Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Failure of the Day: Me, Again

Where I went wrong, probably, was in trying to write a love poem about the trains. It’s clear from the winners that what they were really after was a love poem more or less near the trains.

And I don’t suppose it helped that my poem was pretty sexual in its about-a-train-ness. Or that I thought it would be fun to write the world’s only train sex poem that didn’t use any phallic imagery at all. No, I don’t guess any of those things helped.

Here’s my poem:


It’s coming:
The press of air that raises my flesh,
That rushing throat,
The sound that swallows all sound.

It comes in the shudder that passes
From the wet ground to my ready
Skin, pressed hard against the pavement,
Strong enough to worry my balance

Big enough to fill its roiling path
With the culmination of its presence;
I am held in the mouth of that power
Hastening, trying to catch it.

I press the penny of my heart to the rail
And wait.

And OK, it’s bit stunted (there was a 100-word limit) and it slips into sentimentalism, to say nothing of a strange fastness/slowness thing at the end, but overall, it’s an OK poem I thought. But then again, I also thought there couldn’t possibly be more than a dozen entries—who reads the Caltrain Web site anyway?—and there were over 300, mostly, I understand, from schoolchildren. Which I don’t guess helped my poem seem any less like a sex-with-a-train poem. Oh well. No free dinner on a boat for us.

Anyway, the winners.


  • At March 06, 2006 6:11 PM, Blogger Jeff Lester said…

    Christ, those all sucked. My eyes rolled so hard they nearly spun out of their sockets.

    You were robbed. Or to put it in terms of which the judges would approve:

    "O you were robbed"


  • At March 06, 2006 7:58 PM, Blogger Nancy said…

    I know...The tragedy of software consultants who try to write poetry transforms me into Frasier and Lilith chuckling dismissively and shaking their heads in disbelief: “Laypeople!”

  • At March 11, 2006 6:09 PM, Blogger eterna1youth said…

    Merlin's Beard! THOSE are the people who won? I thought your poem was kick @$$! You certainly have my vote, Nancy!

    I loved your poem! I do not think it is merely OK, I think it is nothing short of sensually pleasing!

    That's what I think, damn it! You rock!

  • At March 12, 2006 9:51 AM, Blogger eterna1youth said…

    Ever notice how the pigeons just keep wandering on by under the benches at Diridon? Some even fly right above you! Better watch out or they will leave you with a little somethin'-somethin'. I recall spending a good amount of waiting time just watching the pigeons do their funny walk and the interesting people who like to feed them popcorn.



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