1896 c/o Tom Duggan

the trains were surplus, wide

my dad took all the cardboard boxes from all the appliances from the last thirty years from the loft
we built a wall
in the middle of our quiet suburban road
a pyramid that my brother in his van drove through
he'd painted a stallion on the bonnet
a little off centre
our family's digital camera, old and of a time alike the boxes, didn't capture the sense of the day

the trains were becoming surplus, replaced by a newer sixty ton model
for two dollars people travelled from all over to witness the spectacle
two or three people died
numerous people were caught by the boiler explosions
crowds refused to move back

my brother revved his van and the boxes flew to the sides
my American friend chooses to pronounce it Tey-hass
a policeman who had moved in to a house a few down from ours over the road turned a blind eye and ducked inside
not Teck-suss

there are two or three images
taken too soon
not of the debris
not of the explosions
not of the crowds or anything other than two locomotives about to meet
to kiss


when a shoe was thrown and he ducked like a cowboy, we saw the west take cover
sounds humming and for a while everyone looking
then back to normal afterwards, scrambling for a snippet of debris
a piece of holywood or death metal
that might become worthy some day

being thankful for things i've learned from other people when they were just being themselves and i happened to notice

it would be easy to finish here, to do the novel thing
become a train and find my companion
to crash
to crush
to list
to bucket

to stand behind the dirty yellow ochre line
to artschool

my mother is obsessed with throwing things out or giving them away
tidying her life up before she is unable to do things for herself
so we don't have to clear out a loft of all the things she touched
of all the objects she drove through
i say to her, it might be good for us, mum, to have some things of your life to look at once you're gone, to do some of that undoing, that labour of clearing your things away
but she needs to do it, to clean up after herself, to duck out of the way
tucked into bags for life, her things
they are given to friends or left at charity shops