Westbound train. Western Pacific? Amtrak.
Sacramento to Martinez.
Grandsons riding the rails with me.
14-year old is a veteran; my sidekick.
6-year old on his virgin train ride.
Minutes ago we were
Desperadoes waiting for a train.
Bank robbery was on my mind.
If only they had been open.
Just like the Old West,
My six-shooter is by my side.
Loaded. What good, if it’s not?
60 has not been kind.
“Desperado”, is right!
Tired old law dog and horse trader.
Everyday, think about gettin’ low.
Gus has gone already.
Haircut, beard trim, fancy suit.
Dancing shoes. But no boots.
Nine grandkids, I’ve got. Or is it twelve?
All in the way you count ‘em, I s’pose.
My brain, so far, stays ahead of them.
But, my body moves slower
than I thought it would by this time.
Broken bones mend, more or less.
The heart worsens with each break.
Feel it in my bones when days or nights are chilly.
Persistent pain in the middle of my chest
Comes more from dying love than blocked arteries.
What was it to hope for the future
Of family, home, woman and love?
I danced in and fell flat on my face.
And whenever I got back up on my feet
I climbed into another saddle
And tried (or tied) her on.
Switching horses in mid-stream.
My Dad warned and scolded me ’bout that.
I guess he knew a thing or two
About water moccasins that bite you
when you’re wading around
Trying to keep from sinking into the mud.
The Licking Fork flows south
Where my mind goes on days like today.
Pretty senoritas, cantinas, Celito Lindo,
And whatever else that comes to mind
Springing up from the fountain of my youth.
Train stops, steel wheels squeal, whistle shrieks.
Through the window, I see her.
Standing apart the crowd, away from the platform.
Spring sun warming her summer shoulders
And her breasts beckoning to me across the years.
She’s so supple and fine
And so much the woman that I yearn to handle?
No. Touch, feel, move, caress, kiss, embrace.
She doesn’t see me in the darkness of this car
The glass window only reflects her view.
Inside here I’m young and virile
Made just for her. Until she steps up from the
Platform, scans the car for a place to sit.
Her long hair, falling over her bare shoulders,
Her firm, young breasts
Carried by slender legs meeting at the junction
That carries her (and me) away.
Until she steps by, just there, close enough to touch.
She doesn’t even see me. From across the aisle,
“Grandpa, when will we be there?”