I Walk Fast Like a Man
by Bernard Henrie
When this poem began I knew its purpose.
Your suitcase manhandled by a railway porter,
two cups of coffee and your scarf blown back
across your shoulder. Polite goodbyes.
Rain pelted the tin roof of the station,
your train pulled away slowly like a guest
leaving a dull party.
Bernard Henrie is a currency trader in Los Angeles. His
publication credits include apt, Asiana Cha, Boston Literary
Magazine, Cortland Review, La Petite Zine, MiPOesias,
Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Shampoo, and Soundzine.
On “I Walk Fast Like a Man Switching Trains”:
I have watched people in train stations from North Africa to
Southeast Asia, Europe to America. Emotions seem higher in
train stations more so than bus terminals and airports, especially
now when displays of emotion can get you escorted outside.
This poem unfolds in Atocha Station, Madrid. I observed a man
walking very fast; I amused myself with the comment that he
was worried about missing a train, but that wasn’t the case. He
was meeting a lady in the coffee area where I was both reading
the newspaper and spying on my fellow passengers. The poem
that first came to me was light, even humorous. However, the
emotion generated by this couple pulled me into their orbit and
though I could not hear their words I shamelessly could not look
away. I had a silent movie: somewhere between Madrid and
Paris with a steady rain falling, I imagined the words that
populate this poem.
I thought of Pierre Martory’s beautiful description:
“Then the rain breaks loose in long curtains /
that tuck themselves up from the asphalt in the glare of the headlights.”
I never forgot that couple or stopped imagining the business that
surrounded them in such emotion.
◄ Previous page Apple Valley Review, Spring 2012 Next page ►
Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary
Volume 7, Number 1
Copyright © 2012
by Leah Browning, Editor.
All future rights to material
published in the Apple
Valley Review are retained
by the individual authors