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Bitch Train

Bitch Train runs at night
and I’m riding with the engineer;
expletive explosion mingles with
the scent of fossil fuel.
I grab that wheel,
ring that iron bell,
scream into the wind
of remorse and regret.
Midnight and the sky
is glowing with my energy;
stars are drops of giant sweat
released by Amazons
in ancient moments -
I toss mine up, too,
watch them glitter in a silvered rush,
cold against the backdrop of night’s dark velvet.
I throw my hair back,
let the engines howl
while black smoke rolls me
into morning, leading us deep
in dreams that break me now
but won’t remain past dawn
except for bits that churn
and spark and wreck me all day long -
heavy emotional strings attached,
haunting my heart without dialogue or apology.
Dawn comes – my cheeks are wet
with tears that I wipe away with sooty hands,
wondering once again
exactly what it is I do at night,
when I board that train
and roar through lonely landscapes,
wishing I could touch
the truth that shatters me.
Bitch train will run tonight
and the thought
that I am the engineer
in control of all this
frightens me well beyond
the reach of any dream.

22 Jul 05

Rated 9 (7.8) by 1 users.
Active (1): 9
Inactive (10): 1, 2, 6, 6, 8, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10

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Scary, bitter, starkly portrayed like a bad dream. But I like the wording and imagery though I find the poem sad. Well done for what it's saying!
 — wamblicante

Thanks.  I tend to have nightmares that I can't remember but that make me very sad the next day, without knowing exactly why, just a feeling of desperate loss.
 — Isabelle5


The terms of "bitch" "cow" "ho" etc are dehumanizing and to imagine yourself in this way can't be healthy.  I wondered what your motivations were for writing the poem but if they are too personal, please keep them to yourself.  The poem does not demand pity and yet your comment implies something more.
 — Wix

Bitch is not directed at me.  It's an old term of description, meaning a ghost train, something dark and unfathomable, like certain of our dreams.  

Riding a bitch train is not derogatory in the common way it's used today.  My comments are merely to explain the miasma that can attach to us in daytime from things we've "seen and experienced" during the night, in our dreams.
 — Isabelle5


Truely intriguing, I had not heard to term used and now you have put it into context it makes more sense.  I 'd like to know more about the origins of the phrase and your explanation has inspired me to read around the topic.  Your poems are always fascinating Isabelle, I am pleased to have made your aquaintance.  Thank you.
Personally, I can't abide the common way "bitch" is used to day.  Hmm "bitch train", nice one!
 — Wix

Well, glad to have made your acquaintance, too, Wix!  I don't know where the term originated.  I don't mind using the term bitch but I hate it when men call women that.  It's so derogatory and it's used like a common nickname, it seems.
 — Isabelle5

take another look at L30
 — unknown


all better now, thank you!
 — Isabelle5


i rated this earlier, and added it to my favorites. now, here's
for the comments.

this is probably my favorite peice of yours
that i've seen to-date.
it's probably the best one that i've read
today, or
yesterday or
something along those lines.

this is rather melancholy and haunting, but
conveys both with an unconventional originality
and sense of destiny that accompanies
(usually) bleak nightmares. which it is,
i guess.

as a youthful victim of nighttime insomnia
and rhapsody, i'm
constantly fascinated by poems and words and
sentences that embody dreams.
i'm no stranger to recurring nightmares,
and i'm no stranger to the drifting
dissociative feeling that comes
free in their wake.

usually, i'm feeling as though i'm
with the engineer, as through your
first stanza. it's rather disconcerting.

i think it's the last two lines in the third stanza,
along with the entirety of the fourth, that
really hits the hardest in me.

(though the last stanza is completely
hopeful and promising:
you're no longer just the passenger.)

however, being in control of your own
destiny is something that
most people would rather not
face in this lifetime.

actually, scratch what i said about the
third stanza. i completely love the
entire thing. i was getting mixed
messages with the metaphorical
silvery stars (at first), but now
it all seems rather clear to me.
thank you.

thank you thank you thank you.

 — midare

ps. thank you.
 — midare

Thank you, Everyone who commented and liked this.  I often wished that someone would design something that could record dreams as they appear, complete with music and color, so that you could re-play them and see that they are not scary when you're wide awake.  But then I worry that mind invasion would be a possibility so I swing both ways on it.  But I do believe dreams - good and bad - can color our days sometimes.
 — Isabelle5

I've been trying to find a definition of Bitch Train on the internet but don't do it!  You get a lot of garbage and some stuff in German that maybe I don't want to know.

I know that it's an old term, unless I heard it in one of my lucid dreams, which is entirely possible.  Anyone else ever hear it used?  Like a runaway train, a ghost train.
 — Isabelle5

what a wild ride!  exhilarating, like riding a bike down telegraph hill, hands in the air.  terrific.  just terrific.-
 — pghpoet

  I've been reading this poem for a while now and the thing I like most about it, apart from the absolute momentum it carries, is the strong narrative quality that it has right at the forefront - my only qualm is the prosaic quality of the last 4 lines, but then again, they could be the train pulling in to the station. Very good - I've heard a folktale not unlike this, so the resonance that gave made me relate to it even more strongly.
 — opal

Full of steam! I like it. A lot.
 — unknown

I like it too, Isabelle.
 — unknown

Oops...that was me, rob.

Nice job, Isabelle.
 — unknown

i like a great deal of this. i also think it could be sharpened by cutting a few things and subtle rebreaks:

i will give 2 examples, that i feel bog you down a bit:

Bitch Train runs at night
and I’m riding with the engineer
expletive explosion mingles with
with the scent of fuel
I grab that wheel,
ring that iron bell,
scream into the wind
of regret.

Midnight: the sky
glows with my energy;
stars are drops of sweat
released by Amazons
in ancient moments

so I toss mine up
watch them glitter
cold against the backdrop of night


cold against the velvet night

do you see what i'm getting at?

kill a few descriptors, let the verbs do more work.

I will rate later :)

now come read my poems dammit!
 — noodleman

Dawn comes – my cheeks are wet  27
with tears that I wipe away with sooty hands,  28
wondering once again  29
exactly what it is I do at night,  30
when I board that train  31
and roar through lonely landscapes,  32
wishing I could touch  33
the truth that shatters me.

My favorite lines. Great work, this piece is just so well woven, and the topic dark and mysterious, just as it is alluring, makes me woner what I dream when I awake in the twilight, half awake and yet half asleep as well. Well done.
 — nenatraviesa

Oh baby.. you were there
 — gingerdave

Absolutely love it!  (Made it a favorite)

Ever read the works of Sandra Cisneros?  She writes, on more than one occasion, about the bitchy things she does at night - but literally :D.  

Astonishing work.
 — WordsAndMe

this was just delicious; i ate it like very bitter cakes. 9 - 26 have the stark impact of precision & beauty, yummy yummy.  i love it.
 — spaces

deff loving the description, very intense!
 — mishambootie

Oh, thank you!  I think this is one of my best and I'm excited when other poets respond so kindly.
 — Isabelle5

Love the content, but flow needs work.
 — poetbill

This was my first ever favorite poem and I still devour it with each line.  Many of my favorites speak to me on a personal level, and this is an example of the phenomenon.  On the nights when I'm kept awake by thought of my self, this poem is a welcomed read.
 — WordsAndMe

Words, you have no idea how much that means to me, that after all these years, one of my 'babies' still reaches someone.  I rather like it still myself, which is not always the case.
 — Isabelle5

You can do better than this, Lady.
 — unknown

riding the bitch train, there's a difference between being a bitch and acting like one, perhaps.  still dark, a defining poem.
 — manuka