April 7, 2009


Locomotion by Philip Bryant,
from Sermon On A Perfect Spring Day

I heard the
locomotion behind
the album by Monk my father
was playing.
The finely tuned
machine humming like
a top, purring like a kitten.

The first time I
saw the Santa Fe "Super Chief"
at Union Station in Chicago,
gleaming as a silver bullet
carrying the blue uniformed
conductor who gave a low whistle
and "All Aboard" for places as far away as Kansas,
Laredo, Tucson, Las Vegas, Palm Springs.

At that point
I knew it all had
something to do with jazz music.
The slow hiss of
the engine, the steam
let out by the jowls of the locomotive,
and the massive, muscular wheels turning
slowly counterclockwise to the engine's beat

Come on Baby Do the Locomotion
Come on Baby Do the Locomotion With Me

heading out onto the open tracks,
that smoke-blown phrase repeated
over and over in my head through the years,
as miles of the real American landscape
began, slowly, to unfold.

Do you have a poem you love, and want to share?

Inaugurated by the Academy in April 1996, National Poetry Month (NPM) brings together publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools, and poets around the country to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of businesses and non-profit organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events.

Image from Google images

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