Lorraine Caputo

Wandering troubadour Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator and travel writer. Her works appear in over 250 journals in Canada, the US, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa; and 14 chapbooks of poetry – including On Galápagos Shores (dancing girl press, 2019) and the up-coming Escape to the Sea (Origami Poems Project, 2021). She also pens travel pieces, with narratives appearing in the anthologies Drive: Women’s True Stories from the Open Road (Seal Press, 2002) and Far Flung and Foreign (Lowestoft Chronicle Press, 2012), and travel articles and guidebooks. In March 2011, the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada honored her verse. She has done literary readings, from Alaska to the Patagonia. Ms Caputo journeys through Latin America with her faithful travel companion Rocinante (that is, her knapsack), listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth. You may follow her travels at Latin America Wanderer: https://www.facebook.com/lorrainecaputo.wanderer and http://latinamericawanderer.wordpress.com.  

NIGHT PASSAGE

We wait on this platform
	a dry wind blowing through
		the closing afternoon

Aboard this north-bound train
A green parrot perches on a seat
		near the rear of the car

As we pull away
	I watch the sun setting
		behind the mountains
They turn a dusty purple
The sky fills with dusky
	yellows       oranges       roses
		purple
To the East the land is flat
	& the sky already dark

The colors of that sunset bulge
	into brightness & purity
Just before the settling of greys
	into the black of night

~       ~       ~       ~       ~       ~       ~


During the night
	I have so many bizarre dreams
I cannot re-collect them


Husks of pecans lay all around
When I awaken, I know
	they can cure my back

A man takes off his artificial foot
He paddles a raft along with it
	someone sitting in front


~       ~       ~       ~       ~       ~       ~


Out the dirty train window
	I watch the sunrise this morning
& think of my watercolor paint box
	Which colors would I choose?

& such desert sands, patches of scrub
	no cactuses …

INTO THE CHACO (fragment)

(Santa Cruz to Yacuiba, Bolivia)
 
 
III.  Midnight
 
A horse whinnies
    three huge frogs hop away
         as we enter Charagua
The station is crowded
Women serve meals
    at small tables
         lit by oil lamps
Military police check faces
 
The car is blackened
    except for the light of
         the distant station or
              of passing locomotives
 
A soft toll of the bell
    a muted blast of horn
Lamps are extinguished
    dogs sniff about
         as we creep away
 
But soon we clunk-click
    & whoosh through the night
A column of grey smoke
    arcs over these cars
Our lights     within & before
    & whirling red atop the engine
         mar the ebony world

POCITOS

The metal & glass of this station gleam in the hot noon sun. Cows graze in ankle-high grasses. Every once & again a grownup or schoolkids cut across the railyard. The aroma of roasting meat wafts on the breeze.

The door to the offices of Ferrocarril General Belgrano is ajar. From a back room echoes the soft conversation of a couple. Tango music plays low.

I sit here on a platform bench in search of a train, any train in Argentina. No, I don’t find one here. Only ones hauling cargo soft-shoe past. From Tucumán, I am told, by way of Córdoba, may a passenger travel.

I pull the straps of my ol’ Rocinante over tired shoulders, hesitant to start a journey without a train. I shuffle away, dust whirling around my tennies.

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