The other day in pensive mood I stood

And wondered, where’d the steam trains go? The roar

Of engines, whistles in the night that could

Be heard from 20 miles away and more.

The lonely locomotives and their tenders

Breathing fire and smoke and snorting cinders,


Drinking water from the wooden tanks

On heavy timber towers by the streams

On tracks that ran along beside the banks.

The awesome noise they made, the squeaks and screams,

Delighted kids from nine to ninety years of age.

But they, like troupes of players on a stage,


Were here today and gone away tomorrow.

Like so many stations built on byways

By the locals who were to their sorrow

Bypassed by the cars that passed on highways

Built nearby by Uncle Sam and paid

For using money grown on trees and made


Of paper run through printing presses said

To be as good as gold and borrowed back

From members of The Club, that is to say The Fed.

A better way, they said, but what it did was stack

The deck against the trains and folks and freight

In favor of the car, was throw its weight


Behind the likes of Ford and General Motors,

Give a set of wheels to each and every baby

As its birthright and convince the voters

On election day they owed the Right, that maybe

They’re beholden to the few who own a pen,

Who write the checks and pass them out to men


Who bitch and moan but do as they are told.

A few among the rank and file expect

To rise above it, get themselves enrolled

With their own pen onto the list of the Select.

They mean to find the pot of gold out there,

And then to make sure they get their fair share.

They’ve got it coming. In The Book a band

Of nomads struck a bargain with a Feller

Looking for a following. A land

Of milk and honey to a desert dweller

Is a deal to die for. He’s got flaws

But if you keep your pledge to keep His Laws


He’ll keep His Word to you. And don’t forget

The Founding Fathers too confirmed that you

Have got the right to, though you do not yet

Know what it takes to make you so, pursue

Your happiness with all your might. Let’s say

A tribe was there already, it’s okay.


For instance, Jericho, you blow your horn,

The walls come tumbling down, you slay them all.

The Maya, Inca, Sioux, you take their corn,

Potato, buffalo, their basketball,

And in return you give them syphilis, money,

Smallpox tainted blankets, call them shiftless, funny.


Then in time they add their story to the lore--

So what you’re poor, don’t have to stay that way--

Of folks who made it big, got more

Than their fair share of glory, had their day

In the blazing sun, their 15 minutes of fame,

Got blinded by the glare, burned by the flame.


Their hearts, the roots ripped out, re-melted

And returned to be reused, replaced

By replications wrapped in bubble wrap, be melted

Down again, and flavored to the taste

Of teens too young to vote as yet, protection

From the lethal sting of an infection


Caused by thought, by pollination with a grain

Of sand or salt, of colors chosen by the blind.

An ox to gore, an ax to grind, a goal or gold to gain.

The simple truth, it runs before the wind,

Defies the mind to find it in amongst the lies it

Hides behind, the masks used to disguise it.


2008 jun 13 2010 apr 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2012 sep 14 fri fulgham

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