Friday, March 9, 2012


Nobody listens to trains now. I never did, there were hydroplanes to hear. Far off, if you were more animal than human, which I thought I might be, you could hear the trains faintly.
So I’m going to have to catch another kind of ride, which means writing a song. Is that why I stay home more than before? I don’t write songs. I’m thinking, Why not learn all about trains?
It’s foghorns I hear, a ferry docking, freeway traffic, murmuring voices, music like Mozart, Giuffre. If I worked downtown in my Brooks Brothers attire I could hear my shiny shoes’ footfalls.
I wish I’d grown up in the country, where you can lie awake late and go to sleep after out there the train has passed the borders of sound, taking forever, I’m told, or is that wish-fulfillment?
I have never read Freud. Melindra has. She tells me all about the body of work that wrecked our lives by going places no mere mortal should even think of going in human company.
Bonnington likes to call me in monthly. I wonder if this is a madman’s parole. He keeps telling me I was worn out when Clark brought me here. He doesn’t say I could have slept more.
Bonnington has begun to discuss the divagations he’s read about artists. They never talk about art. He says it’s too hard to do it, much less try to explain. Like Ginsberg says. What’s that?
he asks. I say, like I’ve just pushed a buzzer to be first in line on some fifties rapid-fire quiz-show panel: Something like if I had to explain it, there would have been no reason to write it.
He divagates: What do you think of Ginsberg, or Kerouac? I begin quoting Howl. I also know by heart the opening of On the Road. I’ve not read Naked Lunch, but I hear it’s Swiftian,
Jonathan that is. I get around to painting fast. I can talk about Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,and do. Or the bicyle handlebars become a bull charging the toreador. You gotta admire Picasso,
he’s wealthy with one beautiful, brilliant woman who, when she leaves him for whatever reason, is never the last. Or Monet, how could anyone outplunge him to hit art’s lovely depth?
Bonnington defers–or is it demurs–to me, turning to my mind, saying I had better get a job fast. What’s the hurry? I’ve got one, Doc. What about working on a paper. You could edit copy.
I’d rather starve, I quip, telling lies again. When’s the last time you rode a train and how far did you go? He says, Like Amtrak? I meant the old-timers. Bobby, why do you need to know?
There must be more than this city has. He replies by telling me how young I am. Where did you live when you were my age, Vienna? His furrowed, knit brow is transmogrified into a smile.

(5 March 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

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