. Actually I still believed it until just now, when you all told me that it, in fact, doesn't work... :) Hmmm... I never actually tried it myself, but I had some friends who did... :)
I get a little worried though, hearing it seems to be so common that kids play where there are railroad tracks... I don't want my kids anywhere near railroad tracks! Trains are huge and very dangerous.
So, did you save the coin? :)

Shadow said...

when you're kids, you do just to see what happens... i'm glad you didn't derail anything though.

Tracie said...

I never tried because I was a Fraidy Cat and also very obedient until I hit puberty.

My kids have been itching to try this since they were 5 and 2. I'm frightend of their impending puberty.

otin said...

OMG! LOL! When I was a kid, I left a railroad spike laying on the tracks. My stepbrother had me so convinced that I was going to derail the train that I walked back at 10 pm by myself. I never found it. I often wonder what guilt that I would have felt if I really derailed it?

the walking man said...

Depends on how close you were to the tracks when your penny derailed it. Closeness would have feeling completely different than being a thousand yards away.

slommler said...

Wow! Great read! I have never thought about doing this myself. How exciting to be that close to the train, thundering down the tracks. I could feel the hairs stand up on the back of my neck too!
Hugs
SueAnn

ladyfi said...

Thank goodness the coin thing remains a myth!

Great writing!

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

It's like you go straight into the childhood I had and pull me into those moments! Brilliant!!!

Do you know how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie roll tootsie pop?

Just had to ask!

JStar said...

LOL we used to put pennies and coins on the tracks and saved the smashes change..for what I dunno lol

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

You had me trembling too. I recall several times when the gravity of the gambit only began to sink in in the last few seconds. Terrifying. Perhaps it was the feeling we were after - feeling so very in the moment and alive.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

You may NOT be able to derail a train with a coin but you CAN derail a wiener dog with a snausage treat.

It's quite the sight to see!!

Hallie :)

Wonderful World of Weiners said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Travel & Dive Girl said...

I've tried it too. Fun post...

Daniel said...

I did this in NN one time by the library. 4 pennies squished flat, flat, flat. Really cool. Never worried about derailing the train though. It is really a simple calculation involving forces and torques.

Mighty M said...

I have seen plenty of train flattened coins, but I had no idea about the myth until now!

Happy Wednesday!

Jessie said...

i love the imagery you project onto the screen -- it's always so vivid! i have a silent film running everytime i read one of your posts.

i had never heard of derailing a train using a coin, so this piece really had me going in different directions. i'm glad it didn't work, i don't believe it would have ended well.

warm smiles,

TechnoBabe said...

I never heard the coin on the tracks story. Most of the time as a kid I lived out in the country. This post is written very well, letting us know it is a train coming and getting the heart pumping for what may happen.

Tamarind~ said...

The very idea, I had in mind.. & you penned it with ease and mastery! As powdergirl said, I too have done this once; but not to derail the iron horse :) but to get the coins or coils in the desired shape. It was fun for us. You just took me back to those days.! Your poem is real gem. Go on!

jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com said...

your writing is always so adorable, I mean I feel like bouncing and hopping when read your words.
gorgeous post!

jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com said...

thank u so very much for taking me into your world and feel everything u feel. Inedible piece, magical wonders.

Happy Wednesday!

jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com said...

I ride trains while attending college in a far away city,
I ride trains while living in Precenton, NJ to get to New York.
The sound of the wheels always send me to sleep, happily of course.

thank U for sharing part of yourself and Enjoy A Day As Precious As your heart!

anthonynorth said...

We believe so much when we're young, don't we?

buffalodick said...

Well I know you can't shoot through a nickel with a .22 bullet..I tried it, and almost got hit in the head with the nickel or the bullet-I never knew which! Nickel stretches and absorbs the bullet's energy- kept that coin for years...then went on to sell specialty metals my whole career!

Valerie said...

I led a sheltered life... no trains ran near where I played out. I felt quite worried as I read this piece.......

Sh@KiR@ CK said...

I would never do that.
Just sounds so curious and I am never known
for being curious.

I love trains though.
I have never stand so near a passing train though.
Love your feel on it!

Happy WEDNESDAY!

hugs
shakira

CHRYSALIS

Leah said...

This is my new fave of yours. Of course there will be other new faves, but for now, it's this one. I love it.

Rain said...

LOL...I totally tried that too with a nickel. Yeah, the myth of derailing a train! Great story Brian! :)

Deb said...

I remember being so scared the first time we tried this...why in the world would we ever think that derailing a train was an okay thing? Guess I'll blame it on youth. Nothing like the sound of a train...to lull me to sleep.

Kay said...

