Jul 11, 2021
1 mins read
Where a mud-brown creek flows thick behind our property, two bridges ride parallel to each other, a bridge whose duty is to provide passage to cars and trucks, including Whiskey’s old Bronco and a fast-flying school bus, and another whose job is to carry trains across—a tall, sturdy structure, jutting up from the earth like a god of old.
I like to sit on the car bridge’s barrier and watch the trains rumble past, a thundering museum traveling north to south and south to north. Train graffiti with all its mystery is among my favorite art forms, and the barrier offers a brief, tree-free view of the boxcars and chemical tanks that serve as canvases for chalky, indecipherable letters like hieroglyphs, symbols stripped of meaning, abstract paintings with occasional pop art characters, a yelling boss man in a little yellow hat or a blue cat in a pink sport coat and striped sunglasses. The paintings fly by too fast for study—my eyes focus briefly, trying to force the shapes into words. I see StainRyder and C-for Drops, Laws ablaze on a background of muted blue. Other shapes roll by in a blur,
and then they’re gone. Only the bridge remains, rising up on hands and feet, tabletop pose, the creek flowing beneath its belly, the trains roaring across its back.