writings about
walking around
the prom
moving forward
yesterday i found the spot where the hobos hang.
(it's in a small gully with the tracks running directly overhead;
there's a fire barrel there and some cardboard.)
i know i shouldn't be exploring freight yards anymore,
what with being married and soon to be a father,
but there's something about them that i can't resist.
it's the nostalgia, i guess,
and the contact high i get from just being that close to the tracks.
i can't, or rather won't, hop trains anymore,
but i can still explore the yards, i tell myself.
i wonder, if the train that was then sitting on the tracks
had started to slowly pull away,
would i have been able to resist the temptation?
to go for just a short, little ride?
(i like to think that i would.)
so i found where the hobos go to wait, in this city,
adding another jungle to my mental list
-- a list that, i suppose, will never get much longer,
since i'll never again travel the country by rail to add to it.

one day, i may tell my son about the rails
and the adventures that i once had on them.
i'll tell him which cars to ride, how to keep warm,
what to say to a railworker, and how to avoid a bull.
i'll show him how to find where the hobos hang
and how to conduct himself among them.
i'll write down my list for him,
to tell him where the best places are to catch out
in all of the cities in which i've lived
and all of the cities through which i once traveled.
and then perhaps my son will go and have adventures of his own.

(my wife would kill me if she knew
that i even considered telling him one day.
it can be dangerous out there on the rails.
i will try to raise him right, though,
and if i succeed then we will have little to fear.)

train hopping is a joy
that, if i can no longer share in,
i will share with those i love
who have eyes to see and ears to hear that joy.

Father, 01/24/01

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