The last train from New Orleans
Updated: Jun 11, 2021
It’s too warm and so slow to grow dark tonight.
The dusk deepens as I sit, knowing you sit
back home, just waiting for your night to come.
Back home. That home that isn’t.
We’re always packing bags. All of us.
It’s a tale of a few cities, continents even.
Let me tell you another - this morning I almost died.
I could have beat you, but somehow I paddled
even harder than my banging heart.
You see, a squall hit me sideways.
So we were both hit sideways.
That’s where it always comes from,
where you don’t look.
I was too far out, entranced by a saffron dawn
in a sea like polished jade. Remember the
Chinese carvings in the De Young? That sheen.
I wanted to slide my fingers across
the shine of daybreak. And wind turbines turning,
working their way around time,
me just staring, my paddle dipping in syncopation.
I was breathing in the North Sea shimmer.
Back on shore Zareen could see it coming.
There is always someone who could have told you.
For a moment you and I were both
fighting our hardest to make it back.
But I made it. For now. I’m sorry.
You tell me it’s three to five months,
like a misdemeanour sentence. I want to say you’re
always going to be around – somewhere in me.
Like now. We’re are all just walking
on some hot San Jose night to Original Joe’s,
all four of us decked out to the nines
in a cloud of cigarette smoke and cologne,
heels crunching on that warm concrete.
Let me get the door, my friend.
But this time it really is goodbye.
I know we’ve said it loads, too often.
Way too often. An easy word to throw out, like love.
But as you’d say, this is the real deal.
So, adieu – I guess I didn’t learn French for nothing.
Save a space for me
on that last train from New Orleans, my friend.
Written by MARK HOLIHAN
Artwork 'Last train' by PEV