Wednesday, 03 July 2013 11:28

Walking the Tracks

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There are these old abandoned railroad tracks near where I live. There are tracks everywhere actually, going here and there, and who knows where else. Sometimes they just go off into nowhere. Sometimes they just stop. No destination. Just a journey. Well, part of one anyway. Where could I go if I just kept walking? Turned randomly? They are old tracks from an earlier time when it was so different around here. The steel is rusty and the creosote is still bubbling up from the wooden railroad ties. Some of the spikes are popping up. I can just see those guys hauling their sledges way up over their heads and slamming them down on the spikes with all their might. Setting that track. Irish immigrants? Italian? Newly emancipated black men whose parents were runaway slaves gone North for a better life? On another railroad, underground. Any and all of them. Come to America through Ellis Island, “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses….” From where did my ancestors come? What tribe, what village, and when? There is garbage here too: rusty crushed cans and broken glass, all manner of people’s junk, the detritus of their lives thrown off the cars onto the tracks of oblivion. It’s so quiet here now. There’s a hawk over head, floating on the endless blue. And berries, wild raspberries exploding from the mass of brush and brambles alongside, engulfing the old tracks. Bloody red in the maelstrom of greenery all around. Gorgeous red berries bursting out of the past into the future with such delectable juiciness. So good.

Down at the end of the line, this one anyway, there is an old warehouse-like building. The cement bones of some long-dead manufacturing setup. I can’t figure out what it was that they made here. What for? Part of the WWII industrial machine? I stand in the oversized doorway trying to picture it all, what went on. It’s getting dark now. Stars are creeping out. Who worked here? What language did he speak? Did he make enough to feed his family? Was he in love once? Ever? Did he look up and see that tiny blue flickering star over there? Was he thinking the same thing? Or is that star looking down at me? At both of us at once? “I am on my own path” says the graffiti on one wall. “Fuck you!” says another cliché’, red as the raspberries. There are dead spray paint cans everywhere.

 

Read 38825 times Last modified on Wednesday, 03 July 2013 12:00
Nyell Segura


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