the yards

I have gotten what men get from such things
by driving past the railroad yards
never on purpose but on my way to somewhere
and then I see the tracks and all the boxcars
the tank cars the flat cars
all of them still and so many of them
lined that way and not a train anywhere
where are the trains?
I drive past glancing sideways at it all
wide field of stillness
then I am past the railroad yards
and it wasn’t the damned commerce of it
that gave me what I got
but something back there nameless
always making me feel better
as some men feel better looking at the sea
or the mountains or at wild animals
or at women
I like those things too
especially the wild animals and the women
but when I look at those old boxcars
with faded designs upon them
and those flats and those fat round tankers
I get quiet inside
I get what men get from such things
I feel better and it’s good to feel better
whenever you can
not needing the reason.

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript
This poem appeared in the following books: