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The last train from New Orleans

Updated: Jun 11, 2021

IMAGE: Abstract train with passengers on platform.

(For Andy)

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.


Artwork 'Last train' by PEV

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