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