Waiting on the Slow Train

 By Felix Barbone



The retired Station Master stepped out of the Station House and waited
by the Station Signal.

He didn’t need a ticket to get on the train for which he thanked the Association of Railroad Workers.  He looked east down the tracks towards the Station at Far Point and it’s Lighthouse that looked so tiny.  Is that the Train coming now?


Is it barely visible as a tiny spec off in the distance  ?   ?

Is that faint sound its bell that I am hearing    ?      ?

Clang, clang, — tweet, tweet, — honk, honk.

The Former Conductor looked at his watch – ten minutes late and just sitting on the track

He looked west toward Cleveland and took out his stopwatch


10 minutes late,


Half Hour late,


Hour late!


Will he make it to the Induction Ceremony of the Zombies?

“Well, no one told me about the Train, it never came.”

Bored, he lay down leaning against the signal pole with his sack of refreshments for his ride

He opened one of twenty Heinekens and loaded his Moroccan Meerschaum pipe with Extra High Grade Edgeworth Sliced Tobacco

Just then the town’s Hunchbacked Beggar thrust his Money Can at him

He was Smoking a Cigar and wearing a pith helmet with a flock of Ducks following nipping at his ankles

The Station Master took a deep drag and a guzzle and imagined the hunch as Mount Everest with the cigar smoke as clouds swirling around it

He opened another beer and took a deep pull on his pipe and closed his eyes seeing a myriad of animals each with humpbacks and carrying canes – a purple hunchbacked Crocodile arguing with a hunchbacked cream Hyena over Roadkill of Skinks and Squirrels



Was it the Train he thought as he opened his eyes ? ?

No, just a large Flatbed Truck with a half dozen Migrant Workers cooking hot dogs on sticks on a campfire on the lfoor and dancing and singing Camptown Races out of tune


2 hours now !  Where is the Train ?


Eighteen Bottles of Beer on the Wall !


Another pipe-full !


With eyes closed he was now visualizing peoples Faces with Chinese Faces melting and morphing into African and then European faces


I’m tired of waiting – Another Heineken


17        on        the       wall

16        on        the       wall

14        on        the       wall


Feeling Tipsy another bowl-full

Tired eyes shutting

Very Dizzy and now feeling knocked out as if hit on the head with a baseball bat and the sensation of falling without a parachute out of an airplane and seeing the clouds going by as he heads for the green Earth and gently lands at the Greek Temple at Delphi !


The Train is halfway from FAR POINT

He can see it coming now


5          Bottles of beer on the wall






The wind brushed his face as the speeding TRAIN rushed by leaving him behind

He took the track to EXCESS and missed the





Felix Barbone is a poet, musician and trained ethnologist.  He is a graduate of SUNY Geneseo and lives on the edge…of Center City.