Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Riding the Saint Charles Streetcar

I climb aboard the steel and wooden crate
and rock my way into Shiva’s slow serenity,
into the easy sway of warp and woof, of yin and yang,

of the particle-wave ticket to ride.
Mansions and three-hundred-year-old oaks drift by,
streaks of color in the increasing time dilation

compressing my life into the present moment
of mindful meditation. I have been here before,
riding silver tracks in a tesseract of then and now,

tracing the crescent moon that is New Orleans.
Every swing and spiral shake is another mantra,
another turn of the prayer wheel, another rosary bead.

I am a schoolboy hobo riding the rails—
I am an old man with a wooden cross and iron nails.
It doesn’t really matter. It’s all good.

I left crucifixion and the empty tomb so many years ago.
trading pain for a gin fizz, slow.
I arrive at my stop and disembark,

stepping into Andromeda, for I have traveled light years.
I do not live in time and space, but they in me.
Let the Red Sea part, for I am walking across the universe.

~William Hammett

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