Sunday, April 10, 2005

Slow Newsreel of Man Riding Train (Cont'd--Part I.6)

My father was never rewarded by the Board of governors
of the Atlantic Seaboard
or by the Overseers of the Ohio & Gulf Mobile
or by the trustees & policyholders of the Illinois Central.
He was not recognized by the Nickel Plate Line.

My father performed a real service to the B. & O.
the Grand Trunk the Watash
the C. & E. I. and the L. & N. for which he was not
My father was a lifelong supporter of the Union Pacific
a fact for which he has been given little credit.

In the Dark Days my father was a lone voice crying
for amortization.
He was years ahead of his time in the prediciton of steam heat.
My father was never elected to the Brotherhood of Teamsters,
he was never given a gold watch by the Society of Locomotive

My father was always cheerful & gentlemanly in transit.
He disposed of his paper cups, he had his ticket ready.
It is reliably reported that he never used the nightbell.
Only in his late years did he suffer from locked toilets.

Little by little my father's melancholy came to be relfected
in the Moody Index. The movement of his despair
was projected in the statistics for freight loadings.
My father plotted the trajectory of rails.

After Alexander Hamilton
he was the last great amateur of the transportation system.

--from Slow Newsreel of Man Riding Train, by Robert Nichols (City Lights Books, 1962)

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