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North on the Starliner

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North on the Starliner

Post by indar » Sat Sep 23, 2023 8:27 pm

I'm posting this after reading it on open mic. It was on TTB as an entry in a contest somewhere.

North on the Starliner

Wooden crosses from a former life
lift and lower power lines
from glass-studded arms.

The landscape closes in and widens out.
Angus graze their way across
Moore-ish sculpted hills...

The Men's Colony State Prison,
San Luis Obispo,
looms and fades.
I do not tell my fellow riders
there is a man I know inside:
I see him smile in bed
late on Sunday mornings.

I am wounded by the innocence
of grapes
pruned and staked between
windbreaks of gray-green eucalyptus
and the flat-pan fields where Norma Jeane
was crowned queen of artichokes
and set upon her journey.

The sun crossed the train three times,
got too close to the sea,
was drawn down,
is gone.

In the semi-dark
white neon surf underlines
glitter-city oil rigs
strung up the coast,
each an island, like the train,
stays awake and running
through the night.

And we are running through the night
to Jack London Square
where sheet-metal cut-outs
of London's wolves
caught mid-stride
are backlit by marina lights.

And beyond, the bay,
a span of black suspended:
the endless bridge.

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Re: North on the Starliner

Post by Gyppo » Sun Sep 24, 2023 9:40 pm


This is a very visual poem.  It reminds me how on long train journeys the carriage seems to stay still and the world passes by.

I loved the idea of the sun passing over the train three times, then finally being caught by the sea.

I'm also rather taken by the idea of the metal cut-outs of Jack London's Wolves.  I enjoyed most of his stories.

Thoroughly enjoyable.

Did I hear parts of this between my in and out technical difficulties during the open mic?

I've been writing ever since I realised I could.  Storytelling since I started talking.  Poetry however comes and goes  ;-)

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Re: North on the Starliner

Post by Dave » Mon Sep 25, 2023 1:33 pm

Exceptionally good Linda. As Gyppo says wonderfully visual.

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Re: North on the Starliner

Post by indar » Sat Sep 30, 2023 2:59 pm

Thank you Gyppo, this is a poem from long ago and still one of my favorite children. I am rummaging through my old writes with a 74 pack of pro colored pencils next to my resurrected drawing board. deciding which poems I want to illustrate. This has been an enlightening experience--the poems that lend themselves to images I could actually draw are also what I have long considered my best. It's a criteria I'll look for in the future.

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Re: North on the Starliner

Post by indar » Sat Sep 30, 2023 3:01 pm

Thank you Dave, as I said to Gyppo above, it is one of my favorites from the way back machine when you were "duck" and we were all on MWC, may it RIP.

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Tracy Mitchell
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Re: North on the Starliner

Post by Tracy Mitchell » Thu Oct 19, 2023 7:32 pm

I remember this Vintage Indar gem. A wonderful poem, like the reader is gazing out the window of the Starliner.  But I wonder into what era?  Would the images of the poem correspond to what a passenger might today observe from a lounge car window.



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