I never heard the myth, but we did leave coins on the tracks in hopes of the train smashing them down flat (which worked a few times-mostly on the slow tracks) more often than not they were shaken right off though. you capture the memory well though

Meeko Fabulous said...

I'd heard of that before! But I never tried it. I was a scaredy cat little kid. LoL Ever stood by a train as it goes by you at 90 mph? That's a pretty bad ass feeling. :)

Jannie Funster said...

Oh, such urgency and truth in this poem!

And yes, I DID indeed grow up close to railroad tracks, sadly gone now tho. Although there is a snow-mobile trail there now, so not all a loss.

We did smoosh many pennies on the tracks.

And hey, I found you through Jingle and am bestowing the “Jannie Funster Lucky Lupine Award” upon your poetry blog! You can see it and whisk it home away from this post of mine…

http://www.janniefunster.com/2010/03/02/the-blog-party-a-poem/

Whoo-hoo!!!

:)

The Girl From Cherry Blossom Street said...

Your note had me guffawing! ha!

william said...

lol thanks goodness for that, coz u would not have been here today to tell the tale lol, excellent poem as always mate, u never dissapoint :)

LadyCat said...

I had never heard about the derailing, but I have seen a penny that was flattened by a train. Cool stuff here.

Paul Benjamin said...

Growing up, I had heard the same thing about putting a coin on the track. I was always too scared to try it, so I never did.

Turns out I could have? :)

Kaylen said...

I remember hearing the derailing myth when I was little. It's funny that you would have thought that it might derail, but you were all still willing to take the risk AND there was no plan in place in case it did happen. Kid logic is funny.

We have a train nearby and this has totally made me want to go do this!! Off to search for pennies...

Otter Thomas said...

I heart that, but never tried it. Good thing it doesn't work.

Otter Thomas said...

Well I definitely don't heart that, but I did hear it.

Ariel said...

Wow! I'm hearing that for the first time and am so glad that it's just not true.Loved the way you described the passing of the train here.

lakeviewer said...

It all feels imminent and real. Great memory piece.

jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com said...

http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/thursday-poets-rally-week-7-perfect-poet-award/

Happy Thursday Ahead!

AmyLK said...

Don't all little boys flatten coins under the train? Son LOVES trains!

Anya said...

:-)
Very well written :-)
You are a artist with words !!!

doubtfulpoet said...

I tried it and wimped out! Such a wuss. I like some of the lies I got told as a kid, like babies come from cabbage patches. That was much nicer than reality. Reality bites <3

The Retired One said...

I always heard that too...I loved how your excitement/terror had you torn in this one....kind of like falling in love, no?????
ha

Tracy said...

I never tried this, but I do remember the day an old steam locomotive came through town and we took a ride on it to the nearest "city" about 30 miles away. Even now when I go "home" to visit I still love to hear the sound of a train in the distance as it rumbles closer and closer - especially on a rainy day. I don't know why it sounds different, but it does.

suzicate said...

This brought back some memories!Thanks for stopping by my blog.

fiveloaf said...

hey you got my vote! details at my blog..

Joanna Jenkins said...

I lived near a train track but never heard the coin story-- Our stories were always about the hobos who traveled on the trains-- although we never saw one no matter how hard we looked.

Great job.
jj

transparentnow? said...

For the first time in my life I live next to a railroad. Initially it drove me crazy. Now I love the sound. And to watch a train chug along the track with snow on the ground is absolutely awesome!Love this poem.

Nessa said...

The ideas we have a s children. Always testing.

Sean the Vampire

Corrie Howe said...

I'm so glad that you were wrong. Just think of the horrible guilt you'd carry the rest of your lives...even if you were young once.

;-)

poeticgrin said...

There's nothing as magical to a kid as railroad tracks. The idea that this powerful steel beast can appear at any time and shake the world... They've been on my mind a lot, lately, even written about them, too, so it's cool that I came to visit you and read this poem. Good stuff!

purplesplatitudes said...

Hello Brian, dropped in to enjoy a few more of your poems. Always a pleasure to spend time on your blog. I was too busy hopping the trains and riding them to ever think of derailing them! LOL

BenjiMester said...

What a little scoundrel you were :) I used to live on a property that was bordered by train tracks. Sometimes we would walk down them for miles through the forest. Trains are the greatest. Never did try and crush a coin though.

only a movie said...

so nostalgic. love it.

sheila said...

Lol, I bet everyone's tried that. We'd have a serious problem with derailment in the world if it were true. I liked this one.

Goofball said...

hmmm this is a bit painful to read, seeing that it's been written exactly 2 weeks after the biggest train accident in Belgium's history. But yes, of course you were young then ;)

did the trains still have smoke when you tried?