Slow Train by Michael Murray


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Slow Train


The joint in his pocket, loaded like a pistol;
he hugged this secret invitingly. 
Tony was shooting-up in the back alley; 
it had to be the back alley. Friday evenings, 
the train station buffet bar — weak coffee, 
that particular lull after rush hour; 
not planning out a spree so much as 
Grooving the Atmosphere. The dream 
of jumping freight cars; some other place.

They were out-of-towners trying on 
city urbanity, sophistication. 
It would take the form of emotional damage; 
physically strung-out; beaten-up.
The rites of passage. Survivors were recognised by
their blag, cadge and repertoire of drug busts.
Is that what they wanted? They had moved on.

How streets channeled energy into early marriage,
work, and age. The need for something different.
They wanted honesty to life; but honesty 
was expensive, and poverty 
in fashion. They wanted, and that was trade; 
they were, and so made a market.

The joint in his pocket; a slow train coming.

Michael Murray