Night from a railroad car window
Is a great, dark, soft thing
Broken across with slashes of light.
We stopped at perfect days
and got out of the car.
The wind glanced at her hair.
It was as simple as that.
I turned to say something--
Thinking hard about you
I got on the bus
and paid 30 cents car fare
and asked the driver for two transfers
that I was
There has been a light snow.
Dark car tracks move in out of the darkness.
I stare at the train window marked with soft dust.
I have awakened at Missoula Montana utterly happy.
Last night Magda dreamed that she,
you, Jack, and I were driving around
We parked in Florence and left
our dog to guard the car.
She was worried because he
doesn't understand Italian.
That tree said
I don't like that white car under me,
it smells gasoline
That other tree next to it said
O you're always complaining
you're a neurotic
you can see by the way you're bent over.
July 6, 1981, 8 p.m.
Last night I drove a car
not knowing how to drive
not owning a car
I drove and knocked down
people I loved
...went 120 through one town.
I stopped at Hedgeville
and slept in the back seat
...excited about my new life.
As I sd to my
friend, because I am
always talking,--John, I
sd, which was not his
name, the darkness sur-
rounds us, what
can we do against
it, or else, shall we &
why not, buy a goddamn big car,
drive, he sd, for
christ's sake, look
out where yr going.
When our cars touched
When you lifted the hood of mine
To see the intimate workings underneath,
When we were bound together
By a pulse of pure energy,
When my car like the princess
In the tale woke with a start,
I thought why not ride the rest of the way together.
Philip Le Barr,
Was knock down by a car,
On the road to Mandalay.
He was knocked down again
By a dust cart in Spain
And again in Zanzibar.
He travled at night
In the pale moon light
Away from the traffic growl
But terrible luck
He was hit by a duck
Driven by an owl.
William Carlos (WCW) Williams
A rumpled sheet
Of brown paper
About the length
And apparent bulk
Of a man was
Rolling with the
Wind slowly over
And over in
The street as
A car drove down
Upon it and
Crushed it to
The ground. Unlike
A man it rose
With the wind over
And over to be as
It was before.
IT’S a lean car … a long-legged dog of a car … a gray-ghost eagle car.
The feet of it eat the dirt of a road … the wings of it eat the hills.
Danny the driver dreams of it when he sees women in red skirts and red sox in his sleep.
It is in Danny’s life and runs in the blood of him … a lean gray-ghost car.
Xhosa women in clothes too light
for the weather have brought wild flowers
and sit sloped along the Claremont road.
I see her through rolled windows,
watch her watch me to decide if I’ll pay.
It’s South Africa, after all, after apartheid;
but we’re still idling here, my car to her curb,
my automatic locks to her inadequate wage.
Rolls a cigarette of air
The mute girl talks:
It is art's imperfection.
This impenetrable speech.
The motor car is truly launched:
Four martyrs' heads
Roll under the wheels.
Ah! a thousand flames, a fire,
The light, a shadow!
The sun is following me.
A feather gives to a hat
A touch of lightness:
The chimney smokes.
COLORED CHILD AT CARNIVAL
Where is the Jim Crow section
On this merry-go-round,
Mister, cause I want to ride?
Down South where I come from
White and colored
Can't sit side by side.
Down South on the train
There's a Jim Crow car.
On the bus we're put in the back--
But there ain't no back
To a merry-go-round!
Where's the horse
For a kid that's black?
O, wilt thou go wi' me,
Sweet Tibbie Dunbar?
O, wilt thou go wi' me,
Sweet Tibbie Dunbar?
Wilt thou ride on a horse,
Or be drawn in a car,
Or walk by my side,
O sweet Tibbie Dunbar?
I care na thy daddie,
His lands and his money,
I care na thy kin
Sae high and sae lordly;
But say thou wilt ha'e me
For better for waur—
And come in thy coatie,
Sweet Tibbie Dunbar!
O WILT thou go wi’ me, sweet Tibbie Dunbar?
O wilt thou go wi’ me, sweet Tibbie Dunbar?
Wilt thou ride on a horse, or be drawn in a car,
Or walk by my side, O sweet Tibbie Dunbar?
I care na thy daddie, his lands and his money,
I care na thy kin, sae high and sae lordly;
But sae that thou’lt hae me for better for waur,
And come in thy coatie, sweet Tibbie Dunbar.
Along the sprawled body of the derailed Great Northern freight car,
I strike a match slowly and lift it slowly.
Beyond town, three heavy white horses
Wade all the way to their shoulders
In a silo shadow.
Suddenly the freight car lurches.
The door slams back, a man with a flashlight
Calls me good evening.
I nod as I write good evening, lonely
And sick for home.
He drove at evening through the hushed Vosges. The car radio,
glimmering, received broken utterance from the horizon of storms...
'God's honours - our bikes touched: he skidded and came off.' 'Liar.' A
timid father's protective bellow. Disfigurement of a village king. 'Just
look at the bugger...'
His maroon GT chanted then overtook. He lavished on the high valleys its
So they bought you
And kept you in a
Very good home
A deep freeze
A very good home-
No one to take you
For that lovely long run-
'A very good home'
They fed you Pal and Chun
But not that lovely long run,
Until, mad with energy and boredom
You escaped- and ran and ran and ran
Under a car.
Today they will cry for you-
Tomorrow they will but another dog.
William Carlos (WCW) Williams
At ten AM the young housewife
moves about in negligee behind
the wooden walls of her husband's house.
I pass solitary in my car.
Then again she comes to the curb
to call the ice-man, fish-man, and stands
shy, uncorseted, tucking in
stray ends of hair, and I compare her
to a fallen leaf.
The noiseless wheels of my car
rush with a crackling sound over
dried leaves as I bow and pass smiling.
Walter de la Mare
Over the fence, the dead settle in
for a journey. Nine o'clock.
You are alone for the first time
today. Boys asleep. Husband out.
A beer bottle sweats in your hand,
and sea lavender clogs the air
with perfume. Think of yourself.
Your arms rest with nothing to do
after weeks spent attending to others.
Your thoughts turn to whether
butter will last the week, how much
longer the car can run on its partial tank of gas.
"Trash, trash!" the king my uncle said,
"The spirit's smoke and weak as smoke ascends.
"Sit in the sun and not among the dead,
"Eat oranges! Pish tosh! the car attends.
"All ghosts came back. they do not like it there,
"No silky water and no big brown bear,
"No beer and no siestas up above."
"Uncle," I said, "I'm lonely. What is love?"
This drove him quite insane. Now he must knit
Time and apperception, bit by tiny bit.
Round a turn of the Qin Fortress winds the Wei River,
And Yellow Mountain foot-hills enclose the Court of China;
Past the South Gate willows comes the Car of Many Bells
On the upper Palace-Garden Road-a solid length of blossom;
A Forbidden City roof holds two phoenixes in cloud;
The foliage of spring shelters multitudes from rain;
And now, when the heavens are propitious for action,
Here is our Emperor ready-no wasteful wanderer.
Snowfall in March:
I sit in the white glow reading a thesis
About you. Your poems, your life.
The author's my student,
He even quotes me.
Forty years since we joked in a kitchen in Portland
Twenty since you disappeared.
All those years and their moments—
Crackling bacon, slamming car doors,
Poems tried out on friends,
Will be one more archive,
One more shaky text.
But life continues in the kitchen
Where we still laugh and cook,