Mark Wilson, Blue Trayne


Hardly had you untangled the red & the blue
from the curlicues of your endless curls,
then the station started to drain itself
of passengers & paschal agents.

It was either rubies or lapis
affording me a timelier restitution;
as my thought’s trayne ground
itself into a rotary motion;
whilst your girlhood city shrank
according to chapter, verse, rote.

So I heard upon electrical wires:

each thought a parallel;
set up against,
for locomotion.

Without ballast:
no fugue, no fulcrum.
Too much give’s
an ultimate derailing.

Technician & engineer
return to ledger
or drawing-board.

As you re-tangle
scarlet & cyan
into chromatic hymns
keyed into

eternal recurrence.


Red sunne paints
platforms & offices:
a mithraic artiste
taking time to ratify
our arrivals & departures.

You remind me
of what I forgot
to think to forget;
& the day rolls over
for the night’s pleasure;
our settles of singledom
are tented in auras
of bloody-mindedness.

Artists who will not
give fifteen minutes
of their time for anything
when their muse

We disembark Sisyphean
carrying our burdens
of self-fulfilled

A taxi’s sliding-door
is visual symbol
of the division
between us
(Hopper’s negative space
has a similar function);
only occasionally
will it play the role
of conjunction to
our independent clauses.

I can hardly cast
blame or aspersion
on this blunt instrument
in the hands
of the invisible &
omniscient auteur;

nor can I caress
its steely frisson,



Turner conjured steam
with impressionistic opacity
a century before Pisarro & Monet
took to plein air with their easels.
Nature having both her pleasure
& power over Stephenson’s
fast machine.

A rabbit bolts
as fleet as a paint-stroke;
this aqueduct-bridge shimmers
oblivious of the kinesis
of her burden. Pondering
becomes a somewhat
ponderous mechanism;
JMWT’s dynamics
are monolithic-stationary,
a nostalgia in the National
Gallery’s regency splendour.

So we have to wait until
the Futurists celebrate unimaginable
train-technologies, with the directio
voluntatis & wing’d blessing
of the Duce: techne’s design-
features as imminent menace
or thought-mobiliser.

Humanity knowing now
unmitigated thrills

of transportation…


Scale-modelled, a Pacific Express
with a blueberry-&-banana gloss finish:
striking American anomaly
in your Home Counties elysium
slipping around nickel-silver rails,
with its flashing front-lamp fissuring
your bedroom’s gloomy crepuscular.

So you bend over this microcosm,
your minute craft, as content

Inherited from ‘Grandad’s Wonderful
Railway’: pullman coaches, tank engines,
balsa trellises. What Edenic raptures in
rustic timetables? What languorous branch-
line rambles? Just what stick-headed
passengers loaf still in comas of mimesis?

Only a blue train bullets
‘surprise of the new’

through premature agnosia.


Tenor sax emotes, locomotes;
only a matter of time before
Trane tugged at our tympanum.
Arriving like a messiah, high as music’s
paraclete, cold turkeying three days
& nights, emerging somewhat disheveled,
but emitting the aura of a saint;
ascends as a thirty-something legend,
post-grad at some ethereal conservatoire.

Follow the blue trayne of his trance
won’t you; more than conjecture
or the contemplative what-you-will
of the tenor’s thematic variations,
his focused trundle beneath gantries,
through disused stations or brownfield sites,
which he transforms into architectures
of sublime design & peradventure.


Hardly had you manoeuvred ultramarine,
broke into jade counter-intuitions,
than I had found the correct platform
where you have lingered, epochal femme.

Red blood cells are transportation’s
finest engine, only cholesterol
slows down, slurries infrastructure.

We have hardly apotheosized
the Age of Steam & Electricity.
Online trammelings beggar description,
but offer up only fake, overpriced stones;
fibre-optic cables channel catch
twenty-twos, not counterpoint-&-fugue.

We are better off honing the live
mouthpiece, entraining ruachs
of improvised cadence; every
plaited & phonic thought free
to traverse, counter-traverse
looms of rhythm, dancing with
intelligence: svelte, ill-at-ease
partner & silvered

only with the blue.

Mark Wilson has previously published four poetry collections: Quartet For the End of Time (Editions du Zaporogue, 2011), Passio (Editions du Zaporogue, 2013), The Angel of History (Leaky Boot Press, 2013) and Illuminations (Leaky Boot Press, 2016). An illustrated chapbook, Fenlight Sonatas, is forthcoming. 

Mark is also the author of a verse-drama, One Eucalyptus Seed, about the arrest and incarceration of Ezra Pound after World War Two. His poems and articles have appeared in: The Black HeraldThe Shop3:AM Magazine, International Times, The Fiend, Epignosis Quarterly, and Le Zaporogue.

Read more of Mark here.

This post is illustrated by Turner’s ‘Snow Storm — Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth’.

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