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Posted Mon Sep 28th, 2009 11:31am Post subject: Thoughts from a Train

Sitting on the train
Watching people from my seat
Some sleeping, mouths open wide
Others sit up straight and neat
Another one, face burning red, turns to cough
There’s Mr. Tupperware man
Getting ready to get off
His Tupperware tub is empty now
His lunch is always eaten
He stands up and brushes
Crumbs from off his seat, and
Wait! There’s a apple left
Will he take it home and explain to his wife
Why he couldn’t eat it
Or that he just didn’t want to?
No, he’ll drop it in the waste bin at the station
And tomorrow he’ll get two.

The embankments on the railway sides
Are littered with peoples crap
Just thrown over the fences
They land up in the trap
Between the fencing and the railway lines
Like an open graveyard for things
Like broken bikes, dirty nappies
A toy plane without wings
As we pass out further into the countryside
It’s clear that the waste is less and less
As the estates start to disappear
And now it’s hedgerows and fields
For mile upon weary mile
And I’m starting to miss the concrete mess
With it’s scruffy dirty style
Fields full of cows
Eating grass in a herd
Black, white, brown, mixed
Looking up as they stirred
To the sound of the train as we rushed on by
And I thought of those cows
And that they stood side by side
No segregation here
No cow apartheid
If a man is less of a man
Because of the colour of his skin
Is a cow less of a cow
If it’s black?
And what field should it be in?
The smaller, muddy ones, over there,
On the other side of the tracks
Keep all the lush green fields
For the white ones
Give the others to the blacks

Bring the focus in a bit
These windows need a clean
See the canal, down below us
And wonder what it means
End to end canal boats
Tied up at the scene
And their captains sat drinking beer
At tables on the side
The canal boats never move forwards
Just up and down they glide
Years gone by since these canals
Were put to proper use
Carrying coal, and silks
And fancy goods
And tons of food produce

A girl sits down opposite me
Asks if it’s alright? And ‘Cheers’
I’m guessing now, but I reckon
She’s about nineteen or twenty years
Old and her eyes are hazel,
Round her neck she wears a cross
Should I make conversation
I try, but I’m at a loss
For words, I’m weary
The journey almost done
So I stare out of the window and watch the setting sun
Northallerton station stands empty
Until the passengers depart
Leaving me on this train alone
And with a heavy heart

Graffiti starts to reappear
And everything is tagged
‘Lara’ ‘Snake’ and ‘Jaro’
And on a fence
A coat is snagged

On the banking there
Some boys have made den
‘Be careful boys!’
Oh never mind
The plastic bags and bottles pierced
Are always a sign
That these kids won’t hear
My plea not to come too near
As they squat and laugh at us
As I disappear further onwards
Towards my final goal
But those boys and their lost wide eyes
Have eaten into my soul
So I close my eyes now
And I start to think
About all the things I lack
And I realise, I got to make
The whole goddamn journey back

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