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Down in the Rail Road Flats

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Below is the poem entitled Down in the Rail Road Flats which was written by poet Jim David. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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Down in the Rail Road Flats

Twas a little piece of heaven in a bigger spot of hell,
Nestled in the bosom of the Sierra Nevadas.
I wasn't sure just what planet I had just landed on,
An alien invader in a strange mountain fold.
Oh, they looked at us with those skeptical stares,
Knowing full well their way of life there was to end someday.
But they took us in anyway, finally seeing our flags were the same color,
And taught us the art of rock-flicking and tree-bending!
Miles and miles of tormented roads and depressed dwellings
Peppered the backs of the manzanita hills.
Pine pitch wafted in my nose in the sunshine,
And cool, sweet water in the faltering twilight.
Like fleeing snakes, the rivers and creeks charged down-hill,
A Pacific grave was the prize at the end of the run.
We found the Red Planet above Prussian Hill, 
Waiting for us to be the last of the guard of an older way of life.
The only real laws out there were the laws of common courtesy,
Don't tread on me, and an eye for an eye. 
Folks were as real and as painfully set as a re-broken bone,
High-falutin' ways were as real to them as Hollywood dreams.
The summer sun burned the devils out of your bones,
The winter chill froze the snow angels into your flesh.
Funny, I never heard the whistle of a train,
Where were the railroads?? Hell, where were the FLATS??
West Point was pointless, Wilseyville was full of wiles,
Independence sat in lonely forgottenness,
Glencoe, a plaque in the artery of Hwy. 26.
Mountain Ranch and Sheep Ranch sighed in amnesic slumber, 
While Mokolumne Hill and San Andreas kept vigil to the gateways.
A part of my soul is still buried in the flesh of those fractured rises and draws,
A part of who I am... there's no shame, I feel, to admit it loud and proud.
So, to the new dwellers who've changed her lovely, rustic face
Into the image of what they deem beautiful and of value,
Don't forget there were lives lived out before you came,
And remember they cleared the way for you and your ways!
Resist the temptation to rush to change a land that never asked you,
And treat her with the respect of your fathers' graves and your childrens' futures.

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  1. Date: 12/3/2012 12:08:00 PM
    At 83 I can relate. Good stuff! Congrats on the selection. daver

  1. Date: 12/2/2012 7:36:00 PM
    JIM,,, ,,, congratulations with your poem featured on the soup home page... love it~ LINDA

  1. Date: 5/2/2011 4:17:00 AM
    Congratulations Jim on your win in Jimmy's contest. Love, Carol

  1. Date: 5/1/2011 6:09:00 PM
    Congrats~ Worthy WIN....

  1. Date: 5/1/2011 5:20:00 PM
    Magnificant! really really unique, telling a special story in a special way if Jimmy had gone past three you certainly would have been four ;) Loved it! Wish I had seen all you've seen. Congrad's Light & Love

  1. Date: 5/1/2011 3:32:00 PM
    congrats on your HM, Jim. This is a write full of reflection...and geography. Super nice ending with resisting the temptation to rush to change a land that never asked you. A respectful and full-circle ending. WElcome to The Soup! Hang out for a while! Gwendolen

  1. Date: 6/29/2009 6:39:00 AM
    Welcome to PoetrySoup Jim. I am hoping to read many more poems written by you. Love, Carol

  1. Date: 6/27/2009 3:10:00 PM
    Wow-Ya really took me there sir--Brought a tear to my eye--excellent write---How about one on the old cantolope rick