Railway timbers would be stacked four high nestled between about eight sets of tracks on my way to my studio. The pile was even except for one timber missing along the top row, giving the whole stack a bit of a creosote-sticky grin looking down rusted rails to discarded cars, each missing doors, windows or sometimes the entire side of the car. If I could zoom out a bit, the air would be paint the color of loose pollen and beeswax; stuck between two hills, one presenting a church with black towers like a piece of coal struck hard into a sidewalk and the other some peek into rolling hills melting over a rock formation.
I spent a lot of time walking back and forth across these train tracks, from bus stop to studio door, headphones in which fortunately only lead once to me almost getting leveled by an oncoming train. (This was written about a bit before.)
There were iterations to the walk.
The first walks happened while attached to a place that was new and hung with static electricity on parts of my body that didn’t know current. I would walk from an apartment with one bed built from two and balconies bobbing on air thick with possibility; boats above abandoned properties and stone walls. There were tall ceilings, cobblestone and forgotten parks and graveyards.
There were times of walking with love heavy and needy in my heart, glancing to windows I knew contained a person I loved: up in that corner studio with ugly green carpet and seemingly little light, although many windows. Sometimes we’d walk the rails and place metal in piles and sit inside cars seemingly cut in two in more ways than one: acting on a stage of a more modern stagecoach. (You always smelled good. Once we lay in bed and something like the smell of steamed broccoli drifted through the room, pungent and somewhere between good and bad, and you quickly put your hand between your legs and then smelled it declaring, “nope”.)
And then there were the last times I’ve walked those tracks where I wonder about wanting to keep things alive that are already past.
There was a moment once, when I laid up on those railway timbers, pretending like I was one. I had long hair and it stuck and matted into me and I lay there on my back head turned upside down looking at the ruins of a building on the horizon. The air was thick and felt like somewhere you’d find a lot of grasshoppers, but there were only trains. I thought of weddings and kites and bobbing on the surface of the ocean where just my eyes would be above the water. I thought of times I smiled to someone in my kitchen and times I sat on night buses alone.
It felt good to be in that stack of railway ties.