did you know they aren’t even whistles anymore? they are recordings. loops of tape, waiting for trains to arrive.

October 4, 2011

lying sprawled in my bed, strung out from too much sleep and cheap medication, i listen to the sound of a train whistle blowing.  i find myself wondering if there is a sound equally as lonely as a train passing in the night.  something about that melancholy scream trembles in my bones.  I’m left feeling as if i am afraid; me all alone under sheets and covers, infirm, and in need of comfort.  why, i ask to myself, the word echoing in my mind, rattled as it is at this hour.  the gears are turning, chugging along, filled with an importance that only questions asked in the single-digit hours of the night have.  what cord does that whistle strike in my somnolent self?  I start reviewing old memories, bleached even from sepia, a timorous grey as they flicker past my eyelids.  My grandmother’s house, on the couch suffering from a broken bone, wishing for my mother, unable to sleep because of the pain.  The clanging of the warning bells only secondary.  Or maybe it was on the roof of a friend’s house, drinking a beer, shivering from the cold, listening to the sounds of a party inside subsumed by the arrival of a train.  Another possibility, lying awake yet again, listening to breaths and yet with the peculiar feeling of being alone that lying next to a sleeper imparts.  Nowhere near functional tracks, but the sound somehow bouncing down streets and buildings to reach my ears.  Shivering in confusion and turning away.  It seems my entire life has been punctuated with the shrill arrival of a train, the rumble of wheels thundering down tracks, the lowering of arms and sounding of warnings.

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