Maniac Island
by Mark Kline
Slow Ribbons -- that's the title of the song, I'm sure of it. I can picture them now, the ribbons, I'm holding them, light in my palms, they tickle when I pour them from one hand to the other. They're faintly scented with perfume. Lilac, I think. Yes. I have to concentrate to hear them rustle against each other, a tiny sizzle. I tilt my hands and watch them trickle down. They fall in formations, slithering in crimson curlicues, covering the song.

The Blue Room
by Lisa Taddeo
Dear Candidate, It has come to the companyís attention that you will be interviewing for such and such position on such and such day. Please accept our invitation to your initiation ceremony tomorrow at nine oí clock am in the blue room. Signed, The Mgmt.

Maps & Detours
by Diane Payne
It dawns on me that the five dollar car may be like the old Buick and won't require a key to start it. Could a five dollar car that only needs a knob turned to have it start just be sitting there in the woods, ready to take off, ready to collect new stories?

Mad Ida Loved the Wind
by Seonaid Lennox
Can you imagine that? Small little gusts of wind undoing the ties of my nightgown, blowing it down and exposing my breasts to the night air. I was nearly naked, and I couldn't move. That old wind just kept me right there.

The Ever After Book Shoppe
by Heather Shaw & Tim Pratt
Dragon-Friend? Oh, dear lord, Alex thought, leave it to Alice to befriend the dragon in this story. He couldn't very well tell the Elf the truth, or he'd be left here in Ye Olde Darkest Forest of Most Lamentable Death and Danger or whatever it was the Elf had called it, for the rest of the book.

On Baseball

Trading Ethics
by Jeff Beresford-Howe
Transcendent talent is a scarce commodity. If you can hit .320 or win 20 games, it doesn't matter if you beat your wife, espouse bigotry in the name of Jesus, lie about the source of an injury in order to rip off millions of dollars or try to hurt other players with thrown balls and bats.

The Kid, the Aliens, and Uncle Charlie
by William G. Hutchings
Eddie's duffle was a little heavy because of his collection of about 1,000 baseball cards.  He'd been collecting since he was nine.  Didn't carry much else in the duffle. Levi's, couple of t-shirts, underwear, shaving kit, his mitt, and spikes.  He didn't really need the razor.  The peach fuzz on his face could only be seen when the light was just so, but his teammates shaved, and he wanted to be like them.

The Slow Trains Ten

Writers on
the Creative Life

featuring Scott Poole

Meditative Rose, Salvador Dali What influences my writing more than anything are my old Steve Martin albums. The timing of his delivery is pure genius. He holds the audience on every word. That's what a true poet does. Every time I listen to those albums I get inspired.

All material in Slow Trains is copyrighted to the original authors and may not be reproduced without permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

Rave On
Summer 2002
Welcome to Slow Trains, where the postcards never stop.

Traveling Through America's Backyard
by Brently Johnson
And this vision I also paint: on my elbows in the middle of the night, too excited to sleep, watching trees, weighted with snow, lean hard towards the train as we near the Willamette Pass. And this: my wifeís face kissing the window while the ocean slaps less than forty feet away and oil derricks in the distance appear almost peaceful, like blinking Christmas trees.

Eat, Eat, Eat
by Kate Baldus
To my shock, I arrived in Bangladesh in the middle of Ramadan. Ramadan is the month of the Muslim calendar when no one eats between dawn and dusk. The school cafeteria was closed. The tea stalls were closed. Food shops: closed. Restaurants: closed. There was no prepared food anywhere. This was worse than anyone could have imagined.

sophistication pales


the rhythm

of slow trains

Where's My Brown?
by Alana Noel Voth
I decided that Kellonís life would benefit from my going head to head with the pessimists, the racists, my own family, and I declared my son the mighty warrior, guerrero poderoso, a fucking miracle. Hope.

The Zen of Lawn Care
by Brian Peters
Then I noticed the dandelions -- a yellow flower I quite love, followed by a wispy head of cotton that I used to play with for hours when I was younger -- and I realized that the root system made them more stable ground cover on the hills than almost anything else I had growing.

Night Terrors
by Megan Doney
It is a Ptolemaic view of my universe, I know, as if my body was the axis around which all things revolved, as if every germ in the world was on a collision course with my body and only my body. Dying ought to be the last thing on my mind. Iím thin. Not tan. A runner. I like vegetables.

The Horse-Fly Watcher
by Emmitt Maxwell Furner, II
Nailing metal shoes to the bottom of horse hoofs was sort of a family affair. The work was hard and the pay was little, but now as I look back, I realize that while riding around in that old pickup, going from farm to farm, I was introduced to the West Virginia of my dreams, vast, tall, and green.

An Ongoing Journal

Entering the Monastery
Part 4

by Judy Bunce

And then we talked about my hand. I told her that I kept thinking, "My pretty hand! All scarred!" She replied that someone had once said to her, when she was having similar thoughts, "What do you want to do, have a good complexion, or be a zen master?"

Send comments to:


Ode to New York City
by Robert Gibbons
Oh, the pitch still reverberating through the universe such measure of the magnitude of our mourning.

Tribute in Light

The Invisible Hand
by Michael J. Compton
Godís black billboard asks / "Have you read my best-seller?" / Like a thought balloon / Above the old Bobís Big Boy

The Very Stuff
by Stephen Beal
Okay, all right, I confess: I would dress as a woman to wear this red. I would put it all on, wig and makeup and padding, lingerie and nylons and three-inch heels, just to enter a room in this red. And knock them dead.

Jumping Bean
Champagne for One

by James R. Whitley
As Iím heading home one evening / I see a group of children kneeling / on their dirty knobby knees, circling around / playing with a jumping bean

So Much in Five Worlds
and Five Suns

by P.J. Nights
She pounded out piano recitals for one / rants in E minor denying her wish / for prom dresses in iridescent feathers / for birthday gifts of turquoise and gold

Providence, July, 1974
by Lisabet Sarai
some of the streets / will only come out / after supper / in summer / only untwine / as I ride them

In Love With a Married Man
Wedding Cake
by Teresa White
We walk off the top of our wedding cake / into the cool green garden of the world / We are tall in our black and white clothes / You lick frosting off my fingers until they are new

From the Depth of the Wind, Charles Belle

Turncoat Appliances
The Bike Ride

by c nolan deweese
You have to be careful when talking of three / (controls the world with pyramid schemes) / Third day is always where change comes in fairy tales

All Things Considered
by J.D. Heskin
My life is not perfect / For instance, the chair I am sitting on leans to the left / and the burger I just ate was too spicy.

The End

by Darlene Zagata
The sun was shining / a large topaz draped in denim / Then thunder cracked, a horrible sound / like the stars being flogged into submission.

bluebells & eucalyptus, trailing like kindness, behind Spanish doors

by Susannah Indigo
You would laugh (as your first hurrah) / a tiny baby laugh / to learn you came into a century / where you could be born post-Richard Nixon / yet be young enough to be the secret love-child of Britney Spears


Main Squeeze Blues
by Jennie Orvino
I had a fling with the chief of police / cruising black and white, clinching to the crime radio / But he never stayed 'til morning, left me dialing 911

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