“Some lady thinks this is the quiet car–“


“Some lady thinks this is the quiet car–”
Anonymous but not unplumbed passenger

Dear man, the back of whose head is crew-
cut in front of me.
I really don’t want to hear about
your relationship with your father
Memorial Days–
how he only cared about himself
and you were stuck doing nothing
except that one time you stayed over
a drug store in Rehobeth
and your grandma came too
and she told him a thing or two–

I’m also not truly interested
in your brother who just
took off, had friends/adventures unlike you, who didn’t,
so you say, know how to socialize.
(Why am I not surprised
to hear that?)

Or how you love car trips
(believe me, from this train seat where
I was sleeping till your cell rang,
I wish you could achieve that love.)

I’m sorry but your trip to Rome doesn’t actually sound so fabulous,
not even the FANTASTIC Vatican–

Nor do I much care
about the person on the end of your line who is helping
with your healing process–

I confess that it bothers me that I am so eager
to shut down your narrative since it involves matters
that I myself might write of at some length–

Outside, the crinkled surface of blue water shines with a startling brilliance
through trees, their limbs managing delicacy
despite the blur, the green glowing by–but you have your curtain drawn–
oh, why would you want a window to distract you
from your flow–
and I wonder, with as much focus as my disrupted
internal monologue can muster, if I am trying to shut out
your landscape of gab
in some parallel (if not striped woven)

“That’s what I said,” you throw in,
and yes, I think, we know.

A poem written on an Amtrak train for Mary’s “quotation” prompt on Dverse Poets Pub.

I’m sorry; it’s an old picture that doesn’t quite fit. All rights reserved though.

ps==this poem slightly edited since first posting.

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19 Comments on ““Some lady thinks this is the quiet car–“”

  1. brian miller Says:

    ha. funny…i love public transport just to meet the people and to hear their stories…so i am just the opposite…i would totally be engrossed…its how i pass time…listening…smiles.

    i have met some annoying people though..ha

  2. Mary Says:

    Ha, well I must admit that when I am on an airplane I am thankful if I sit with someone who does not want to talk. (I come prepared with my own amusements…) I am generally not on public transport long enough to hear details of others’ lives, but reading your poem makes me wonder if these people don’t ever think about all the personal things they are sharing with the world….if these people don’t have a sense of personal privacy anymore.

  3. Laurie Kolp Says:

    lol… If only people knew how much they were inspiring poets/writers with their inconsiderate conversations.

  4. Glenn Buttkus Says:

    Some have eyes, yet they do not see; have ears, yet do not hear; have minds but still don’t fully fathom the world around them, never smell the flowers, never open their curtains, never notice others around them–and they are legion.

  5. Sherry Marr Says:

    The closed curtain says so much. I love your beautiful description of the view outside, which did much to offset the self-absorption of the person described.

  6. There is always so much noise around.. so I have ceased to hear what people say.. and frankly it seems that most of them have ceased talking on their phones in favor of sending messages… so maybe in a few years we’ll say “back then people actually talked to each other”… but look at the effect… he gave you a poem to write…

  7. hedgewitch Says:

    I love the style in this, k. Even though it’s told in the first person, it has a very flowery(and I mean that in its best sense) feel to it, organic, but enhanced by skill, like the best gardens.I can’t be too harsh about the subject, because I’m sure I might have been very similar in my youth, had we had the technology to drone on about ourselves anywhere and everywhere, but your point about the shut curtain really is apt. When one focuses on self, life becomes very small.

  8. claudia Says:

    smiles… i could tell you about rome… smiles… i confess i love to overhear others conversations – yet i can easily shut out others voices as well if i don’t want to listen… that is a big advantage in an open plain office…and can be in a train as well

  9. grapeling Says:

    laughing at the final line. unintended ‘earing, as it were ~

  10. Oh just loved loved this!

  11. janehewey Says:

    philosophically, my favorite aspect of this is when you run parallel with the character. you’ve done so well with the subtleties …startling brilliance/through the trees, their limbs managing delicacy. Your opening line drives it all the way home, if one can do that in advance. wonderful piece, karin.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks so much, Jane. I think it could be edited some, but it was fun writing. Hope all is well with you and your grand little bundle of joy! k.


  12. billgncs Says:

    sometimes I ask the person if they could speak up a bit, the people outside are having a hard time hearing.

  13. margaret Says:

    Have travelled the Amtrak train – and found myself following a few conversations around me! Fun poem.

  14. Gabriella Says:

    Only yesterday, as I was eating at the restaurant, a grandmother, daughter and granddaughter were seated at a near by table. One of the two women had put on the speaker setting on her phone so that everybody could hear what was being said on both sides.
    I agree that whatever we are doing is spoiled but this kind of people. Some recent French trains have quiet spots where people can phone. Whoever had this idea must be thanked.

  15. Sumana Roy Says:

    sometimes characters reveal on their own unasked…pretty interesting…love the poem and your point of view too… 🙂

  16. Such fun, your poem is. I loved reading it so much that I had to go back and give it another read. Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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