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.
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
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.