That Train Don’t Stop Here Anymore

Five more poems from Dennis Gulling’s recently released book of Outlaw Poetry The Blood Dark Sea. It is available at Zombie Logic Press.


Your memory

Is scorched earth

Inside me

If I prayed

For rain now

Would I feel

Your sweat

Against my skin?



He stood outside

In the pouring rain

With a shotgun in his hand

Shouting her name

She stood behind the curtain

Waiting for the police to come

Feeling her heart pound

Like a fist in her chest

When he heard the first siren

He fired a shot in the air

Grabbed his crotch

And ran away

She couldn’t tell anyone

How much she hoped

He’d come back tomorrow

And do it again

tiny drawing 111610

Tiny Drawing by my creative partner and illustrator Jenny Mathews of Rockford Illustrating



I took a stick

Wrote your name in the mud

And watched it melt in the rain

Then I threw

The stick in the river

And watched it float away

I walked home thinking

That somewhere in the wind tonight

Were the last words

You said to me

When I got home

I left the front door open

To let the rain blow in



It was Bobby’s first day

As a garbage man

He asked his partner Hugh if

He’d ever found any dead bodies

In the dumpsters

Hugh looked sideways

Flashed his big brown teeth

And said no but

Once I found

A dog’s head in a paper bag

It was fresh

No worms or flies

I stuck it on my fist

And hung my arm out the window

At people on the street

Going bow wow

You assholes

Bow wow


Illustration by Jenny Mathews of Tiny Drawings



I come from a town

Where you grew up

Just waiting to escape

And when you were all grown up

You stayed anyway

Because that was the thing to do

And life was just whatever

Happened next

Every night on my way home from work

I’d wait at the crossing

And watch the freight train

Crawl through town

More than once I wondered

Where it was going

And if it was a place

Worth going to

Then after a while

The railroad shut down the line

And the tracks were just

A long scar across the town

Nobody seems to miss it much

Except for me

But not in a way I can get a handle on

My grandpa used to sing some song

About how dreams were trains

Because they could take you

Anywhere you’d want to go

When I think about it more

Maybe the song didn’t say that at all

Maybe that’s just the way

I remember it now

Walking down this rusty scar

In the middle of the night

Dreaming out loud about

How I’ll just keep walking

Until I catch up with all the freights

And find out once and for all

Just where it is they were going

But I know I’ve got a job, a house

And a family back the other way

So the dream becomes a dim hope

That eventually becomes that

Little kiss of sadness

When you’re alone and getting

Drunk the right way

It’s the alchemy of surrender

And it’s always there

Whether you like it or not

Your dream means a little less every day

It pulls away from you slowly

And you keep running to catch it

But that train doesn’t stop here anymore



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