Terminal Switching

I am interested in technology,  Is technology making us less civil?
I explore this in my first book of poems Terminal Switching, Elk River Review Press 2007.

Terminal Switching Cover

Two Poems

The City of Joy

For Annie Formwalt

You are going somewhere
on a train.  All of sad life is laughing.
But you are like an anxious child.
Apart from the ceaseless fidgeting miles,

nothing but yourself, specter of unbelief,

Time shuffles forward so slowly you are inclined to grieve
for what it lacks: no planes to draw the gaze,
not even the cracks of the interstate.

You are the traveler
who still tastes the lips of a lover left
behind.  To pass the time,
you look and look for something:

A small rock glints under a street sign.
A boxcar sits on a railway siding.
A truck disembarks into steel-leaf sprigs.
A scattered stand of twigs surround a glinting tower.

How many hours, hours
half hypnotized by the clickety-clack
and the thumping
that sounds so much like the heart?

Oh, what does it matter if you never get there?
Why should you care?
All this sweet company is laughing
with their eyes squeezed tight.

We are rolling in infinity,
and Annie is singing
with wild ecstasy.
Wherever it may be,
the city of Joy will show in the distance.


The closer we come to the danger, the more brightly do the ways into the
saving power begin to shine and the more questioning we become.  For
questioning is the piety of thought.
—The Question Concerning Technology, Martin Heidegger,

Billy Brazille was killed
fishing on a trestle listening to the radio with earphones
in his ear the clickety-clack a thing of the past
for the most part

revelation came
at the last moment
of supreme danger

his frenzied run and fall the engine
pulling fourteen flat cars ordered

directed toward furthering something else
toward driving on the maximum yield at the minimum

set free
started on his way
into complete arrival
approaching the brink of possibility

an angel
perpetually raising that light that widens
he stretches his caved wings
a bright thought thinking of us

so fast the angels
like stars mirror stillness

concealed always concealing itself
sometimes wielding a flaming sword
flashing back and forth

lest we come too close to God
for even God can lose

all that is exalted and holy the mysteriousness
of his distance in the light of causality

one flat car follows another

A boy stares out the window at the world
we pass in this Greyhound bus

his hands laid
flat against glass

I am with him watching
grains of Dura leak from sacks

pass into the stream where people fish
on top of railroad tracks

A little farther
I notice the peelskin train shining forth hope

the fishers see
it coming
and get off the tracks in time.