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Putignano Station, Italy : photo by Bob Marcacci


S l o w   T r a i n s   S o u t h

b y   R o b e r t   M a r c a c c i




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red soil scattered with rock
below the vineyards' white netting

stone walls surround the olive orchard
white grey blue sky clouds drift by red

poppies fox-tails giant rose bushes
white petaling apart and dropping along the rusted track

long-leaved oleander and yellow roses
cherry and fig trees drooping with green fruit and leaves

great palms and citrus with their orange globes
tiny white weeds flowering among the cacti


the sky is
somewhat overcast-like
an x-ray of a lung
we all of us waiting
here for the next train
inhale adriatic breeze
exhale humid summer breath
of the energy-consuming
world of the weary waiters
we with our bags and sunglasses
to serve these hours with our mortality
we who partake in silences


board train
after running
all the way
here in a panic
now look out the
window and sweat
william carlos
williams would be
proud of me unless
it's just an old poet's
tale that he wrote
his poems on the
backs of receipts
who knows


i never really
looked at these
or rather i only
checked the
validation the rest
has remained a
mystery until now
this ticket cost
one euro to go
from putignano to
castellana and well
i bought another
one to go back
it's not much more
interesting than that


the train is always late we sit
me and these other passengers on this
train sweating in this heat
with no breeze me and
these schoolkids the only
people who seem to use
the train in these parts these
kids with their fashionable
clothes phones and jewelry
they keep looking at me


leave bari by train
all of me damp with sweat
abandoned trains
painted with slogans
past crenelated brick buildings
shadowed with dust and train
into a greying countryside divided
by stone walls trains highways
olive trees overgrown lots
with yellow grasses and cacti
toward more stations where women wait
on green metal benches with holes
twist hair while looking down the track
in the distance
a man in shorts shovels dirt
into a wheelbarrow
a red one by one
without color
in the distance
all the buildings with their antennaes
reaching into the sky
like the periscopes of subterranean people